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James Webb

Sound installation - Conceptual art - Video

James Webb is an interdisciplinary artist whose work – framed in large-scale installations in galleries and museums, or as unannounced interventions in public spaces – often makes use of ellipsis, displacement and détournement to explore the nature of belief, and the dynamics of communication in our contemporary world. Webb is known for a practice that employs audio, installation and text, referencing aspects of the conceptualist and minimalist traditions, as well as his academic studies in advertising, comparative religion and theatre.

His recent projects include a filmic study of the abandoned Carlton Hotel in downtown Johannesburg, the development of an audio guide to the 3rd floor of the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía based on all the previous exhibitions held there, and numerous versions of his continuing A Series Of Personal Questions (2006 – ongoing) artwork where he literally interviews objects as a form of both speculative research and live, exhibition display.

In 2019, in addition to his second personal exhibition in France at Galerie Imane Farès, James Webb is presenting the Johannesburg iteration of the installation Prayer (2000 – ongoing) on the 14th Biennial of Curitiba.

Selected Artworks
There is no place called home is an in situ public audio intervention involving sound recordings of foreign birdsongs broadcasted from loudspeakers concealed in local trees. Versions: Bad Homburg, New Orleans, Riga, Yorshire Sculpture Park, MacVal (Ivry-sur-Seine), Udine, Malmö, Nantes, Bergen, etc.
Speaker, audio; variable dimensions; infinite duration
Prayer is a multi-channel sound installation comprising recordings of prayers and vocal worships collected from all the religion groups operating in the host city. The project is created in situ every time. Versions: Malmö, Chicago, Johannesburg, Winnipeg, etc.
Recordings, carpet, 12 speakers, assorted wires, audio; 1600 x 400cm; infinite duration.
Plaster statue, transducer speaker, amplifier, media player, audio 123 cm x 31 cm x 26 cm (sculpture) ; 40 cm x 40 cm x 40 cm (plinth)
30 dreams excerpted from Franz Kafka’s Diaries written on soluble paper, dissolved in water, and presented in 30 glass vials (found objects)
3 texts written on soluble paper, dissolved in water, and presented in 3 glass vials 3 glass bottles – 20 cm x 40 cm x 18 cm
Framed Miró silkscreeen, planter with plastic plants – 208 x 108 x 85 cm (installation); 70 x 50 cm (frame)
Silver Denarius minted in Rome in 70AD, speaker, ampli er, media player, audio dim.: 1,7 cm diam. (coin); 145 x 30 x 30 cm (display case); duration: 00:29:59 (in loop)
Voice: Sylvaine Strike
Set de planches de psychodiagnostique de Rorschach, haut-parleur, amplificateur, audio 21 cm x 358 cm x 5,5 cm
Voice : Cedric Leherle
Multi-channel video and sound installation, comprised of a 3-channel video projection on 3 hanging screens and one wall-sized projection
Monophonic sound installation, 1m diameter. Audio Spotlight 24i Holosonic speaker
Black coated aluminium, 45 x 150 x 3 cm
Carpets, tripods, speakers, assorted wires, audio; variable dimensions
Sky-white fluorescent lights, speakers, assorted wires, audio; variable dimensions; infinite duration
Video, audio; variable dimensions
Past Exhibitions
September 5 – October 26, 2019
December 8, 2016 – February 11, 2017
January 15 – March 14, 2015