James Webb is an artist, known for his site-specific interventions and installations. His practice often involves sound, found objects, and text, invoking references to literature, cinema, and the conceptualist traditions. By shifting objects, techniques, and forms beyond their original contexts and introducing them to different environments, Webb creates new spaces of tension. These spaces bind Webb’s background in religion, theatre, and advertising, offering poetic inquiries into the economies of belief and dynamics of communication in our contemporary world.
As Brandon LaBelle writes, “The works of James Webb circulate around a complex mixture of emotional and affective states; of longing and despair, of the ecstatic and of hopefulness, states of bodies and minds that move throughout his practice to raise questions of individuality and community, belonging and displacement, fragmentation and recuperation.”
(Xenagogue, edited by Anthea Buys, published by HKS, 2015.)
Webb has had solo exhibitions at, amongst others, blank projects (South Africa, 2020, 2016, 2014, 2010, 2006), Winnipeg Art Gallery (Canada, 2019), Imane Farès Gallery (France, 2019, 2016), the Art Institute of Chicago (USA, 2018), SPACES, Cleveland (USA, 2018), Norrtälje Konsthall (Sweden, 2018, 2016 and 2019), Yorkshire Sculpture Park, Wakefield (UK, 2016), Hordaland Kunstsenter, Bergen (Norway, 2015), CentroCentro, Madrid (Spain, 2013), Johannesburg Art Gallery (South Africa, 2012), and mac Birmingham (UK, 2010).
Major group exhibitions include the Monheim Triennale II (2023), the International Biennale of Saint-Paul de Vence (2023), the Islamic Arts Biennale (2023), the Mona Foma Festival (2023), the 16th and 8th Lyon Biennale (2022, 2007), the 14th Curitiba International Biennial (2019), the 13th Dakar Biennial (2018), the 4th Prospect Triennial in New Orleans (2017), documenta 14 (2017), the 13th Sharjah Biennial (2017), 12th Havana Biennale (2015), 55th Venice Biennale (2013), and the 3rd Marrakech Biennale (2009). Other notable group shows include those at spaces such as Tinguely Museum, in Switzerland, A4 Art Foundation South Africa, Wanås Konst and Historiska, Sweden, MAXXI, Rome, Darat al Funun, Jordan, Théâtre Graslin, Nantes and Tate Modern, London.
Webb’s work has been acquired for numerous public and private collections such as The Smithsonian Institution, KADIST Foundation, Museo Nazionale Delle Arti del XXI Secolo, and the MAC Val.
His projects have been the subject of the two monographs, “. . .” (blank projects, 2020), and “Xenagogue” (Hordaland Kunstsenter, 2015).
His first exhibition at Imane Farès, Nous, with Nina Esber, was held in 2015.