Portuguese artist João Biscainho’s exhibition at SE8 Gallery works on various levels, from historical and philosophical readings, to predictive scientific theories. He has produced a series of works that question our relationship with the world we occupy and its complexities, that explore our need to question the effects of future science and progress, as we move ever more closer to a world inundated by new technologies. By employing tactics of repetition and demonstration, his use of simple optical devices draws attention to the process of representation.
The main work featured in the exhibition entitled Uncanny River (The Crossing), 2014-2015, a video installation, portrays a voyage across a wide river from shore to shore. The projection shows a continuous image of churning water, made by the turbulent wake of a ship. The horizontal camera position is rotated by the artist so as to present the viewer with a vertical picture, which is then back-projected onto a sheet of black glass, with a mirror, set at a right angle, duplicating the swirling liquid.
The second work Through the liquid, which also moves, (your immortality is the end of democracy), 2013-2015, features a short video loop on a portable vintage television monitor chronicling the life phases of a ‘Medusoid’ or artificial jellyfish. The footage, edited from the internet, shows the creature’s development in a mold, its transfer from the receptacle to moving freely in water.
The third work entitled, The illusion of disillusion, 2013, is a swordfish bill engraved with the nouns of the title; the words are set against each other, reflecting and opposing in turns. The sculpture plays with the relationship between materiality and language.
The exhibition coincides with the launch of a new limited edition book on the artist’s work, published by Mulberry Tree Press.