Project Space, Johann Arens: Facility

Johann Arens

Facility is a new commission by London-based artist Johann Arens inspired by the letterbox –the two black bars present at the top and bottom of the screen when watching a film produced for cinema on a TV or computer.

Arens produces moving image works for installation that seamlessly blend film with stylised studio recordings to create strange hybrids. These hybrids explore ideas surrounding the materiality of the digital image and in doing so encourage an awareness of one’s own viewing behaviour.

His works that do not directly employ moving image still refer to it, producing complex installations of objects positioned in a specific locations. Despite the absence of moving-image the methodologies of film making are still made present through this careful placement of objects, often including; viewing devices, light stands, mirrors, shapes frames and modified furniture placed in a loose constellation with each other, often within functional spaces. An active effort is required on behalf of the viewer to combine the different elements of the total artwork. In this way viewers might still have a ‘cinematic experience’ through their navigation of the work.

For this exhibition Johann Arens uses the form of the letterbox as a mechanism to frame a typical situation that may be encountered in Café 171. A free-standing two-way screen divides the room into two spaces interrupting the usual flow of visitors to the Project Space, where the participants on each side, have interchangeable roles. In the installation a common public situation undergoes a subtle shift becoming a fictional scene where everyone is simultaneously an actor and a viewer.

Project Space provides exhibition and development opportunities to emerging artists offering a small grant to develop new experimental work for exhibition in the unique environment of Café 171 at Jerwood Space, adjacent to the galleries. Since 2004 it has presented new work from artists including Luke McCreadie, Alice May Williams, Paul Schneider, Rhys Coren, Anna Bunting-Branch, Emma Charles, Alec Kronacker, Meg Mosley, Sara Nunes Fernandes, Johann Arens, Matthew Johnstone, Katie Schwab and Jamie George, Ben Senior, Ralph Dorey, Mindy Lee, Patrick Coyle, Gemma Anderson, Annabel Tilley, Alice Browne, and Holly Antrum.

Johann Arens, Facility 2012. Image: thisistomorrow.info