British artists Oliver Payne and Nick Relph manipulate a range of visual material to create films that meld contemporary culture and artist’s video, referencing documentary film, music video and surveillance footage. Their subject matter is often drawn from their antagonistic relationship to the social and physical architecture of London. Bleak, gritty and laden with teenage angst, their work is at the same time elegiac and wryly funny.
Best known for his painting, Polish artist Wilhelm Sasnal focuses on the details of the drab and often overlooked landscapes that surround him to articulate emotional analogues to moments that linger as much in the mind as they do in reality. His subjects often interrogate the way in which we inhabit the space between public and private spheres and the ways in which music and image infiltrate our interior landscapes. Sasnal attributes his interest in painting to music, which consistently plays a key part in his films, providing the narrative structure for an abstract language of sensation fed by social and political events.
British artist David Shrigley has worked with various media, though he is best known for his mordantly humorous cartoons describing various conditions of ineptitude and the bizarre. His work, which bears reference to Outsider Art, often focuses on the infiltration of violence and the effects of morbid curiosity on the mundane. His films, which have included music videos for Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy and Blur, are animations of the narratives implicit in the drawings. These tales of curiosity and misadventure and their deadpan humour stay with the viewer long after the last frame has disappeared.
American artist Kara Walker tackles issues of black history, race, gender and stereotype. She uses the traditionally proper medium of silhouette and turns it on its head with unruly cut-paper characters who fornicate and inflict violence upon one another. Recently, these works have developed into puppet-show films enacting tragicomic pornographic scenarios of illegitimacy, degradation and compulsive persuasion. Drawing on the historical realism of slavery and the fantastical space of the romance novel, Walker’s films present seductive, nightmarish fictions.