Focus Section, Stand H20 w/ Nir Altman, Munich
For Frieze Focus 2023 Nir Altman is pleased to present an installation of new works by James Lewis (b.1986, South London lives and works in Vienna, AT).
Lewis is an artist and educator who makes work from the perspective of being a second generation British Asian. Lewis’ sculptures and installations are reactions to the experience of growing up with a mixed identity and consequentially negotiating an omnipresent sense of displacement. At the core of his research is an interrogation of the systems we inherit, empirical boundaries which determine our relationship to the world and confine our experiences of a given environment or architecture.
Framing Lewis’s interest in a datafied reality, three shelving units line the perimeter of the booth and contain glasses with entombed fragments of dry leaves and casts of broken teeth. The series Two Branches, 2023 addresses the simplistic logic of classification and attempts to reveal the absurdity of reducing social and political complexities into statistical data, measurements of time or percentiles.
Accumulations of layers and networks of tumorous growth encapsulate and fossilise over an L-shaped sofa in Sediment, 2023. The concrete encrusted strata of this domestic scenography are polluted with the odour of cheap whiskey, adding an additional layer of sensory data to the perception of Lewis’ artwork. This blistered and ruptured furniture has been abjected away from its symbolic value of domestic equilibrium and evokes the portrait of an absent body, withdrawn and detached from their surroundings.
Lewis’ presentation reflects the cognitive dissonance that fills our quotidian lives and questions the parameters and subjectivity of inheritance. His works aim to create a feeling of resistance and estrangement for the duration of their encounter and encourage a short moment of suspension before the interpretative and symbolic machine begins to work, tries to identify and classify.