Solo exhibition, Galerie Hubert Winter, Vienna
05.03.21 - 30.04.21
Lewis’ work is focused on how entropy and chaos structure the world we inhabit, how tiny, interrelated events create reoccurring patterns that are then distilled into notions of time, space or history.
Injury addresses the impossibility of fellow feeling (1) and the works call for a different kind of inhabitance based upon the possibility that society cannot be reconciled, pain cannot be shared through empathy and that we live with and beside each other, and yet we are not as one.
Lewis’s landscape is immersed in estrangement. A crackling soundscape interrupted by machinelike beeps and buzzes emanates from Imaginary Counter Power (2021). This architectural work with an exhaustively long sound piece creates an atmosphere which oscillates and vibrates over and through all types of bodies and things, producing a complex ecology of matter and energy, subjects and objects.
Narrowly true but broadly misleading (2021) pose propositions for a new set of conveying emotions, attitudes and the understanding of a body in pain or dissonance. These sign or token-like pieces can be decoded into statistics; the average surface area of human skin, how long it takes for food to be digested, the average amount of unique words spoken per day and so on. Thus, creating a strange poetic proposition for the language and understanding of dissonance.
Accumulations of layers, networks of tumorous growth, encapsulate and fossilise over soft furnishings in Diluvium (2021). The concrete encrusted strata of this domestic scenography are polluted with sound and the odour of cheap whiskey, each adding additional layers of sensory data, one over another, evoking the portrait of an absent body detached and extracted from the connecting temporal tissue. It is exactly this horror temporis—the ruptures, scars and proliferations of (humanly conceived) time—that James Lewis addresses in his works.
(1) See Sara Ahmed, The Cultural Politics of Emotion, Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press, p. 39.