2 October – 30 November 2017
Artist and filmmaker Oliver Husain (b. Germany, 1969) currently lives and works in Toronto, Canada. In his work, he critically engages theatrical and cinematic notions of spectatorship drifting from performance and conceptual theatre to experimental film, animation, and installation to blur the boundaries between different visual codes. Oscillating between documentary and fictional approaches, Husain orchestrates surreal narratives with a keen sensibility for costume, make-up, and stage set. His most recent solo exhibition took place at Western Front, Vancouver, Canada, in 2016. Husain has participated in numerous international exhibitions and film festivals including: Forum Expanded, Berlinale Film Festival, Berlin, Germany, 2017; Kunstverein Nürnberg, Germany, 2017; Art Museum, University of Toronto, 2016; MAK Museum, Vienna, Austria, 2013; Institute of Contemporary Art, Philadelphia, United States, 2011, among others.
Special screenings of his films took place at Pleasure Dome, Toronto, Canada, 2015, and at Experimenta Film Festival, Bangalore, India, 2011.
In the last few years, many of Oliver Husain’s projects have spawned from hearsay, rumour, or chance encounters. During the residency, Husain will research and explore the history of the hair animation industry in commercial film and photography which, as the rumour goes, used to be highly developed in Singapore until the rise of digital animation in the 2000s. Fascinated by the abstract and poetic qualities of the purposeless movement of hair freed from narrative constraints and product placement needs, the artist plans to delve into unofficial and queer forms of knowledge by conducting fieldwork in hair salons and interviewing senior hair stylists. At the same time, he will research and collect fashion editorials, photographs, films, and other extant materials of the time in preparation for an experimental hair animation to be possibly realized in collaboration with Computer-generated imagery (CGI) experts in Singapore.
Purfled Promises, Canada, 2009, 8 min
Leona Alone, Canada, 2009, 5 min
Parade, Canada, 2013, 11 min
Isla Santa Maria 3D, Canada, 2016, 18min
This programme of short films by Oliver Husain provides an insight into the artist’s deep-seated interest in the visual codes of cinematic language, the artifice of representation, and the politics of spectatorship. The selected films span a trajectory from central perspective to the optical illusionism of 3D technologies revealing, each time from a different angle, how they inexorably overlap. Deconstructing the framing devices of the moving image, Husain’s films tackle notions of simulation and theatricality, presence and representation, creating playful spatial disruptions that question the authority of perspective, the position of the spectator, and the material boundaries between on-screen and off-screen space.
The screening will be followed by a Q&A with the artist.