The Poetics of Unforgetting, Jumana Manna, Mickalene Thomas, Susanna Wallin
By David Gryn
Artprojx Presents at Hackney Picturehouse is a new series of monthly screenings of artists film and video works. Launching with films by three brilliant young international contemporary artists – whose films will linger in your memory long after viewing.
All three artists have made films, that I have not been able to forget ever since first viewing them. Manna’s Blessed Blessed Oblivion (along with Wallin’s Echo Park) was screened at the Art Video section I selected for Art Basel in Miami Beach 2012 and it was one of the most memorable and complete films I have shown. Susanna Wallin’s film Marker I screened at the Prince Charles Cinema, London several years ago in association with Film London, and somehow it has never left my thoughts and then Mickalene Thomas, whose work I have not screened before this. Last year, I was sent Happy Birthday to a Beautiful Woman, by her producer, Tanya Selvaratnam and by her gallery Lehmann Maupin in NY, I was deeply moved and I wanted to find a way that I could present it. So here we go.
Blessed Blessed Oblivion by Jumana Manna
Inspired by Kenneth Anger’s Scorpio Rising (1963), BLESSED BLESSED OBLIVION weaves together a portrait of male thug culture in East Jerusalem, manifested in barbershops, auto shops and bodybuilding. At the same time psychologizing and seduced by her subject, the artist finds herself in a double bind, a dilemma that resonates with the muddled desire that animates her protagonist as he drifts from abject rants to declamations of heroic poetry or unashamed self-praise.
Jumana Manna (born in New Jersey, lives and works in Jerusalem and Berlin) uses primarily film/video and sculpture to explore historical narratives, nationalism and subcultural communities. Her films are attempts at weaving together portraits of morally dubious characters or events, and her sculptural practice employs a language of minimalism and abstraction to reformulate familiar objects into a state of ambiguity, navigating between negation and seduction. Jumana Manna is represented by CRG Gallery, New York.
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