︎︎︎Nafasi Art Space
DAR ES SALAAM
- In July and August of 2023, I had the pleasure of completing a residency at the Nafasi Art Space in Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania. Throughout the five weeks, I produced works across a variety of digital media and printed a limited collection of transparent works. The residency culminated in the show /əbˈstrakt/.
- In the rich tapestry of language, "abstract" emerges as a word of contradictions – Merriam-Webster alone presents 15 variations, each wrestling for dominance. This exhibition, /əbˈstrakt/, stands at the crossroads of these linguistic tensions. The most obvious of these tensions is between the almost anarchic adjective used to describe aesthetics that hide or obfuscate their meaning and the more authoritarian verb used to reduce complex subjects and phenomena into simpler and more convenient terms. This exhibition exists in the no man's land of this war of the words, delving into the clash between an unruly aesthetic and a commanding reduction, wielding their clash as a narrative force.
At its core, this collection unravels the violence inherent in abstraction, while making use of aesthetics that defy easy interpretation. The exhibit showcases an array of digital creations – VR spaces, 3D models and paintings, vivid 2D images crafted with Blender, and video art.
SUN JIR0 masterfully transcends the utilitarian boundaries often ascribed to digital art. With creations birthed not for practicality, but for the sake of art itself, the artist subverts the norm of the media. This collection is the result of an embodied and expressive approach to creation, with the artist making work often directly in virtual reality, to expand the artistic rather than technological bounds of the medium.
This exhibition comprises a number of component series that all came to a head during SUN JIR0’s residency with Nafasi Art Space. Featured in this collection are pieces from the “Caste” series of abstract geometric 3D models; “Virtual Geography,” a series of renders and 3D models of landscapes made in VR; “Panoption,” a series of 2D image renders that make heavy use of transparency; and “Any Other Name,” a collection of pieces ranging 3D models and 2D renders that tackle the themes of the exhibition more broadly.