Agenda

16.08 - 01.09.2024

Theaterspektakel

13.09 - 03.11.2024

ProtoZone 16

15.11 - 12.01.2025

ProtoZone 17

James Bantone

AGORA BILLS & CHILD’S PLAY

 

The scene here holds an intricate game of hide and seek. Crafted doll sculptures in neoprene suits involve the visitors in a playful dance across the levels of rolling scaffolds. The scaffolds with their strapped-on prints evoke large-scale advertisements on building sites. In this case, those “advertisements” are themselves partly hidden and partly exposed. They show (or hide) movie characters trapped in liminal spaces: a green screen, a blurred street environment. These are film stills of an actual horror movie: the artist’s latest video work Horripilations.*

The horror genre capitalizes on fear as a major drive of human action. At the same time, it provides a platform to reflect on profound existential themes and to explore and confront the darker aspects of life in a controlled environment. Thus, it’s also a tool for social commentary.

The title of the series of sculptures, “Childs play” cites the title of a horror movie featuring killer doll Chucky. It focuses on the uncanny presence of a doll: representing a living being while being an object.

This installation questions dehumanizing and commodifying representations by gestures of refusal. It rather invites into its own oblique uncanny puppet-play on the stage of advertisement walls.

*Horripilations is on view in Karma International Gallery Zurich from 1st of December.

 

Bantone’s artistic practice is an ongoing exploration and troubling look at identity obsession. Through installations that play with the poetics of anonymity, subsequent perspectives and subjectivity, combining photography, sculpture, and video, Bantone not only questions contemporary markers of violence in a geography of whiteness, but also the refusal of the identification of his subjects and therefore their exploitation. By appropriating the “tools of fashion world” and, sometimes, by perverting their application, Bantone approaches a new method of representation wrapped in layers of refusal — tightly-sewn neoprene suits reveal neither skin nor face, oversized prosthetics impose the grotesque, and at times, all anthropomorphic signifiers are forgone. Accompanied by a distinct interest in the horror genre, the artist is driven to reconfigure and design bodies, objects and clothes staging them, in this way, striking a chord of absurdity into the most primitive of emotions.

Shedhalle – James Bantone

James Bantone, Child’s Play 06, 2023