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Today in London, “The Deccan Traps” opens at Aindrea Contemporary. Curated by the gallery’s Founder, Aindrea Emelife, the exhibition is a two-person show that includes works by Alexander James and Rafaela De Ascanio.
Anchoring the show is a video entitled Immortal Lands by James, which is a manifestation of his dreams into an artistic reality. The visuals in the video explore a nostalgic yet unfamiliar place, which exists outside the rational structures of time and space. The sequence is achieved through an editing process of several months, as layers of time and experience accumulate and are expressed in saturated, manipulated colors. In the video, we see the artist also enjoys using a playful approach—pausing, playing, and re-playing scenes, and focusing on people’s dynamic expressions.
Last year, he spent some time traveling and living on the road, driving through the desert landscapes of Arizona and New Mexico. It was here that some of these ideas manifested. “Although we dream every night, dreams remain complicated, their contents confounding,” said James.
Although James’ primary instinct is to paint, his recent work explores multifaceted, immersive installations as a way of reflecting on the changing environment of workspace. Collecting objects from different locations and reconstructing them to create new meanings enables the artist to fuse multiple experiences and mediums.
His latest series of paintings—4am, 5am, 6am, and 7am—are based on the edited visuals shown in Immortal Lands. They depict expanded or zoomed-in versions of stories, scenarios, and identities that he has encountered in a utopian state of minds, each referring to a dream recorded during a specific hour. To create each painting, James physically woke up and made notes of the stories that occurred during each of his dreams. During this creative process, he paid close attention to the connections made during each dream, developing stories and drawing light sketches of the characters, people, and objects that were involved in each storyline. The pieces presented in “The Deccan Traps” are also complemented by found objects (a theme in James’ work), scavenged from around the historic Whiteleys building.