The act of recording or tracing transitory moments, constructed mise-en-scènes, forgotten memories, personal archives or possible fictions can all be found in the works of Hannah James. Manifesting as documents of images and objects, these subjects become simultaneously visible, and yet increasingly, more oblique.
James' work finds reference in various subjective moments within a cultural history; from modernist theatre, furniture and architecture design to early performance work of the 60's and 70's. These influences are made tangible through sculptural forms or printed matter that, in turn, form the basis for 35mm slide and photographic works, as well as 8mm and 16mm films. These 'made' works are often positioned against found works; which could be the outcome of a school child's project (handmade pots) or the remnants of an antecedent action (the overspray from an industrial process). By bringing together these disparate elements, the work begins to quietly question the assumed hierarchies and authorships found within.
Mediation is central to James' approach. Through the use of both making and appropriating, layers are formed which create a lineage in the work, leading back to the original source. Walter Benjamin's notion of the 'auraratic object '(1) - a form imbedded with its own prior history and experience - is evident within the sense of anachronistic time, history and memory the films and sculptures hold.
A dichotomy, however, is at play as James contrasts the controlled and mediated processes involved in creating the celluloid works to the intuitively gestural, spontaneous and even performative printed forms, which are often produced site responsively.
This notion of performance, in its broadest sense, is becoming increasingly central to the work. Yves Klien's 'Anthropometry' 1958, or body prints, make reference to James' own large-scale blue, block prints. The role of the filmmaker behind the camera also brings the idea of performance into question, as the viewer is left to ask: what is the relationship between this unknown individual and the object they are recording; are they artist, voyeur, actor or spectator?
The experience of both viewing and engaging with an artwork remains a crucial concern. Often presented in an installation format, these works become momentary conclusions, always retaining the possibility to be taken down and reconfigured. By positioning various materials, processes and references, these constituent compositions form momentarily to create transitory vignettes and possible narratives.
(1) Walter Benjamin, 'The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction' (1936), reprinted in Illuminations, trans. Harry Zohn, London 1999.
CV & Education
Qualifications and training
2012 - MA Fine Art, Piet Zwart Institute, Rotterdam
2007 - BA Art and Visual Culture, University of the West of England, Bristol
2013 - Solo Exhibition, Cole, London
2013 - Southwest Showcase, Plymouth Art College Gallery, Plymouth
2011 - About Painting, ABC Art Contemporary with Chert, Berlin
2011 - Local Interference, Works | Projects, Bristol
2011 - pots purr, Chert, Berlin
2011 - pots purr, Rhubaba, Edinburgh
2011 - Screen #5 St Thomas’ Sq, The Mews Project Space, London
2009 - Screen, Chert, Berlin
2008 - Clouds, Beechcroft Space, Bristol
2012 - Dagmar Hepner, Hannah James and Charlotte Moth, Cole Contemporary, London
2012 - Out of Range, ROMA, public art works, Rome
2011 - Anti Library, SPACE, London
2011 - Rotate, Contemporary Art Society, London
2011 - Space Exchange, Aid and Abet, Cambridge
2011 - What does and what does not belong to words, Baginski , Lisbon
2010 - Curtain Show, Eastside Projects, Birmingham
2010 - Drinnen und Draussen, Chert, Berlin
2010 - Point of address, selected by Peter Suchin, OUTPOST, Norwich
2010 - 'The decade 2010-2020' - The museum as hostage to fortune, The Pigeon Wing, London
2009 - Cornuto #1, ReMap 2: an International Art Programme Parallel to the 2nd Athens Biennale, Athens
2009 - Spacioux, curated by Michela Arfiero, Daniela Lotta and Paola Gallio, Lambretto Art Project, Milan
2007 - New Contemporaries 2007, New Art Gallery Walsall, Corner House, Club Row, Walsall, Manchester and London
2011 - Standpoint Futures Residency, Standpoint, London
2010 - OUTHOUSE , OUTPOST, Norwich
2012 - Dagmar Heppner, Hannah James and Charlotte Moth in conversation with Allia Ali, exhibition publication with Cole
2011 - pots purr, exhibition publication with Rhubaba and Chert
2010 - “The decade 2010-2020.” The museum as hostage to fortune, exhibition publication with An Endless Supply
2010 - Curtain Show, exhibition publication with Eastside Projects
2010 - Drinnen and Draussen, exhibition catalogue with Chert
2006 - New Contemporaries 2006, exhibition catalogue