Post Apoca-Lips
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Post Apoca-Lips

‘Imagine being inside Tracey Emin’s tent if it were to comeback from its burnt ashes through the medium of an LSD trip’ - James Ostrer

Apocalypse by the Greek definition of the word means a revelation, or an unveiling of things not previously known. Driven by this concept, London-based artist James Ostrer’s latest body of work presents a powerfully intimate portrait of his evolving state of consciousness.

The artworks have been created during a residency at Melior Place in Bermondsey (Kristin Hjellegjerde gallery’s new space that will later be rebuilt as their new London home in 2021), and lead the viewer on a surreal, sensory journey through the building, and ultimately the artist’s mind.

Ostrer is well known for the extremities of his work whether that is being stitched into a pig’s face whilst stuffing it full of pizza or visiting brothels and having the prostitutes photograph him ‘anyway they want’. For Post Apoca-Lips the artist pushes against the confines of a gallery space by filling an entire building with bold, multi-dimensional artworks that stitch together ephemera from the past: casts of Ostrer’s teeth from when he was twelve, his mother’s cigarette butts and fur coats, huge animal horns, childhood toys, even a kitchen table top from an ex-girlfriend’s house, the list goes on.

These objects become hybrid, cartoonesque creatures that appear simultaneously familiar and strange, comforting and threatening. This is the fine line Ostrer treads as he explodes and reconstructs popular culture and everyday materials into a means of self-expression, while expanding the conversation of how we relate and why.

Ostrer’s art practise is one of self-interrogation and personal development which through acute creative sophistication and humour explores the wider emotional cadences of the human psyche.

On entering into Melior Place, the viewer is confronted with a spider’s web sprawl of hand-painted black squiggles that expand upwards into the eaves of the building’s vast glass atrium. These fluid marks are the result of a free-flowing creative process that Ostrer describes as a form of ‘catharsis’, and appear both chaotic and calm. This sets the rhythm of the exhibition as we move into the main room, and hear Ostrer’s own voice answering a series of questions that are seemingly set to find out who someone is. Recorded directly in response to a therapist’s questionnaire, the revelation of the artist’s personal information builds up an emotional algorithm or map, through which we begin to form an impression of who this person is and reflect on who we ourselves are in relation to that.

Ostrer commented: ‘The greatest art and literature in history addresses love and conflict and what it is behind those emotions that perpetuates the extremities. My aim through my art practice is to interrogate my own core personality traits and behaviour with a view to becoming an improved version of myself. I believe this art can then have a positive effect on a wider level. ’Whilst the artist’s revelations involve vulnerable exposure, we are also encouraged to laugh so as to find a release and form an organic sense of unity. Post Apoca-lips is a thought-provoking and powerful show that reaffirms art’s ability to heal and connect.

Ostrer commented: ‘The greatest art and literature in history addresses love and conflict and what it is behind those emotions that perpetuates the extremities. My aim through my art practice is to interrogate my own core personality traits and behaviour with a view to becoming an improved version of myself. I believe this art can then have a positive effect on a wider level.’ Whilst the artist’s revelations involve vulnerable exposure, we are also encouraged to laugh so as to find a release and form an organic sense of unity. Post Apoca-lips a thought-provoking and powerful show that reaffirms art’s ability to heal and connect.

Post Apoca-Lips

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