James Hoff is a painter, writer and editor and in his current exhibition, ‘I’m Already A Has – Been’ he has two distinct sets of paintings both based around language and abstraction as a culture-bound illness. The first imagines a visual alternative for syndromes that enter language through specific geographical contexts such as the Missing White Woman Syndrome, Stockholm Syndrome and The Alice In Wonderland Syndrome, etc.
The second is based on drawings found in stationary shops, you know the type, the scribblings and doodles left on post-its by customers testing out new pens, markers and pencils, etc – what Hoff sees as an unconscious community abstraction – an idea that has its roots in the automatic writing of the Dadaists and gestalt theory which used mark-making as a means by which to determine cognitive skills, sanity and mental health.
Here’s what Hoff has to say about his art practice:
Editorial practices and archival impulses guide my art-making processes across a diverse array of formats, including the artists’ book, live performance, writing, painting, sculpture, sound art, and online distribution. Working in a variety of media, I often employ minor histories as source material, which are then re-worked or re-contextualized, forging new glances and unexpected relations that reflect on contemporary practice or further compound, expand, or expose the underlying history. As an archivist, I gather minor histories from public and private archives, some of which I have amassed and others to which I have gained access. This work extends, and runs parallel to, the editorial work I have carried out with the non-profit art organization Primary Information, which I co-founded in 2006.
This exhibition is currently running at the VI, VII Gallery, Gronlandsleiret 41, Oslo, Norway until 5th December
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