James Webb (b. 1975, Kimberley, South Africa) has been working on both large-scale installations in galleries and museums as well as unannounced interventions in public spaces since 2001. His work explores the nature of belief and dynamics of communication in our contemporary world, often using exoticism, displacement and humour to achieve these aims.
Webb’s work has been presented around the world at institutions such as the Palais de Tokyo in Paris, CCA Kitakyushu in Japan and the Darat al Funun in Amman, Jordan, as well as on major international exhibitions such as the 3rd Marrakech Biennale, the 2009 Melbourne International Arts Festival and the 9th Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon. Webb was the subject of the survey show, MMXII, at the Johannesburg Art Gallery in 2012. His work is represented in the collections of the Iziko South African National Gallery, Johannesburg Art Gallery, Nelson Mandela Metropolitan Art Museum, the Darat al Funun, Amman, and Domaine Pommery, Reims.
Installation exhibited at CentroCentro
4-channel sound and light installation. Infinite duration. 2010.
Audio recordings of glossolalia conducted with young Afrikan women who have received the “gift of tongues”. The included recording is an extract from a bigger, multi-channel sound installation.
In Living Memory Of What Never Happened
Public Service Announcement. 96-minutes. 2009.
Multi-lingual public service announcements declaring, “Ladies and Gentlemen, your attention please. You are reminded that everything is fine” broadcast from speakers at various points in the CentroCentro building.
You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger
Intervention. Infinite duration. 2012.
An undisclosed artwork has been concealed somewhere in the spiral staircase of the CentroCentro building.
Concert at CentroCentro
The artist used a clairvoyant to contact Orson Welles, interviewing him and transcribing the resulting speech for a voice actor to perform. Conceptually, the deceased American auteur directs the clairvoyant and through him the actor, who in turn influences the listener. 2011. 03:36.
Telepylos is a piece of sonic science-fiction inspired by advice given to the artist by the late Orson Welles. 2012. 33:00.
Untitled (Sultan Bahu Rehabilitation Centre)
A recording of a Dhikr, a chanted, trance-like Sufi prayer, made with 70 patients at the Sultan Bahu Drug Rehabilitation Centre in Mitchell’s Plain, Cape Town. It is believed that this style of Dhikr was brought to the Cape by the Malaysian slaves in the late 17th century. The recording was done on site at the Sultan Bahu Rehabilitation Centre. 2013. 16:00.