Welcome to the Art Lovers Movie Club, where you’ll find a selection of artist videos available exclusively online at artreview.com.
“Yourself”, the protagonist of Petra Szemán Openings!!! (2022) runs local trains through intermediate landscapes. Fragments of different worlds appear, signaling perceptual breaks that seem to force subjectivity out of itself, into strange new relationships of interdependence and intoxication with the moving image. “There is a world that I can only see when I am turned away from it”, they observe.
As part of the artist’s ongoing exploration of the radical potential of animation and fandom, Openings!!! rejects its own cinematic boundaries, instead surrendering to the free play of a multiplanar and ultimately elusive meta-worldview. Referencing anime credits, video game loading screens, and regional train journeys, Szemán’s film intensifies the gaps between layers of moving images in an effort to capture the kinds of experiences that may lie beyond human perceptual boundaries.
About the artist
Petra Szemán (they/them) is a moving image artist who works with animation and playful landscapes. Their practice focuses on the murky boundaries that separate the real from the fictional, and the kind of lives and experiences that are possible within them. Using a virtual version of themselves as a protagonist traveling through animatic realms, they explore threshold situations and spaces to dissect how our memories and ourselves are constructed in an oversaturated landscape of fiction (to both on and off screen) – to walk on the line located
between dystopian and utopian settings, eyes fixed on new queer horizons. Szemán graduated from Newcastle University (2013-2017) with a BA in Fine Art, and has since exhibited at NEoN Festival, Dundee, Scotland; Large screen Southend; BALTIC Center for Contemporary Art, Gateshead; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; ICC, Tokyo; and The Photographers’ Gallery, London. After spending two years in Japan as the recipient of a research grant from the Japanese Ministry of Education and Culture (2018-2020), Petra is now
based between North East England and Tokyo, Japan. They are currently directing “On Animatics”, a project commissioning video works that merge animated images, games and cartoons; and co-author of the companion book WEEB THEORY with Jamie Sutcliffe (Banner Repeater, 2022).
Petra Szeman, Openings!!!2022
August 3 – August 24, 2022