Lie flat and take a break from relentless living
Presented by the Simon Lee Foundation Institute of Contemporary Asian Art, Özgür Kar’s first show in Australia is a multi-screen audiovisual installation which contemplates the cynicism and fragility of this present moment.
Working across video, sound, performance, and installation, Özgür Kar’s practice is an exploration of contemporary existentialism. Focusing on the interconnections between digital media and the human body, Kar’s installations feature black and white, minimally animated characters trapped within television screens who languorously deliver tales of desire and despair.
Taking inspiration from medieval danse macabre, experimental theatre, early 20th century animation and 1990s MTV cartoons, Kar devises his works as theatrical scenes with each character playing its part within a non-linear script. Often working with voice actors and instrumentalists, Kar layers source materials to create deceptively simple, looping soundscapes that become increasingly fraught (and profound) with repeated viewing.
In the audiovisual installation GOOD NIGHT, 2021, an almost eight-meter-long animated skeleton lies trapped within the edges of four television screens. This monumental, yet cramped, figure of Death sings a haunting lullaby while gazing apathetically towards a murky city skyline. Their melancholic song expands outwards beyond the visual confines of its digital coffin as the lullaby gently drifts and drones, reverberating its sorrowful tune into the listener’s body.
GOOD NIGHT was developed during the global pandemic and it’s tragic tone reflects the shared anxieties of this period. At an individual level, the work allows us to sink into the uncertainty of human life in the face of mortality. More broadly, GOOD NIGHT elicits ideas of low-fi freedom and withdrawal from the world, encouraging us to lie flat and let the noise wash over you.
This installation is organised by Rachel Cieśla, Simon Lee Foundation Lead Creative, and Bahar Sayed, Curatorial Assistant at AGWA.
20 May - 22 Oct 2023