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James Richards

For his video films, the London artist James Richards (born in Cardiff, GB, in 1983) helps himself to the abundance of existing sources that he finds on the Internet or on second-hand VHS cassettes from junk goods baskets, flea markets and estate sales. The collection of disparate video material that he has assembled in this way ranges from feature films, YouTube clips, and obscure B-movies, to other unexpected motifs, such as, for instance, a video tutorial from the nineteen-eighties on drawing faces. He uses this material as a palette and puts together his own narratives from individual, short and nondescript video snippets. Through the interplay of the diverse, filmic pictorial levels emerge heterogeneous works with complex forms. The artist often resorts repeatedly to the same references and uses them assembled anew in other works and projects.

The video collages of James Richard reject conventional patterns of completeness or linearity and instead rely on the emotional pull of the suggestive power that develops as a result of the combination of images, music and language. In the works, and through the alternation between the familiar and the alien, viewers are offered an inducement to use their own imagination in order to complete them, to supplement them from their own memories and thus to contribute to a subjective reading.

Richard’s video images carefully distance themselves from the cinema aesthetic of high-resolution images. He instead utilises the strategies of remix culture such as the unexpected looping of particular scenes or allowing a strong hissing noise, distortions, brief interruptions or other errors that indicate the characteristics specific to copies. This type of pirate look reinforces the poetic commitment and immediacy, not only in the distance to the original form, but also in reference to the culture of individually produced mix tapes with readable or coded references to hidden desires.
As a result of the fact that the artist always reworks his fragments, he inscribes a personal reading into this publicly accessible material, which is in itself worthless. He discovers far-flung blots at consistently astonishing filmic locations on an infinitely proliferating mosaic of images. To the viewer, he here opens up space for reflection and poetry and makes it accessible in the friction between deconstructed and functional images.


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