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Petra Szemán

to go off-screen

15th July - 15th August 2020​
Curated by Bob Bicknell-Knight

There are moments, whilst navigating through digital spaces, that we find ourselves in areas that we're not supposed to be in. Whether its typing in the wrong URL and being transported to an unfinished web page, or falling through the cracks of virtual worlds in our favourite video games, these instants of disconnect are small windows into other realms, hidden layers of reality that prop up our on and off screen lives.

The act of going off-screen, exploring the hidden infrastructures embedded within certain aspects of digital and physical life, is an important part of Petra Szemán’s investigatory practice. Szemán is an artist who specialises in moving images, combining hand drawn animations with real world video footage to create complex artworks that interrogate our increasingly fictionalised daily lives, dissecting how human beings perceive our past and future selves.

to go off-screen is a solo exhibition of Petra Szemán’s work, featuring all four parts of Szemán’s recently finished Monomyth: gaiden video series, exhibiting for the first time the fourth and final part, Monomyth: gaiden / Master of Two Worlds (2020). Throughout the quadrilogy, Szemán explores their relationship to their digital avatar Yourself, as well as the processes involved in the creation of a multi-layered image world.

Accompanying the videos is an extended interview between Bob Bicknell-Knight and Szemán, speaking about the series, their practice and artistic influences. The exhibition is made up of a number of pages, connected via custom dancing emojis, transforming the viewing experience into a simplified point and click adventure game, best viewed on a computer.

Petra Szemán (b. 1994, Budapest, Hungary) has exhibited at NEoN Festival in Dundee, Scotland; Big Screen Southend; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art in Gateshead, as well as various galleries across the North-East of England, Continental Europe and East-Asia. Szemán has recently returned to Hungary after having spent the last two years in Japan as a recipient of a research scholarship from the Japanese Ministry of Education and Culture (2018-2020).

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