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"Open the floodgates" (2022) by Joe Pease

How do you truly capture both the frighteningly absurd and oddly familiar irreality of a human dream? Somehow the work of video artist Joe Pease manages to find just the right ingredients to create that hypnotic cocktail. Open the floodgates is both visual poem and clever Lynchian puzzle, creating a slightly nightmarish reality with a wonderful juxtaposition of strangeness. In a piece that’s better experienced than described, we find a surreal standoff taking place, framed by the painted stripes and abandoned shopping carts of a supermarket parking lot. The narrative is for us to discover or perhaps imagine, as we observe the fragmentation of different memorable moments play out in the same frame. We find dancing cars, floating and multiplying men, thirsting for salvation or greedily grabbing for blown away loot of some dark deed gone wrong…

The glitchy, VHS-like esthetic only adds to this offbeat symphony of geometrical balanced traffic signs and birds that fly in frame on cue. I can imagine a room filled with Joe’s work, wall to wall and falling into these loopy tableaux vivants, only to ‘wake’ hours later, still enchanted by their dreamy logic. But until that room becomes a reality, experiencing ‘Open the Floodgates’ here is as good start as any for a peek into the artist’s wild imagination. Part of a wonderful line-up for VerticalCrypto’s ‘Proof Of People’ event, my beloved London is lucky to have great artists like Joe Pease help brighten the start of their summer.

"Open the floodgates" (2022) by Joe Pease


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