Amelia Johannes is a Melbourne-based artist, whose practice visually explores identity, uncertainty and tradition. Her video art practice is an ongoing examination into the construction of the self and duality of identity, working with video as a medium for visual and spatial exploration into ritual, tradition, perception and memory. Johannes’ experimental video works aim to re-contextualise the source material to create new visual observations that draw tangents in found materials.
Born in Cape Town, South Africa, Johannes’ video works are influenced by research into migration, lived tradition, cultural heritage and anthropology. Johannes recently completed Master of Fine Art (By Research) at VCA. She has presented solo exhibitions at Firstdraft gallery (Sydney), Propaganda Window (Melbourne) and Linden Centre for Contemporary Art (Melbourne). Her video works have been screened as part of Tele Visions (Sydney), Tele Visions Afterlude at EXPERIMENTA (Melbourne and touring nationally 2015-16), Nite Art (Melbourne), Australian International Experimental Film Festival and Filmideo (New Jersey).
My work is modular by nature, moving constantly between performative gestures and object‐making.
Coloring remnants of previous installation works, as well as my own body. Hiding and discovering, inventing new shapes or destroying others. I use the color to delete/erase, as well as to unify and connect ‐ the flesh of my body with that of my artworks.
In 2014 I completed two major series of work entitled BROKEN and BOUND. This proposal looks attaking elements of these to form a third work, BOUNDARIES, giving the simple narratives that exist in the BROKEN and BOUND series an environment where multiple readings coexist. In essence BROKEN and BOUND explore how: on the one hand we may find ourselves mentally or physically broken; while on the other, how we can be inseparably bound to desires, ‘good and bad’.
In BOUNDARIES I hope more complicated questions can be explored about the nature of these dilemmas and whether there is a line to be crossed and where this line may or may not lie. My work is often born out of an interest in a single incident or event, as an example: the Bound series developing from the reported death of Gareth Williams, the SIS/MI6 operative, whose body was found in a travel case. However, the work also contains a very personal and intimate story, exploring the ‘broken’ and ‘bound’ in my own life and the search for possible ‘salvation’.
'Marta primarily uses her own body as a means of expression and view the female body as a battlefield, as an atlas. She roams her body, finding its universal images and meanings. In a society that is accustomed to the body - especially the shame of a female body, it is that the entire natural coat is the largest terra incognita whose researcher becomes the artist. She reveals a variety of familiar, but often passed over in silence body meanings. The body is a battleground ready to fight with weapons (Body is a battleground), including the package bloody as armour.' Written by Monika Kalinauskaitė