GRJB’s works on paper are an extension of the artists’ films and research in exile. The sale of the works supports the production of the performance ‘Flag Semaphores’ and inauguration of performance programming at Castello San Basilio. Originally scheduled for 2020, the site-responsive performance piece will now take place at Castello San Basilio and other selected villages in Basilicata, in May 2021, marking the end of their year-long performance residency. Order your works on paper here.
The works on paper are available as three limited editions series, each capturing a stage in the development of Flag Sempahores.
Series 1 will draw from GRJB’s Residency in Exile research, using Carlo Levi’s Christ Stopped at Eboli as a point of departure.
Series 2 responding to the digital image making of the present residency in exile.
Series 3 will bring text together the various stages in the process of creating the live performance at Castello San Basilio.
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Donations over £ 20 GBP will receive one work on paper.
Donations over £ 100 GBP receive all 6 works on paper from the current series (series 01 of 03 now available).
Donations over £ 300 GBP will receive all three series (a total of 18 works on paper), to be produced over GRJB's one year Residency in Exile.
Series 01 of 03
Series 01 includes three block prints and three original ink drawings on paper. The works were developed from GRJB’s research in exile, initially drawn from Carlo Levi’s memoir Christ Stopped at Eboli, a memoir of the artist's own Exile to Basilicata in 1945. The images draw upon GRJB’s research into the Basilicata region and will be incorporated into the final performance in 2021.
GRJB, Google Grandmother, 2020, black ink on paper, 19 x 14 cm, 7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. Edition of 30
Google Grandmother finishes the first series of ink drawings and block prints for our residency. Taking from one of our Google Street View walks around Marconia, where this woman lives, we see her face blurred to protect her identity. Her posture as she looks at the Google camera suggests her non-verbal communication to whoever is looking on the other side, a sign of caution to the rapid transformation of this now mapped landscape, of our privacy and erasure.
GRJB, Semaphore, 2020, black ink on paper, 19 x 14 cm, 7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. Edition of 30
Semaphore are widely known as a communicating system for seafaring vessels including warships. Here we see a version of an optical telegraph machine, which forms a kind of masthead, in which the arms of the semaphore spell out a message to be read from a neighboring ship or communication tower. Early internet. Early Zoom meetings.
GRJB, Los Angeles Landscape, 2020, block print with black ink on paper, 19 x 14 cm, 7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. Edition of 30
Los Angeles Landscape blurs both the satellite image of our densely urban home in Los Angeles and the agricultural land surrounding the Castello San Basilio. We spent weeks using Google Maps and Street View to explore. What was once a vast distance between our location and the Castello, collapsed into a very thin space, the screen became a type of skin between our two worlds. The penetration of space became very much like endoscopic examinations into the body of these landscapes.
GRJB, Saba after Carlo Levi, 2020, block print with black ink on paper, 19 x 14 cm, 7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. Edition of 30
"This block print was at part of the early research and reading of Carlo Levi’s book, ‘Christ Stoped at Eboli’. Levi, a prolific painter, created this portrait of the famed poet, Saba. Here we pay homage to the form of portraiture - a major element of the 'Flag Semaphore' film series and live performance."
Saba after Carlo Levi is perhaps the most recognizable image from our research into Carlo Levi who painted several influential portraits of the people in the region including the poet and novelist, Umberto Saba. Here we pay homage to the form of portraiture, a major element of Flag Sempahores.
GRJB, Amulet against fever, 2020, block print with black ink on paper, 19 x 14 cm, 7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. Edition of 30 SOLD OUT INDIVIDUALLY (only available in the complete series)
Amulet Against Fever Tracing the etymologies to Hebrew, the phrase means “I create as I speak.” Abracadabra is a traditional amulet used to ward off viruses. IT's magic power dates back to the ancient Roman Empire where this folk etymology was coined. During the Great Plague of London (1665-1666), Londoners would hang this triangular form of the amulet on their doorways. Carlo Levi writes about the power of belief behind this incantation in his book, Christ Stopped at Eboli.
"Magic can cure almost any ill, and usually by the mere pronouncement of a spell or incantation. There were formulas for specific ailments and others for general application. Some of them were, I believe, of local origin; others belonged to the corpus of classical lore which came to these parts who knows when and how. The most common of all was the abracadabra. When I went to visit the sick I often found hung around their necks a tiny roll of paper or a metal plate bearing the triangular inscription:
A B R
A B R A
A B R A C
A B R A C A
A B R A C A D
A B R A C A D A
A B R A C A D A B
A B R A C A D A B R
A B R A C A D A B R A"
- Carlo Levi, Christ Stopped at Eboli
GRJB, Posteroanterior Landscape, 2020, van Dyke Brown Ink on paper, 19 x 14 cm, 7 1/2 x 5 1/2 in. Edition of 30
Posteroanterior Landscape is a continuation with our obsession with Google maps as landscape paintings. In this ink drawing we have a dry river bed and farmland parcels which surround Castello San Basilio. The image can also be seen as an x-ray into the landscape, a phantom chest cavity.
Series 02 of 03
GRJB, Flag Semaphores 01: Eboli, 2020
Single-channel video, 4'46min
Our on-going series, 'Flag Semaphores' looks at a variety of material centered on visual and verbal communication to phantom spaces and people across vast distances. In this short film, ‘Eboli’ we pay homage to one of the first pieces of source material we encountered in the fall of 2019. The memoir, ‘Christ Stopped at Eboli’ by Carlo Levi, is a deep inquiry into the effects of fascism, poverty, death, and civic redemption. The parallels to our shared global moment are clear. In the coming weeks we will be creating more short films with a variety of close collaborators. The full collection forms the full semblance of Flag Semaphores. - GRJB