Belfast-based artist Bassam Al-Sabah makes installations comprising video, painting and sculpture that embrace the shape-shifting potential of computer-animated worlds, creating fantasy dreamscapes in which personal mythology, historical trauma and queer possibility intersect.
In previous works, Al-Sabah, whose family was exiled from Baghdad after the Iraq War, reflected on geographical dislocation through reference to Japanese anime cartoons broadcast throughout the Middle East during his childhood. By embedding imagery of warfare within these visual frameworks, anime cartoons and video culture take on a heightened political significance within Al-Sabah’s practice.
I AM ERROR explores the construction of masculinity in action-adventure video games. Presented in an immersive cinematic environment, Al-Sabah’s new CGI films confront the armouring of the male body in gaming culture by queering its military ethos from within.
The centrepiece of the exhibition is a 30-minute-long animation projected on to a large curved screen. It features a collection of cinematic sequences from an imaginary video game in which the hero’s body is constantly in flux, undergoing metamorphoses as a result of his encounter with other lifeforms, whose physical touch makes him vulnerable to change, threatening his identity and selfhood.
Combining the genres of fantasy erotica and body horror, Al-Sabah’s film celebrates the hero’s physical growth and transformation, as his body sprouts and blends into its surroundings, among writhing flowers and tentacular creatures. The tactile, hyper-realistic quality of the footage contrasts with the immersive architecture of the film installation, which engulfs the viewer and confronts them with the constantly mutating bodies of Al-Sabah’s films. The show is punctuated by digitally sculpted objects that explore the materiality of organic decay, extending the eerie atmosphere of Al-Sabah’s animations into the gallery space.
Commissioned and produced by Gasworks, London, in partnership with the De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill-on-Sea. Bassam Al-Sabah is the fifth artist to take part in the Freelands Gasworks Partnership, a programme for emerging artists based outside of London. Made possible thanks to a generous grant from the Freelands Foundation, the programme combines a three-month residency at Gasworks with solo exhibitions at Gasworks and the De La Warr Pavilion.
- By Rail
Direct trains go from London Victoria, Brighton and Ashford to Bexhill.
There are also trains from London Charing Cross, changing at St. Leonards Warrior Square and from London Bridge or Charing Cross going to Battle. Battle is only a short taxi journey away (15 mins approx).
Visit www.nationalrail.co.uk for up-to-date train travel information.
Town Taxis: 01424 211 511
Parkhurst Taxis: 01424 733 456
- By Car
If driving from the London area:
Take the M25, then A21 to Hastings. Turn off at John‘s Cross and follow the signs to Bexhill.
Take the A22 to Eastbourne, go across the Bishop roundabout to the A271 and follow the signs to Bexhill and the seafront. The De La Warr Pavilion is on the Marina.
From the Brighton area:
Follow the A27 out of Brighton until you arrive in Bexhill On Sea.
Please be aware the Rother District car park outside the De La Warr Pavilion operates paid parking until 8pm. After this time parking is free. There is also lmiited free car parking along the seafront.
Within the limits of this Grade One listed building, the De La Warr Pavilion strives to be fully accessible with a range of facilities to support your visit.
Assistance Dogs are permitted into the building.
Please contact the Box Office on 01424 229 111 to arrange a visit.
Facilities for disabled visitors
- Ramped access at the front of the building
- A low counter at the Box Office and Information Desk
- Disabled toilets on two floors
- A lift to all floors
- Accessible galleries on both floors
- An accessible Café
- Spaces for wheelchairs in the auditorium for seated events
- Ramped access in the auditorium for events during the day
- Ramped access into the Studio
- Two travel wheelchairs are available for use at the De La Warr Pavilion. To reserve, please call our box office and information desk on (01424) 229111 or ask a member of staff on arrival. The chairs are provided on a first come, first served basis and are intended for use inside the Pavilion. Please contact us for more information.
Facilities for blind or visually-impaired
- Large print season brochures
Facilities for the hard-of-hearing
- An T-Switch induction loop in some areas of the auditorium (please indicate when booking as this facility is not available on the balcony)
- British Sign Language interpretation tours of the building and exhibitions are available on request.