[ISEA2018] Artists Statement: Yane Bakreski & Michelle Stewart — Big Man

Artists Statement

Other Realities sub-programme

The installation “Big Man” is inspired by Michelle’s PhD film, which is an animated film called “Big Man”, internationally awarded in 2016. The installation echoes the theme of the film, which is the corruption of power, both in the South African and international contexts. The inspiration for the installation came from the last scene of the animated film, which emphasizes the notion of the corrupt, laughing figure. So, this notion of the “big man”, this notion of the corruption of power is carried over to the installation. Another important thing is the underlying Biblical theme, which brings the narrative into a broader context. In the installation it is the reflection of Michelangelo’s “Last Judgement”. It has support of the underlying broader Biblical theme that is juxtaposed with the nuances of the South African context. The idea of the installation is to expose the “big man”, the corrupted laughing figure sitting on top of society, while at the same time all of the common people beneath are suffering because of the corruption, and their souls are captured in hell without having a way out. So, the installation consists of 20 screens attached on a wall (the wall of judgement) depicting these “captured souls”. On each of the screens there is a very short video loop, different close-ups of suffering bodies. The visual reference is the western wall of the Sistine Chapel and the suffering bodies from the fresco. On top of the installation is the biggest screen showing the “big man” laughing. It is again a very short loop of an animation depicting (like in a metamorphosis) the laughing face of the corrupt “big man”. The whole atmosphere is enhanced with repeating sound effects, like laughing voices, voices of suffering souls, voices from hell, and so on.

  • Yane Bakreski (born Feb 06, 1982 in Ohrid, Macedonia) is a visual artist and professor in visual arts. Currently he is lecturing in the Department of Digital Arts at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. He holds Bachelor’s, Master’s and PhD degrees from the National Art Academy in Sofia, Bulgaria. Yane is author of many one-man shows and various group art projects in Macedonia and abroad. His creative and teaching interests are inter-disciplinary, equally oriented towards the traditional art disciplines, as well as the new digital media and art forms created with computer technology. janebakreski.wixsite.com/yane
  • Michelle Stewart is a lecturer in Digital Arts, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg, South Africa. Her research interests are traditional painting and drawing media, 2D animation and experimental ‘fine art’ animation. Her teaching areas are traditional and digital 2D animation, digital image making, digital drawing and digital Arts theory. She has recently completed her PhD, a practice-led study for which she produced a 13-minute experimental animation titled “Big Man”, and a theoretical analysis on the making of the film which locates the research within animation practice and theory. She won the Best Animated Film Award for her production of “Big Man” at the Euro Kino Czech International Independent Film Festival.

Supported by the University of KwaZulu-Natal & Peter Stewart: contribution to the overall concept of the installation and sound