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Art Lovers Movie Club: Petra Szemán, ‘Openings !!!’

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Welcome to Art Lovers Movie Club, where you’ll find a selection of artists’ videos available exclusively online at artreview.com.

‘Yourself’, the protagonist of Petra Szemán’s Openings !!! (2022) rides local trains through intermedial landscapes. Fragments of different worlds segue into view, signalling perceptual ruptures that seemingly force subjectivity outside of itself, into strange new relationships of interdependency and intoxication with the moving image. ‘There’s a world I can only see when I’m turned away from it’, they observe.

Part of the artist’s ongoing exploration of the radical potential of animation and fandom, Openings !!! rejects its own filmic boundaries, surrendering instead to the free play of a multi-planar and ultimately elusive meta-worldview. Referencing anime credit sequences, video game loading screens and regional train journeys, Szemán’s film intensifies the gaps between the layers of animated imagery in an attempt to grasp the kinds of experience that may lie beyond human perceptual boundaries.

About the artist

Petra Szemán (they/them) is a moving image artist working with animation and game-like landscapes. Their practice focuses on the murky borderlands separating real and fictional, and the kind of lives and experiences that are possible there. Using a virtual version of themself as a protagonist journeying through animatic realms, they explore threshold situations and spaces to dissect the ways our memories and selves are constructed within a landscape oversaturated with fiction (both on- and off-screen) – to walk the line situated
between dystopian and utopian frameworks, eyes set on new queer horizons. Szemán graduated graduated from Newcastle University (2013-2017) with a BA in Fine Art, and has since exhibited at NEoN Festival, Dundee, Scotland; Big Screen Southend; BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead; Fotomuseum Winterthur, Switzerland; ICC, Tokyo; and The Photographers’ Gallery, London. After spending two years in Japan as a recipient of a research scholarship from the Japanese Ministry of Education and Culture (2018-2020), Petra is now
based between North-East England and Tokyo, Japan. They’re currently running ‘On Animatics’, a project to commission video works that fuse moving image, games and anime; and co-authoring the accompanying book WEEB THEORY with Jamie Sutcliffe (Banner Repeater, 2022).

Screening dates:
Petra Szemán, Openings !!!, 2022
3 August – 24 August 2022

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