Art Basel Hong Kong, Insights

March 25-27, 2020

“Precarious Oracles” is an exhibition of new work by Woody De Othello, which interrogates the art history of “still life” and the global tradition of animism. Whether descended from Chinese folk superstitions, Japanese Shintoism, African Voodoo, or even the Buddhist concept of karma, animist belief systems imagine that objects possess distinct spiritual essences or immortal psychological characters. Othello’s ceramic sculptures transform everyday objects into lusciously glazed vessels that embody emotional states and express ideas about grandiosity, fatigue, desire, pride and resignation. Sometimes the ceramic objects overcome negative energy and bad spirits; other times they attempt to divulge a secret, share their wisdom, proselytize and/or prophesize.

The exhibition also includes Othello’s intensely colored, psychologically rich paintings which depict people in odd personal circumstances and meditate on how the forces of globalization are affecting our sense of self.

Image: Oval Clocking, 2020
Ceramic, underglaze and glaze, clock hands, clock motor, battery
11 x 19 x 3 inches / 27.9 x 48.3 x 7.6 cm