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Gabriel Lester’s artwork, films, and installations originate from a desire to tell stories. But instead of conveying any explicit message or singular idea, his work proposes ways to relate to the world, to how it is presented, and to the mechanisms and components that constitute our perception and understanding of it.
The installation Battery Life (2019) is a new commission for the biennial. It is composed of a used Soviet-made conveyor belt with a battery-powered lamp attached to it. As the conveyor belt continuously rotates, the revolving lamp lights up the space in a never ending circular movement. The seemingly simple mechanism creates a theatrical environment that abstracts time and space to infinity.
Explicitly visual, yet implicitly narrative, the meanings start to emerge as poetic metaphors. In the artist’s own words: “This is a satellite in orbit. Eternal revolution. Grinding light and a battery that dies and is reborn on a daily basis. The scanner, the lighthouse. An eye for an eye. Ebb and flow. Ploughing through time. A planet in orbit. Time is music.”