Natalie Paneng – Ophelia does Backstroke
Hours and dates
- From Oct 27 to Oct 30 from 10:00 to 18:00
Natalie Paneng (b.1996) received her BA in Dramatic Arts from the University of Witwatersrand in 2018 and was awarded the Leon Gluckman Prize for the best piece of creative work. She lives and works in Johannesburg, South Africa. Natalie makes use of both her self-taught digital skills and theatre background to create multidisciplinary digital art/new media.
Paneng’s work has been exhibited with TMRW Gallery, The National Arts Festival, Blank Projects, Michaelis School of Fine Art, BKHz Gallery, Javett Art UP and Galerie Eigen Art Leipzig, Standard Bank Gallery and Mutek Festival. Along with this, she has participated in local artist residencies such as Bubblegumclub Future 76 Residency(2018), Floating Reverie(2019) and Fak’ugesi Digital Innovation Artist Residency (2019) and The Centre of A Less Good Idea’s So Academy’s ‘Thinking in Cardboard’ scenographers mentorship (2021)
Through her work she explores what it means to have an online presence, the persona’s we develop online and how the Internet and its algorithms control and influence us and our perceived reality. Her video work and art become a way for her to interrogate as well as share how she manifests and navigates the world she lives in and creates for herself. The internet is MTV and she welcomes you to her crib.
Paneng describes herself as a world-builder and see’s her growing practice as a way to navigate, share and archive imagined and alternative realities brought to life through a digital artistic process.
KIKK in townOphelia does Backstroke
Ophelia Does Backstroke is an immersive installation which looks at a glitched and recontextualized version of the many iterations of Ophelia fromShakespeare’s Hamlet. The most popular iteration of this image is where Ophelia is lifeless in a river surrounded by a lush environment, painted by Sir John Everett Millais. This iteration became a prompt for this speculative thinking behind the glitched version presented here in Paneng’s digital secret garden.
The glitch here transcends timelines and contexts. Ophelia Does Backstroke aims to be a recharged version of the image. We find a black Ophelia swimming in her pool surrounded by a mystical and magical environment filled with fairies, playing and existing in the open environment while another version of Ophelia poses with a bouquet of purple roses next to her pink unicorn. The piece speaks to reigniting new life into former contexts, key stories in our histories and set archetypes.
The immersive installation is a multi-media presentation which makes use of sound, projection and world building installation. The sounds of birds,water and wind chimes all play at the same frequency, imitating Ophelia’s inner peace and essence. The sound also acts as a teleportation tool for anyone visiting thedigital secret garden.
The piece aims to inspire and bring(glitch) blackwomen into Western stories, ensuring that their position in the context of the story is nothing less than magical and playful. It is an attempt to recontextualize past representations given to blackwomen in previous histories through playful and lighthearted speculation and visual response.
Using technology, Internet pop culture and aesthetics aswell as and stock imagery – the piece is a playful in its composition and commentary on howart and timelines collidewithin Paneng’s artistic practice.