When a work of art is created through authentic experiences and translated through mediums that encapsulate those inherent sentiments, it becomes one that allows the viewer the same experience and unlocks memories. Artist Opper Zaman’s research is to explore displacements and complexities within structures of narratives (of the self/conditioning/biases), which he investigates by working across an expansive toolkit of methods to create installations that challenge ideas surrounding “belief systems”. The essence of this gets translated in the reading of the work, which activates the narrative by understanding the behaviours of the mediums, which mediates the real and imagined sentience of methods that are active in the experience.
Opper Zaman works sequentially, creating a chorus of situations by adopting a logic that translates “what stuff does” in working modes. This may be through writing, working with sounds, installations, moving image or performances. These act as vernaculars to find patterns or interconnectedness by inspecting or becoming curious about what social relations might mean in this context. Where ethics, morality and the time invested in the process acts out in non-human/human forms. In conversation with Opper, he explained the themes behind his work that capture the essence of the exhibition ‘Fantasy of Having a Trailer Wagon All to Myself’, a tribute to Indian writer, journalist, critic and curator, Manoj Nair as well as discerning his own identity as an artist.
Q| What inspired your journey in the arts?
A | Art and its expressions were always a massive part for me as far as my memories can travel back to. Being brought up by parents who are both painters, art has always been somewhat integrated in forms of social and personal affairs throughout my childhood. But, the true inspiration for me was when I identified the nature of art in its “process”. This began for me with Printmaking (etching). I was fascinated by the time and techniques that were involved to create the physical depths on a piece of metal, to see the potential to stretch and slow a concept by the ability of its process. That is when my true love began to understand and experiment with materials.
Q | Can you explain the concept behind your work for the exhibition 'The Fantasy of a Trailer Wagon'?
A | I always enjoy the fact how history and contexts can shape the meaning of an artwork through contemplation and its situation, the formulation of a narrative truly lies within whether or how the viewers get captivated by the medium that has presented itself in front of them. For me it’s the intention of the materials and imageries that are active in the experience of the artwork. The work “Undone (phases in transcendence)- last walk/ remembrance” was made under a series of works to commemorate an incident of loss and death which took place on January of 2020. It was an account of witnessing a death of a stranger (pedestrian) by a car accident when I was hanging out with my friends on Falcon road, Battersea in London. It was something that I hadn’t experienced before, but I stood standing witnessing the situation quietly as the medics, police and the people passing by gathered and I took in the fear, sadness and paranoia that surrounded the whole environment thinking about the victim, a middle-aged man who lost his life on his Last Walk. The moving image sets an account to recall, tracing back into my memory to capture the sense, movements and the feeling as I looked back gathering the materials to compose the work.
Q | How have your experiences between London and Dhaka impacted your art journey?
A | My upbringing in Dhaka has hugely impacted the aesthetic and the sensibilities in the ways I handle my materials. The ragged aesthetic and the concrete assemblage, which is my city; Dhaka, has always found its ways in my ability to formulate narratives on scale and mediums. London has been the biggest steppingstone for me to fully form as a practitioner, I have been blessed with a lot of mentors there who have always seen the true potential in me and believed in me to trust my instincts. I am very fortunate to have been able to work in between London and Dhaka incorporating the experiences that I encounter by bringing both worlds together in ways of “happenings” by doing what I love.
‘Fantasy of Having a Trailer All to Myself’ is an international group exhibition celebrating the life and work of Manoj Nair. The exhibition is taking place from the 3rd of June and will continue till the 18th of June and will feature artists from diverse cultures and countries. An international selection of more than 20 artists from the UK, India, Bangladesh, Pakistan, Korea and Sri Lanka: the exhibition will include painting, photography, performance, film, sculpture, writing, music and digital artwork. Opper Zaman, an emerging artist among this incredible curation of artists, will showcase his work and present his works of art that present an experience and translates genuine expression, showcasing the mediums through which his experiences and memories are translated and communicated unto the viewer. For more information on the exhibition and where to view it, visit http://fantasyofatrailerwagon.org/