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Turning towards pure white.

Art Basel, Discoveries Hong Kong


Central to Butail’s practice is the use of geometry as a means of inquiry to understand how different composite elements of an entity relate to its whole.

Punctuating the wall surface, pages of archival paper and sheer hand-woven muslin cloth are meticulously layered, pleated and creased to create a network of frames. Initiating a visual pilgrimage across the display space, the frames act as ‘many doors and windows connected to one another.’ Alluding to oral poetry, knowledge is codified and placed in streams of memory, like a visual oration of how a song is sung, or how a river flows, or how a medicine affirms itself in a body.

Reminiscent of the form of a house, seven fragile wooden frames metaphorically measure changing levels of being contained and containment, fluctuations experienced by the self through time. The empty frames define a space, an emptiness, and the air they fill up for the clarity of sound. Pages from the wall panels descend to form roof elements on the wooden forms – evoking the notion of joining, or of a structure being held together.

A shelf holds a black book in which artist offers a phrase as a narrative or framing device, for the viewer to engage in dialogue with the artist. Participants may enter the books from any point, continue a poem or drawing started by another and leave their own trace on the pages. In doing so, over the course of the art fair, the book will transform into a collective platform for responses, with multiple beginnings and endings.

© Copyright Astha Butail