David Gumbs

David Gumbs

David Gumbs

David Gumbs (b. 1977, St. Martin) challenges the “Perceptions Offscreen” — the unseen, the cycle of life, the nature within, and digital rhizome macroscopic universes — across a dynamic multimedia oeuvre, including painting, photography and experimental video. 

He studied at the Visual Arts School in Fort-de-France, Martinique, in 2001 and majored in interactive multimedia conception at Les Ateliers, L’ENSCI in Paris in 2002. His work has been shown nationally and internationally, including recently: Video Islands, Anthology Film Archives (New York, 2015); Reflexions, 14°N 61°W Contemporary Art Space (Fort-de-France, 2014); Transforming Spaces, The National Art Gallery of the Bahamas (2014); Trinidad+Tobago Film Festival (2014); Beep Bop Boop New Media Festival (Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, 2014); and The Martinique Biennial, Fort-de-France (2013).

Since 2009, Gumbs has taught multimedia, trans-media and motion design at the Visual Arts School in Fort-de-France, Martinique. He will attend the Beijing residency from April – May, 2016. 


The choice of Red Gate as partner residency is probably one of the best choices mainly because of the coordination and guidance work done by the staff. They are mostly available and very helpful in most of the tasks you need.. I’m really thankful for discovering this part of China with the assistance of wonderful staff like Shinru and John the residency Coordinator and Director, who went out of the way to make me feel at home and get around the city to main art events and cultural sightseeing!

These two months in Beijing were most productive and resulted in taking part of two exhibitions and a presentation at Bookworm followed by a small performance.
My « Water & Dreams » video and my « Offscreen » printed series were exhibited at the « Magic & Reality » group show celebrating the 2016 year of cultural exchange between Latin America, the Caribbean and China at the Iconic World Art Museum. I was impressed by the Chinese efficiency and reactivity in accepting my very late proposal in the show. As all the other participants were represented by their Embassies, beside me. Artists included where from Trinidad, Guyana, Surinam, Ecuador, Venezuela, and more. My work is well referenced in the catalogue although late submission of the images five days before the opening.

The second event was a Live performance and interactive night called « Inhale » at The Aotu Studio independent space in the Hutongs. This was an interesting collaboration Between German artist Roman Hagenbrock from the Goethe Institute and I. We combined real-time video installations mapped on the space’s walls and street windows. They operated a dialog with the busy streets and noises, aiming to reflect on the city’s pollution in contrast to animations reflecting patterns inspired from nature and island geographies. The work also talked about inner and outer spaces as the installation were seen throughout the space from the streets to the rooftop.
This collaboration was made possible thanks to the Goethe Institute production assistance by providing the video projectors.

After meeting Bookworm’s cultural event planner at an Art Opening I was invited to present my work. I chose to do an interactive presentation involving the public. The topic was Interactive video from Caribbean perspective. I mainly explained how the island aesthetics and landscapes have a strong influence on my research. The one hour presentation was divided in three parts: my art process, a performance and public interaction with the work. The public’s response was amazing as they were expecting a Book/Theater related presentation. Thanks to their diverse backgrounds and origins, the questions may orient my work on new paths.

Three new series of works will result from this residency :
A new series of realtime videos created by the combination of textures of plants that help fight against air pollution in living spaces. They were built as video and sound live performance pieces and also as random generative animations to be shown at video festivals.

Interactive video mapped animations for public interactions: The Feijiacun’s public experienced immersive large scale projections on the village walls. The aim was to create Hybrid landscapes by mixing Caribbean inspired patterns and aesthetics with Beijing’s ever evolving architectures.

Starting point for lenticular 3d animated printed visuals. Taking animations out of virtuality into the physical world. The visuals are inspired by the Offscreen videos series exported for packaging purposes and new sculptural works.

Many contacts were made with curators from independent art spaces in the Hutongs.

Artistic Statement

David Gumbs’s artistic approach is based on a famous quotation from XVIIth century French philosopher and chemist Antoine Lavoisier : “Mass is neither gained nor lost, merely transformed”. Thus, life’s cycle, infinite scale, memory, and the Sacred, are themes that emerge from larger topics of interest such as inner/outer landscape, and off-screen. Concepts close to Chris Marker’s “In Memory”, Ernest Pignon Ernest’s “Aborigines”, Desiree Dolron “Sacred Conversation” and Karl Blossfeldt life’s work.

David’s painting and drawing universes are shaped from thousands of interlaced lines. These immersed spaces reveal personal inner projections from the unconscious. This process is the result of an automatic drawing act which is sometimes the witness of a runoff discharge. The interlaced texture created with and without color, plays an interactive rhizome plot of each visitor’s unconsciousness. His polyvalent approach (drawing, painting, photography, new media, interactive video) questions the “Off-screen” of perception, as a scanner of his “Mental Archeology”. His research indeed focuses on the “stock of souvenirs” that builds memory. David’s new media and photography works try to reveal these anthropomorphic and anthropologic memories.

The digital arts produced take an interest in societal context of inner representation. Originated from Edouard Glissant’s “créolité” in the “Tout monde”, from social and architectural heritage, from the lush fauna and flora of the Caribbean. These new media works are vectors of fairy tale legends of the night, of mystical trees and animist ceremonies. This Island cultural context fosters the creation of new realtime 3D audiovisual representations, new realm of imagination inspired both by the ancestral rhythms from the African continent, and also influenced by the French “Musique Concrete”, and Noise from Berlin’s underground life.