Mark Sabb – The Cave: Beginning


February 23 – March 23, 2019

Gallery Hours
Wednesday – Saturday, 12-5pm (and by appointment)

Experience this opening reception of experimental video art & large-scale artworks in the heart of the Bay on Saturday, February 23rd, 6-9PM. Powered by FELT at San Francisco’s SWIM Gallery.

“The presence of the hand, the touch of the artist is often outside of augmented reality. Otherworldly colors, rarely imagined creatures, and moments of divine interpretation inhabit the space on the screen as digital artists continue to explore the limits of technology. The touch of the fingertips to the keyboard or the roll of an index finger as it scrolls the mouse can be the human presence in molding found images and video.” – Emily Kuhlmann, Director of Exhibitions and Curatorial Affairs, Museum of the African Diaspora.

However, in the work of Mark Sabb, the presence of the artist becomes paramount as his 3D reflection rotates in full form. Created from 3D models of Mark that were scanned in Tokyo, Japan, this work engages with the seduction, rejection, and complicated relationships we have with the technology of social media. The imaging of the three dimensional and going through photography and video, the image technically become more facsimile. But does resemblance of form indicate a closer reflection of personhood?

As the promise of cyber-utopianism continues to frame our realities, both online and IRL, this work exposes the ways in which the technology demands curatorial decision-making and a crafting of self-portraiture. Inspired by Plato’s Cave, an allegory that outlines one’s inability to recognize realms outside of our phenomenological or experiential understanding, Sabb encourages us to think about the false daily reality of our devices. In a time that has been declared a “post-truth” era in a moment of proliferated videos and photographs, at what are we ready to face reality if we wander out of our own internet “caves”? Or do we reject the harsh truth for the falsities that affirm our beliefs? – Written by Emily Kuhlmann, Director of Exhibitions and Curatorial Affairs, Museum of the African Diaspora

Artist Statement: The title “The Cave: Beginning” is a reference to one of the more famous stories written in the Republic, a book by the philosopher Plato. With œThe Allegory of the Cave as a guiding source of inspiration, influences from Greek Mythology are present throughout many of my pieces. Most visibly, references to antiquity and aesthetics appear directly in the visual representation of Prometheus’ punishment by Zeus, and visit by Hermes, in “Prometheus Bound”; as well as indirectly through the inclusion of Daedalus’ wings throughout various pieces. Contemporary influences have an equally important effect on my art as well as I find artistic inspiration from the creativity of luxury fashion and streetwear, as well as rap, hip-hop, and trap music and culture(s).

The majority of the works in this show are self-portraits in the form of large-scale giclee prints, originally created from 3D models of myself that were scanned in Tokyo, Japan. These prints are supplemented by 3D animated videos on digital screens and an installation of Fujifilm Instax photos I took during my travels throughout the United States and Asia during 2018. By depicting myself in these pieces my intention is to create works that are as honest as possible, while also challenging my own comfort with being in the public gaze. As a heterosexual man in 21st century American society, I will never understand what it’s like to live under the consistent pressure of the male gaze, but I hope that by forcing the viewer to critique images of myself I can understand a small portion of this phenomenon.” – Mark Sabb

Mark Sabb, aka Mark Digital, is an internet artist, digital curator, founder of FELT Zine, and the Director of Marketing at the Museum of the African Diaspora in San Francisco. Mark™s work focuses on themes related to contemporary culture, global politics, and technology; earning him features in Paper Magazine, Hypebeast, Vice’s The Creator’s Project, Nylon Magazine, and more.

Related Events:

Mark Sabb + Michael Warr - "The Cave" Artist Talk
SWIM Gallery | 509 Ellis St.
Saturday, March 23 | 7:30 - 9:00pm