Gaep at Art-o-rama 2022: preview of the presentation

20 August 2022

Our first presentation for Art-o-rama (25–28 August 2022, Marseille) brings together collages and sculptural objects by Damir Očko and neon works by Pavel Brăila. Revolving around notions of fragility and resistance, it features recent works on paper and new cocktail-shaped sculptures made by Očko for this presentation. The display also sets a dialogue between two neon works by Brăila from different moments in his practice.

Damir Ocko, Basic Photo Op, collage
Damir Očko, Basic Photo Op, 2020, gouache and acrylic on paper, glitter, felt, 76 x 58 cm
Damir Ocko, Oh Grab a Hippo, collage
Damir Očko, Oh Grab A Hippo, 2020, gouache and acrylic on paper, printed elements, glitter foam, chalk dust, pastel, spray-paint, 76 x 58 cm
Damir Ocko, Ham Boy Moo Lips, collage
Damir Očko, Ham Boy Moo Lips, 2021, gouache and acrylic on paper, glitter foam, fabric, 76 x 58 cm
Damir Ocko, Phobic Aroma, collage
Damir Očko, Phobic Aroma, 2021, gouache and acrylic on paper, fabric, artificial grass, 76 x 58 cm

Damir Očko’s multifaceted works on paper from 2020-2021 are simultaneously “drag forms”, anagram collages, and a catalogue of phobias. From scoptophobia (the fear of being seen or stared at >> anagram: Basic Photo Op) and graphophobia (the fear of writing >> anagram: Oh Grab A Hippo) to molysmophobia (a fear of dirt or filth >> anagram: Ham Boy Moo Lips) and macrophobia (the fear of long waits >> anagram: Phobic Aroma), a wide range of anxieties are deconstructed with gouache, acrylic and glitter, in bird-like forms and arresting colors.

As Očko describes them, his cocktails – “intimate piles of precious objects, mainly jewellery, make-up and clothes from various drag performances, but also dirt that is left on the floor after all-night parties” – are small sculptures to be held in one’s hand. Below is a selection of the cocktails we’ll be presenting in Marseille for the first time.

Damir Ocko, Paralyzed, sculpture

Damir Očko, Paralyzed, 2022, 29 x 14 cm
Snake belt
Dance floor dirt
Nails worn in drag
Flowers and dirt
Broken necklace
Loose beads
Sea salt

Damir Ocko, Pissed, sculpture

Damir Očko, Pissed, 2022, 21 x 12 cm
Dance floor dirt
Broken chandelier glass
Nails worn in drag
Jewellery and confetti dirt
Yellow earring worn in drag
Party leftovers
Eyeshadow called “Banana fetish”
Crystallized sea salt

Damir Ocko, A(Men), sculpture

Damir Očko, A(Men), 2022, 23 x 12 cm
AMEN earring worn in drag
Old jewellery never worn in drag
Rust and party leftovers
Dead flowers
Rotten lemon
Crystallized sea salt and rot

Damir Ocko, Blue lips kiss blue, sculpture

Damir Očko, Blue lips kiss blue, 2022, 24 x 10 cm
Toy skeleton hand worn as hair clip in drag
Glove worn for the most glamorous drag party ever
Eyeshadow called “Grand Prismatic”
Eyeshadow called “Electric”
Crystallized sea salt

Damir Ocko, Diamonds are not forever, sculpture

Damir Očko, Diamonds are not forever, 2022, 19 x 14 cm
Necklace worn in drag
Pleasure egg inside out
Eyeshadow called “Exotic”
Rust and dirt

Damir Ocko, He loves me, he loves me not, sculpture

Damir Očko, He loves me, he loves me not…, 2022, 42 x 24 cm
Dance glove with metal lace finger tips
Emerald earring worn in drag
Green flower tear earring
Eyeshadow called “Crocodile tears”
Dried flowers
Sea salt

Over the last two decades, Pavel Brăila’s work has been giving voice to what is difficult to pronounce. Not only to his hometown of Chișinău, but, on a larger scale, to the uncomfortable realities behind geopolitical discourse and to the universal emotions that bind us across borders. Made 17 years apart, the statement neon works in the booth – Fear Is Shorter Than Fervour, 2004, and I really miss dancing, 2021 – are bridged by their emotional transparency. While the former is prospective, expressing a desire to venture into the unknown and try something new, the latter reminisces about an enjoyment that the pandemic made impossible.

Pavel Braila, Fear Is Shorter Than Fervour, neon
Pavel Brăila, Fear Is Shorter Than Fervour, 2004, neon tubes, 50 x 70 cm
Pavel Braila, I really miss dancing, neon
Pavel Brăila, I really miss dancing, 2021, neon tubes and plexiglas, 77 cm (diameter)
Pavel Braila, Fragile Podil/reconsidered
Pavel Brăila, Fragile Podil/reconsidered, 2022, HD video (16:9), colour, sound, duration: 6 min 44 sec

In the Immaterial Salon – Art-o-rama’s online platform dedicated to works that can be experienced with any digital device, as well as in a physical space – we’re presenting Pavel Brăila’s Fragile Podil/reconsidered, 2022. For this video originally filmed in Kyiv in 2018, the artist flew a pink ribbon over Podil, the historic part of the city, drawing transitory lines in the air and conjuring up the exhilaration one might feel when flying in a dream. In light of the recent devastation in Kyiv, Brăila has revisited the work to highlight the clash between the intrinsic optimism of his ephemeral drawing and the war rhetoric.

Art fair details

Gaep, Galleries section

With the support of the Romanian Cultural Institute

Preview & vernissage (by VIP card or invitation only)

25 August | 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.

Public access

26, 27 & 28 August | 2:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.


La Tour 3rd floor, La Cartonnerie, 1es Plateaux / Friche la Belle de Mai  / 41, Rue Jobin

Artworks © Damir Očko, © Pavel Brăila

Photos: Damir Žižić (collages), Damir Očko (cocktails), Alexandru Paul (neon works)