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I want to believe



JD Reforma


1988 –

Alternate image of I want to believe by JD Reforma
Alternate image of I want to believe by JD Reforma
  • Details

    Media category
    Time-based art
    Materials used
    single channel HD video, sound
    1/3 + 1 AP
    duration: 00:19:09 min
    Purchased with funds provided by the Contemporary Collection Benefactors 2021
    Ainsworth Family Gallery
    Accession number
    © JD Reforma

    Reproduction requests

    Artist information
    JD Reforma

    Works in the collection


  • About

    JD Reforma is a Sydney based artist whose interdisciplinary practice is by turns satiric and earnest. Using motifs and images derived from popular culture, Reforma deftly explores his own lived experience and the landscape of contemporary life. Through rigorously researched projects, he mounts studies of diverse yet ever interconnected subjects, from the cult of celebrity and corporate branding to cultural imperialism and the Asian-Australian diasporic identity. His artistic practice also extends to his online presence and his co-option of social media as a form of institutional critique through various meme accounts.

    I want to believe was made in response to the pandemic that began in 2020 and is inflected by the emotional tenor of that time. The work engages with a sense of entrapment and fear, but the context is far more specific, or localised, than a shared experience of lockdown. This is a nuanced examination of intimate partner violence and the spectre it leaves. Drawing attention to the heightened risk during lockdown for many experiencing intimate partner violence, Reforma holds a tight lens to subject all too often hidden from view.

    Over the course of a long take filmed by a drone, interrupted by close-up shots, the artist silently performs an at first peculiar gesture. Dragging the grime that had collected on the roof of his apartment, he begins spelling out a message. As the text slowly appears, and repeats over and over, we realise it is toying with a particular tension that forcefully evokes the experience of abuse. It is both an expression of hope and a call for help.

    ‘Precarity is threaded through all accounts of intimate partner violence; people surviving at the thresholds of love and fear, hope and doubt. I made this work because I’ve been thinking about people confined with abusers, reflecting on my last relationship and how I might have navigated a lockdown.

    I chose to film on my rooftop because it’s a liminal space – a boundary between home and the heavens, confinement and escape, doubt and deliverance. Writing becomes an embodied, broadcast performance, articulating a choreography of control in which hope is harm, and signs are sirens.

    I was going to buy him an X-Files poster for his birthday before we broke up – a blurry UFO hovering above a phrase spelled out in capital letters: I WANT TO BELIEVE. ‘

    — JD Reforma 2020

  • Exhibition history

    Shown in 1 exhibition