'The Constant Flux of our Personal Structures'
Artist, EAS Advisory Board member and Art Professor Geraldine Ondrizek from Reed College in Oregon curated the international show 'Transitions and Transformations: The Constant Flux of our Personal Structures', which is included in the sixth edition of 'Personal Structures', a biennial contemporary art exhibition hosted by the European Cultural Centre in Venice, Italy. This group show, with 13 participating artists, is a collateral event of the Venice Biennale and includes the work of three artists, featured below, from the EAS international community of emerging artists: Sai Blank from Yangon, Myanmar; Jayeti Bhattacharya from Kolkata and Vikrant Kano from New Delhi, India. Their work on exhibit includes artist books, videos, prints and digitally archived photographs that poetically respond to political turmoil, violent repression, and their human impact.
This exhibition focuses on the internal and external forces that transform each of our ‘Personal Structures’. Each body of work presented takes an empathic look at the genetic, physical and psychological effects that our shifting reality has on us. The work in the exhibition is documentary-based and made with/and/or by with those in transition, or showing the effects of transformations.
The exhibition is organized into three sections; Biological Factors: works concerned with issues of genetics
and epigenetics on our physical and psychological selves; Environmental Factors: works showing the effects of climate change on the landscape and human livelihoods; Socio-Political Factors: works documenting and responding
to forced immigration, indigenous identity and homelessness. Situating Geraldine Ondrizek’s work documenting human gestation, The First 100 Hours on the back wall of the exhibition space, gives context to the other works. Ondrizek’s work chronicles the most important period of human genetic development.
The ability for all human life to survive and thrive in these first 100 hours depends on biological, environmental and socio-political factors. Our 'Personal Structures' are continually changed by our encounters with the elements, the air we breathe, the water we drink, the plants and animals surrounding us. These chance encounters both make and reform us. All the works in this exhibition make visible the often invisible or under-recognized circumstances that cause the transformation to our individual genetic structures.
This project is a collaboration with the network of artists, scientists, and socio-political activists, many of whom were students of Ondrizek who has taught at Reed College over the last twenty nine years. The artists represented in this exhibition are from diverse backgrounds and geographic locations. They are addressing pressing issues that have affected their personal lives. These works show not only difficult situations, but emphasize the metamorphosis and the resilience of living organisms and ecosystems. The exhibition, presented in two parts is on view at the Palazzo Bembo in Venice.
Part I: April 23 - July 25 / Part II: August 1 - November 27, 2022.
Sai Blank / Myanmar
Trails of Absence
Sai's ongoing work follows the political turmoil that has engulfed Myanmar since the coup of 2021 and specifically the trauma inflicted on his own family, exploring the dramatic narrative of the relationship between his father, who has been held as a political prisoner by the Burmese junta since the coup, and his mother, who lives under 24 hour surveillance and in constant fear. His father is one of 8,835 arrested, charged or sentenced political prisoners. Political leaders, activists, protesters and their families are presently being arrested, tortured and killed by Myanmar Military.
Sai Blank is a young artist, curator and peace educator from Myanmar. On February 1st, 2021, a military coup took power in the country, destroying the rising democracy of the previous several years. Mass demonstrations, from all sectors of society, protested the coup. They lasted days, weeks and months, showing enormous courage in the face of the violent repression. Most former members of the National League for Democracy were arrested, subjected to farce trials and sent to prison, where they are still today. Sai saw the end of his personal freedom and the shattering of hopes for his country. Sai is likely to return to Myanmar soon where prison or death awaits.
Jayeti Bhattacharya / India
Interference: Where Do We Belong...
Jayeti has developed a body of drawings conceptualized around the idea of how external forces cause disruptions in the normal course of events. The artist used this concept to represent how certain political and social decisions affect the lives of the commoner without their consent. Referencing the Partition of India along religious lines (Hindu and Muslim) in 1947, which her family witnessed, she created the drawings in the form of waves of motion, movement and migration. People who were once the owners of their own home and land suddenly had nowhere to go. The oral narratives of the past are still present in her mind, together with today’s political scenario, pushing her to create the forms and lines which are nothing but the resultant waves caused by the interference.
Jayeti Bhattacharya lives and works in Kolkata, India. She earned a Master of Fine Arts degree from Kala Bhavana University, Santiniketan in 2014. She is now represented by Terrain.art Gallery in New Delhi where she had her first solo show ‘Shifting Coordinates’. Her work has been included in local and international exhibitions.
Vikrant Kano / India
In Search of Home
Vikrant's work is representative of violence, struggle, and necessity. India's partition along religious lines (Hindu and Muslim) in 1947, immediately after the independence from British rule, resulted in mass migration which often turned violent. People were forced to leave their ancestral houses and migrate to another land overnight, with complete uncertainty of their future, experiencing a state of forced 'homelessness'. His work documents his family’s path of relocation and displacement, an almost perpetual and physical state of being in transit. He follows an archival process, where he traces the footsteps of his paternal family through 'physical' objects. It is a process of attaching and linking a sentimental chain of memories to the present through these physical entities, to stress the ethereal and ephemeral.
Vikrant Kano lives and works in Delhi, India. He completed his BFA (2016) and MFA (2018) at College of Art, Delhi. His art practice centers around the ‘‘idea of home’’ through the investigation of his family's history & archives. He explores erasure, migration, separation and human relationships with architecture and memory.
Emergent Art Space is a non-profit, international organization that connects and supports young artists from around the world to advance communication and understanding across cultures.
Artists represented here are included in the 'Transitions and Transformations: the Constant Flux of Our Personal Structures' by Geraldine Ondrizek, Reed College Alumni and Associates. The exhibit is made possible with the support of The Oregon Arts Commission, The Ford Family Foundation, Reed College, and Emergent Art Space.
Transitions and Transformations: The Constant Flux of Our Personal Structures is included in the sixth edition of 'Personal structures', a biennial contemporary art exhibition hosted by the European Cultural Centre in Venice, Italy from April 23 – November 27, 2022.