On September 20th the Emergent Art Space team had the pleasure of attending the opening of South African artist Pebofatso Mokoena's solo exhibition at the Bag Factory in Johannesburg.
We have the pleasure of publishing here, with the artist's permission, the catalog of the exhibition.
A fortunate coincidence a few weeks ago allowed me and Ann Wettrich, EAS Directors of programs, to attend the opening of Pebofatso's exhibition in Johannesburg, South Africa.
We have known Pebo's work for more than three years, albeit in virtual form, thanks to his presence on the Emergent Art Space website, and the first feeling that stroke me this time, when entering the Bag Factory gallery, was not only the excitement of finally seeing Pebo’s work ‘in the flesh’, its physical imposing presence, but the excitement of witnessing the amazing development of his work in the past few years.
From the medium size prints he used to make a few years back, he has grown to work on very large canvasses; his long, conscious experimentation with repetitive mark-making has resulted in confident strokes, as much as his search for a personal “honest visual language” has indeed produced a coherent, bold artistic language, rich in symbolic representations of a variety of life experiences and personal struggles, as well as preoccupations with societal aspirations and problems, in particular with the impact that technology is having on communications and people’s lives.
“The way I perceive life is a collage of everything that I see and feel. Then I just try to make a body of work that speaks to that…” Pebo wrote for an interview published on this site in October 2017, which concluded, “I’m moving more into abstract. A black artist has to navigate their art through literal space. If they veer into abstract, people don’t always buy into it. But abstraction is empowering, it allows me to counteract news after news of trauma. It is not necessarily in line with what I am “supposed” to do as a black artist. But we are making and building our own history. I am now part of the healing project. I draw peace.”
Pebo’s powerful words are embodied in the powerful new works he showed in this exhibition.
Congratulations for your show, and thank you for your warm welcoming the opening night!
Ukrainian artist Nastya Didenko will be part of a group project that wants to draw attention to the urgent need to preserve and build parks and green areas, now threatened by developments, in the city of Kiev.
«Обережно, наступна зупинка – Холми»
початок: 14 вересня, 2018 | Час: з 7:00 до 22:00
Черговий проект об'єднання ХЗ, що має ще раз звернути увагу на досить не нову, але актуальну проблему забудови паркових та зон відпочинку. Зникають ті місця, які дуже важко було уявити «жертвами» забудовників. Такою можливою «жертвою» ХЗ обрали славнозвісні Холми на горі Щековиця між Лук'янівською та Нижньоюрківською. Місце легендарне, що дарує можливість відпочинку на природі багатьом поколінням людей, що мають відношення до мистецтва, і не тільки. Сам проект-інтервенція являє собою зупинку громадського транспорту з розкладом руху та урною. Своїм виглядом він має нагадувати відпочиваючим, що навіть тут, замість зеленої зони, все може бути закатано асфальтом.
Учасники: Анна Ануфрієва, Баят, Євгеній Валюк, Настя Діденко, Ілля Чулочніков, Спартак Хачанов, Євген Штейн.
Місцезнаходження: Холми на горі Щекавиця (між вул. Лук'янівська та Нижньоюрківська), Kyiv, 01001, Ukraine
Opening: September 14th, 2018 | Time: 7:00pm - 10:00pm
Another project of the HZ association, which should once again draw attention to the rather new, but real concern for the necessity of building parks and recreation areas. The places that were very difficult to imagine, "victims" of developers, disappear. The so-called "victim" of the HZ was chosen by the famous Holms on the Shekhovitsa Hill between Lukyanivska and Nizhny-Irkhivska. The place is legendary, providing the opportunity to rest in nature for many generations of people related to art, and more. The project-intervention itself is a public transport stop with a timetable and an urn. Its appearance should remind one that even here, in place of the green zone, everything can be rolled up by asphalt.
'EXISTENCE' is Ruma Choudhury'scontribution to the Group Visual Arts Project 'RACONTEURS', which ended June 3rd, 2018, at the A.M. Studio in Kolkata, India. Here she addresses her close connection with Mother Nature and its importance to the well-being of society, who more often than not disregards and abuses it.
I come from Dubrajpur, a small village in Birbhum. Dubrajpur for me is not only a place filled with nature and natural objects, with trees, plants, and flowers surrounding throughout. It is a space that speaks about my Existence as a human being, as an artist. It speaks of my journey from childhood to being an adult. By growing up in a place such as Dubrajpur I have memories, relations, and affection dependencies, which affected my life thoroughly. I have grown up seeing greenery all around me, with nature being my all-time companion. An unusual friendship grew between nature and me, which I became aware of as I grew up. I have always believed that the works of all visual artists are the reflection of those persons. Being one of them, this is the same for me. As I started working prior to my Art College days, I used more basic compositions, following conventional practices; but as I got to the depth of things, especially with the beginning of my Art College / Professional Art Training, I started finding the resemblances that my creations had with my early life experiences. Thus, my works predominantly featured the different aspects of images of nature and natural objects. I was practicing on that line of work and had set my journey accordingly. Nature became the most important ingredient in my food for thought while creating my paintings.
I shifted base from Birbhum to a larger metropolitan city, Kolkata, after my college life. With the shifting of base came a shifting of images. The effect of a busy city life took its toll on my creativity as well as on myself. I started facing a deep existential crisis regarding my self, my thoughts, and my experiences. I saw how the greenery of Mother Nature turned into the concrete jungle filled with human figures. Suddenly my inspiration faced a huge block, and I became creatively numb for a good amount of time. In the city life is fast, busy, and people rarely have the time to breathe freely and be aware of their surrounding and their affections. This was a rude awakening for me, as I saw people rarely give importance to or cared about natural objects and Mother Nature. This materialistic ways of thinking overlooked the actual reason of our existence. I saw people forget the reason why we exist on this planet; people who have totally forgotten about the fact that we exist because Mother Nature exists with us. We breathe because Mother Nature breathes with us. Our dependency on Mother Nature is completely forgotten and washed away from the minds of most people living in this metropolitan city. With utter sadness and mourning, I realized that like me, my best friend, Mother Nature, was also facing a crisis, and to be fair and existential crisis.
As they rightly say, every human being’s life is a struggle: a struggle for existence, a struggle to survive and a struggle to express. As an artist, my journey took a new form with the introduction to city life. It took a lot of thoughts, realizations, and self-assessment for me to find and choose the right path to re-ignite my creative self. I made a few decisions for the sake of a smooth running through my art practice. Firstly, I tried to re-create the ambience in my house that was naturally available in Birbhum. I started gardening and planting extensively in the limited space that I had in my present home. Through this practice I again brought about the feeling of care for Mother Nature and this gave me huge mental satisfaction and happiness. A feeling of respecting the disrespected and caring for ‘the outcast’, filled my heart and mind with positivity, and it helped me in reenergizing myself to start afresh with my art practice. In my own way I wanted to give Mother Nature the importance and positive space that was missing in the city. I thought that, with me, Mother Nature could cope with the strong negativity of her existential crisis.
I learned the art of papermaking in my college days; with the help of some of my teachers, I rigorously practiced papermaking and even successfully made paper from different plant fibers. This practice has been an important part of my art-making process since then. I re-introduced the art of paper making into my practice. I started composing and drawing on paper which I made with my own hands and doing different experiments, through the amalgamation of my drawing and art of papermaking. I tried to treat the surface as part of my drawing. Paper became part of my subject; the feeling of existential crisis in me and Mother Nature in this city helped me in thinking and conceptualizing this, as I tried to involve in my work the paper I made from natural fibers. I used fibers such as banana, tussar, sugarcane etc, in my final works and compositions. Thus, I involved nature into my works, not only on a mental and visual level, but on a practical level as well. Nature as I saw it, was un-caged by me and given back its rightful place again. As I continued with my art making process, I realized that the city life had affected my subjects as well. As I was drawing what I was seeing, human figures entered my compositions; I consciously let this happen as a reflection of my current mental state. I composed the similarities I found in the human body with nature, the physical resemblance which I could see and observe.
I started composing the pain I could see in nature due to the lack of love and care it got from human beings: I wanted to speak for Mother Nature, who always takes the pain and agony but never retaliates. I wanted to express her anxiety through my works, as I depicted her pathos and pain from a human perspective. I tried to create images of Mother Nature crying out her agony just like we human beings do when we feel pain and different emotions. My works became a satire for nature and a metaphor for the human being perspective.
Six visual artists and six writers lived together for several months at the Antonio Gala Foundation Residency in Córdoba, Spain, where they were given the opportunity to work freely and share their creative experiences with each other.
“I have had the pleasure of living for eight months with six artists and six writers with whom I could exchange ideas, experiences, learn about their disciplines and learn from and about them. This scholarship has offered me the time and space necessary to develop an artistic project without any concern other than my creation and research. It has been a great experience that has allowed me to expand my training and enrich my artistic practice.”
- Sheila Rodriguez on her experience
This year the residence lasted from October 2017 to May 2018 with 12 participants, six visual artists and six writers. The projects carried out by the visual artists during these months were presented in an exhibition that opened in Cordoba from May 18th to June 15th. The same exhibition moved to Málaga on July 5 and will be up until July 26th, 2018.
There was no curator. The closest thing to a curatorial note could be the letter that writer Antonio Gala wrote to the participants:
"La vida consiste en un incesante movimiento, cuya salvaje armonía es imposible que capten los cobardes. Consiste en un paisaje siempre desconocido y opulento e inabarcable, que excede las intenciones de los pacatos y los tristes. No seáis perdedores de antemano; no empecéis por ceder antes de la batalla. Rebelaos. Estáis llamados a la felicidad más alta: ser escritores, escultores, pintores, músicos, creadores en una palabra. No os conforméis con esa felicidad en calderilla que proporciona el atenerse a las humildes normas cotidianas, ellas sí complacientes y raídas… ¿Seguridad? Nada más inseguro que aquello que logra, de repente, hacer feliz el corazón humano. Gracias a la inseguridad progresa el hombre, descubre, inventa, explora, se mezcla con lo nuevo y se renueva él mismo (aquí en la Fundación, durante vuestra estancia, lo habéis podido comprobar). Lanzaos a la empresa más ardua: ser vosotros.
¿Qué meta os propondréis, en qué sentido vais a avanzar? Da igual: el mundo es infinito; la vida es infinita; cualquier seguridad es falsa y, de momento, no hay hogar. Todavía estáis en la hora de la peregrinación. Todavía estáis en esa hora en que el camino es mejor que la posada. Y espero y deseo que vuestro paso por esta casa, queya es la vuestra, os ayude a hacerlo más llevadero. Y os insto, con pasión y con brío, a que seáis auténticos amigos. Y os ruego que seáis sinceros siempre, con una sinceridad profunda y nada parlanchina. Y, sobre todo, que seáis fieles cada cual a sí mismo, y leales con los otros. Para no fracasar, para crecer, antes que nada, es preciso conocer nuestros límites: dónde nos acabamos y hasta dónde conducen nuestros sueños. No decirnos en esto la verdad es traicionarnos y traicionarlo todo. Y os deseo que no os defraudéis a vosotros mismos nunca; que consigáis la felicidad ahora y después. Sobre la mentira no construyen la felicidad más que los ilusos y los necios... Aspirad a la altura; sed dúctiles y francos, pero sed duros si es preciso. Y sangrad siempre que sea imprescindible: la sangre se remoza. Ojalá lleguéis a ser como yo os imagino: fuertes y realistas, soñadores y fuertes. La felicidad a la que siempre he aspirado y que os deseo es la alta y honda satisfacción de saber quiénes queremos ser, y que lo estamos siendo, o que nos aproximamos más cada día a serlo (espero que a ello os haya ayudado vuestra estancia aquí).
Y, sobre todo, no olvidéis vuestro paso por la Fundación, y por Córdoba, y recordad siempre su lema: pone me ut signaculum super coor tuum (ponme como una señalita sobre tu corazón). Hasta siempre. Tenedme con vosotros. Pero, aunque me olvidaseis, hasta siempre también."
‘Life consists of an incessant movement, whose wild harmony is impossible for cowards to grasp. It consists of a landscape always unknown and opulent and immeasurable, that exceeds the intentions of the pacatos and the sad ones. Do not be losers beforehand; do not start by giving up before the battle begins. Rebel. You are called to the highest happiness: to be writers, sculptors, painters, musicians, creators in a word. Do not settle for the happiness in change that provides the stick to the humble everyday norms, they are complacent and frayed … Security? Nothing more insecure than that which, suddenly, makes the human heart happy. Thanks to insecurity man progresses, discovers, invents, explores, mixes with the new and renews himself (here in the Foundation, during your stay, you have been able to prove this). Throw yourself to the most arduous company: be yourself. What goal will you propose, in what direction will you advance? It does not matter: the world is infinite; life is infinite; any security is false and, for now, there is no home. You are still at the time of pilgrimage.
You are still in that hour when the road is better than the inn. And I hope and hope that your time in this house, which is already yours, will help you to make it more bearable. And I urge you, with passion and brio, to be true friends. And I beg you to be sincere always, with a deep sincerity and nothing with talks. And, above all, that you be faithful to each other, and loyal to others. In order not to fail, to grow, first of all, we must know our limits: where we end up, and where our dreams lead. Not telling ourselves the truth in this is to betray and betray everything. And I wish you never defraud yourselves; that you experience happiness now and later. On lies, one does not build happiness more than the deluded and foolish ... aspire to the height; be ductile and frank, but be tough if necessary. And to bleed whenever it is essential: blood is rejuvenating. Hopefully you will be as I imagine you: strong and realistic, dreamers and strong. The happiness to which I have always aspired and that I wish upon you is the high and deep satisfaction of knowing who we want to be, and what we are, or what we are getting closer every day to be. Above all, do not forget your passage through the Foundation, and through Córdoba, and always remember its motto: pone me ut signaculum super coor tuum (put me as a sign on your heart). Keep me with you. Forever. Even if you forget me.’
The artists in this year's residency, and their works now on exhibition in Malaga:
(Madrid, Spain, 1992)
‘ALCHEMICAL REACTIONS’ starts from the ancient practice of alchemy and experiments in the laboratory with elementary states of matter. The process combines analog photographic chemistry and pictorial techniques. The final images represent fictions of a magical world. Cosmological and geological inspiration through abstract shapes.
Ana works with alternative photography and installation. She explores concepts from early science, astronomy and physical theories. She studied BA Design at the UFV University of Madrid (2010-2014), Personal Project and Photography in La Maquina after winning the annual grant-context of the school (2015) and a MA Fine Arts at the UCA Canterbury (2016-2017). Her pieces have been shown internationally in different cities in Spain, Italy, France, United Kingdom and Colombia.
‘CON-TEXTS’: In this line of research, Malek focuses on the "textual language" and is inspired by both current and historical poetic and political discourses, trying to reflect on their aesthetic side, on one hand, and on the other, to visualize the state of confusion, meditation and intimacy that the discourses provoke. He was looking for a motivation to embark on this path, and has found it reviewing his communicative baggage and in the experience of living for two years in a different country, another culture, another language and another context.
Malek is a Moroccan multidisciplinary visual artist who graduated in Fine Arts in Tetouan, Morocco, and earned a Master Degree of production and research in Granada, Spain. Between 2012 and 2018 his works were shown in several exhibitions in Morocco, Spain and Tunisia.
‘DESVANE DE LA INFANCIA’ (Childhood attics) aims to explore the natal house and its familiar heritage through the accumulation and abandonment of objects. It works with antique, old and marginal objects, analysing their meanings which look back on a period, an essence or a person, becoming memory agents and “experience carriers”. The installation creates a “Scenography of oblivion”, aiming to awake sleeping memories and extracting subjective experiences from the domestic space.
Alsira received her Master’s in artistic production from the Technical University of Valencia, Spain, and a Bachelor’s Degree in Fine Arts from the University of Salamanca, Spain. She participated in exhibitions such as, the 17th Selection of J.A.C.A., ABM confecciones in Madrid (2017), VILLALART Selection in Valladolid (2017), the 10th Selection of Edi-Setó Jove 2017 through Fundació Setba in Barcelona (2017), and the Arts Libris Fair through Arts Santa Mònica in Barcelona (2016).
The pictorial series ‘THE NEAR AND THE UNKNOWN’depicts a set of enigmatic landscapes through motifs that evoke the natural. The title of this project alludes to the idea of the uncanny of Freud, which is materialized by ambiguous images where the limits between the real and the fictional are blurred, where the known gives way to the strange.
Sheila received a Bachelor’s of Fine Arts from the University of Malaga. During her career she had study periods in the University of Salamanca through the Seneca Mobility Grant and in London through the MEC Mobility Grant. In 2014 she finished the Master’s of Research in Art and Creation at the Complutense University of Madrid. Her work has been exhibited nationally in cities such as Malaga, Madrid, Cordoba, Ourense and Salamanca, as well as internationally in Kolkata, India.
‘INFECUNDA MURALLA’ (Infertile Wall): Through this pictorial project a deep search has been developed around imaginary and intangible spaces that move away from a specific time or place, projecting an uncertainty about what they suggest and show. Thus, timeless atmospheres perpetrate the daydream and mystery as a way of visual representation.
Paula has studied Engraving and Printing Techniques at Cádiz Art School and graduated in Fine Arts from University of Sevilla. She has participated in many collective exhibitions, such as ‘Deslocalizados II’ (Sevilla, 2017), ‘XI Creación Joven de Sevilla’ (2016) and ‘Algo más alegre III’ (Sevilla, 2016). Her photographic series ‘Paisajes Cerrados’ was selected and published in Género y Figura website (2016).
The action painting lives in surface as if it were his territory to be able to grow, like a sensitive organism that mutates to completion. Tinted liquids flow and leave their trail receiving the impact of solid paint forming heavy scabs. Strong lines split the air radically. Lights jump from a piece to another courting a dialogue between them. The daily space is distorted to remind perception deliriums or disorientation between being and place like it may happen in dreams.
Gabriel graduated with a Bachelor’s in Art at the University of the Basque Country in 2017. In 2011 he participated in the mural project "Colors" between Cantabria and Cádiz. In 2012 he completed a graphic design course at Imval in Bilbao. In 2016 he obtained the scholarship of landscape "Course of Pensioned Painters of the Quintanar Palace" in Segovia. He participated in the collective exhibition "Cricket Soup" in Portalea, Eibar from 2015 to 2016 and in 2017 he exhibited at the General Meetings of Bizkaia (Bilbao) and at the Sala Rúas (Laredo).
'SYNAESTHESIS' isPrasanta Ghosh'scontribution to the Group Visual Arts Project 'RACONTEURS', which recently ended at the A.M. Studio in Kolkata, India. Here he addresses death in relation to privacy, or the loss-there-of, and the life of those whose job is to deal with death on a daily basis.
Dead People Do Not Have Any Privacy:
‘Privacy is the ability of an individual or group to seclude themselves, or information about themselves,
and thereby express themselves selectively. The boundaries and content of what is considered private differ
among cultures and individuals, but share common themes. When something is private to a person,
it usually means that something is inherently special or sensitive to them. The domain of privacy partially
overlaps security (confidentiality), which can include the concepts of appropriate use, as well as
protection of information. Privacy may also take the form of bodily integrity.’ (Wikipedia)
In this work I have developed a story by translating my experiences, personal encounters and incidents going down the memory lanes. This work is a reflection of an incident, which I encountered personally. At that point in time many questions were in my mind: as soon as people die, do they lose all their privacy? Or does anybody get permission to access their privacy? I do not believe in the life after death, but the person standing beside me may believe in it. This work can therefore also be seen as the reflection of the thoughts of the person beside me.
The source of this work is a personal experience in a crematorium. Some days back one of my relatives passed away. We took her to the crematorium. There she was laid down on a wooden panel, which is commonly used. In the next step, her corpse would be put inside the furnace.
Experiencing the details of this event left a huge impact in my mind. This relative of mine was a private person. Her privacy was protected within the boundaries of her family. But on that fateful day, her husband was lamenting and disclosing many private memories regarding her life in front of all those who were present at the crematorium. I was staring at him blankly and could not even utter a single word. Then suddenly something stroke my mind, and I was wondering if just because she was dead, her privacy was there no more?
I thought to look deep into the matter, so I went around to hear the conversations of many other family members who were present at the event just described, and I realized that, yes, it was the same conversation happening all around: family members, relatives and friends talking about all the different interests and private memories of the person whom they had lost. How strange……
I have conceptualized the story as the thought of the person next to me who believes in life after death. The word ‘PRIVACY’ is used here in the context that whatever the dead people are doing after their death, nothing is concealed of their private lives, which seemed to happen when they were alive. Maybe after death the reconstruction of their lives changes, and a new series of life seems to develop. In this story it is seen that the dead people have got the license to go anywhere in between people and in their private space.
Who takes care of dead bodies?
I believe that walking through a crematorium is really a tough thing to do for each and every human being. Throughout the air is always a heavy hearted feeling. I think that this is the only place where no humans will come by their choice. But is this true for everyone? I don’t think so. There are many such people among us who go there by choice and do all the needful duties that a crematorium requires, in spite of being marginalized from the so called ‘civilized society’.
I went to Keoratala crematorium the day I was working on my book ‘Dead people does not have any privacy…’ in order to explore the place more, and to meet the people who work there. While talking to the crematorium workers, I found that many of the things I felt are really ‘unsaid’, not spoken of. I asked some questions to them, to understand the psychological aspect of that job, but when they replied to my questions I became aware of many more things which I felt were important.
I asked whether dealing regularly with so many dead bodies affected their mind, and I was surprised to hear their answer, that except in particular cases, the dead bodies do no affect them. They are habituated to regularly deal with it, and the dead bodies have become non-living objects for them. They spoke about the history of the place, spoke about their job, spoke about their identity and how this identity distinguishes and separates them from the so called ‘civilized society’. They spoke about their families, spoke about their activities of regular life.
I think that many of us in our society are unaware of the things that the crematorium workers talked about, of the words that they spoke. Maybe people do not take interest in their lives as they are marginalized from the rest of society and are considered in the same category as that of the stray animal on the road. On hearing the words of Raju Mallick, who said that they do not have any emotions left with them and everything has dried out from within their soul, I realized that they would like to live a normal life, but they are bound by their duties. Sometimes I wonder if they are really living, or being bound by society to live as they do, with constant burning smell all around. Some of them see this work as their needful duty, but for some it has become a curse of their life. After our conversations I realized how strange that those people who used to curse them while living, those same people are being handled by them when they are dead.
'Inscriptions' is Soma Bhowmik's contribution to the Group Visual Arts Project'RACONTEURS', currently taking place at the A.M. Studio in Kolkata, India. As an art critic and art historian, she compares here the production of texts to the production of visual works, and in a very interesting reversal of roles, instead of using written texts in order to explain visual works, she uses images in support of the written texts.
The main idea of this show is to attempt at showcasing various categories of texts that emerged in the course of my practice as a curator, art-critic and art-historian. And through these texts I wish to convey the process and the procedure followed to reach an understanding of the projects which are entirely visual as its main content.
Visual artists play with multiple layers of explorations and experiments before reaching the final execution. Theoretical process too follows exactly a similar path before arriving at a convincing stage. That is one of the reasons why we tried to share the process of curating any show by displaying the layout or plan directly.
In this show display of supporting images related to particular articles tries to explain the various texts; it may be a research-thesis or a review or article. By creating variations in the display of the text-image materials we have tried to create an ambience with a visual approach. Simply speaking, we wanted to make the textual matter a part of the visual ambience.
I believe an art historian should always practice some practical works to understand the visual language very intensely. It is true that visual communication has directness; but when one writes a text other visuals and references also get evoked, thus enriching our experience of formulating a text. Communication is vital to any material always.
'Defining Relative Space' is Jayeti Battacharya's contribution to the Group Visual Arts Project 'RACONTEURS', currently taking place at the A.M. Studio in Kolkata, India. She addresses here the concept of 'home', charged with connotations and references to both physical and psychological realities.
‘Home’ is a multidimensional concept and acknowledges for the presence and need for multidisciplinary research in the field. It raises the question whether home is a place, a set of feelings, practices, or an active state of ‘being in the world’.
While memories of home are often nostalgic and sentimental, home is not simply recalled or experienced in positive ways. Home centrally touches our personal life.
In this set of works about ‘home’, structure, space, time, object, boundaries, and restrictions play a vital role. Fragmentation of known space, fragmentation of known objects, and how, with time, these objects fade away from us, play a vital role in my work.
Sometimes the questions arises to my mind, ‘Is home a place, a space, feelings, practices, or an active state of being in the world?’ It is variously described as conflated with or related to house, family, heaven, self, gender, and journey.
The fragile human life leaves certain sensitivities behind, captive inside the concrete structure of our private space. We live in the so-called concrete life with structured objects and structured spaces binding our limitations. I feel sometimes that when our presence fades away, our senses remain embedded in these concrete structures, and in the process of time these objects also desaturate our presence.
Embracing the memories and spaces that hold the origin of my personal identity is reflected in these works. Revisiting the past through memory lane and reconstructing the privacy through the world of uncanny imaginations seems to be happening over here again. The thoughts and images are collaged in the same plane to form a meaningful shape of it.
While being in the process of work, I feel like a virtuous space is created within my work with the objects of real space around me, and these objects carry the experience of their regular life, and how they develop an intimate relationship with humans around them.
In this series I worked mainly with the known objects of my personal space, using my home and the mud collected from within the boundary of my house. The mud creates a relation of my land roots to the space where I grew up. My work revolves around the questions of how the private space is affected by social norms and how our presence fades away from these objects over the passage of time.
A relation without bindings, a relation without any compulsion, a relation of no charms, a relation of equality plays a vital role here. These sentiments are important in the growing up years of every human mind. I feel somehow we are losing the essence of life in today’s work. Displacement does occur with time. It is the thought that kept coming to my mind while doing this series of work. Whether it is displacement of thought, physical displacement or emotional displacement, each of it is related to the growth of time and space around which we live.
A few glimpses into the Art Department of the University of Sevilla, Spain, where some students, who participated in the first phase of the project 'Design Thinking in Higher Education', are showing their works.
The Center for Cultural Initiatives, University of Sevilla, hosted a 'showroom' at the conclusion of the first phase of the pioneering educational innovation project 'Design Thinking in Higher Education'. The project has been funded under the 'Own Teaching Plan' of the University of Sevilla and is being carried out during this academic year, 2017-2018.
Nearly five hundred students, of which forty are international students on the Erasmus scholarship, from twelve different nationalities, participated in the interdisciplinary project, which involved professors in the fields of linguistics, pedagogy, engineering, building, fine arts and communication.
On the day of the 'Showroom' 40 different academic initiatives, made by teams of students, were presented by their authors In various formats: oral presentations as 'TED Talk moments', videos, posters, and works of visual art.
We highlight here the works by some students from the class of 233 (Ramon Blanco Barrera), professor in training and PhD candidate, and a few words from Ramon about his experience in applying the 'Design Thinking' methodology:
"The approach that I took to my art classes, "Representation Systems" and "Anatomy and morphology", was that the students were to be driven by what they felt passionate about; this is what I believe can really make them grow. The class was very open, there were no limitations, and each student ended up doing what they felt was right, what they thought could inspire the world, and improve it in some way...
#DTshowUS (Design Thinking Show, University of Seville) has been an amazing event where students and professors from the University of Sevilla joined together to show their works, but also to learn about and to experience the various art projects presented. It was the culmination of a long process of hard work, and a beautiful experience.
We encourage artists, students and professors from all over the world to jump, fly and dream about their projects. Because when any human being is inspired and motivated by his/her passion, everything is possible and a better world can be a reality.
We, as society, can do better, so let’s do it!"
‘Souvenirs d'un autre monde’ is a song that inspired this project. This song immerses us in nature and new enviromnments, which I have always been very in-tune with. The artworks belong to a peronal diary that is still unfinished and evolving. I would like to thank 233 (Ramon Blanco-Barrera) for offering me the opportunity to exhibit. Without him, it would not have been possible.
"Involution" consists of an anatomical investigation that precedes a book on which I'm working on, and whose characters evolve in both Mars and a postnuclear Earth.
This investigation takes part in an ambitious project which is based on science, imagination and psychology, wanting to break molds and shapes that tie us down and force us to disengage our minds from several different branches of knowledge we are not specialized in.
Artist and Youtuber, Laura Rastrollo's project for this exhibition is a small work made with recycled materials, 'Rehusilla'. The interviews to her fellow artist companions on their experience with 'Design Thinking' are also her contribution.
"Anatomía musical" is a three‑part Project that puts together human anatomy and music. The posters – on the photo ‑ show the most important body parts when singing. Later, in a talk, a comparison between song‑writing and the human body is made. Finally, there is a performance of an original song that puts into practice the concepts shown on the posters.
A group exhibition in Kolkata, which explores what lies beyond 'still life'...
Several artists who took part in the international exhibition 'Translations - Kolkata', which was curated by Samindranath Majumdar in collaboration with Emergent Art Space in 2016, were reunited again in 'Still Life & Beyond', which was shown at the Academy of Fine Arts in Kolkata, between the 23rd and the 29th of January, 2018.
Samindranath Majumdar, artist, curator, and art teacher, presented here the works of a group of his former students at The Indian College of Art and Draftmanship, young artists who are still receiving from him inspiration and guidance
Abhijit Alder, Arpan Ghosh, Aryama Pal, Debajyoti Das, Debashri Gupta, Jayeti Bhattacharaya, Mithun Das, Prasanta Ghosh, Sampurna Naskar, Sumit Sarkar and Suresh Kumar Singha explored for this show what lies beyond the still life painting genre, the infinite possibilities of figurative art that moves beyond representation, exploring the metaphorical, the symbolic, and the tensions inherent in every representation of reality.
Samindranath explains in his curatorial statement,
"it is the word 'beyond' in the exhibition title that opens up a space of interesting and enigmatic possibilities.... There is no attempt whatsoever to paint objects carefully composed on a tabletop with lustrous folds of drapery in the background; in other words, there is no discernible loyalty to what is still ideally considered to be still life in the strict academic sense... In the aspect of teaching, art still has a colonial hangover. Before the British, people used to paint from imagination and memory, but the British taught us to paint by seeing and copying, and that has remained...The young artists [in this exhibition] have taken the autonomy to build narratives of their own by arranging, creating and composing forms as signifiers. An undernote of unmistakable contemporaneity is discernibly present in all the works, with all the directional pluralities that our times have opened up for us."
Samindranath curated 'Still Life & Beyond' exhibiting the works by his former students, and in turn dedicated it to his former teacher, Sri Partha Pratim Deb, In a meaningful gesture that not only reminds us all the crucial role teachers and mentors play in our life, but that makes also visible the fertile relationship in the art realm between mentor and mentee, be it expressed in continuity or in break and separation.
In mid-December 2017 a team of nine international artists from the Masters of Fine Arts program at Chelsea College of Arts...
... joined by a guest underground artist from the local community, took over a debilitated refrigeration unit and transformed it into an art exhibition. FRIDGE, opened for one night only in Seven Sisters, North London on the 12th of December, was a creative project within which the artists re-appropriated an abandoned building, bringing it back to life.
It all started when the group, consisting of British, European and International artists, came together to accomplish a “live project”, a project that would situate their practice in London, aimed at the city’s art scene audience. The space, fittingly nicked named FRIDGE and known for its illegal parties over the summer of 2017 within the London underground rave scene, was offered to the artists as an experiment to elevate the underlying ethos to something more intrinsically creative.
The vast, abandoned ice-cream fridge turned into exhibition space in North London wasn’t without its challenges. Already contained within the FRIDGE were a number of installation-based and decorative artworks from parties and festivals in the past. Each artist was free to interact with the artworks and the space as an extension of their own artwork, creating a new amalgamated fusion born of appropriation and spatial interaction.
Battling refuse, debris, the cold, the dark and the intermittent erratic electrical supply, each artist integrated their work creating unique, site specific, creative responses.
Irene Pouliassi, using an abandoned shadow dance booth, projected a video art piece that aimed to create awkward feelings as it illustrated a mouth being forced to eat and chewing human teeth, dealing with issues of identity and death.
Blair Zaye’s 'Insitu Series - Stream Of Consciousness #1’ video included a projection mapped into the corner, shrouded with a translucent tarpaulin imbued with words and symbols created during a live performance a few weeks prior. This provided an ephemeral, liminal space for the viewer to become immersed in. Contained within the video is a cross over among art forms - painting becomes installation, installation becomes ritual performance, performance becomes video, video becomes live stream. The words and text are set to enlighten and awaken the viewer, an attempt to instill a type of esoteric knowledge, shedding light on that which is contained within.
Weicung Lu displayed three sculptures of marine life, placed in used kitchenware with twinkling lights. It’s what people usually have in a fridge, transformed in a way to be more monumental by the artist.
Annabel Ludovici Gray, working towards a piece for this short-lived show in a unique setting, said that impact and quick installation were concerns, given a three-hour show with limited access. Site-specificity and spontaneity of location focused her energy and physical agility. The resulting ‘Tower’ was a one-time temporal piece measuring 8’, composed of discarded empty cardboard boxes stacked irregularly to the point of collapse, displaying instability. ‘Tower’ related to the local community in which the FRIDGE is housed, referencing homelessness and vulnerability - represented as a temporary shelter, lightweight and transportable to the point of impermeability.
Gardenia White stated that this exhibition was an excellent opportunity because, in addition to a display of collected works of art from different art styles and ideas in one single show, it turned an abandoned place into an art show. Gardenia showed a piece of work made of canvas burned strips. Each one of them had been burned from their edges, as well as from inside. This work is a manifestation of all innocent souls that are driven by violence or war. The white canvas presents the purity of innocence, while the hole made from burning shows the absence of these souls. The artist wanted to make this work as a memorial to the innocent lives of victims of the war in Iraq, as well as victims of the bombings in London, Paris, Manchester and any place around the world that has been hit by violence. This work ‘Purity’ hangs down loosely from wall to floor in strips 320cm long by 16cm width.
Esra Vazirally aimed to create a piece that seemed like it came with the FRIDGE. The materials that are used, canvas, pigmented inks and acrylics, are framed by ever‐changing L.E.D. lights. “The piece was created by throwing and moving the canvas whilst it was wet around the studio. The bright colors and pigments of the canvas came about in connection to my Indian roots, by bringing the traditions of Holi, the festival of color and spring, whilst also bringing a bit of consumerism by adding the LED lights.”
Robin Woodward: “Working on finding what it is to be human, how the body copes under stress and wether I, as a human, could self-institutionalize myself into a different state of being.” 'Clay Head' sees the artist fold and mold a block of terracotta clay around his head. He starts by leaving the clay to sit in position so as to mold itself. He then starts to manipulate the clay removing his ability to see and breath. The body reacts to these conditions to become something further, a fight or flight situation. The body is transformed into a being not represented as the artist. Themes appear within the atemporal sculpture such as self-harm, torture, and themes of horror, manipulation and play.