The body is an organic vessel for emotions, desires, and physiological mechanisms. It is also an interface that facilitates the formation and display of identity and self-awareness. Like a shifting tectonic plate, the body responds to external happenings and builds communities that accommodate diverse experiences. The visceral body can self-isolate or forge alliances. Feelings of unresolved love, lust, loneliness, and loss dwell deep inside our crimson viscera, as impulses to reach out, seek companionship, and confront bring forward the outside world. How do humans, as animals, navigate freely between the inside and the outside of our physical entrapment? How do we inhabit someone else’s skin, break down barriers, and, ultimately, depart from our own bodies?
The themes for this exhibition stem from the two female curators’ discomfort and insecurities with individualization under societal expectations as millennials transitioning into their mid-30s. By sharing and referencing each other’s personal crisis and stories, we compare differences and locate points of resonance in the hopes of illuminating some fraction of a universal truth deep-seated within our subjective souls as well as our collective, contemporary existence.
The work featured are introspective, intuitive, or imbued with tender insights into human vulnerabilities. They are often reflective of the makers’ lived experiences, and form a series of true, luminous narratives. Poetic and dream-like, these findings and testimonials are portals connecting the wandering thoughts that endlessly redefine the inside and the outside, the individual and the collective. The exhibition aspires to make room for meaningful encounters and understanding. It highlights the value of ‘inner knowledge’—knowledge that encapsulates the emotional, sensorial, and abstract inner terrain of our being—and offers a subjectivity-centered approach that is alternative to practices rooted in academic discourses and intellectual discoveries privileged by the mainstream art world.
Anna Maria Maiolino
Anna Maria Maiolino is one of the most significant artists working in Brazil today. Born 1942 in Italy, Maiolino’s practice expresses a concern with creative and destructive processes. Working across a wide range of disciplines and mediums – spanning drawing, printmaking, poetry, film, performance, installation and sculpture – Maiolino relentlessly explores notions of subjectivity and self.
Through fragmentation and abstraction, Maiolino’s surfaces are rich with metaphor, alluding to and questioning language, sexuality, desire and the unconscious. The artist’s deeply formative migration from post-war Southern Italy to a politically unstable South America, and her linguistic passage from Italian to Portuguese, engendered an enduring fascination with identity. Maiolino has perfected a dialogue between opposite yet complementary categories in a practice that dissolves dichotomies of inner and outer, self and other. Hers is an art in search of a new language for the liminal realm of daily human existence.
Shadowed by the turmoil and governance of military repression, Maiolino’s early experiments in the 1960s connected her to important movements in Brazilian art history such as New Figuration and New Objectivity. Maiolino took part in the radical reconfiguring of the art object – and thus the art institution and the artist – during this period. Along with Lygia Pape, Lygia Clark, and Hélio Oiticica, Maiolino participated in the 1967 exhibition, ‘New Brazilian Objectivity,’ which symbolized a cultural shift in previous constructivist traditions and established a new vision for the production of art in Brazil.
”For practitioners in the 1960s the re-emergence of anthropophagy invoked ideas around viscerality that increasing privileged the body, participation and performance. But for Maiolino, anthropophagy would additionally have personal significance as a poetic tool through which the artist could articulate her own search for belonging. Although immediately recognisable as a comment on censorship, In-Out (Antropofagia) can also be understood as a response to the condition of being culturally displaced, with the communicative limitations that this implies.“
-Michael Asbury, Anna Maria Maiolino Articulations and Translations of and in Anthropophagy
“With the new media I attempted to elaborate on the political moment, to reflect while doing, searching in the act of poetic freedom the resistance to that which is established, imposed by the military dictatorship … with its repression, [that] prevents human beings from reaching their plenitude … I made use of my own body at that particular moment, not as a mere metaphor but as a truth, something that belonged to the domain of the real. Since, in a moment of repression and torture, all bodies become one in pain.”
-Anna Maria Maiolino
Anna Maria Maiolino 安娜・瑪麗亞・邁奧利諾 In-Out (Antropofagia) 內-外 (食人)
1973-1974 Colour Super 8 film, transferred to video in 2000 Edition 5/5 + 2 AP Duration: 8’14” (18 frames per second)
Ni Hao received his BFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2011 and MFA from Rhode Island School of Design in 2014. Originally trained as a sculptor, Ni’s work often combines sculptures, installations, video and sound performances that explores the continuously changing power systems and structures that control the world and our daily existence within them.
“Looking at the barbed wire and razor wire, especially the history of it, it further adds my interest. It is a very violent invention that first was specifically made to restrict animals, and later being used on human beings, as we know like all the pictures from all kinds of concentration camps and refugee camps. They are the most effective and the cheapest way to restrict movements, and that’s very important to me because in my recent work I’ve been looking at different kinds of movements, especially how the whole world is accelerating, and we’re constantly creating technology to even further accelerate.”
Philipp Kremer (born 1981 in Duisburg, Germany) lives and works in Berlin. He studied at the University of the Arts in Berlin with Georg Baselitz (2000-2004) and was resident at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam (2011-2012).
Philipp Kremer’s paintings are conflict-laden – not only in the subject matter, but also on a formal level, and in the interplay between the two. In his formal approach he often seems to oppose the narrative element, like choosing colors randomly when showing a utopian community, approaching the subject of an orgy as if it was a monochrome abstract painting or using light and gestural marks that suggest the human body in a cruel state of subjection. Kremer’s works evoke questions of representational ethics, both in art’s address of human suffering and in the promise of social togetherness alike.
“The Gathering s are far more ideal and anarchistic, everyone is free, equal and satisfied. All the figures are naked and trusting each other, everyone is having sex in the way they want to, nobody is forced. In that sense they are the most happy paintings I made.”
“The crying I see as a moment where you loose or give up control, a kind of ecstatic condition. It might happen that, when you are in a difficult time and you decide to stop whatever you are doing and take a pause to let your mind flow, the truth kicks in and you cry. This moment shows you something about yourself. Painting is like that as well, you can’t hide from yourself.”
Prior to a career in art, Joshua Liebowitz (b. 1980, New Jersey, USA) practiced music and performance.
Looking to understand the existential conditions through which politics and technologies and livelihoods circulate, Joshua’s projects are developed along a number of different research interests and areas of material practice relating to documentary, social engagement, science fiction, fantasy, and theory; and are then realized across an environment of lens-based and extended media, installation, text, and performance. Of particular interest to him is the seemingly fundamental paradox between the resilience of narrative in facilitating our ability to grasp and position ourselves in the world, with at the same time its inherent ambiguity all but ensuring discordant experiences of communication and trust, meaning and truth.
“In recognition of common grievances in the face of leaderlessness, and to acknowledge my own part in this civic division by way of the urban filter bubble from which I was calling, and too rarely left, I asked to visit, and for the participants to suspend distrust and loan me their demonstration armor.The hope is that the resulting series of works preserve aspects of our current civil unrest, while also rendering the space of protest as a highly performative medium between physical reenactments of malevolent social media hives on the one hand, and on the other, expressions of human desire and creativity in the form of costumes and demands, at the level of the individual.”
Joshua Liebowitz 喬舒亞・萊波維茲 Mediations, or the End of Cosplay (Meme Magician) 調解術，或角色扮演的終結：迷因魔術師
Eiko Ishizawa is a Japanese visual artist based in Amsterdam since 2000. She had studied and graduated at Gerrit Rietveld Academie (2005) and Sandberg Institute (2008) in Amsterdam. From her childhood memories with the great monk at Zen temple, where her ancestors’ graves are in Japan, who told her many inspiring stories, and as well as her long years of Aikido practice, she had been always interested in the relation between invisible world and visible world, and the way of “seeing” in more fundamental manner: things are more morphing, interrelated and merged, and therefore could be liberated, rather than static and definite. In which, she attempts to find the own hypothesis of meaning of beauty in thresholds, between separations and definitions, in which relates to freedom and nature of self while dealing with materiality of things in her works.
“My sculptures are often having different elements with various materials, and multiple dimensions to look, they also seem to escape from the mediums or fixed way of viewing.This is related to my ongoing interest in the meaning of beauty, which is related to freedom and playfulness in the moment of creating works. Therefore for me making collages in two-dimensional or three-dimensional, it enables me to explore the possibilities of collaborations among coincidences, intuitions, and also the juxtaposition of the materials, colors, meanings etc.”
Eiko Ishizawa 石澤英子 A woman who is thinking of Centaurus who gave her ﬂowers
Elina Brotherus works in photography and moving image. Her work has been alternating between autobiographical and art-historical approaches. Photographs dealing with the human figure and the landscape, the relation of the artist and the model, gave way to images on subjective experiences in her recent bodies of work Annonciation and Carpe Fucking Diem. In her current work she is revisiting Fluxus event scores and other written instructions for performance-oriented art of the 1950s-70s. Elina Brotherus lives and works in Helsinki, Finland and Avallon, France. She has an MA degree in Photography from the University of Art and Design Helsinki (now Aalto University) and an MSc in Chemistry from the University of Helsinki. She started exhibiting internationally in 1997.
“The Annonciation series successfully went beyond those two approaches. Brotherus lets us see herself in the most intimate way, without revealing herself too much, as maternity was denied to her. And, at the same time, she is looking at herself (that is to say she stages herself, gives herself a visual structure) as a formal element of this story, studying not only the relationship of her body to the other elements of the picture, but also the archaeology of the image, its connections, references, discrete or direct allusions, to the history of painting. The Annunciation, an essential theme of religious visual art, with strong connotations, is thus turned into the thematic induction through which Elina Brotherus tells us of the hardest years of her life, as in a mourning diary. Beyond any religious references, that are not part of her preoccupations, the artist exposes her intimate self, while modestly distancing it, through special codes and poses.“
“I wanted to see what happens to me, because the ‘me’ is my tool; it’s a sign in my visual vocabulary, so if it changes, I want to be able to see that change.”
Elina Brotherus 伊莉娜．布洛希雷斯 Annonciation 聖母領報
2009 igment print after 6 x 7 cm negative, mounted on aluminium, framed 49 x 60, 8 cm／52,3 x 64 x 3 cm(含框)
Breda Beban was an artist, filmmaker, and curator/creative producer whose work deals with contemporary notions of subjectivity and emotion that occur on the margins of big stories about geography, politics and love. Breda Beban’s films and photographs are recognized as unique expressions of intimacy, vulnerability and authenticity. Born in Novi Sad, ex-Yugoslavia in 1952, Breda Beban was raised in Macedonia and Croatia. She studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. Starting her career as a painter and performance artist, she began to work with film, video, and photography after meeting her partner and collaborator Hrvoje Horvatić in the mid-eighties. Exiled together in 1991 after outbreak of the war in former Yugoslavia, they travelled from place to place before eventually settling in London, where they continued their collaboration until Horvatić‘s untimely death in 1997. Working independently and/or in collaboration with other artists or filmmaker, her work have been exhibited at major museums of contemporary art in Europe and the U.S..
Breda Beban lived in London and Sheffield, where she was Professor of Media Arts at Sheffield Hallam University. She passed away in 2012, leaving various projects unrealized.
“Beban’s work plumbs the depths of inner experiences– pain, longing, loss and, most radically, joy and love, two emotions that we fear sounding naive or sentimental about if we dare mention them in art. Beban braved this terrain.
Hearing of Beban’s death from a long illness before she turned 60, it is impossible not to recall My Funeral Song , 2010, a five-screen video installation featuring friends filmed listening to their music of choice as they reflect on their own absence from the world. Beban said that whenever she wanted to move people without upsetting them, she would use music. “
-Maria Walsh, ART MONTHLY No. 357
“I think we are genetically coded, but then become a work in progress. Love is the only thing worth living.”
Breda Beban 布蕾達．貝班 My Funeral Song 01 Ana 我的輓歌01 Ana
2010 5 channel video (color, sound) Duration: 3’45” – 7’00”