Cristine Brache

Alignment, Folds of Existence, Nocturnal Sub.missions: American Medium’s WINTER SESSIONS series of events runs Dec 14 – Feb 3

13 December 2017

The WINTER SESSIONS: A Season of Events at American Medium begins December 14 and is running to February 3.

New York’s American Medium gallery will host a number of events at their space over the winter season, with three sections: Alignment presents readings, Folds of Existence presents a series of film screenings and a set of experimental performances in Nocturnal Sub.missions.

– Alignment will  feature two readers “at different points” on the same night to explore and create “relations, clashes, or comraderies that would not otherwise have occasion,” featuring Bunny Lampert + Cristine BracheAdriana Ramić + Mónica de la Torre, and Charles Theonia + manuel arturo abreu, among others.

– Folds of Existence is programmed by Lorenzo Ga‚orna and Mary Ancel, and brings together moving image works that mediate “the precarious boundaries between public space and personal psyche,” featuring over 2o artists including Benji Blessing, Rouzbeh RashidiBasim MagdyJodie Mack and more.

– Nocturnal Sub.missions will explore “dark dreamlands and lucidity of the everyday” over six nights and features gage of the booneAzumi Oe and Whitney Vangrin, plus others.

Visit the American Medium website for details.**

  share news item

The proliferation, fragmentation, the relic + the discarded in my fossil, my echo, my excess, my scrap at MX Gallery

28 July 2017

The my fossil, my echo, my excess, my scrap group exhibition at New York’s MX Gallery opened July 20 and is running to August 10.

my fossil, my echo, my excess, my scrap (2017) Installation view. Courtesy the artists + MX Gallery, New York.

Curated by Gabrielle Jensen and Julia Lee, the show includes work by Cristine BracheIsabel LegateCarmen NeelyKayode Ojo, and Patrice Renee Washington. The press release reads in four paragraphs, one for each part of the title, mapping out the relationship between the works in the context of ‘Fossilization anxiety,’ ‘The echo [as] an interruption of presence,’ ‘Excess [as] an ecstatic surrender to unknowing,’ and “The survivor of mutilated material, the scrap refuses to perform a whole.’

The works vary in medium, scale and approach to the curatorial premise but each respond to and explore the space of proliferation, fragmentation, the relic and the discarded. **

The my fossil, my echo, my excess, my scrap group exhibition is on at New York’s MX Gallery, running July 20 to August 10, 2017.

  share news item

Valuing oneself & unpacking the past with Cristine Brache’s I Love Me, I Love Me Not

20 February 2017

Cristine Brache’s solo exhibition I Love Me, I Love Me Not at New York’s Fierman opened February 10 and is running until March 19. 

The exhibition comes accompanied by a text, written by Brache and annotated by manuel arturo abreu, which moves between the first-person subjective experience of her Taíno, Puerto Rican and US-American identity and abreu’s theoretical footnotes that connect and challenge the ideas of the two artists. 

“With each pass, from vessel to vessel.6 
6 Brache presents works that speak to the coloniality of mestizx identity, with its simultaneous assimilatory striving and inexorable sense of loss: a maple domino table with colonial-style legs features porcelain Hoyle-clone playing cards instead of dominos on the raised playing area, which has been coated in the “flesh” tones of silicone.”
In addition, Blood No Memory was held on February 11 and included poetry readings by Brache, Rin Johnson, Jameson Fitzpatrick, and Cat Tyc.
Cristine Brache is an artist and poet who works between Toronto and Miami and recently exhibited Givens at Los Angeles’ AALA. Her first book of poems, I love me, I love me not via Químerica Books will be published in late 2017.**

  share news item

Selling out or buying in?: Looking at artists + their merch as an act of self-support

24 January 2017

For many contemporary artists, the notion of a lucrative art practice is an oxymoron. With it one becomes accustomed to perpetual labour, a mix of both paid and unpaid work, where everyone becomes burnt out. But there appears to be something interesting emerging from between the polarized economic model of being either successful or’unsuccessful’ as an artist; a desire for a more horizontal redistribution of wealth and to find financial autonomy from the institutional gatekeepers of an industry. The white-washed elephant in the room is the fact that the hierarchy of accomplishment is a biased one, steeped in structural violence. It comes as no surprise, then, that the evolution of making (for some) is in some ways attempting to sever the umbilical cord by producing and selling their own products.

Seema Mattu, ‘Seema Sox’. Courtesy the artist.

Making merchandise is obviously not a new concept, especially for those who are in the ‘business’ of spreading a message rather than a product. Artist/activist group Guerilla Girls have been selling affordable objects to support their cause since 1985. To acquire some form of monetary control, alternative income is a necessary tool for activists and under-represented artists. But it’s also a strategy employed in other contexts, from the gift shops and artist editions of larger institutions like ICA and MoMA PS1 (Zabludowicz Collection sells shoes and pins, jackets and vinyl records) to the work of successful artists critqueing capitalism.

Thinking back to the irony of Ryan Trecartin + Lizzie Fitch’s $78 Abercrombie Night Vision Sweatshirt, there seems to be a departure from the language of tongue-in-cheek gestures and towards a direction that is less self-serving. The commercial art world is uncomfortable and problematic. Institutions often exploit free labour in return for prestige, and arts funding applications require a lot of time and an administrative expertise that many artists just don’t have. In what often feels inaccessible, this climate of exclusion is creating an interesting backdrop against which people are engaging in a sincere exploration of how to support and maintain a sustainable practice.

Rafia Santana, ‘Yes’ sweatshirt. Courtesy the artist + Teespring.

The idea of ‘merch’ is for artists to create products to support and promote themselves, but at what point does ‘art’ become merchandise (and vice versa). Is it simply down to the price tag? Does this question even matter anymore? As we know, categories of making are continually bleeding into one another, and the distinction between ‘genres’ is becoming irrelevant.

There isn’t one method or definition, and the line is blurry when sold in editions (if the supply ends, the product will inevitably become more precious, making for a potential rise in value, regardless of the cheap price it was initially sold at). And while none of these modes are fully-fledged businesses — or the ideal answer to the problem of income — they are engaging with what feels like a fresh spin, the starting point of a real shift from status quo. Here’s to what happens next.

Below are some examples, in no particular order, of some of the ways ‘merch’ is being actualized by artists:

Cristine Brache, ‘Dog Tag’ (2016). Courtesy the artist.

Cristine Brache

The Toronto-based artist’s dog tag (2016) series was sold via her Instagram account for $30 each, but with only 50 editions. The work is categorized as ‘editions’ among others on her site and includes a s&h as well as a “signed and numbered certificate of authenticity”.

Seema Mattu

The London-based artist sells a range of prints, hats, socks, stickers among others things. Her work explores gender and ethnicity through digital media, welcoming negotiations and discussions to foster a flexible relationship with the buyer. Mattu explores the idea of commissions in that “some of it can be designed, recreated and sold in any which way somebody may want it.”

Athena Papadopoulos

For her upcoming show Belladonna’s Muse, opening March 17 at Rome’s Basement Roma CURA, the London-based artist will be selling (quite cheaply) pearl necklaces made by grandmothers in the community to go alongside the exhibition. She refers to them as trinkets and plans to make them unlimited and made-to-order on site. 

William & Co

A highly skilled potter and contemporary artist described by curator Kate Neave as having an “expanded ceramic practice,” the London-based artist explores the the relationship between art and function. The way these objects can be extended to the social, where you can purchase pieces from his website which often sell in a limited amount related to a current project.

18+, ‘Bitch’ (2014). Silk scarf. Courtesy the artists.

Rafia Santana

A New-York-based multimedia artist who sells sweatshirts, key rings, and more off her website. Santana’s products are scattered throughout her Tumblr-style website, taking away any category or hierarchy of making.

Steve Roggenbuck

The Tucson-based video artist and poet successfully lives off selling T-shirts and books through the publishing project he started called Boost House. Most importantly, he uses crowdfunding website Patreon which allows his fans to donate a small amount for each video he makes. You can ready more in our recent interview with him where he talks about the importance of keeping his work free on Youtube.  His Patreon supporters are often sent postcards and given personalised videos to keep in touch. Just like charity, acquiring money is always more successful through exchange: I’ll give you money as long as I know you’re going to run a marathon.


 “They’re not merchandise and not quite artworks either. They’re something in between,” says Samia Mirza of the bi-coastal art and production duo, including Justin Swinburne, about a range of silk scarves, featuring any number of appropriated images that make up their audio-visual oeuvre. “We’re making these things that happen to exist in these realms,” she adds in a 2014 interview with aqnb about selling clothing and accessories, in an act that’s as much a part of their practice as it is an income. 

Lonely Boys merchandise (2017). Courtesy the artists.

Lonely Boys

The music and artist project by Berlin-based artist Daphne Ahlers and Vienna-based artist Rosa Rendl, recently sold merchandise at Vienna’s Kurzbauergrasse for performance ‘Shortest Way to Confidence.’ While Lonely Boys is a band that produces merchandise, they still stand suspended between the realms of visual art and music, producing and performing in gallery spaces for events like 3hd Festival, and with the likes of fellow artist Philipp Timischl.  

Lu Williams

The London-based artist has both a craft-based and contemporary art practice, often bringing the two together in performance and installation. Inspired by racing girls, drag artists and hen nights, the current collection is called Hyperfemme and is “to be worn by anyone of any gender who wants to look femme as fuck.”

Stefanos Mandrake, ‘Black on black, (2016). Installation view. Courtesy the artist + LIFESPORT.


The anonymous collective sell sweatpants out of their gallery in Athens, recently opening a ‘shop’ in Berlin, with all proceeds directly support the exhibitions put on in the space. In a recent interview, aqnb spoke with LIFE SPORT about their reasons for selling sweatpants and the difficulty of getting funding as a nomadic project.**


  share news item

‘Accessing Economies’: an AQNB x Video in Common screening rundown

22 July 2016

With the accelerated pace of commodification and consumption of marginal identities (and spaces) globally, comes the question of, and tension between complicity and resistance in political art and social critique. Discourse is developing beyond ideas of visibility and representation to notions of assimilation into existing cultural paradigms, which is why AQNB was in Los Angeles to present the ‘Accessing Economies: Engagement & Withdrawal’ screening and reading at Club Pro LA on July 17 to interrogate the politics of identity within commercial or institutional spheres. 

It’s part of an ongoing series of screening, reading, performance and discussion events lead by editor Jean Kay and organised in collaboration with video production partners Video in Common, and follows similar events already held in London and Berlin –two key cultural centres in the art editorial platform’s network. Titled ‘The Future Is Here, It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed’ and ‘At the Backend’, together these earlier programmes interrogated the systems and infrastructures embedded in networked communication, and how this affects distribution, flows of information and power, as well as language, community-building and identity formation.

Meanwhile, ‘Accessing Economies’ carries on that conversation into the consequences of structural affiliations as both inspiring and influencing critical art practice, and creating new markets. Maria Gorodeckaya, for example, inverts the gaze through the lens of female sexual desire in ‘do it for me’, while Vika Kirchenbauer‘s queer subjects confront the high art voyeur with ‘YOU ARE BORING!’: “I mean, who wouldn’t want to fuck a work of conceptual art?”

Evan Ifekoya talks marginality as a lived position for AQNB/ViC editorial video commission ‘Genuine. Original. Authentic.’ and Sarah Boulton‘s poetry, read by  Ulijona Odišarija, passively lingers in the margins, outside of valuation, by dealing with what the artist describes as “what you don’t need to say, and not saying it”. Imran Perretta‘s ‘Untitled (work in progress)’ explores the privilege of apprehension and self-analysis for a work in progress video, while Ann Hirsch and Cristine Brache present two videos that concisely and consciously apply for access to systems of power and control, only to complicate and disrupt them when awarded it.  

Below is the full programme of video, audio and stills of the works presented in their running order:

Maria Gorodeckaya: ‘do it for me’ (2016) [5:11]

Moscow-born, London-based artist Maria Gorodeckaya explores the nature of women’s objectification,
reclaiming the gaze through the lens of the camera and re-directing it onto the male body. Inverting sexual power dynamics, Gorodeckaya’s work expands into poetry, sculpture and installation, building on her interests in desire and its suppression by religious, economic and institutional means.

Evan Ifekoya: ‘Genuine. Original. Authentic.’ (2015) [8:21 min]

London-based artist Evan Ifekoya discusses their ongoing music video series, questioning the notion of cultural or personal authenticity and what it means to be entertaining. Also working with collage, knitting and drawing, Ifekoya talks about deconstructing pervasive gender binaries, expressing the banality and importance of physical ‘making’.

Vika Kirchenbauer: ‘YOU ARE BORING!’ (2015) [13:44], ‘COOL FOR YOU – GIVEN YOUR CONVENIENT ABSENCE’ (2016) [2:25]

Berlin-based artist Vika Kirchenbauer looks at the transference of (certain) bodies and politics from subcultural to high art spaces and the new dynamics that emerge. In complicating ideas of performance and shifting the spectator’s perspective back on themselves, Kirchenbauer questions how power and self-understanding is renegotiated within an institutional framework.

Sarah Boulton: Poetry read by Ulijona Odišarija [2:59 min]

London-based artist and poet Sarah Boulton presents moments of inclusivity, engaging and implicating its audience directly or with distance, or both. Friend and fellow artist Ulijona Odišarija reads as a single clear voice without embellishment, expressing a certain creative ambience around perceptions and consciousness in relation to objects that refuse signification and thus capital value.

Imran Perretta: ‘Untitled (work in progress)’ (2016) [5:00 min]

London-based artist Imran Perretta explores the liminal space between socially and culturally constructed spaces, as well as the role of the body within that. Inscribed as they are with external assumptions, prejudices and, above all, concerns, Perretta’s film is an interrogation of white-washed narratives of privilege and their ideologies of self-actualisation, described in an aqnb review of his performance work as, “the over analyzed body in stark contrast to the under analyzed body”.

Imran Perretta, 'Untitled (work in progress)' (2016). Video still. Courtesy the artist.
Imran Perretta, ‘Untitled (work in progress)’ (2016). Video still. Courtesy the artist.

Ann Hirsch: ‘Here For You (Or my Brief Love Affair with Frank Maresca)’ (2011) [14:06]

LA-based artist Ann Hirsch interrogates (networked) media and its false assumptions of personal freedom. Placing herself in the externally constructed environment of a reality TV programme and its culture of constant surveillance, Hirsch surrenders to the mechanism of production, where she and 14 other contestants vie for the affections of ‘Frank the Bachelor’ on camera with no control on how they’re viewed, edited or represented.

Cristine Brache:, ‘Sequence 02 1’ (2016) [15:56 min], ‘finally people are reading about me’ [00:14 min] (2016)
[00:14 min]

Toronto-based artist and poet Cristine Brache shows marginal women’s bodies and their reproduction as objects in circulation. In complicating and questioning economic, political and sexual power relations as both oppressed and empowered, Brache’s at times fetishistic work expresses a tension between aspiring for access and visibility, and the means by which one achieves it.

aqnb x Video in Common’s screening ‘Accessing Economies: Engagement & Withdrawal’ was on at Club Pro Los Angeles, July 17, 2016.

Header image: Vika Kirchenbauer, ‘YOU ARE BORING!’ (2016) @ Club Pro Los Angeles. Screening view.

  share news item

aqnb x Video in Common @ Club Pro LA, Jul 17

6 July 2016

aqnb and Video in Common (ViC) are presenting screening, performance and discussion event, ‘Accessing Economies: Engagement & Withdrawal’ at Los Angeles’ Club Pro LA on July 17.

As discourse develops beyond ideas of visibility and representation to notions of assimilation into existing cultural paradigms, aqnb editor Jean Kay will be presenting a selection of artists’ works that considers the consequences of structural affiliations and institutionalisation as both inspiring and influencing critical art practice.

‘Accessing Economies’ follows similar events organised by the art editorial platform and video production partner ViC in London and Berlin two key cultural centres in the aqnb network. Titled ‘The Future Is Here, It’s Just Not Evenly Distributed’ and ‘At the Backend’, together these programmes interrogated the systems and infrastructures embedded in networked communication, and how this affects distribution, flows of information and power, as well as language, community-building and identity formation.

Artists and works featured in this edition include an aqnb/ViC editorial video commission with Evan Ifekoya, video works from Vika Kirchenbauer, Imran Perretta, Ann Hirsch, Cristine Brache and Maria Gorodeckaya, as well as a live Skype poetry reading from Sarah Boulton

See the FB event page for further details.**

Imran Perretta '5 per cent'(2015). Detail. Sixty Eight, Copenhagen.
Imran Perretta ‘5 per cent'(2015). Detail. Sixty Eight, Copenhagen.

Header image: Vika Kirchenbauer, ‘COOL FOR YOU – GIVEN YOUR CONVENIENT ABSENCE’ (2016). Video still. Courtesy the artist.

  share news item

Apprehension poetry readings @ Slade School, Jun 16

15 June 2016

An evening of poetry, ‘Apprehension: come back for another look’ is on at London’s Slade School of Art on June 16.

Performing are a group of artists and writers whose work could be said to deal with subjectivity, poetry, voices, being online and representation, including Cassandre GreenbergCristine Brache —organisers of recent ICA event No Screening —Ulijona Odišarija and Christopher Kirubi, all of whom are current Slade students.

The evening coincides with the MA degree show that runs until June 19.

Reading via Skype and on a smartphone from New York will be writer and editor Steph Kretowicz whose forthcoming book, Somewhere I’ve Never Been will publish later this year via Pool.

Artist and poet Penny Goring and Aurelia Guo whose PDF, ‘black mUJI notebook‘ was recently shared online and contains Guo’s eloquent musings and stark thoughts, will also both feature in this evening of ‘Apprehension’.

See the FB event page for more details.**

Aurelia Guo, t-shirt for Interstate Projects 5 Year Anniversary Benefit (2016). Courtesy the artist
Aurelia Guo, ‘t-shirt for Interstate Projects 5 Year Anniversary Benefit’ (2016). Courtesy the artist.
  share news item