Maria Gorodeckaya‘ssolo exhibition Pulling Flesh from the Shell with an Index was onat Vienna’s Kevin Space,opening on September 30 and running to October 30, 2016.
Curated by Franziska Sophie Wildförster, the site-specific performative sculptural installation explored the “dynamics and representations of power structures determining female identity, sex and desire through the affective and affected body.” Here, the skin acts as a point of conflict – a struggle and a border – that’s written upon and lying “open for re-inscription, marking the most intimate and most public threshold – worked, produced and narrated by political, social, ideological forces.”
Left with the traces and remnants of movement, the actions of a body re-enacting and re-inscribing its asserted roles in sex and desire materialise in a circle of Shea Butter stepped over with high heels, metal poles covered in glitter and dragon tattoos, and plastic jewellery flanked by walls of white paint scraped off with steam.
The show comes accompanied by the following poem by the artist:
“warm moisture dripped from my body to yours the closest i got to another person, my internal organs felt you, like as if you were ripping my stomach out the impossibility as well as necessity to have, try get, be under your french skin to break the seal and have your sweat coming down my forehead have my hair mix with your hair, have your dirt under my fingernails have your anxiety, uneasiness and crossed eyes to be the distorted flesh, and smell this otherness under the very tip of my nose every day”**
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 LAon 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 Brachepresent 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.
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”.
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)
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.
Maria Gorodeckaya is presenting solo exhibition You Forgot Numbers In My Notes Travelled Seas Through My Body Through My Veins Run Through My Blood At The Pace Of A Good Runner at London’s Almanac Projects, opening May 27 and running to June 18.
There is little information on the show itself, aside from the very long title that reads like a poem laden with analogies interweaving memory and emotion, and their often physical effects. The Moscow-born, London-based artist has developed from working with inverting the gaze on the male body with photography, to installations exploring desire and objectification through sculpture, performance and poetry.
This will be the first exhibition at Almanac Projects’ new London space, which has previously hosted the work of the likes of Nina Wakeford at London’s Legion TV and more recently an exhibition by Cory Scozzari at their Turin residency exchange programme at Almanac Inn.
Disobedient Children, a solo exhibition by Dorine van Meel at London’s Kunstraum gallery, ran from October 23 to December 19, 2015. Multiple screens and spoken fragments of sound play off each other to create an abstract narrative, all voiced by the artist with music and sound produced and performed by Jesse Osborne-Lanthier and Olle Holmberg.
Van Meel’s writing works its way between sculpture, installation and moving image. Focusing on architectural elements, screens hang in different angles and projections seep away from their original frame. Digitally manipulated visuals create abstract landscapes and scenes connected by ‘chapters’.
The press release outlines some of the voices that resonate in the space, “An intimate dialogue at a wedding; the confessions of a young banker; hitchhikers at the gas station; a scene from an Antonioni film; a description of a Hillary Clinton clip on Youtube; Twitter feeds from UK’s prime minister”. Weaved throughout are recollections from the artist’s own memories and experiences. Disobedience finds its power in the moment of rupture, where overlap disintegrates common ideologies and patterned ways of thinking.**