The pictures are taken from a performance art piece from 2016/2017. I was assigned to create some kind of art or performance art in a shop-window in central Gnesta (Sweden). I was one of several artists that each got one week each with this shop-window at their disposal. The only rule was that it had to interact with the people passing by. I named my piece ‘TIME, HOPE & DREAMS’ and the idea was to present different themes each day. Every night for 30 minutes I had actors in the window doing certain theme-related activities. Any time the audience outside knocked the actors freezed for 10 seconds and then proceeded as normal. It was fun and the project was much appreciated.
Adi Argov, No Running: corona notebooks, 2020
Artist Merav Shinn Ben-Alon interviews Adi Argov, artist from Nulobaz cooperative space Tel Aviv on her artistic activities during quarantine.
Who are you? Adi argov, multidisciplinary artist, Bezalel BFA graduate 2009, Art teacher and freelance editor and translator. Founding member of the artist-run gallery Nulobaz cooperative space. Living and working in Tel Aviv, Israel. Right now quarantined at home and working mainly from my living room.
How are you? I’m great. Surprisingly this weird time calms me and allows me to rest and focus on what's important to me: cooking, gardening, exercise, drawing and writing. Also, sometimes doing nothing is important.
What is the name of your project? ’Corona notebooks’
When did you create this project? Over the last month.
How did you create this project? With what mediums did you work? For many years now I've been drawing in notebooks alongside my work in the studio, in which I focus on drawing, painting and installation. The notebooks are a good way for me to start working and get things moving. It is good practice for the head and the hand. I found that it sharpens my thoughts and clarifies things that occupy my mind. It is a journal that accompanies me and echoes the style, temperament and mindset of that time. Now, when I'm closed in at home and unable to go to work in the studio, I rediscovered that the most natural thing for me is to focus the process through drawing. So once quarantine commenced, I started a new notebook.
Why did you choose this medium, this technique for this project? Drawing in a notebook is for me an immediate or even primal action that allows me to express feelings and ideas without mediation. Working with felt-tip pens and limited color choices helps me focus in a very open and free action and generates a set of limitations within which I can create.
What is the subject of your research? The subject of my research is language itself. I seek external inspiration but I do not look at the external while working. Usually there are a number of images that engage me and I create variations of them within the works. I aspire to reach a state in which the image is in between a clear representation and abstract.
Tell me about the process. How did you get started on the project and how did it develop? Like many artists, I've always held a sketchbook. At first, the notebook contained a mix of sketches, ideas, drawings, experiments and writings. Over the years, the notebooks have been split into different uses, a separate notebook for writing, sketches of works and sculptures and notebooks dedicated solely to the drawings where I can practice and develop my drawing style.
Was there a source of inspiration for the project? Recently I've been looking at the works of Julie Mehretu, an American artist who creates large-scale abstract drawings.
What is the story that the works tell? The drawings describe small and minor situations from several perspectives, sometimes as a disassembled story. It is a visual experience that leaves room for the subjective eye. At first, this can be challenging for the viewer, but when you surrender the need to interpret something else is revealed.
Nulobaz Cooperative Art Space members reflect through different perspectives on the pain and sacrifices of living in a complex and violent reality, the result of the ongoing Israeli Palestinian dispute. Through their personal experience as Israeli individuals and artists, who grew up amidst the conflict, they sense a gap between the ethos they have absorbed since childhood through education and military service, and the reality that they actually see. This gap between the narrative and individual experience is where they focus their art.
Pontus Raud, ‘The last Moon’, engraving and gouache on paper, 2020
A game changer - a small organism is changing the whole world in just over six weeks. Everyone is surprised at how fast it went and how quickly we changed our behavior. We have been so busy with the digital revolution and all the technological advancements that are moving us forward with a greater speed that we overlooked the whole biological mechanism that is actually constantly moving us forward.
The old saying - Of children and fools you know the truth - appeared in my head in a reworked version in a conversation with my son when he was eight years old. He snapped a question out of the blue…
Dad, when does the brain work the most, day or night?
I respond quickly with a logical answer in my opinion - I would say in daytime because you have to make so many choices all the time. You should brush your teeth (clever fatherly choice of event), eat breakfast and then walk to work… then it is just full of choices of all kinds, all day. That's right huh?
It’s totally wrong! At night, says the child with great enthusiasm, the brain must invent rainbows, unicorns and flying saucers in order to clear its head ... that's when it works the most ... to cleanse the head!
Later, I lie in the dark, in my bed and wonder if it might be true ... could the brain work more at night than during the day?
Typically, I end up in front of the computer and start hitting the subject. I read about the so-called clock genes, which are found in virtually all cells in almost every kind of organism. In all mammals, this internal clock consists of nerve cells in a diffusely delimited small area in the anterior part of the brain. In Latin, the area is called nucleus suprachiasmaticus (NSC), which is defined as "a nucleus, located above the optic nerve intersection (chiasma)". NSC acts as a chief conductor for the entire body: its signals determine how active different organs should be.
After searching a number of different pages, it seems that measurements of the brain's activity reveal that those parts of the brain that have a connection to feelings and the preservation of memory impressions are more active during sleep than in waking state.
- Of children and fools, I think before I go for an intense sleep!
Daily K&K (Kaffee & Küchen) in Montez cafe by Ilka Hendriks
The Kunstverein Familie Montez directs the your focus to ...
Montez: New Generation 2020 with a new project named Montez 2.
In 2019 the Kunstverein Familie Montez expanded with a new space – a newly acquired independent Atelier/Studio space situated in a neighbouring building in the Osthafen called the Kulturbunker.
It’s in the immediate vicinity of the Honsellbrücke (KVFM).
Montez 2 is a project space for young adults, developing experimental printing techniques producing screen prints onto textiles and repurposed clothing.
The focus here is primarily on the individuality of the individual print.
There is little emphasis on uniformity, differences within a print run are intended and welcome.
Subjects are repeatedly printed, overlapped and placed in different positions.
The final products are expected to be presented/exhibited in the form of a fashion show.
Montez 2 design merchandise for a fabricated museums shop at Supermarket Art Fair 2020. We will present the design studio work of Montez 2, in the form of a Living Atelier, with photo shoots, videos, live workshops, streaming and a fashion show performance throughout the fair.
For Montez Werkstatt: Oscar Zickler, Anton Zickler & Ali Kaan Aktürk.
In addition to the t-shirt designs KVFM will feature a series of editions: silk screen prints by Kerstin Lichtblau, photography and merchandise by TO KUEHNE, and photography and stitched texts onto canvas by Elizabeth Coleman-Link. Daily K&K (Kaffee & Küchen) in Montez cafe by Ilka Hendriks.
Prints by Kerstin Lichtblau ...
Daily K&K by Ilka Hendriks ...
We present TO KUEHNE ...
Born 1967. More than 20 years of artistic experience in the areas of painting, photography and music. Many various solo and collective exhibitions in galleries, art houses, bars, offices, fairs, etc. Came to photography via painting.
His approach to a picture differs to that from a classically trained photographer.
“I don’t take photographs, but paintings.” His pictures, mostly staged and often heavily reworked, are influenced by his 20-years’ experience with Rock ‘N’ Roll, theatre and film as well as advertising productions. Many of the protagonists in his pictures seem to have come straight from a film or commercial. Another recurring feature is the lean towards classic themes in his work, like scenes from religion and art history. For years now, he has worked on his self-dramatisation project ‘The Art of Loving Yourself’, with which he tours a travelling exhibition. Not unlike a rock tour.
Another focus of his work is his self-staging image series ‘Aurora To-Realis’, his tribute to Mexican lucha libre ‘Elverdadero Santo’ and his interpretation of religious icons.
Kunstverein Familie Montez e. V. is an official art association/artspace/collective which exhibits contemporary independent art, based at the Honsellbrücke (KVFM) Osthafen, Frankfurt am Main, Germany.
Choreophobia, Lilian Nejatpour, performed by Eva Escrich González and Lauren Stewart, curated by Nora-Swantje Almes and Lorén Elhili, Somerset House, Chisenhale Studios and Edinburgh Fringe Festival, (2018), photo: Dimitri Djuric
Title of Project: Return
Project Implementer: Paadmaan projects
Project Researcher: Foad Alijani
Project Description: ‘Return’ is Paadmaan’s research-based project which seeks to explore method and perception in documentation of site-specific and time-based art projects (e.g. installation, performance, new media). This involves compiling artists interviews in addition to the research into a book and curatorial research exhibition [the project focus is Iranian artists].
Here is part of an interview with Lilian Nejatpour – Iranian artist based in London.
- I’d like to begin with an introductory question regarding documentation within your practice before transitioning into your works specifically. At what point did documenting your art gain significance for you as a representation in itself beyond the initial or physical encounter?
So, I think the film becomes its own art object. I think sometimes when you document a performance it is quite difficult to capture the liveness and body moving in the space. It becomes its own artwork and in a sense, its own art object. I think it is difficult to represent performance through a film. My work is very much about the experience of being there, feeling the music – the bass, and the vibrations. Also, seeing the bodies move with one another, I think sometimes it’s harder to capture this through film documentation.
- What’s your experience in documenting?
I worked on the documentation of a recent performance entitled ‘Choreophobia’. The performance looks at Middle Eastern dance practices, and extracts movement from private gatherings, exploring how men move within private and public spaces. I’m trying to create a documentary at the moment, which talks about this research and looks at how western audiences viewed these performances and deemed their gestures as effeminate. Western audiences would automatically try to assign a gender to their actions. I guess there is a lot of limitation of dance in Iran now as a result, especially through its current criminalisation. In the documentary ‘Choreophobia’, I corroborate this research, looking at the history of male dance. I guess writers that I’ve looked at include Anthony Shay and Homi K. Bhabha, who talk about the dislocation of culture and what it means for a British-Iranian artist to occupy ideas of the ‘third space’, which combines this Western and Eastern duality. So, it’s all about this cultural displacement of not being either/or. In terms of documenting this performance, I am trying to combine footage of voice recordings and drawings to show the development of the work not just through the live performance.
- Did you make documentation other than of your performances?
Yes, I made a lot. I find it hard because I haven’t worked in performance before. So, in a way, the film has helped me work through my ideas, for example, finding footage of male dancers and men dancing at gatherings. I would extract this footage and produce a musical score to the video footage. I used film as a way of processing these movements and used them to choreograph the live performance, almost like a sketch.
- As you mention performance-film, is it different to documentation video of performance?
I think the documentary is a bit more informative and less about feeling; it’s a visual essay of my thoughts. The performance is related to a feeling, the feeling of being restricted in your movements and not having the freedom to dance in public spaces, knowing that your actions have consequences, so your gestures are kind of monitored.
- Please explain a little bit more about your documentation of your installations.
It’s difficult trying to document performance because I work a lot in sculpture. So, a lot of my work is quite still. It doesn’t have the same kind of speed as a performance. My previous work looked at how technology affects human subjectivity. So, it became a representation of that but slowly moved into performance, which became a lot more personal and distant from ideas surrounding technology. But I’m still exploring the relationship between the body and technology through body politics and gender construction.
- Do you prefer documenting these kinds of works during the show with audiences or to do it without them?
I like the audiences to interact with my work in any shape or form. I think for me, it's very important that they have accessibility to the space but I don’t always think it’s a good idea to give a lot of context to the work beforehand, because I think it's nice to see how viewers interpret the work and what kind of reactions come without having a huge amount of information. I think it's always incredible to see work in the flesh rather than digitally. I like audiences to participate with the work and occupy the same space. However, when you have audiences that are unable to come to the space, then film becomes useful to show the work. It’s always hard to translate the original physical encounter to film.
- Yes, this is a problem of documenting that more artists have told me in interviews. Definitely but how do you document that emotion?
The sound or the tone becomes so reductive through film, it becomes reduced and flattened. Yes, it is hard to represent that …
Paadmaan projects Tehran, Iran
Paadmaan (meaning ‘safeguard’ in Farsi) is an independent artist-run platform for contemporary art with an interdisciplinary approach. We are based in Tehran and were established in 2018. Through a variety of curatorial programming, Paadmaan seeks to expand on existing discourses surrounding contemporary art within various Iranian communities and supporting their input – transforming it into output.
Paadmaan aims to develop networking locally and internationally and improve the collective in the contemporary art scene by focusing on research, dialogue and presentation. Paadmaan promotes these by organising exhibitions, events, artist residencies, lectures, screenings, publications and various interactions throughout Iran and abroad.