As part of the group exhibition “Mutualisms” Erik Hagoort and Caroline Picard have organized a symposium to take place on Sunday 11th of September from 1-5 pm. That Sunday the artists participating in “Mutualisms” together with guests from Chicago (Kevin Kaempf, Jason Pallas, Anni Holm, Abigail Satinsky and Karsten Lund) and Holland (Philippine Hoegen, Marjolijn Dijkman, and Rune Peitersen) will gather at the CoProsperity Sphere to address the theme of Art & Reciprocity.
Anni Holm, is the Co-Founder, Director and Curator of People Made Visible, Inc. (PMV). PMV is a non-for-profit organization based in the city of West Chicago with a mission to facilitate community while fulfilling the artistic, social, educational and cultural needs of the community through an innovative physical and web based presence. Besides claiming to be a conceptual artist, she works as the Art Coordinator at Waubonsee Community College in Sugar Grove, IL, and has been a teaching artist with CAPE (Chicago Arts Partnership in Education) since 2009.
Abigail Satinsky is the director of programming at Threewalls where she amongst other things initiated Community-Supported Art Chicago, a yearly art subscription service of locally produced art and developed PHONEBOOK 3, a directory of independent art spaces, programming, and projects throughout the United States. She is furthermore a member of InCUBATE, a research group dedicated to exploring new approaches to arts administration and arts funding. Their activities have manifested in a series traveling exhibitions called Other Options, an artist residency program, and various other projects such as Sunday Soup.
Since moving to Chicago, Karsten Lund has worked as a curator and a writer, and pursued a variety of other creative pursuits. He is currently a curatorial assistant at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago and from 2007 to 2009 he worked as a research fellow at the Museum of Contemporary Photography (MoCP). Karsten is currently organizing an experimental exhibition, with four artists, which will be staged at a former factory in West Humboldt Park next month and again at the Hyde Park Art Center in fall 2012.
Jason Thomas Pallas (USA) has worked on collaborative, community-based projects for the past 8 years. As an example, he founded an after-school and summer arts organization for at-risk Latino youth called “Art Y Más”. In his artistic practice, J. Thomas has teamed up with the late activist Beauty Turner for a series of Ghetto Bus Tours, where participants visit Chicago Housing Authority sites to interact with the residents for mutual understanding. In general, Pallas’ work occupies the intersection of the popular, the personal, and the political.
“People Powered”, formed by Kevin Kaempf (USA) and Lora Lode(USA), designs experimental pilot programs that integrate art, environmentalism, and communities. Examples are the re-use of bikes (“Shared: Chicago Blue Bikes”) and the recycling of excess latex paint (“Loop Limited”). By presenting these projects in exhibitions and public locations in the city, People Powered creates a platform for discussing how these practices may intersect.
Rune Peitersen (NL) is a visual artist, focusing on the retinal, but this doesn’t exclude taking position in society as an artist, when needed. Together with other artists Peitersen initiated Platform Re-set, an action group using the knowledge and tools that artists have, to react to alarming recent developments in the political climate in the Netherlands: “At the moment artists and the arts are being talked about, not addressed directly. We want to reaffirm our position in society. ”
Research, display, context, collaboration (often with Carolien Stikker) are some of the keynote concepts in the work and activities of Philippine Hoegen (NL). With other artists in 2010 Philippine Hoegen started Calcite Revolt: an initiative created to provide and research new models of interaction and collaboration between artists, curators and theorists. Critically regarding common structures and hierarchies, its aim is to develop productive, fluid and adventurous ways of contributing to each others development and practice.
Through her diverse work Marjolijn Dijkman (NL) often considers the foundations of how we perceive and experience our surroundings. Perception is for Dijkman always embedded, contextual, therefore her practice has concerned itself with for example futurology, public space, knowledge organisation, cartography, utopian architecture or environmentalism.
In 2005 together with Maarten Vanden Eynde she founded Enough Room for Space (ERforS). ERforS is an artist-run organization to create a platform where investigations by individual participants in projects can overlap and lead to new collaborations.
Opening September 9, 6-10 pm
‘Mutualisms’ is a collaborative curatorial project organized by Lise Haller Baggesen and Kirsten Leenaars, exploring the ways in which networks of friendship and artistic collaboration can be used as a model for curating. ‘Mutualisms’ is looking into artistic strategies for finding hospitality and exchange in the context of contemporary art practices as well our own social domain.
Eight Dutch and eight American artists/artist duos were paired and worked together to create a collaborative presentation of their works. Iris Kensmil & Carol Jackson, Rune Peitersen & Mark Jeffery & Judd Morrissey, Marjolijn Dijkman & Lora Lode/Kevin Kaempf, Jonas Ohlsson & Selina Trepp, Magnus Monfeldt & Harold Mendez, Maurice Bogaert & Trevor Gainer, Caroline Stikker/Philippine Hoegen & Aron Gent and Saskia Janssen/George Korsmit & Adelheid Mers.
Sunday September 1-5 pm at Co-Prosperity Sphere
A conversation with the participating Mutualisms artists will be followed by a panel discussion on ‘art and reciprocity’ moderated by Dutch art critic Erik Hagoort and Chicago based writer Caroline Picard.
Art & Reciprocity
In general reciprocity is valued positively, and so in contemporary art. Reciprocity has become a buzzword, especially since the rise of interactive art practices, in which the public in one way or another is invited to participate. The appreciation of reciprocity has challenged the conventional distance and hierarchy between art, artists and the public. It has also triggered collaboration among artists. Yet, if reciprocity becomes normative, we may start to feel uneasy. Expectations for ‘something in return’ can restrict freedom and autonomy. In the arts a strong tradition has opposed reciprocity; art’s autonomy should prevail above exchange. So, the question is: what about art and reciprocity? Panel to be announced on our blogs at a later date.
Art & Reciprocity blog: http://artandreciprocity.wordpress.com/
For info and opening times: firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com
‘Mutualisms’ is supported, in part, by public funds from the Netherlands Cultural Services, the Mondriaan Foundation and the Propeller Fund.
Harold, you sure left me with a lot to sink my teeth into. You’ve made some interesting observations, especially in terms of the movies you referred to. The film “The Night of Counting the Years” was recommended to me while I was in Alexandria last year but I am yet to see it, so thanks for that reminder. Coincidentally I’ve also been looking into Egyptian hieroglyphs, not in relation to tattoos but while developing a font of my own. If time allows I will show a companion piece to “You’ll Never Walk Alone” where this font will play a part. It’s a readable roman alphabet but I’ve looked at Native American signs, hieroglyphs and Nordic runes during the process of creating it.
I imagine the figure in your work as an observer standing on the outside looking in, attempting to deconstruct a murky past from ruins, ashes and dust. The figure is hinted at through its very absence, like a ghost threatening to emerge. I believe that there is a very fine line between being enigmatic and pure obfuscation. When you strike the right balance it allows the viewer to enter your world without you having to fling the door wide open.
You are correct in that my work is about the figure, or a specific character, but I too have a deep interest in place and how it shapes our identity. Newspapers and media have called my Swedish hometown Avesta both “Little Chicago” and “The Wild West of Sweden” to describe the mentality that rules there. In the 70’s the local steel mill employed close to half the town population. My town shares certain characteristics with many other steel towns; it’s a bit rough around the edges and people like to enjoy a drink or two. My dad was in a sort of hillbilly gang when he was young; they were driving classic American cars and in the weekends they would fight rivalling gangs from neighbouring towns. These feuds were highly territorial and this turf mentality is something that I’ve too been confronted with while growing up.
To boot, my dad’s illness have brought with it some unwanted anxieties. Agoraphobia is a condition that develops when a person begins to avoid spaces or situations associated with anxiety. Typical “phobic situations” might include driving, shopping, crowded places, traveling, standing in line, being alone, meetings and social gatherings.
In my search for an appropriate location and form for my video I chalked up all of these things mentioned above. I remember my dad once telling me the reasons why he doesn’t like to go to the city centre, which made me think of these old towns in western movies where people hide behind curtains before the big showdown. I find it fascinating how the characteristics of one place can easily be transposed to another place, across time and space. Just as my hometown would stand in for Al Capone’s Chicago, the deserts in Southern Spain were used to emulate the Wild West of America. Displacement is a tool that I utilize in my own art making.
Previously you mentioned that some of your images origin from Africa and South America and I wonder what that means to you. Did you go there to make art, or was art an unintended by-product of sightseeing during a vacation? Does it matter to you how it all came about, and how important is your personal background to what you do as an artist?
Looking forward to hearing more about it!
Some key points from Mutualisms statement/invitation:
- strategies for finding hospitality (notions of the host and guest) and exchange in the context of contemporary art practices
- flexibility and extendedness of our professional – friend – and artistic network
- transparent model of structuring and altering artistic contexts, networks and relationships
- initiate, via the exhibition structure, mutually beneficial relationships
- connections will possibly develop and pave the way for future collaborations
In what ways can we use our collaboration to support the most exciting aspects of Mutualisms? Time and distance are challenges to any relationship. How can we tackle these issues during the infancy of our budding relationship (and as the relationship is defining itself)? In what way can we be self-reflexive about our collaboration in a meaningful way, which feeds us as individuals and a group? What, if any, material form might result from this period of exchange and sharing? Will we, the curators, the public, be satisfied with the results? Who and why should anyone else care?
Many of the points we’re drawn to in the curatorial statement touch on relationships – necessary relationships with each other, with curators and with the public. The development and exploration of these relationships are why we’re drawn to working together. We are developing an evolving process for sharing ideas and responses.
Brief schematic of our loose process (we mean loose process in a good open and productive way, not a lazy “can’t really commit” sort of way):
- Series of skype meetings to actually talk in real time. Hear the other person’s voice and glimpse a change of facial expression and hear them laugh. This focus has led to valuable tangents, which are harder to stumble upon in email. We discovered shared interests and value conversation as our truly dynamic form of sharing.
- Posting and sharing of films, articles, and books related to our own research. This has resulted in a series of meditations on that content and valuable tangents.
- Based on these exchanges, we have identified a structure for the time when we will all be together in Chicago. The week prior to the exhibition will be an intensive period of exchange. Each of us will host a dinner, workshop, and fieldtrip for the other members of our group.
Again, this is intended to allow for a generative and reflexive moment for the collaboration.
Some pretty huge questions:
- What “results” will this collaboration yield?
- Will there be anything to look at in the exhibition from the pairing?
- How will the process/relationship be captured?