New Viewings #35, Curated by Ksenia Jakobson and Asya Yaghmurian / Do You Ever Just Ascend?

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New Viewings #35, Curated by Ksenia Jakobson and Asya Yaghmurian / Do You Ever Just Ascend?

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New Viewings #35, Curated by Ksenia Jakobson and Asya Yaghmurian / Do You Ever Just Ascend?

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Do You Ever Just Ascend?(1)

The struggle is real.
Do You Ever Just Ascend? is an exercise in reflection on identity. We are living through the moment when identity politics became a tool of division, through which the intensity and precariousness of late capitalist work culture have left us in a state of simultaneous exhaustion and overstimulation.(2) As the Western paradigm keeps proving to have fundamental faults we turn to identity for insights into ourselves.
In Do You Ever Just Ascend? each exhibition offers a profoundly personal take on identity, on working through it, unlearning and learning from it, challenging it.
The central point lies not in the recognition or affirmation of identity, but rather in its destabilisation. Exploring the revolutionary potential of self-abolition of identity offers a hopeful promise of the future, even as it is slowly being cancelled.(Ibid) After all, as Negri puts it, revolutionary politics has to start from identity but cannot end there.(3)
In the past couple of decades, identity politics has replaced economic issues as the defining narrative in politics.(4) Today, the notion of identity penetrates all realms of life – from personal to political and beyond. In the utopian safe space of the gallery, four artistic perspectives unfold in four distinct ways, as they touch on questions of personal history, dogmatic knowledge, political struggle and mythology. Since identity is not a fixed construct, maybe just for a moment, let us lose who we are to discover who we can become.

Ksenia Jakobson and Asya Yaghmurian

Shalva Nikvashvili

CEMENT FIELDS, 2021. Installation view. Dimensions variable

We (Asya Yaghmurian and Ksenia Jakobson) have invited Shalva Nikvashvili and he didn’t come alone. For the exhibition CEMENT FIELDS he has summoned six characters, who have been patiently waiting to tell their story.

CEMENT FIELDS is about the work of mourning and memory – be it personal, collective or cultural. Mourning offers a way to process past trauma through memorial practices. An essential part of mourning is the desire to know, to share the pain and express it clearly, not necessarily to make sense of it, but to tell the story. In order for the work of mourning to be complete, what has been dug up needs to become public.

Although Nikvashvili’s characters are profoundly personal, they are also strangely familiar, they are the familiar as strange, the strange within the familiar. These personae exist in the paradigm of the weird and the eerie. As Mark Fisher puts it, the weird and the eerie allow us to see the inside from the perspective of the outside.
Hunted by our past, we obsessively return to certain experiences, unable to live in the present, we compulsively reenact the traumatic moment. Over and over again we find ourselves in the middle of a cement field and there is always a man digging.

Shalva Nikvashvili (b.1990, Sighnaghi) lives and works in Ghent. Nikvashvili’s practice looks at the identity issues through transgressive takes on idiosyncrasy, visual explorations and modifications applied to a portrait. Following his studies in fashion at Tbilisi State Academy of Arts he moved to Ghent, Belgium. Nikvashvili has recently showed his work at OPYUM Video Performance Festival, Paris, 2020; Young Friends of Smak at SMAK, Gent, 2021; AIR-Antwerp Art week, Antwerp, 2021; En Vous Remerciant, Bordeaux, 2021.

CEMENT FIELDS, 2021. Installation view. Dimensions variable
CEMENT FIELDS, 2021. Installation view. Dimensions variable
CEMENT FIELDS, 2021. Installation view. Dimensions variable

Shalva Nikvashvili
Exhibition Support Group, 2021
Digital video with sound
10:50 min
Edition of 3 + 2 APs

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Shalva Nikvashvili
Almost Beautiful, 2021
Three inkjet photo prints on pearl paper, masking tape
165 x 60 cm
Edition: 3 + 2 APs

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Shalva Nikvashvili
The Man Who Works for The Government, 2021
Three inkjet photo prints on pearl paper, masking tape
165 x 60 cm
Edition: 3 + 2 APs

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Shalva Nikvashvili
He Was a Visitor, 2021
Three inkjet photo prints on pearls paper, masking tape
165 x 60 cm
Edition: 3 + 2 APs

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Shalva Nikvashvili
Cinderella Was a Man, 2021
Three inkjet photo prints on pearls paper, masking tape
165 x 60 cm
Edition: 3 + 2 APs

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Shalva Nikvashvili
Sociopath, 2021
Three inkjet photo prints on pearl paper, masking tape
165 x 60 cm
Edition: 3 + 2 APs

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Shalva Nikvashvili
She Was Raped, 2021
Three inkjet photo prints on pearl paper, masking tape
165 x 60 cm
Edition: 3 + 2 APs

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Shalva Nikvashvili
Almost Beautiful, 2021
Paint, MDF panel, collected vintage garments, handmade garments, artificial hair, sculpting clay, porcelain, plaster, make up, varnish
2000 x 80 x 10 cm

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Shalva Nikvashvili
The Man Who Works for The Government, 2021
Paint, MDF panel, collected vintage garments, handmade garments, artificial hair, sculpting clay, porcelain, plaster, make up, varnish
2000 x 80 x 10 cm

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Shalva Nikvashvili
He Was a Visitor, 2021
Paint, MDF panel, collected vintage garments, handmade garments, artificial hair, sculpting clay, porcelain, plaster, make up, varnish
2000 x 80 x 10 cm

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Shalva Nikvashvili
Cinderella Was a Man, 2021
Paint, MDF panel, collected vintage garments, handmade garments, artificial hair, sculpting clay, porcelain, plaster, make up, varnish
2000 x 80 x 10 cm

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Shalva Nikvashvili
Sociopath, 2021
Paint, MDF panel, collected vintage garments, handmade garments, artificial hair, sculpting clay, porcelain, plaster, make up, varnish
2000 x 80 x 10 cm

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Shalva Nikvashvili
She Was Raped, 2021
Paint, MDF panel, collected vintage garments, handmade garments, artificial hair, sculpting clay, porcelain, plaster, make up, varnish
2000 x 80 x 10 cm

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Ana Prvački

Objects Might Seem Louder Than They Appear, 2021. Installation view. Dimensions variable

We have been taught that the world operates in binaries, that we should follow the reason, that there are men and women, that the ears are for listening and that vagina is a part of a female genital tract, responsible for the reproductive system.
In the exhibition Objects Might Seem Louder Than They Appear, Ana Prvački invites us to question the norms, beliefs, organs, perceptions, function and purpose.

Addressing the biblical canon, in particular the narrative of creation, Prvački plays with dogmas. What happens when you assign a characteristic of one organ to another or of an organ to an object? What happens when you collide them together?
The piercing sound of the Syncope Whistle which is inspired by the voice of god (1), yet stripped from religious connotation, urges us to indulge in the act of deep listening (Ibid). It invites us to tap into a mode of non-normative profound sensation, which is beyond common perceptual experience.

(1) Ana Prvački, Syncope Whistle, 2019, 1:07

Objects Might Seem Louder Than They Appear, 2021. Installation view. Dimensions variable
Objects Might Seem Louder Than They Appear, 2021. Installation view. Dimensions variable

Ana Prvački’s training and background in music, theatre, mask work, architecture, fine art and beekeeping inform a cross disciplinary practice that ranges from watercolours to video, performance and augmented reality.
She writes "I commit to making my work as round as the earth and my performances as compressed as water. I aim for pedagogical meme pollination and maximum viewer titillation."
Her experimental approach includes scientific research, behavioral study and emotional affect in a strategy aimed at creating imaginative tools for the challenges of daily life. Prvac i has an environmentally conscious artistic practice. She has realised solo exhibitions and projects at the NTU CCA in Singapore; UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA; The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston, USA and the Castello di Rivoli Museo d’Arte Contemporanea, Turin, Italy.
Her work has also been included in many international exhibitions, including the 2020 Bangkok Biennial, Thailand; 13th Gwangju Biennial, Korea; 14th Istanbul Biennial, Turkey; 1st Singapore Biennial and dOCUMENTA 13, Kassel, Germany.
Her performances have been commissioned by the LA Philharmonic and the Chicago Architecture Biennial, among others. In 2020 she was part of the Marina Abramovic Sky Arts TV takeover.
Prvački’s solo exhibition at the de Young Museum in San Francisco won the 2020 Webby Award for its use of augmented reality and is recognized by the International Academy of Digital Arts and Sciences for its significant achievement.
As the Gropius Bau’s first Digital Artist in Residence in 2021, Prvački is taking up a series of interventions that materialise the Gropius Bau’s overarching programmatic topics of hosting, natural structures and ecology.

Ana Prvački
Untitled Ears, 2017
Gel pen on Japanese paper
95 x 65 cm

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Ana Prvački
Portal, 2020
Watercolour on paper
40 x 30 cm

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Ana Prvački
Vagina Labyrinth, 2021
Watercolour on paper
31 x 41 cm

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Ana Prvački
Vagina Labyrinth, 2021
Watercolour on paper
31 x 41 cm

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Ana Prvački
Vagina Labyrinth #6B, 2017
Watercolour on paper
44,5 x 30 cm

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Ana Prvački
Vagina Labyrinth #7, 2017
Watercolour on paper
44,5 x 30 cm

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Ana Prvački
Untitled, 2017
Watercolour on paper
30,5 x 45,5 cm

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Ana Prvački
Untitled, 2017
Watercolour on paper
39,5 x 30,5 cm

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Ana Prvački
Untitled, 2017
Watercolour on paper
45 x 30 cm

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Rufina Bazlova

There Is No Internet Connection in Belarus, 2021. Installation view. Dimensions variable

In There Is No Internet Connection in Belarus Rufina Bazlova tells the story of Belarusian struggle against tyranny of Alexander Lukashenko’s regime. In red thread on white cloth Bazlova records the history of Belarusian protest movement. Like so, Bazlova's work becomes a document of history.
Using the traditional Belarusian technique of embroidery in red on white, Bazlova accents the palette of the white-red-white flag used by protestors. Over the course of the last century this variation of the Belarusian flag kept reappearing in the context of the revolutionary struggle. Yet again, in 2020 the white-red- white flag came back as a symbol of Belarusian national identity.

Rufina Bazlova is working with an open wound while it is torn further apart. In an act of commemoration and commitment she delicately employs the traditional medium of embroidery to write the chronicle of her people.
Rufina Bazlova is a Prague-based Belarusian artist who works in illustration, comics, art books, puppet making, scenography and performance. The artist gained an international profile for her series The History of Belarusian Vyzhyvanka, which uses the traditional folk embroidery medium to depict the ongoing peaceful protests in Belarus. Bazlova holds a Master degree in Illustration from FDU LS, ZČU, 2015 and a Bachelor degree in Stage Design from KALD, DAMU, 2020.

Rufina Bazlova’s recent shows include Visual Acts of Radical Care (online) at Yale, USA, 2020; Belarus.Protest.Art - 59 Rivoli, Paris, France, 2020; Demo Mode Society at ASPN gallery, Leipzig, Germany, 2021; The History of Belarusian Vyzhyvanka (online) at UCLA, Los Angeles, USA, 2021; Every Day. Art. Solidarity. Resistance at Mysteckyi Arsenal, Kyiv, Ukraine, 2021.

There Is No Internet Connection in Belarus, 2021. Installation view. Dimensions variable
There Is No Internet Connection in Belarus, 2021. Installation view. Dimensions variable
There Is No Internet Connection in Belarus, 2021. Installation view. Dimensions variable

Olga Tesluk and Rufina Bazlova
There Is No Internet Connection in Belarus, 2020
Digital animation
00’16’’
Edition of 3 + 2 APs

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Rufina Bazlova
Dvorovie Igri (Neighbourhood Games), 2021
Machine embroidery on canvas
90 x 90 cm
Edition of 3 + 2 APs

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Rufina Bazlova
Zhenshiny Belarusi (The Women of Belarus), 2021
Machine embroidery on canvas
106 x 42 cm
Edition of 3 + 2 APs

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Rufina Bazlova
Vertikal’ Vlasti (The Vertical of Power), 2021
Machine embroidery on canvas
150 x 40 cm
Edition of 3 + 2 APs

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Rufina Bazlova
Svetlana moy Prezident, (Svetlana is My President), 2021
Hand embroidery on canvas
22 x 22 cm
Edition of 1 + 1 AP

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Rufina Bazlova
Jurnalisti (Journalists), 2021
Hand embroidery on canvas
12 x 12 cm
Edition of 1 + 1 AP

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Rufina Bazlova
Ptica (The Bird), 2021
Hand embroidery on canvas
12 x 12 cm
Edition of 1 + 1 AP

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Rufina Bazlova
Tarakan Otdikhaet (The Resting Cockroach), 2020
Hand embroidery on canvas
12 x 12 cm
Edition of 1 + 1 AP

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Rufina Bazlova
OMON-chik-chik, 2021
Hand embroidery on canvas
12 x 12 cm
Edition of 1 + 1 AP

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Selma Köran

Alternation of Ends, 2021. Installation View, Video, mov, 01:02 min

The starting point and the central piece of the exhibition is Selma Köran’s continuously developing video work EXIT ATHENA, that she started in 2018.
In this work Köran takes on an ambitious task of challenging the narrative that has been projecting the course of Western thought for many centuries to come – that of Hesiod's Theogony. EXIT ATHENA also refers to the chapter written by Köran to append to Hesiod's poem. In a sensible gesture of giving a new ending to the story, she begins another one, but this time with an open end.
Rather than presenting the audience with another narrative, Köran brings it back to chaos, the initial state of the universe, before the ancient Greek Gods established their order.
The title Alternation of Ends refers to a rule in table tennis, in which the players have to switch the ends of the table on the game point of the match. Just like that, the chaos is replaced by order and back to chaos again and so on and so on.
Selma Köran is a multimedia artist working in the field of animation, video, painting and sculpture. Through her playful work set in the magical realm of mythology, Köran examines our reception of narrations and how they shape our perception of the world. Deconstructing the conventional form of a narrative, she challenges and pastiches the conception of normative and hierarchical structures.
In her current work, she goes beyond the format of film to encapsulate various mediums and aesthetic interpretations she utilises while deploying her own political and conceptual position.
Köran’s works have been shown at Academiae Biennial 2018 – Where Plato taught. Teaching art: Is it Art or is it a Fart? in Bolzano, Italy, 2018; Life on Planet Orsimanirana, Museum für Kunst und Handwerk in Hamburg, Germany, 2021. Most recently Köran had her first institutional solo show, 6 1/2 Wochen - EXIT ATHENA in Folkwang Museum, Essen, Germany, 2021.

Alternation of Ends, 2021. Installation View, Video, mov, 01:02 min
Alternation of Ends, 2021. Installation View, Video, mov, 01:02 min

Selma Köran
EXIT ATHENA, 2021
3-channel video installation, mp4
14’24’’ (loop)
Edition of 5 + 2 APs

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Selma Köran
Kronos oder auch mal ein paar Steine in den Himmel, 2021
Ceramics
54 x 98 cm
Unique

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Selma Köran
Archeological Excavation #1 (Uranus), 2021
Ceramics
26 x 26 x 26 cm
Edition of 3 + 2 APs

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Selma Köran
Archeological Excavation #1 (Gaia), 2021
Ceramics
26 x 26 x 26 cm
Edition of 3 + 2 APs

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Selma Köran
Archeological Excavation #7, 2021
Ceramics
30 x 23 x 19 cm
Edition of 3 + 2 APs

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Selma Köran
Hestia oder die Olympische Sparflamme 21, 2021
Ceramics
43 x 43 cm
Unique

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Selma Köran
Ares oder Panzer fahren, Leben sparen, 2021
Ceramics
54 x 76 cm
Unique

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Ksenia Jakobson and Asya Yaghmurian would like to thank Clémentine Deliss, Saâdane Afif, Slavs and Tatars and Mitch Speed.

(1) https://www.instagram.com/doyoueverjustfuckingascend/
(2) Franco “Bifo” Berardi,“Precarious Rhapsody. Semiocapitalism and the pathologies of the post-alpha generation.”, Minor Compositions, London, 2009
(3) Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, “Commonwealth”, The Belknap Press of Harvard university press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2009
(4) Francis Fukuyama “Against Identity Politics: The New Tribalism and the Crisis of Democracy”, Foreign Affairs, September/October, 2018


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