What is known as Eastern Europe, the countries that made up the old Soviet Union together with the former Yugoslavia and East Germany, is no longer seen as the infamous site of the failed Russian Empire but more as an extension of the West. Twenty years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, Eastern Europe perhaps seems to have forsaken the right to be interesting as a geopolitical whole. What used to be Eastern Europe’s defining factor, Socialism and belonging or not belonging to the Soviet sphere of influence, is what makes a revisiting of the region and its ideologies most interesting for these artists, for whom their experience has inevitably informed their practice.
Calvert22 is presents Photo I, Photo You, the fourth exhibition at the contemporary art space in Shoreditch. Curated by Iara Boubnova, the exhibition will present works by leading Russian and Eastern European artists who invite the viewer to reconsider, revisit and rediscover what they think they know through a series of mixed media works.
Photo I, Photo You aims to trigger a double-take on the East of Europe, focusing on artworks by leading contemporary artists whose origin and inspiration come from the region, and who lead us to reconsider what is presented. These works allow the viewer to recognise what they might think they know in a new way. In this way, nothing is obvious, nothing is what is seems to be, and nothing is how we thought it would be when we first looked at it.
Through photography, video, found and ready-made objects, the artists in Photo I, Photo You use means that maintain close links to reality and its people, locations and buildings. In so doing, they find a lighter and more delicate context for concrete impressions and experiences.
"We tend to see the other in terms of cliché, established patterns of habit or random memories from the guidebooks or the media, yet most of the things in the world that we think we know, in fact demand a second glance. The known demands attention just as much as the unknown."
— Iara Boubnova
Iara Boubnova is a curator and art critic. Since 1984 she has been Curator of the Department for East European Art at the National Gallery for Foreign Art, Sofia. In 1995 she founded the Institute of Contemporary Art, Sofia.
In 2009 Boubnova curated From Ideology to Economy. Bulgarian Contemporary Art 20 Years Later at the State Central Museum of Contemporary History of Russia, Moscow (with Maria Vassileva); Common History and its Personal Stories, at MUSA, Vienna; and Liquid Frontiers as a part of Europe XXL in Lille.
Previously she co-curated History in Present Tense as part of Footnotes on Geopolitics, Market and Amnesia at the 2nd Moscow Bienniale (2007); Joy at Casino Luxembourg and Dialectics of Hope, at the 1st Moscow Bienniale (both 2005); Manifesta 4, Frankfurt am Main (2002). She curated and organised the Bulgarian national participations at the 48th Venice Biennale (1999); the 3rd Biennial in Cetinje, Montenegro (1997); the 4th St. Petersburg Biennial (1996); the 4th Istanbul Biennial (1995); and the 22nd Sao Paulo Biennial (1994).
Exhibiting artists include Olga Chernysheva, Igor Eskinja, Anna Jermolaewa, Vikenti Komitski, Ján Mancuska, Kiril Prashkov, Anri Sala and Nebojsa Seric´ Shoba.
Eastern Europe Formerly >
Ján Mancuska, The Other (2007), Photograph, detail, Courtesy of the artist, West London Projects, London; Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York and Meyer-Riegger, Berlin.
Angela De La Cruz, Still Life (Table), 2000, wood and oil on canvas.
Angela de la Cruz, Excitement beyond the Frame
Situated in-between painting and sculpture, Angela de la Cruz’s works hide in corners, bully each other and fall from the wall as they fight against the physical constraints of gallery spaces. Her practice stems from a feeling of exhaustion with painting.
Angela de la Cruz >>
Anna Maria Maiolino, installation view Among Many (retrospective exhibition), 2005,
Creation and Destruction in a Five-Decade Career
In a career that spans five decades and a diversity of disciplines and mediums including clay, ink, film and performance, Anna Maria Maiolino’s work retains a fundamental concern with creative and destructive processes and with identity.
Anna Maria Maiolino >>
Joseph Beuys, Germany 1921-1986, Ja, ja, ja, ja, ja, nee, nee, nee, nee, nee, 1969
The Purity of Noise where Visual and Sonic Art Meet
White Noise, a group exhibition featuring works that exist at the intersection of visual art, music and sound by artists of different generations features sounds to be looked at and objects to be heard and explores how sound can obliterate as well as elevate.
White Noise >>
Loek Grootjans, Storage.
Foundation to Benefit the Aspiration of Context
One thing that can be said about Loek Grootjans with absolute certainty: he thinks in terms of systems and takes his artistic practice very seriously, in the sense that everything is thought out down to the very last detail.
Loek Grootjans >>
Miller Brittain, Posting the Ops List, 1945, Canadian War Museum, Ottawa..
Miller Brittain's Studies of 20th Century War and Peace
Miller Brittain: When the Stars Threw Down Their Spears celebrates Brittain’s artistic legacy and provides a fresh insight into his diverse body of work, from the dynamic social realism depictions of his native Saint John, to his surrealist-inspired compositions.
Miller Brittain >>
of the Craft
Allison Elizabeth Taylor has become well-known for reinvigorating the Renaissance craft of marquetry, or intarsia wood inlay, a medium once made popular during the unprecedented age of luxury of Louis XIV's Court of Versailles. By choosing a medium that is typically associated with wealth and power to portray dystopian scenes of everyday life, Taylor creates a tension between the luxurious connotations of the material and a certain abjectness of the subject matter.
In Foreclosed, Alison Elizabeth Taylor turns to architecture and interior space to reveal the pathos of lives dispossessed by the recent economic disaster and to explore the human impact of the short-sighted policies and greed that triggered millions of foreclosures. Visiting her childhood home of Las Vegas, Nevada, Taylor watched first-hand how an explosive housing market has fallen prey to the bubble-bust phenomena that has become common across the country.
Throughout this new body of work, the viewer experiences an architectural space not through its contents but through its voids. The images in this new body of work focus on the marks, holes, and removals found in derelict homes that have been vandalized in connection with their foreclosure. Taylor's research process included climbing through broken windows and documenting the interiors of foreclosed properties. She explains, "I create works based on the damage I've seen: punched and kicked out holes in drywall, shotgun blasts from inside a house thru the exterior wall, broken doors, windows, stolen pipes and copper wire, taps left on to flood, angry graffiti, stripped interiors, and in one case a hole in the back of the house that squatters had made with a pickaxe, a sort of back door where they could come and go unseen by neighbors." These markings become evidence of the emotional havoc experienced by those removed from these properties. Taylor thus explores the feelings of frustration and loss of power still tangible in these abandoned physical spaces.
Upcoming in fall 2010, Alison Elizabeth Taylor will be the subject of a solo exhibition at the Savannah College of Art and Design, which will originate at the Savannah gallery space and travel to the college's Atlanta gallery space. In 2009 Taylor received a Louis Comfort Tiffany Foundation Award and was the subject of a solo show at The College of Wooster Art Museum, Ohio. Currently, Taylor's work on view as part of the 185th Annual: An Invitational Exhibition of Contemporary American Art, National Academy Museum, NY curated by Nancy Malloy and Marshall Price. Her work has been featured in numerous group exhibitions, including in 2009 Supramundane at Ambach and Rice Gallery in Seattle; in 2007 The Powder Room, Track 16 Gallery, LA; in 2005, Dirty Pigeons at 96 Gillespie's, London and Other America at Exit Art, NY. Taylor is a graduate of Columbia University, Graduate School of the Arts (2005) and she lives and works in Brooklyn, New York.
Alison Elizabeth Taylor >
Alison Elizabeth Taylor, The Gamer, 2009-10, detail, Wood veneer, shellac, 22 X 18"