Selma Selman (b. 1991), is an artist originally from the city of Bihać, north of Bosnia-Herzegovina, and is of Romani origin. She earned her BFA from the Academy of Arts in Banja Luka, before obtaining her MFA at Syracuse University in New York in Transmedia, Visual and Performing Arts. Her materials are far-reaching: From performances and film, to lectures, and more recently, AI technology, her expansive practice aims to effect change across scales. Early on, she began recasting traditional metal remnants of recycled homework appliances, rooted in her family’s traditional labor, taking pride in the way her art acts as a tool to question, accept and redefine her family’s labor and its value. Selman’s lived experiences act as a guide to empower and educate women. Selman is the founder of the organization “Get The Heck To School” which aims to empower Roma girls all around the world who faced ostracization from society and poverty.
Read the full interview here︎︎︎
Perjovschi’s habits of observation, honed by a decades-long career in the press, seized on the language of the pandemic early on. Documenting the world as it became consumed by Covid-19, the confusion of public health guidelines and mask-wearing policies, growing nationalism(s), and recent coverage of the political and epidemiological health of the USA, Perjovschi’s drawings chart how rapidly our realities and unrealities are being supplanted. In his search for subjects in the news, lifted paywalls and social media groups have benefitted the artist’s thoughtful snapshots of our collective global moment. Perjovschi’s decades-long practice of staging political drawings on the walls of museums and public surfaces, from The Museum of Modern Art’s vertical atrium to the floors of the Venice Biennale, has been temporarily suspended. The artist recently sat down with us digitally to discuss his current work.
The contemporary works of Amsterdam-New York based artist James Beckett (b. 1977, Zimbabwe) traverse the metaphysical thresholds of dowsing, examine biographical inquests, and recover material traces of modernist and European industrial pasts. In Beckett’s works, real and fictionalized scenarios are often presented alongside evidentiary fragments, museum artefacts and historical reconstructions, re-interpreted across a wide range of media and layering techniques. In 2003, Beckett won the Prix De Rome prize for art and public space and he has recently shown at the 56th Venice Biennale; MAAT, Lisbon; 1st Riga Biennial, Latvia; MCAD, Manila; and the 5th Thessaloniki Biennale. His works are in the public collections of the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam and Centre Pompidou, Paris, amongst others. In December 2020, a year into the present pandemic, we sat down with James virtually to discuss his current concerns and explore how he came to his architectural approach and art practice.
Read the full interview here︎︎︎
The works of Virginia Russolo (b.1995) invite us to explore ancient rites, belief systems, and rituals, activated through the surfaces of painting. The artist ascribes a ritual significance to the application and order of materials; repetitive action allows for a state of meditative tranquility free from distractions and the expectations of viewership. Animal and plant materials, such as beeswax, propolis, and oils, are reworked, anointed, and massaged, gradually revealing the translucence, hue, and even the scent of the final form. Russolo’s newest series of works, MappeAltari (Altar Maps), began shortly after her move to Crete. These maps blur the boundaries of the real, the abstract, and the sacred, suggesting connections to dwelling, geological matter, ritual, and animated play. As sculptural cartographies, they stimulate our primordial understanding of touch as a means of navigation, heightened through the uncanny interplay of fur elements and suspended objects.
Russolo grew up in Italy, the United States, Japan, the Netherlands, and the UK. In 2017, she obtained a BFA from The University of Oxford and has since exhibited at gallery T293, Italy; K-Gold Temporary Gallery, Greece; the 7th Thessaloniki Biennale, Greece; The Pitt Rivers Museum of Ethnography, UK; Modern Art Oxford, UK; Tate Modern, UK; and Fondazione Spinola Banna, Italy. This May, Virginia will be participating in the Mediterranea 19 Young Artists Biennale in San Marino.
Read the full interview here︎︎︎
Art in Quarantine, Exhibition Catalog
︎︎︎Catalog Editor, Introduction
@ Published by space52 and reprinted in Interartive Journal
In May 2019, Bary Shwabsky wrote about the relation of artistic praxis and fiction, using the term thought experiments to carve out their interrelated function. Like characters in a story, artworks described but never seen nor touched, can be useful mnemonics in an imaginary encounter. Shwabsky called attention to an historic lineage of art that has taken place outside of Art History, dreamt up by writers, artists, philosophers and poets alike, whose descriptions of hypothetical artwork still influence their readers. Examples abound. Virginia Woolf’s body of paintings form an archive in their own right. Such was her dependency on thought experiments that in Blue and Green, a Woolfian story about two colors, she resorted to complete abstraction.
Thought experiments, as Shwabsky defines them, never intend to become physical artifacts. They carve out an imaginary space where abstract encounters take place. The viewing conditions stirred by thought experiments as Shwabsky describes them recall writer & filmmaker Dalia Neis’s analysis of the absent painting in David Ruiz’s 1979 film, The Hypothesis of the Stolen Painting, about which she observed: “imagined scenarios become virtual possibilities, more real than their lived counterparts.” Do thought experiments offer a way forward for the analysis and display of art produced in the present moment?
Read the full essay here︎︎︎
MOMAFAD, Exhibition Catalog
The essays in this publication draw the reader into a range of historical perspectives. Beginning with Giorgos Tzirtzilakis’ essay, “L'éphemère est éternel: The Melancholy of The Modern and The Vibration of a Moment”, this essay situates the interest in the Ellinikon airport in a contemporary desire to preserve modernity’s past. Driving this desire is the fear of loss which manifests as an aesthetic attitude. According to Tzirtzilakis, MOMAFAD specifically investigates how one can momentarily preserve the past through actions of the contemporary. It asks: What sort of certainty could the momentary give birth to? The project comes with no reservations or guarantees. Rather, MOMAFAD infuses the kind of modernism we dream of, ensuring the ephemeral acquires duration.
Exhibition Research (Selection)
Neri Oxman: Material Ecology Installation View. Photograph by John Wronn.
May 14 - October 18, 2021
︎︎︎Catalog Research and Editorial Support
@ MoMA, NY
From tree bark and crustacean shells to silkworm webs and human breath, nature shapes Neri Oxman’s innovative design and production processes. As a designer, architect, and founding director of The Mediated Matter Group at the MIT Media Lab, Oxman has developed not only new ways of thinking about materials, objects, buildings, and construction methods, but also new frameworks for interdisciplinary—and even interspecies—collaborations. Her pioneering approach, which she calls “material ecology,” brings together materials science, digital fabrication technologies, and organic design, to create new possibilities for the future. While individually these works are beautiful and revolutionary, together they put forward a new philosophy of designing, making—and even unmaking—the world around us.
The Value of Good Design
February 10 – June 15 2019
Tom Burckhardt, STUDIO FLOOD (2017)
︎︎︎Curatorial support and research
@ MoMA, NY
Featuring objects from domestic furnishings and appliances to ceramics, glass, electronics, transport design, sporting goods, toys, and graphics, The Value of Good Design explores the democratizing potential of design, beginning with MoMA’s Good Design initiatives from the late 1930s through the 1950s, which championed well-designed, affordable contemporary products. The concept of Good Design also took hold well beyond the Museum, with governments on both sides of the Cold War divide embracing it as a vital tool of social and economic reconstruction and technological advancement in the years following World War II. The exhibition also raises questions about what Good Design might mean today, and whether values from mid-century can be translated and redefined for a 21st-century audience. Visitors are invited to judge for themselves by trying out a few “good design” classics still in production, and exploring how, through its design stores, MoMA continues to incubate new products and ideas in an international marketplace.
Tom Burckhardt: “Studio Flood”
6 September – 8 October 2017
Lubaina Himid, Le Rodeur (The Lock, 2016)
@ Pierogi Gallery, NY
Dominating the main gallery is a life-size, walk-in installation—”STUDIO FLOOD”—executed entirely in cardboard and black paint, and centered on the image of an artist’s studio that has experienced a catastrophic flood. “I have many friends in New York who had this very situation a few years back when Hurricane Sandy damaged their spaces and artwork. Visitors to this installation will enter a fictional painting studio—not unlike my friends’—but this flooded room is upside down. Here the floor plane, now an extended surface of water, appears above our heads. One’s world is turned upside down, both figuratively and literally. In the floodwater, black monochrome canvasses—emblems of intellect, will, and discipline—are floating and have been wrenched from their creators’ control and set adrift.” (Burckhardt). New York City, and indeed, all costal communities around the world are vulnerable to rising seas and flooding.
Lubaina Himid: Invisible Strategies
January - April 2017
@ Modern Art Oxford, UK
One of the pioneers of the British Black Arts Movement, Himid first came to prominence in the 1980s when she began organising exhibitions of work by her peers, whom she felt were under-represented in the contemporary art scene. Himid’s work challenges the stereotypical depictions of black figures in art history, foregrounding the contribution of the African diaspora to Western culture.
Invisible Strategies brings together a wide range of Himid’s paintings from the 1980s to the present day, as well as sculptures, ceramics and works on paper. Containing many works shown for the first time in decades alongside pieces never-before seen in a public gallery, this exhibition highlights Himid’s consistently thought-provoking and distinctive visual style.
The Museum of Modern Art Archives, New York. IN528.8