Antonis Pittas

Project:

soft monument, Ω, Electriciteitsfabriek, The Hague, 23 September – 28 November, 2021
Soft monument is a site specific intervention, made as a response to the debate around public statues and their contested histories. The work plays with the tension between monument and ephemera, questioning what and how we represent public memory in our current time.
Soft monument displaces one of the monumental curtains hanging in the Electriciteits Fabriek and repurposes it as a sculptural material. The result is an enclosed space that disorientates, isolates and changes our spatial perception.

Project:

jaune, geel, gelb, yellow. Acts of modernism with Antonis Pittas and Theo van Doesburg, Centraal Museum, Utrecht, 14 August – 6 February, 2022
Centraal Museum has invited Antonis Pittas (1973) to present his perspective on the Van Doesburg sub-collection. Pittas's intervention was inspired by his time as artist in residence at the Van Doesburg House in Paris (Meudon-Val-Fleury) in 2019. During his residence, Pittas studied the history and the mentality of Theo van Doesburg, the Van Doesburg House, and the wider De Stijl movement.

Centraal Museum has a unique sub-collection of works by Theo van Doesburg. Van Doesburg grew up in Utrecht and, as a driving force behind De Stijl, became one of the most influential artists in modern European art history. He designed the Van Doesburg House in accordance with his quest for cohesion between all artistic disciplines. Construction of the house was completed in 1930.

Pittas's stay in the studio house coincided with the yellow vests protests, and the focus of his research into modernism thus increasingly shifted towards the political unrest in the streets outside. The installation presents his study of Modernism, De Stijl and Van Doesburg from a political perspective, addressing the failure, collapse and passage into history of Van Doesburg's modernist ideals.
The title of the installation: jaune, geel, gelb, yellow. Acts of modernism refers to the first edition of Mecano, the Dadaist magazine of which Van Doesburg published four issues in 1922 and 1923. The title of each issue consisted of a colour repeated in the four languages in which the magazine was published. The installation's title also refers to the identifying colour of the yellow vest protest movement and Pittas's incorporation of reflective yellow foil of the type commonly used for traffic signs and road markings. The colour reflects Pittas's criticism of the modernism in Van Doesburg's works.

The installation was developed in parallel with a new publication to be published in December by Jap Sam Books.

Project:

one brick at a time, EKO 8, International Triennial of Art and Environment / A Letter to the Future, Former MTT factory, Maribor/Melje, Slovenia, 21 May – 18 July, 2020
one brick at a time is comprised of more than 1500 used bricks, texts and phrases rubbed in graphite are to be found. Not all the words and sentences can be read as the artist uses different scales and works with layers. Some of the texts are on the surface of the bricks and others reach out to the floor and walls of the dormant Folding House space of the MTT Factory site.

Up against the ecological crisis and the language and symbols used to convey it's tipping point, Pittas has researched structures of resistance as used by protestors and seen on the streets of Hong Kong. The informal piles of bricks, quite literally ripped up from the Hong Kong pavements. A field of obstacles, ad hoc devices and piles of paving stones to keep security vehicles and police snatch squads from reaching the protestors. The seemingly spontaneous nature of the street arrangements – is of interest, physically grown from the floor. The detritus of a street riot here is just one visual reference as well as past views of the factory with its processing machines and factory workers.
Reflecting on the title of the triennial A Letter to the Future, and the actions of many others to an ecological crisis that has difficulty being announced…and difficulty being verbalised, Pittas deploys texts associated with protest, of awakened action, with observed phrases and quotations taken from newspapers. This motif of layered graphic, of performed presentation on surfaces and onto architecture, in order to activate citizenship and create these new readings, is a central aspect to Pittas' practice.

Project:

ENOUGH, Refresh Amsterdam, Amsterdam Museum, Amsterdam, 11 December, 2020 – 28 March, 2021
The sculptural installation ENOUGH consists of different historical building fragments from Amsterdam's 17th, 18th and 19th century monuments. The Municipality of Amsterdam has granted him possession of these architectural remains, which Pittas sees as a part of our collective memory, carrying knowledge and cultural-historical value.

ENOUGH is based on the idea that hidden stories can be found in our material objects. The union of historical objects and contemporary discourse can create a sense of continuity of time and history, while at the same time revealing how people and places are connected and represented through the material aspects of our culture.

Through researching their origins, Pittas reflects on contested monuments and statues today and plays with the ambiguous narratives of heritage, political protest and social movements.
The process reactivates history and takes it into the present. To echo, voice and recycle the transhistorical realities, the fragments are 'vandalised' with graphite and marble dust quotations, taken from alternative archives as well as the contemporary public domain.

Within the exhibition the objects are paired with QR codes (you can access the content of QR code 1 here, QR code 2 here, and QR code 3 here), which leads to an online platform. Here the viewer has access to the archives and activates the research.

Project:

New Reproductions, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, 14 March – 2 May, 2020
Annet Gelink Gallery proudly presents the group show New Reproductions, featuring work by Maria Barnas, Ed van der Elsken, Roger Hiorns, Erik van Lieshout, David Maljkovic, Awoiska van der Molen, Robby Müller, Antonis Pittas, Wilfredo Prieto and Johannes Schwartz.

New Reproductions explores the correlation between publication, research, artwork, graphic designer, artist and institution. The show investigates the varied ways this correlation is formed, from insight into an artist's practice, to exploration of either artwork or exhibition, an in-depth reference work, or indeed to an independent work in and of itself. Mirroring the often overlooked yet rich material provided by artists' books, New Reproductions presents a visually eclectic selection of works to highlight a wide-ranging selection of publications; at the entrance to the show the various books are featured in the show as part of David Maljkovic' reconfigured modernist bookcase.

The definition of what makes an artists' book is a fluid reality that stretches the boundaries of the format. Through the different works and corresponding publications presented in the show, the frontiers of this fluidity are exposed. Johannes Schwartz' serialisation and typographical exploration of Olympic Torches function in direct conversation with and expand on his Athens Recorder publication from 2016, designed by his long-term collaborators Experimental Jetset, creating a new way to view the individual photographs. In the same vein, David Maljkovic' similarly titled artworks and catalogue - New Reproductions designed by Abåke- deconstruct the process of archiving, cataloguing and reproducing works of art through the printed format. Maria Barnas' The Writing Room, designed by Studio Felix Salut, also explores the relation between archive, print, book, and photographic reproduction.

Next to the archival and cataloguing nature of the artists' publication, the relation to the traditional exhibition is highlighted as well. Antonis Pittas' Road to Victory, designed by Project Projects, a mix of conceptual publication and catalogue, presents his artistic research into the rituals that revolve around exhibiting and archiving works of art. The work presented in New Reproductions show him both unravelling and playing into these practices.
In the same vein, Wilfredo Prieto challenges our notions of reading and interpreting what is on view through his transparent Hero and corresponding publication 'The Emperor's New Clothes' , also designed by Studio Felix Salut. The publication can be seen as a catalogue to the exhibition of the same title hosted by Annet Gelink Gallery in 2011, or alternatively, as a separate work in the form of an artists' book. Prieto's publication Loophole from 2015, furthermore designed by Studio Felix Salut, also functions in the same grey area: Both catalogue and artist's book. Other examples on display are Erik van Lieshout's Sündenbock, designed by Studio Remco van Bladel for his exhibition at Kunstverein Hannover and Roger Hiorns designed by Studio Felix Salut for Hiorns' exhibition at Frans Hals Museum Haarlem.

The world of the photo-book is represented by publications by Ed van der Elsken, Awoiska van der Molen and Robby Müller. Van der Elsken's Amsterdam!, designed by Anthon Beeke, gives a narrative to his interactions with his home-town, whilst Müller's Interior Exterior designed by Mevis & Van Deursen, re-imagines the famed cinematographer as a latter-day Dutch Master through the painterly compositions of his personal snapshots. Awoiska van der Molen's Sequester and Blanco, designed by Hans Gremmen,on the other hand show an ongoing examination into the nature of likeness, reproduction and photography.

In presenting book and artwork side by side, New Reproductions creates a dialogue between the rational, ordered and intellectual and the sensual, conceptual and emotive. The varied mix of the works on view each in their own way deal with the archival and self-propagating nature of the drive to put to paper what we encounter and experience.

Project:

MONOCHROME, Jaune, Geel, Gelb, Yellow,Van Doesburg studio-house, Paris, 26 – 28 April, 2019
The Van Doesburg House Foundation, Amsterdam, proudly presents Antonis Pittas – MONOCHROME, Jaune, Geel, Gelb, Yellow, an exhibition and intervention at Van Doesburghuis in Meudon-Val-Fleury, Paris.

For the occasion of the exhibition, Antonis Pittas turns the Van Doesburg artist house into a quasi-murder scene. With his intervention, he emphasizes its spatial properties and traces of usage. Against the backdrop of the recent events in Paris – from the burning of Notre-Dame to the yellow vests protests – he investigates the meaning and appropriation of (modernist) architectural heritage. Modernism came with a promise – not only of the new but of the better, more just and democratic. Yet, the utopian aspirations of the historical avant-garde came at a price, as its iconoclastic fantasy of total renewal paved the way for darker, totalitarian and fascist forces to enter the scene. As the artist puts modernist heritage under the magnifying glass, he is drawing parallels with current political developments that show a similar type of internal contradiction. Every gain comes with a loss: newfound solidarity can imply the exclusion of others, well-meant safety measures can cause an erosion of democratic freedoms, and so on. Antonis Pittas makes us aware of this complexity, and makes us wonder whether this will eventually lead to the definite 'murder' of modernity and of its cultural, social and political legacy.
Antonis Pittas developed MONOCHROME, Jaune, Geel, Gelb, Yellow during his residency at Van Doesburghuis between January and April 2019. Van Doesburghuis (1930) is the artist house designed by the Dutch founder of De Stijl, Theo van Doesburg, which kept its original function until today. The Van Doesburg House Foundation was established in 1980 to keep Theo van Doesburg's work and thinking alive and to make the house accessible to the public. In addition, the Foundation has made the artist house available to those who work professionally in the arts, in the fields in which Theo van Doesburg and his wife Nelly were active: fine art, design, architecture, literature, performing arts and film.

Project:

all done go home, Significant Other, Vienna, 26 January – 4 May, 2019
In autumn of 1968 The Convention on Road Traffic was signed by 78 countries during the United Nations Economic and Social Council in Vienna. The agreement also included the Convention on Road Signs and Signals. All of Europe, most of Asia and parts of Central and South America (we are basically talking about European powers and most of their former colonial lands), are until now, and only with slight adaptations, following the regulations agreed upon during that conference, including a unified system of signs and signals.

The history of road signs dates back to the times of the Roman Empire, famous for building roads spreading through their conquered territories. The first modern signs were - perhaps surprisingly - designed in relation to bicycle traffic in the late 19th century. When you think about it, it makes sense, since bicycles are relatively silent and therefore easily overlooked, yet fast enough to cause a potentially fateful crash. For this reason in 1926 European powers and the United States began to work on a system of internationally recognisable signs. But it would take another forty years and a Second World War to reach a commonly accepted regulation.

Enough of mere Wikipedia knowledge though! For Antonis Pittas road signs represent a physical and prominent visual form of state control, following aesthetic shifts in the universal perception of basic geometry, defined by the period of high modernism. Let's break this statement down. Pittas has always focused on ways how the visual styles of a given period are utilised to translate political or ideological messages to the public and how such an approach changes and develops a common understanding, acceptance and even appreciation of a shared visual language. Historical roadsigns were designed according to a much slower pace of traffic, when it was still feasible to use decorative styles, longer texts and demand more focused attention, than modern car traffic would ever allow for. Their simplification to basic geometrical forms of square, triangle and circle paired with stylised and radically abstracted symbols came not only in reference to modernism, but simply as a mere necessity.

Their layouts are nevertheless closely connected to the abstract language of Bauhaus, De Stijl and other related stylistic movements. Despite the prevalent role of historical styles of the past during the first half of the 20th century, dominantly used by oppressive totalitarian systems, certain practical aspects of modern life just couldn't do with ornamental structures and forms anymore. The most significant upgrade of road signs since they evolved from stone pillars and wooden boards to metal plates was the application of reflective surfaces, in order to render them visible without direct daylight and even these materials remained faithful to the basic colours used by previously mentioned modernist schools of thought and style; red, blue, yellow and green still being the most commonly featured chromatic choices.
Let's leave the topic of roadsigns for a moment. The most obvious form of visual representation of a state is, with the exception of architecture, the public monument. A genre which in spite of the lessons of modernism, land art, postmodernism and the anti-monument movement, remained predominantly realistic, or merely slightly abstracted. Most capitals, no matter which nation, are filled with sculptures of figures bearing witness to the official national dominant narrative. Thus it comes as no surprise that current populistic systems focus so much on reinstating a culture of realistic sculptures in public space, be it for example in present day Hungary or in the retrospectively discussed fate of the representation of war criminals, slave owners, proven racists or antisemites still proudly manifested on your city's main square, the metro station stop where your kid gets out for school or the airport of your holiday destination.

Another focal point of Pittas practice is directed at attacks targeting such moments as a gesture of public discontent, unrest or simply the need for expression of ones personal creativity. The slogan "all done go home" for instance was written by an anonymous member of the public on a newly erected, US sponsored, sculpture in the centre of Baghdad which replaced the previously decapitated monument of Saddam Hussein. In this respect, Pittas, despite living in the Netherlands for almost two decades, is not one to neglect his Greek legacy: the streets of Athens are, especially since the financial crisis, covered in self-confident expressions of malcontent towards the ruling elites. And this is where the wind blows in all done go home - which functions as a fragmentary extract from the endless archives of hijacked, vandalised, damaged, replaced or re-contextualized public monuments translated into warning signs themselves and accompanied by interpretative textual and visual material.

In this sense all done go home merges the allusion to the history of roadsigns and public monuments under the blinding reflective facade, which may or may not confuse the unsuspecting passing drivers. A subtle red thread of public imaginary formulated through re-verbalised collective memory, manifested in those depicted monuments and their literal or proverbial falls, opens up a fresh perspective over issues regarding the construction of memory and its unconscious power. all done go home tells a tale of the opposite, proving that actually nothing is done and we are still far from a point where we'll be able to sensibly approach constructs of historical narratives of nation states and disclose their manipulative falsehoods.

Project:

Abstand, Annet Gelink Gallery, Amsterdam, 8 September – 13 October, 2018
Annet Gelink Gallery proudly presents Abstand, the second solo-show by Antonis Pittas (1973, Athens, lives and works in Amsterdam) with the gallery.

Inside as opposite of outside. You as opposite of me. There is always a distance in contrapositions and it's where Antonis Pittas' practice sharply operates.

The German word abstand suggests both distance as spacing and distance as withdrawal. In Pittas' work words are experienced performatively, abstand therefore becomes a territory in which to investigate the underlying tensions in contemporary society.

In the immersive and surreal light emanating from the reflective wall that runs the length of the gallery, the viewers find themselves echoed in the aluminium and bronze sculptures cast from oversized truck wing mirrors. The atmosphere of hyper-modernism indicated in the main space is overturned in the Bakery, where enigmatic photographs create a choreography between abstract and figurative, industrial and human.
As an observer of his time, Pittas' research converges in a keen sensibility towards news media, an interest in civic architecture and public space, alongside an informed use of art historical references. Elements from diverse media and languages are filtered and translated into minimal hand-crafted objects with concrete presence and tactile magnetism.

In Abstand, aspects from the language of traffic management are extrapolated and displaced, from the outside to the inside. As transitional spaces, roads are overlooked in our daily lives, while through a series of symbols our behaviours are silently decoded and directed, boundaries are created.

Pittas imagines a setting behind the glossy façade which addresses our contemporary societal issues of being both the controlling and the controlled subjects, growing ever more distant from each other. Although strongly consistent with his line of work, Abstand marks a new chapter in Antonis Pittas' poetics and aesthetics.

Project:

Vice Versa: Our Earth is Their Moon, Our Moon is Their Earth, Festival m3/ Art in Space, Prague, 9 June – 30 September, 2018
Curated by Significant Other: Laura Amann & Jen Kratochvil
Organized by Studio Bubec

Civilization's most essential element
The quota of absolute necessities
Having been reduced to almost nothing
The quota of extra things
Has been extended to include almost everything...

VICE VERSA: Our Earth is Their Moon, Our Moon is Their Earth, is the title of this year's m3 festival: Art in Space and a phrase borrowed from Ursula Le Guin's 1974 utopian Sci-Fi novel The Dispossessed; it underlines the dual coexistence of two opposite, yet mutually dependent and intertwined civilisations.

In the context of a festival of art in public spaces it relates to issues of wide discrepancy between the general public and the professional art audience, questions regarding the various levels of social hierarchy in the population inhabiting the city, same as the peculiar relationship between local residents and short-term visitors.acclaimed authors. Each component is integral to the entire project, and intentionally sustains the suggested relationships between economic, historical, political and aesthetic trajectories.
VICE VERSA focuses on the heart of the city of Prague and specifically give attention to those things that usually go unnoticed in the spotlight. Dealing with issues of inclusion and exclusion, gentrification, visual pollution, the economy of tourism and therefore also the living conditions of the local inhabitants of Prague, a selected group of internationally active artists has been invited to develop and present new context-specific works, deploying practices which transcend traditional sculptural positions and encompass among others performance, moving image, photography and installation in an attempt to align Moon and Earth.

The mental space left by the reduction of our needs
Is taken up by those talents – artistic, poetic and scientific
Which multiply and take deep root
They spring from a necessity to produce and not from a necessity to consume...


Project:

Nothing to lose but your chains, Manifesta 12, 5x5x5 program, Palermo, 16 June – 4 November, 2018
Nothing to lose but your chains

Jennifer Steetskamp

If anything, the Greek artist Antonis Pittas is an observer and analyst of his time. Drawing from historical sources, he subjects the present to trans-historical readings, and exposes its conflictual and paradoxical indebtedness to the past. For his current work, he looked for material in his close surroundings. Attending CrossFit classes on a regular basis, he developed the idea for a contemporary group portrait involving his fitness peers. This resulted in a large black-and-white photograph that shows them together in varying poses (including Pittas as a cameo).

Nothing to lose but your chains is dense in its possible meanings and connotations. As Pittas lives and works in the Netherlands, it is almost impossible not to see parallels with the painterly genre of Dutch 17th-century group portraits. Back then, collective portraiture was typically reserved for regents, nobility and other important figures with a high social rank. The Dutch Golden Age, however, already contained the seeds for social change. Not unlike the Italian Risorgimento in the 19th century, it marked a time when the power of the bourgeois and parvenu was rising. The Dutch Golden Age paved the way for the class-struggle that marked the Industrial Revolution and, with colonialism at its foundation, acted as a predecessor of the globalized world economy as we currently know it. It is not entirely accidental, then, that the title of the current piece is borrowed from a famous quote by Karl Marx.

Interestingly, however, Pittas does not quote the 17th-century group portrait as a source for inspiration, but politically-charged group photography from the Russian revolution and after. One of the pictures the artist found during his research depicts a group of Bolsheviks posing with the portrait of Marx in the center. Other sources include pyramids of Russian athletes chanting propagandist slogans, and schematic representations of class struggle, for which the pyramid form was often used as a way of showing societal hierarchies. Now, in Pittas' contemporary rendering, it is no longer Marx who dominates the center of the image, but a sun-like reflective circle, which, through the lighting it creates, makes the image appear even more painterly.
In both the political arena and the avant-garde art of the time, the idea of 'the people' as a 'collective body' increasingly took hold. With the nationalist movements of the 19th century and the radical utopian ideas that determined the beginning of the 20th, various notions of 'public health' and 'social engineering' came into fashion. As Modernist concepts, they eventually fell prey to what Adorno and Horkheimer called the Dialectic of Enlightenment (1944/1947), laying the very groundwork for the Holocaust, which, in the eyes of the National Socialists, was an attempt of 'cleansing' the national body.

Looking from a more contemporary viewpoint at this dialectic of purity and violence, Pittas is especially interested in the dynamics of consumerism and service-oriented, post-industrial capitalism today. Pittas commonly refers to the current stage of history as 'hypermodernism' – Modernism to the extreme. His stance towards the concept of a 'public body' is mostly indebted to Michel Foucault, as he is interested in the mechanisms that we use today to control and discipline this very 'body'. They reach from various health-improvement apps to orthorexic eating behaviors, from personal and collective obsessions with the 'pure' and 'healthy' to extreme fitness and detox regimes. All these strategies fuel the false meritocratic fantasy that, through effort, anything can be achieved.

With apparent ease, Pittas draws a line from historical group portraiture to contemporary fitness hypes, fit girls and Instagram crazes, which are co-constitutive of the collective idea of a body that must be perfected and eventually overcome, in an anorexic attempt of improvement through self-annihilation. With this, Pittas also exposes the striking tension between the emphasis on individualism in neoliberalist societies, and the visual uniformity that capitalism eventually brings about through consumerist fashions. As much as the title has to be taken as a humoristic reference to contemporary hypes of self-improvement, the hovering slogan 'Every fantasy is collective' – a quote borrowed from Deleuze and Guattari's Anti-Oedipus (1972) – must be read as an ironic remark on Western lifestyle and the paradoxes it produces.

Project:

2 Unlimited, De Appel, Schipluidenlaan 12, Amsterdam, 30 May – 18 August, 2018
Curated by Rachael Rakes and Niels Van Tomme

Let me hear you say "Yeah"!

2 UNLIMITED is an exhibition in and about Amsterdam
It features people, objects, and ideas currently residing in the city
It considers homegrown artistic practices as critical and analytical tools
And the poetics and imaginaries of this space and time

2 UNLIMITED is set in the current age of ultra–development and mass tourism
But instead of decrying:

No no, no no no no, no no no no, no no there's no limit!
It foregrounds the work of new artistic communities that are grounded in Amsterdam's everyday reality
And its potential transformation

2 UNLIMITED gathers artists and critical thinkers

To present new possibilities for communication, language, communality, design
To break down exclusionary narratives and falsified myth–making
To not look back, only look forward
To dare imagine different futures
To rip it up and start again
To not give up the fight

Let me hear you say "Yeah"!

Project:

“lo sono qui!”, MACRO Museum Testaccio, Rome, 14 December 2017 – 28 January 2018‎

Project:

The Kids Want Communism: Final Installment, MoBY, Museums of Bat Yam, Bat Yam, 22 June – 11 November, 2017
The Kids Want Communism is a year long exhibitions project at MoBY-Museums of Bat Yam that is held in conjunction with a number of different artists and institutions around the world, including exhibitions, lectures, exhibits, screenings, and publications throughout the year of 2016-2017. Partner institutions include the Tranzit Prague, VCRC Kiev, Free / Slow University of Warsaw, State of Concept in Athens, Škuc Gallery in Ljubljana, Westspace in Melbourne, and MoBY.
Artists: Toy Boy, Tal Gafny, Jonathan Gold, Mati Lahat, Hila Laviv and Dana Yoeli, Ohad Meromi, Tamar Nissim; “Notes on Division” (curated by iLiana Fokianaki): Konstantinos Kotsis, Yota Ioannidou, Antonis Pittas, Yorgos Sapountzis, and Vangelis Vlahos

Curator: Joshua Simon

Project:

Neither Innocent Nor Guilty, Daily Lazy Projects, Athens, 26 September – 4 November, 2017
Curated by Giorgos Kontis

The new is new in its relation to the old, to tradition. [1]

The aesthetic regime of the arts is first of all a new regime for relating to the past. It actually sets up as the very principle of artisticity the expressive relationship inherent in a time and a state of civilization. [2]

The making of art comes along with a sense of repetition; instead of a Tabula Rasa there is a confrontation and an endeavour in dealing and being in a dialogue with the past and the spectres that come along with it. The past as both heritage and burden, and a repetition that is inevitable yet impossible as well; the work of art rooted in tradition, yet an ever changing one with a sense of an aura being constantly redefined. Formalism after semiotics, medium specificity and a sense of materiality that becomes questioned and explored; expanded forms of painting and sculpture in an endeavour to trace their relationship and its continuity with the past, as well as with the exhibition space that hosts and witnesses that and becomes flexible -intangible and conceptual itself.
The making of art as well as the exhibition space as a figure are in an ever present challenge and demand to be in sync with their time. What emerges is a duality in the space the artwork inhabits; a space in language, in its medium and cultural context, and the exhibition space in which it is physically present.

A coexistence of the work with the past and within the cultural context, as well as within and with the exhibition space. And, a question about how seemingly traditional forms of art, such as sculpture and painting, function in relation to their present; being, simultaneously, in an open dialogue with the past and history of their medium and the heritage that follows it. The matter here is not a case of medium specificity, it is rather a state of flux of the aesthetic function of the work and how this is intertwined with the conditions that surround its making; a relationship between the work and its ground, whatever this may be.

[1] Boris Groys, On the New, Verso 2014, p.6
[2] Jacques Ranciere, The politics of Aesthetics, Bloomsbury Academic 2013, p.20

Project:

Propositions for Non-fascist Living, Propositions #1: What We Mean, Inaugural Performative Conference, BAK, Utrecht, 7 October, 2017
Over the next four years, BAK unfolds its long-term research itinerary Propositions for Non-Fascist Living. Prompted by the dramatic resurfacing and normalization of fascisms, historical and contemporary, and inspired by philosopher Michel Foucault, BAK develops and gathers propositions for an “art of living counter to all forms of fascism, whether already present or impending,”1 including “the fascism in us all, in our heads and in our everyday behavior, the fascism that causes us to love power, to desire the very thing that dominates and exploits us.”2 Through its exhibitionary, discursive, and performative facets, Propositions for Non-Fascist Living attempts to articulate and inhabit methods of de-individualized living; methods in which multiplicity and difference enact relations other than those enamored with power and hierarchy, endeavoring to both articulate and inhabit options of being together otherwise.
Propositions #1: What We Mean begins from an urgency for—and uncertainty about—what living in non-fascist ways could and does mean. The gathering takes place in a makeshift environment amid the renovation of BAK’s new venue. Through impromptu artworks, lectures, readings, discussions, screenings, performances, and explorations of the assembly—of being together—as an art form, Propositions #1: What We Mean practices art as thought and action intervening in the contemporary. Artistic interventions and the screening program remain on view Sunday 8 October 2017.

Project:

Extra-Citizen – a prologue, Kunsthal Extra City, Antwerp, 9 September – 10 December, 2017
Curated by Antonia Alampi and iLiana Fokianaki

How can we describe what a citizen is today? When can we say we belong to a place? How much have the informal meaning and legal definition of the notion of citizenship transformed over the last decades? This exhibition draws on the imagination of contemporary artists to inspire a reflection on the scope of citizenship today, particularly in cities that are faced with an urgency to adapt to the diversity of their inhabitants.

The composition of people that inhabit the cities of the old continent has changed substantially in the last century. Global migration and the World Wide Web, new and complex forms of mass interaction (social media or otherwise) and knowledge exchange, along with the free movement of goods, capital and services, define the world in which we live. Things such as nationality, birthplace, language, and religion are not the sole defining factors with respect to our sense of belonging to a place or community. Nevertheless, we are witnessing, once again, a re-emergence of ‘us’ and ‘them’, a development that denies the complex diversity and hybridity of cultures and world-views that define contemporary European metropolises. On the other hand, grassroots movements have increasingly emerged and the reality of our cities has bred new and younger, multi-lingual and multi-national citizens who are defined by their greater cultural, social and economic diversity.
This exhibition reflects once again on the purpose and power of citizenship, not solely in relation to the nation state, but also vis-à-vis other organised communities, from the city to the neighbourhood, and even to supranational bodies. The intention behind ‘Extra Citizen’ is to inspire reflection on what we might inscribe in a new and much-needed polyphonic definition of citizenship.

Participating artists Meriç Algün, Younes Baba- Ali, Zbynēk Baladrán, James Bridle, Bram Demunter, Cao Fei, Iman Issa, Ahmet Ögüt, Dan Perjovschi, Antonis Pittas, Martha Rosler, Marinella Senatore, Philippe Van Snick, Grant Watson