- Published on Sunday, 21 October 2012 15:33
Between October and December the residency / exhibition project "Taking Time" is taking place in Nida Art Colony; a curatorial project proposing to focus on what happens within the time and spatial frame of an artistic residency, based around themes surrounding "On Hosting and Displacing”. Working with a group of artists from Eastern and Western Europe, curators Federica Martini and Petra Koehle (Switzerland) are using an experimental curatorial format - Petra Koehle (CH) working with the artists for the first 10 days of the project and Federica Martini arriving towards the end of the residency to finalise the curation of the works, ready for the exhibition in the Gallery “Akademija” of Vinius Academy of Arts in December. The artists are currently sharing ideas, experiences and references to build around themes of the project collaboratively.
Artists participating in the project:
Fiona Reilly (Ireland), Peter Wehinger (AT), Marika Troili (SE), Vahag Hamalbashyan (Armenia), Myroslav Vayda (Ukraine), Natalia Zintsova (RU), Marta Bogdanska (PL) and Eva-Fiore Kovacovsky (CH/NL). Our other resident artists arriving in November might also join the project.
Artists from the East were selected with the help of our partner institutions.
This is the first programme of the bigger cooperation project between Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts (NAC/VDA) and Fondation Chateau Mercier (FCM) and Ecole Cantonale d’Art du Valais (ECAV) in Sierre (small town in the Alps in Switzerland), that are located in remote areas and explore alternative models of cultural production, based on a combination of artistic residencies, active exhibition centres and artistic educational programs.
The aim of the project is to share experiences between two institutions, Nida Art Colony of Vilnius Academy of Arts (NAC/VDA) and Fondation Chateau Mercier (FCM) et Ecole Cantonale d’Art du Valais (ECAV) à Sierre, that are located in remote areas and explore alternative models of cultural production, based on a combination of artistic residencies, active exhibition centres and artistic educational programs.
Both partners are located in picturesque areas that are attractive for tourists on the one hand, and inspiring for artists and their community on the other.
Through the collaboration between NAC/VDA and ECAV, “On Hosting and Displacing…” will focus on the specificity of remote, picturesque contexts dominated by landscapes (both rural or alpine/marine) that are being “regenerated” today through touristic and cultural policies, and will question critical models for artistic intervention in such environments.
The subject of hosting and producing culture in remote, alternative places will be approached both intensively (artistic residencies, short events like a symposium and workshop-based exhibitions) and extensively (long research periods carried out during art and research residencies).
We are thankful for our partners who provided grants for the most of curators and artists. Project is supported by Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia, Ministry of Culture of Lithuanian Republic, Nordic-Baltic mobility programme for culture.
KEYWORDS: hosting, remoteness, networked retreat, centres in peripheries, site-specificity, itinerant colonies, cultural production and cultural nomadism, translation, artistic research and exhibition making, production-oriented exhibition spaces, post-romantic, education - mountains & learning breeze, active learning in an art & nature community, artistic PhD as a residency, intercultural artistic and social communication, critical tourism.
SHORT BIOS OF CURATORS
Federica Martini, PhD, is an art historian and curator. She was a member of the Curatorial Departments of the Castello di Rivoli Museum of Contemporary Art, Rivoli-Turin, Musée Jenisch Vevey and Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts/Lausanne, and curator of the visual art section of the Festival des Urbaines, Lausanne.
Since 2009 she is head of the Master program MAPS - Arts in Public Spheres at ECAV, Ecole Cantonale d’Art du Valais, Sierre.
Her curatorial practice, often developed in collaboration, explore diverse exhibition formats and “out of the cube” situations, such as ethnographic or historic museums, online archives, atomic shelters, gardens, fanzines/editions.
Recent exhibitions include Outsourcing (edition, 2009); The Reading Sculpture (edition, 2009); Double Exposure (Conches – Musée d’ethnographie, Genève, 2010); Slipping Glimpser (Théatre Arsenic, atomic shelters, Lausanne, 2011); Incongruous (Musée cantonal des Beaux-Arts/Lausanne, 2011); What is a Fact? (Musée historique, Yverdon-les-Bains, 2012); Vague Terrain – 0° latitude-longitude Gleisdreieck (Complices, Berlin, 2012). She is currently working with Didier Rittener on the project Royal Garden 4 – Rivières (Le Crédac – Centre d’art contemporain d’Ivry).
Recent publications: Just Another Exhibition: Stories and Politics of Biennials (Postmedia Books, Milano, 2011) and Marco Fedele di Catrano – Unbearable dissertation on a broken line (cura, Roma, 2011), and several articles on exhibiting national identities.
Petra Koehle has studied photography, theory and fine art at the Zurich University of the Arts and at Central Saint Martins University of the Arts London.
Since 2003 she works collaboratively with Nicolas Vermot Petit-Outhenin. They developed a performative Setting to understand the probability of a chance meeting, managed a Guesthouse in Sihanoukville and activated Archive material by reenacting some of its documents. In order to understand the present they connect their own existence with other spaces and different times. Koehle/Vermot's latest works and researches are investigating how technologies and more specifically the medium of photography relates to the process of archiving and how its mechanisms of selection it imposes certain rules. Collaborations with other people as well as organizing exhibitions, discussions and performances are consistently part of their work and a strategy to intervene cultural politics.
Petra Koehles work was honored with a Werkbeitrag of the City and the Canton of Zürich, the UBS Culture Foundation and the Kiefer Hablitzel Award. Studio awards in the Swiss Institute in Rome and the Cité internationale des Arts de Paris. Exhibitions in Palais de Tokyo in Paris, Museum of Modern Art Frankfurt, Kunsthaus Glarus, Shedhalle Zurich and at the Sinop Biennial in Turkey. Presentations and performances at Kunsthalle Baselland in Basle, Piano Nobile in Geneva and during Printed Matter in PS1 in New York. She published several artist books in the edition fink such as There where I should have been yesterday. I am here today and Pour les Oiseaux. Petra Köhle has curated performance evenings and exhibitions at the Cité internationale des Arts de Paris and the Swiss Institute in Rome. Currently she is doing her Phd at the University of the Art in Linz and works as guest lecturer at Berne University of the Arts and as assistant a Ecole Cantonale d'Art du Valais.
- Published on Sunday, 14 October 2012 08:52
Nida Art Colony crew headed on the 3rd of October towards Tallinn, where we participated in Nordic-Baltic Residency Circle meeting. As there were 8 spaces in the van, we invited some of our artists-in-residence to jump in the car and have a trip together.
En route to Tallinn we picked up our friend Signe Pucena from Riga; Signe runs the Interdisciplinary Art Group SERDE, based in rural Latvia. SERDE has a unique way of working with the local community, a relationship built up very naturally through different projects over the years that have been relevant to both to the resident artists and the local community, such as moonshine (vodka) making workshops using local recipes collected from older generations of people living in the village. Just outside of Riga I had a tasty Latvian version of a Russian soup, accompanied by some carrot pancakes with breakfast cereal on top; pretty unusual considering it was an evening meal.
Brewing workshop, image from http://labsalus.lv/alus-aizpute-pirmais-baltijas-majalus-daritaju-saiets/
Arriving in Tallinn just before midnight, we found our way inside Culture Factory Polymer, an artist-led alternative culture space in a huge old building that used to be a toy factory in soviet times. To paraphrase Ernest Truely, our host for the two nights, the place is the total opposite of Nida Art Colony; artworks, graffiti, mannequins, a miniature toy museum and other bits and pieces make their way in to most corners of the building. The lines between the space itself and the art created within it are blurred, just as workshop crosses over with performance, you can sauna inside a work of art, whilst watching a gig taking place in an installation. It's chaotic, but it lends itself to artists being experimental in a way that they perhaps would not feel able to do in more traditional art spaces. Polymer have an international residency programme, artist studios, an event space and facilities, such as the printing press that students from the Estonian Academy of Arts are currently using due to their temporary homelessness, their university building having been fairly recently demolished.
Ernest Truely in the Polymer roof garden and showing our artist in residence Fiona Rielly round, photo by artist-in-residence Marika Troili
2.tants is a dance agency based at Kanuti Gildi Saal, another building that the displaced art students have re-located to for some of their needs. Of course it is probably only as an outsider that I am able to note any positive outcomes of the dislocation of the students by their own university, but it seemed that through their having no other facilities to access, the art students in Tallinn are integrated in to their local art scene far more than students perhaps usually are before having graduated, using the different arts spaces around the city according to their needs. Kanuti Gildi Saal has a great performance space, an international residency programme as well as studios, and are located inside yet another interesting old building.
2.tants Theatre space, image from http://www.saal.ee/saal
From the Nordic – Baltic Residency Circle meeting we attended we were able to talk to representatives from other residency centres across these regions; as there were many participants I didn't manage to talk to everybody there, so I'll write here about those I got the chance to speak to and found the most interesting. Mustarinda Association is situated in a remote, woodland setting in Finland, and takes on a really interesting mix of theorists and researchers as well as visual artists.
Mustarinda Association http://www.mustarinda.fi/N%C3%A4yttelyt/Media
EMS in Sweden did a presentation about their studios and research centre, where they hold residencies for people working with electronic music and sound art. They've been going since the 60s (footage from the centre's early explorations into computer based sounds are well worth checking out on youtube) and still have a really good ethos and exciting approach towards supporting innovations in experimental, electronic sounds.
Film still from 'Thomas Sjöland @ EMS, Stockholm' on Youtube
Fabrikken for Kunst og Design in Copenhagen sounded like an interesting centre simply due to the mix and number of residents; there are 55 studios that practitioners from fields such as architecture and set design as well as contemporary art are working in. It also appeared as though the organisation's relation with the local community extended far beyond a gesture, informing both the resident artists' practice and the local community, engaging in a two way dialogue.
Fabrikken for Kunst og Design in Copenhagen, image from http://www.ffkd.dk/english/english.php
I didn't get a chance to visit Ptarmigan in Tallinn, but through conversation it sounded as though they've got a great programme of critically engaged, interdisciplinary projects, running in tandem with their partner organisation in Finland.
'Fake it Til You Make It' workshop, image from http://www.ptarmigan.ee/projects
I am only really able speak of how much I personally have come in to contact with coverage and reportage of the art scene in the Baltic states as an artist / curator from the UK; however, through searching for articles about Tallinn and Riga on major arts websites, there is little mention of art activity other than the Baltic Triennial of International Art, even with Tallinn being one of the European Capitals of Culture last year. Certainly, artists from the Baltic States represent their countries at major international biennials, however I feel it is fair to say that the art scenes themselves that these artists are temporarily exported from seem to go relevantly unnoticed on an international scale. In this sense you could call these cities remote; just as a remoteness may distance residents at Nida Art Colony from the rest of the world in spacial terms, such conditions enable a very communal and supportive network for those within it. I got the impression that this is precisely why the art scenes in these cities are thriving and at least why I found Tallinn and Riga such exciting cities to visit; with not such a prominent placing in the European contemporary arts community and a welcome lack of the over-saturation of projects that can be found in cities with a much larger and more prominent art scene, such as Berlin and New York, they have created their own supportive and exciting contemporary arts network. As Nida Art Colony is part of the Baltic – Nordic Network of Remote Residencies, as an artist or curator staying here, it's a really good way of being able to get far more of an insight into these cities' art spaces than perhaps one would have as an artist traveling here alone or from of course looking them up on the internet.
I wandered if this positioning within the European art scene has created the necessary framework for centres such as the EKKM (Estonian Museum of Contemporary Art) to emerge, which describes one of its aims as „to take the place of a missing contemporary art museum in the art field, but in another sense it should ask what a contemporary art museum should be like: what makes a museum and what kind of a museum is possible and necessary“. The exhibition we visited was one of the most exciting I have seen in a long while; initially squatting the building, the EKKM are indeed an 'alternative art space', yet they question the categorization, and ultimately the kind of institutionalization that this umbrella term brings; they are if you will, an alternative to the alternative.
Logo for Estonian Museum of Contemporary Art
While beautiful, after a day or so in the touristic old town, it's nice to get further out of the centre; if you're a fan of Andrei Tarkovsky's 1979 science fiction film from 1979, Stalker, the EKKM's positioning opposite the building in which the entrance to the Zone is filmed is pretty exciting. The exhibition we saw really worked with the space, for instance a film was screened in a precariously sloping shaft, so that you had to walk down a steep decline to your seats, to watch the screen suspended below your feet.
A street in Tallinn's old town
Entrance to the Zone, with what looked like reconstruction activity surrounding it
Before I move on to our next city, I must mention a 24 hr cafeteria next to the train station that Ernest Truely got us on to, serving mostly fried food; late at night/ early in the morning, a fried doughnut or two filled with potato is pretty incredible.
Train tracks in Tallinn, photo by artist-in-residence Marika Troili
Fried food in the train-side cafetria, photo by artist-in-residence Marika Troili
Driving to Latvia, we arrived at kim? in Riga, which again, had one of the most exciting exhibitions I have seen in a while, And So On and So Forth, comprised of international artists and curated by Margit Säde Lehni. Engaging with work in a way that goes beyond the current trend of investigations in to 'unrealised' projects, works were exhibited in different stages of progress – unending, indefinite, incomplete, "well-done", "badly done," and "not done", which made for really engaging and sometimes funny work.
David Horvitz, Public Access, 2011 – ongoing, dimensions variable, part of exhibition And So On And So Forth, image taken from http://www.kim.lv/programma/Izstades/AND_SO_ON_AND_SO_FORTH/229/1
Our host Kaspars Lielgalvis from Totaldobze took us to a Georgian restaurant for a really tasty late night meal full of meat and cheese. Another amazingly friendly welcome to the centre we were staying in, Kaspars showed us round the building, positioned in an area of factories that televisions and telephones used to be made in in soviet times; much like Polymer, it has kept most of the building's interior as it was, however it has a totally different feel (you will have to visit for yourself to see). The centre is not so residency-focused currently, but their focus seems to change from one exciting project to the next – for instance they've hosted music, art and performance festivals and have recently started a test project of renting a separate part of the building for events. The night we were leaving a choir were going to perform, which was pretty appropriate, seeing as the acoustics in the huge industrial space sounded not unlike a church. Kaspars himself as well the other artists in the building are working on some really interesting projects, while a real mix of others are using the space, such as architects and dance groups. As with Polymer, it was really inspiring to see what could be done with abandoned empty spaces once artists put their heads and energy together, to create new spaces which really challenge the dynamics and habits of making and exhibiting contemporary art. All in all, an inspiring and interesting trip – thank you Ernest and Kaspars for letting us stay with you.
Kaspars Lielgalvis showing us around Totaldobze, photo by artist-in-residence Marika Troili
Rooftop view from Totaldobze, photo by artist-in-residence Marika Troili
Textile work by Kaspars Lielgalvis, photo by artist-in-residence Marika Troili
P.S. If you want to get some cheap second hand clothes after all this culture, I recommend the Humana store in Tallinn for 1 euro items.
Curatorial Assistant at Nida Art Colony
- Published on Thursday, 11 October 2012 15:33
From October 1 to November 4 the residency project “The Ritual Room” is taking place in Nida Art Colony. Curators of the project Ūla Tornau and Asta Vaičiulytė invited a number of artists using different mediums and ways of creating to live and work together for five weeks. The project topic was left open, but as a starting point the curators suggested immersion into common slow time in the remote landscape of Nida and several keywords: coded languages, contemporary rituals, subjective mythologies, magic of everyday ways, urban tales in the countryside, urban mysticism, nostalgic rock and new / old visuality. Living together in Nida, working collectively and individually, sharing experiences, references, inspirations and conversations would create a possible common space for an upcoming exhibition.
Artists participating in the project: Kipras Dubauskas (LT/BE), Laura Kaminskaitė (LT), Axel Linderholm (SE), Lea Porsager (DK), Distruktur (Gustavo Jahn ir Melissa Dullius) (BR/DE), Ilya Dounar (BY), and Jonas Žukauskas (LT/GB).
Nida Art Colony collaborates with Contemporary Art Center in Vilnius, where an exhibition, which gets its start-up in the residency, is going to take place in April-May 2013.
The residency starts a programme of curated residencies in Nida Art Colony with artists and curators living together for a certain time and working on a particular topic.
The project is supported by Lithuanian Ministry of Culture and Nordic-Baltic Mobility Programme for Culture.
- Published on Wednesday, 26 September 2012 22:00
On Tuesday night (September 25th), seven artists in residence opened up their studios, sharing their work with the other residents at the colony. The presentations went late in to the night aided by beer and soup.
Working primarily with digital video, Renja Leino (FIN) has been using her time at the colony to collect and experiment with mythologies and stories surrounding the local amber, working with local school children, the ‘Amber King’ (Kazimieras Mizgiris who is running several amber galleries) and Nida’s beaches.
Fiona Reilly (Ireland) has been working with loaded spaces in Nida, such as its disused landing strip and the Russian border, a cyclical dialogue evolving between her and these sites through her drawing and video work; her experimental actions influence her surroundings and in turn, the unpredictability of the landscape and the people she encounters are fed back in to her practice, bringing in to play questions surrounding intention vs actuality and making work within the public realm.
Through methodically charting his time making art and the times in between, Peter Wehinger’s (Austria) work gradually takes form via its own documentation; its repetitive nature giving the passing time at the colony a newly structured pace. He is coming with a grant “Voralberg goes to Nida”.
Jonas Jurcikas’ (LT) large-scale painting confronts the weight of his country’s history on his shoulders as a contemporary Lithuanian artist. Figures lifted from soviet imagery float in an abstracted void above a young child, perched at once between its own history and future. He got this residency as a winner of Young Painter Prize.
Eva-Fiore Kovacovsky (CH/NL) is continuing with her Sand Drawings series, capturing the naturally occurring mark making made in the sand by the beach’s grasses. Her digital portraits re-frame this playful activity in an almost anthropological or scientific format so that the grasses are re-contextualised, revealing the precision in the untamed yet seemingly mathematical drawings.
And two more artists were present for a shorter residency which was combined with one week in Kassel during dOCUMENTA 13. This residency is organised by Lithuanian Interdisciplinary Artists’ Association and supported by Lithuanian Ministry of Culture
Lina Albrikienė (LT) is continuing her series of investigations into her family history, this time collaborating with a musician to bring to life hand-written musical notation found in an old notebook that had belonged to her father. Through both physical and narrative traces left by her family she is able to explore her heritage, sharing her personal exercises with the viewer.
Robertas Narkus (LT) presented documentation of the encounters leading to the realisation of his fifth work in a series entitled 12 Chances; Chance Number Five resulting in the opening of a shoe shop. The juxtaposition between freely letting chance run its course and the methodology present in the collection and application of these encounters made for an exciting juncture in this series of works.
This image: Eva-Fiore Kovacovsky, Sand Drawings (work in progress), HD Video (stills) 2012
Top image: Fiona Reilly
- Published on Sunday, 02 September 2012 16:56
Vytautas Michelkevicius was doing research trip on remote artists-in-residency places in Iceland. All the trips through remote Icelandic residencies is covered in photoblog - 1500 km and 6 residencies visited. http://remotenet.nidacolony.lt/
Nida Art Colony has initiated Baltic-Nordic Network of Remote Art & Residency Centres. It brings together 8 centres located in the remote areas in order to share the experience and ideas how operate in the remoteness and how to interact with local communities.
- Published on Thursday, 30 August 2012 15:57
More info in Lithuanian version of this website.
- Published on Thursday, 26 July 2012 20:41
On the 28th of July (2012) Nida Art Colony of the Vilnius Academy of Arts presents the exhibition “The Quarters of The Chess City”. The opening is at 6pm.
The exhibition’s title refers to John Brunner's science fiction novel “The Squares of the City”. The novel tells a story of a road engineer, who is asked to improve the street net of a fictional South American capital city Vados, while the latter has got an almost perfect street system already.
The novel's structure is based on the chess game between Wilhelm Steinitz and Mikhail Chigorin, which is described in a chess handbook “The Game of Chess” by Harry Golombek. Every move (except the castling and the three last moves) has an equivalent in the script of the novel. The exhibition concentrates on the general atmosphere of the game, unrealized moves, castling, lapses and the last three deviated moves. Reference to Steinitz's and Chigorin's game is partly speculative, chosen as means to urge reflection of relations between artists, curators and institutions.
The exhibition “The Quarters of The Chess City” neither adopts the model of the Steinitz-Chigorin game, nor retells the Brunner's novel. It partly shares the opinion on the novel expressed by the Lithuanian-American science fiction author, editor, and literature critic Algis Budrys: "this is a confusing, overpopulated, almost-unidentifiable-with story set in a city which seems to have been created for the sole purpose of having Brunner set a 'human chess game' in motion upon it... There is nothing in particular here to catch and hold the reader's involvement."
The word “squares” is substituted by the word “quarters” in the title of the exhibition. This substitution is noticed only when the reader starts to think about the transfer of the novel’s model into the context of contemporary art. Converted title contributes to and mystifies the idea of the show. In this instance mystification is a positive and desired quality of the art work/exhibition/text, which could draw and shape the quarters of the chess city in the map of the viewer’s imagination.
The exhibition presents artworks by students of Vilnius Academy of Arts: Marija Šnipaitė, Linas Jusionis, Milda Laužikaitė, Vytenis Burokas, Jonas Vaitiekūnas, Vytautas Viržbickas, Justas Žekonis, Arnas Anskaitis, Viktorija Peleckaitė.
Curators: Gintarė Matulaitytė & Danutė Gambickaitė
The exhibition is open from July 29 to August 31, all days of the week from 1 to 7 p.m.
- Published on Monday, 16 July 2012 20:57