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After the success of our first virtual exhibition “Berlin/Berlin” we decided to do continue our online openings quarterly as we move more and more into a digital world.
Transience is a group show with photographers from LA to Tel Aviv, London to Australia and Berlin to Kyiv.
Being in a digital realm, so much in the world being temporary, ever-changing, moving and evolving, with everything that has happened in the last 12 month “Transience” as a theme felt very fitting.
All the photographers are people that move around a lot, interact with their surroundings, the people within them and the ever changing scenes, scenarios and moments they find themselves in.
The more we progress into the age of digital the more things become transient and temporary and we want to explore the feeling behind this, moments that were once seen, created, conceptualized, recorded, kept and forgotten.
Turn on, tune in, drop out. Siilk.
What’s the concept behind your self portraits?
I wouldn’t say there’s a specific concept behind my self portraits, rather there are multiple concepts and underlying themes. My self portraits are quite simply expressions of “the self”, that is “myself”. If I were to highlight any concepts in particular that span across all my photographic work, it would be that of Freud’s psychoanalytic theory, “das Es”, “das Ich” and “das Über-Ich”. That is, “the It, the I and the Over-I” or The “Id, Ego and Superego”.
I’m fascinated by Freud’s breakdown of what the self is, these three parts of us that encompass everything from our instincts, to our conscious/unconscious and also our learned behaviors. For Freud ‘the self is always at war’ and this is something I strongly believe, as well as identify with and so through my work I try to express my belief of this ideology. My self is always at war, as is my conscious and unconscious mind, so through my self portraits I attempt to express this war.
Have you ever focused on the idea of Transience / transitory character of your physical image? And how do you feel then?
Transience is a major theme within my life and my photography, although I’m a creature of habit, especially due to my ADHD, I do go through many phases and stages, almost always in quick succession of the other. A phase could last a year o two, but there is always another waiting to take over. It’s hard to say how I feel during these times, as I almost never know when I’m going through these periods.
What’s your future legacy? And what does being a black woman and an artist mean to you in these times?
I’m not so concerned at the moment with a future legacy, I’m more occupied with setting a solid foundation now for myself as a young artist.
Now being a black woman, as well as an artist during these times simply means to me that absolutely nothing in the art world is going to come easy for me. There will be roadblocks of oppression and discrimination, which I’ve already begun to experience so early on in my career, but none of that is going to stop me from doing what I love. I create for myself and no one else, but then again I do want young black women in particular to see me and also see my work and know that there is no mould for who or what they can be.
What few important questions do you find yourself asking day to day?
This is a bit of a difficult one to answer. I’m not so sure if they’re important questions, but mostly “what more could I be doing?” – “how can I push myself?” – “what is the point of all this?” – “what do I want to express within my work?”
Which are the artists whom have influenced you the most?
The artists that have influenced my work range from photographers to writers to musicians, I take inspiration and influence from multiple streams. The main individuals I would say had a strong impact on my work in the early days and till today would be the photographers Daido Moriyama and Nobuyoshi Araki, the writer Stephen King and the musician Rob Zombie.
Shit, I’m asking myself the same question right now.
What’s your idea of intimacy in Isolation?
The coronavirus has undoubtedly impacted the way in which we view intimacy, touch and personal connection. Each of which we long for in times of distress, but the beauty of a difficult situation is what it teaches you. I believe humans are very adaptable and in times of change we have found and will continue to find new ways to be intimate and close.
Tell us something about your approach with your subjects, environments and inner light
Personal perspective is crucial to experience. We all bodily inhabit the first person, perceiving the world from our own individual point of view. However, since we are mobile beings, as we move around other people and objects, our perspective shifts. Our mobility allows us to access the world of others – insight that affects what we do and what we are.
Our perception is influenced by the world around us, by those around us. We rely on one another, we feel one another. We become connected and intertwined.
What does photography mean in these transitional times?
Art and literature are a good way to work through and make sense of transitional times. They are a reflection, a mirror, which does not offer a clear image or solution but instead a more personal view. Especially in times like this where we are constantly bombarded with abstract numbers which lose all meaning, art can offer a more personal view. We define ourselves through the cultures we create, and art is an expression of what it means to be human.
What’s up next for you?
I’m quite hopeful towards 2021, I have a few exhibitions lined up, which I hope I can see in person. I really miss to travel and be around art and people. Specially to have accidental encounters, a day that takes turns I could have not foreseen. Besides, I have used the last year to create new work and cannot wait to share it with others.
Do you view your art political? And how?
Defiantly, most of the works that I create are inspired by the things around me. Reading about political movements, traveling to different countries with more culture to study. I enjoy playing around with slightly odd and kind of uncomfortable topics and spinning them into something that people can see as beautiful. Politics and the political world we live in now is almost surreal in itself, turning on the news these days is almost better then watching Netflix.
What’s your idea of Transience?
Most things that we place value on in our life are transient, weather that be art, fashion, people or even identity. The beauty in understanding that we live in a transient world is that you are forced to appreciate the little things as they come along.
How do you go about the process of creating images?
This can different depending on what I am working on, or how I am wanting to depict a topic. Most of the time its a spontaneous thought that pops into my head, that is guided by something that I have witnessed or read about recently, mashed up with whatever I am feeling at the time.
Kind of like a concept love child between 2 contrasting thoughts. Other times I work an idea into the existing concept or I look back at what iv shot and decide in post how I want the image to feel going forward. I think a big thing for me has always been feeling comfortable with whomever I’m working with at the time.
If that’s my time or the model. Making everyone feel involved and interested in the final result is a big thing for me, I think you can really see it in the models eyes when looking back at works if they are enjoying themselves or not.
How are your surroundings and the place you live and work at this moment important to you?
Always my surroundings have been one of the main points of inspiration for my work. The landscape and culture effects how I am thinking and therefore what I’m creating. I have been living in Europe for the past 6 years and finally I am living back home in Byron Bay next to the beach, so my more recent works have involved a lot of water and ‘locals only’ kind of mentality.
Currently, I’m working on my very first solo show, I’m just about to start my first short film, continuing to shoot more campaigns, modeling, acting, tattooing etc. I’m also really interested in working with my local community and trying to figure out how to help other artists around me to create to their full potential. Besides that, enjoying life back home and hanging out with my little sister.
How do these images represent you?
The pictures of the nightlife show a lot of spontaneous experiences of people that are close to me, I see it as a personal diary.
What about the Night? And what about its truth?
There is a great desire to tell your truth in the nightlife about who you are and what you are – where you can release yourself and express yourself in the best way, where you can be most sociable, and where you can inspire others.
How do you choose your subjects?
I’m very attracted to photographing strong, charismatic & fashionable personalities.
Talking about transiency, Did your approach to photography and subjects change over time?
Of course, and it always keeps evolving and changing. Once you have one line and you don’t evolve it, it gets boring. Like music albums by one artist that sound the same.
What was your happiest moment during the lockdown?
Being close to my family, haven’t had it in many years, so grateful for it.
I am currently working on a series of photographs documenting the second generation of Moroccans in Israel, a community that my family is part of.
What do you think about other dimensions and esotericisms?
I believe we as sentient beings use the least of our abilities. Other dimensions for me are what we call ‘Spirit wold, entheogen or paranormal’. Of course they exist but we still haven’t figured out how to access them.
I am a strong believer of science and think that we as humans immediately connect everything we cannot decipher to paranormal and religious experiences or Mysticism. All these ‘allegories’ are an amazing way for humans to believe in something greater and not feel alone in their timed existence.
Your thoughts about the relationship between transience and continuity?
In a sense those notions are conflicting. But still one can’t survive without the other.
We learn to appreciate because of transience and build echoes in the future as an ever changing story.
How does this video represent you all as artists?
Every artist on this video has a strong connection with the essence of ‘otherness’ and each one comes from an artistic background that deals with notions of myth and reconstruction. From the silver melted hands made by Malvina Panagiotidi, giving a vibe from science fiction movies such as “Terminator 2’, to the black ‘’alien jelly fish’’ sculpture from Katerina Komianou. From Yannis Voulgaris ‘’mirror time gates’’ to Alexandra Koumantaki with a work resembling ancient remnant with luminated inscribed ‘chants’. Then Simon Kounovsky’s post productions VFX give’s the vibe of an alien landscape.
The final touch is added by Georgios Karamanolakis an artist that specialises in creating mystic textural electronic sounds works.
Referring to the creative sphere, how did this dystopian year change you?
This year has been very difficult for all. We have been working on most of our projects for almost a year. Some of them were cancelled in the last minute. Others only happened online. We were already working with the internet as our selected space but we miss the physical interaction of natural spaces. All these imposed restrictions by the current situation forced us to work only with the medium of the internet and off-site exhibitions, this gradually depleted out interest on this approach.
Could you define yourselves as hyperlinks? and why?
Hyperlink is a link from a hypertext document to another location, activated by clicking on a highlighted word or image.
We use Hyperlink as a metaphor.
We never want to limit ourselves, we want to move freely from one space to the other. Our basic goal is connecting controversial situations.
What are you working on at the moment?
Our main work is presenting ‘Delphian landscapes’ an underwater in-situ light installation, in collaboration with OMIO, as a solo show in Athens.
We are also working on presenting ‘Void Effigies of Star Children’ live in Athens, it was scheduled to happen last year in Knossos theatre, unfortunately it was moved to cyberspace. Hopefully this year we will make it. At the moment we have many ideas for new projects some of them seem possible to happen even through this difficult time.
Tell us about the young private community / “unlikely Rebels” of whom you photograph.
Our project is about the young generation of Ukrainians who are trying to find themselves as a person in a constantly unstable situation in their country.
What do you share with them? How do you communicate?
Most of the people we photograph are our friends or the friends of our friends, so everything happens in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere.
The world should deal more in big youthful energy. What about your thoughts on Freedom, Sweetness and Honesty?
These things are the basement of the most powerful artworks, which are so convincing and eloquent that they don’t even need a conception
Which artists play a major influence on your artistic development?
In fact, there are many who influenced our work, here such as Larry Clark, Harmony Korine, Ed Templeton, Sergey Bratkov and others.
What have been your most prominent feelings during the Pandemic and these dystopian times?
To some extent, there was a feeling of defenselessness against the virus and a feeling that the world is faced with a global problem and so far no one can say for sure what will happen next.
What about the relationship with your mother country?
We are Ukrainians and we sincerely love our homeland.
What’s up next for you guys?
Now we are preparing several interesting projects, and I think you will see all of them soon.
What’s your definition of Honesty in visual storytelling?
NATASHA MASHAROVA: Honesty in documentary process for me is to live in the moment with who or what i’m filming.
ANATOLI ULYANOV: To be honest is easy. All you need is to believe in what you are saying. What’s more important (and challenging) is to grasp the authentic complexity of life that unfolds in front of your camera. To achieve that, one has to give up ego, submit to reality, become its tool. Make art not for the people but with the people.
Which are the main feelings you both kept from the Pandemic?
A: Eat the Rich! 🙂
Tell us something about the Communities you’ve stepped into while filming these two works.
New Orleans has a vibrant Creole and African-American community that squirts with culture. People there glow. Not surprisingly, they are the first to suffer from systemic racism and all sorts of injustices America offers. When we got to NOLA, some of the locals quickly tipped us regarding what hoods to avoid cause they are “sketchy” – 9th Ward, Treme, Algiers… places of color. Since we arrived from Caribbean Brooklyn, where we lived for three years, we already knew how to take white people geographical tips, so we went to those “sketchy” neighborhoods right away and, naturally, met the kindest, the most welcoming people of NOLA.
What are your thoughts on prejudices?
A: Prejudice is a form of stealing – they grab the horizon and make the world smaller. By being biased towards someone or something you don’t know (and, therefore, don’t understand), you poison not only other people’s lives but your own as well. Every label is smaller than life. And life has a lot to offer if you open yourself to it.
N: Prejudices are hard to avoid because our brain works this way. It constantly create stereotypes, and all we can do is to substitute one with another. The most important thing is to remember about it, question your prejudices and their origin, create new, better ones (ha ha).
Tell us about the relationship with your Mother Country and your thoughts on the abuse of power.
We are political refugees, so it would be fair to call our relationship with Ukraine anything but complicated. On the one hand, we are forever in link with our home country through our families, culture, experience. On the other hand, Ukraine is a right-wing colonial inferno torn by Russian and American empires that use our country as a backyard to measure their imperial dicks. Oligarchs run it, and their pocket Nazis are suppressing any dissent. Liberals there are softening the real picture and even denying the abuse and discrimination in order to “not to feed Kremlin.” It creates a state of impunity and unleashes all the beasts there.
What are you working on at the moment?
N: Introspecting, collecting data, brewing.
A: Social distancing and street documentary is a weird couple. Since it’s barely possible to interact intimately amidst the Pandemic, I’m focusing on the archival work at the moment. My recent releases include the “Black Man In A Red Suit” web-series (a visual exploration of the Soviet anti-racism propaganda), two shorts on Fred Hampton and Thomas Sankara, and a video-essay “American Democratic Regime.”
Words by Nicole Oike:
In this exhibition you will see photographs and visual installations as concrete reality in representation, as instants of symbolic mediation between an elusive reality in its perpetual movement and a perhaps violent impression triggered on the recipient, the one who looks: you all.
Just as Goethe suggests (in his essay on Laocoon), representing reality in its movement implies a transitory moment to be grasped: here we are, now dazed but conscious, in the middle of Transience.
Transience as a condition, as a choice, as a paradoxical and eccentric starting point, eternally embracing the idea of Continuity… In Roots, in Intimacy, in Cultures, in Beauty, in Humanity. Our main criterion of choice is simply the unprecedented irruption of a further world.
We have chosen the ones who bravely bring the consequence of their principles to the end, through the cognitive medium of photography, regardless of the spacial- temporal-rational coordinates and that’s how we came across the magnetic charm of dreams and we can now understand the new honest but never judgmental eyes and an intense natural and spiritual poetry.
That’s how, in the final analysis, we met people’s confessions and truths in communities, sometimes with an active and anarchic language that abandons the usual limits.
These young artists are the lens, the eyes through which we can see worlds changes happen, at this unmatched, defining turning point.
Not to sacrifice the wonder on the altar of the web, but to exploit it against transversal disillusionment. As Antonin Artaud would say, to fully enjoy an ephemeral, transient but true world.
Will we find in you an audience capable of bonding with us?
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