Thanks For Sharing!!
Ilona Balaga, Hyunmin Kim, Giorgio van Meerwijk, Daria Moria
Curated by Tamara Admoni
Sharing knowledge is common to all living entities. It is a practice used for the creation and preservation of cultures, traditions, rules and rituals. It can also serve as a political tool; dictating power relations and erecting hierarchies between those with access to knowledge and those without it. When used as a practice of care, sharing knowledge allows us to evolve as individuals and as a society. It can be done deliberately or unwittingly, with instinctive acts of receiving and passing on common information through communication and reciprocal relations.
Thanks for Sharing is a group exhibition featuring the works of four artists sharing a studio. Together, they chose to create an open, joint space, where each of them works individually. The show explores the inevitable process of knowledge being shared between the artists, and the unconscious mutual influences they are now discovering in their work; echoing in their thematic inspirations, materials utilized or shifts in processes.
As each artist deals with different themes, common to all is their exploration of the ways enigmatic shapes, materials and forms affect the spectator’s perception. Similarly to the process of sharing and receiving knowledge which is often indeterminate (and yet shapes our reality), the works in the exhibition blur the boundaries between what the artists choose to hide or reveal, and hence what the spectator is able to know; the works are an open invitation for the viewer to reflect upon each piece through their own associations, knowledge and inner world.
Hyunmin Kim explores the way our perception is formed, and the inability to determine what is ‘real’ or ‘true’, which are circumstances of perspective, beliefs and limited knowledge. His works in the exhibition evoke the way we are able to grasp only the edges, merely glimpses of surfaces, of undefined shapes. His video The Fly explores how we perceive the dramatic scenes we encounter in mundane life, but never pay attention to. The work depicts the final moments of a dying fly, repeated in loops, leaving it trapped in a repetitive dramatic peak, suspended between life and death. The artist explores the ambiguity that arises from the limitations of human perception, putting the images we receive and the way we react to them in question.
Ilona Balaga also forces us to acknowledge the overlooked, by using neglected objects and materials people throw away which run as a central subject matter in her work. In the work Untitled, she first camouflages the objects in casted plaster, and then reveals by carving them out in an archaeological-like process. Through the processes of selection, organisation, combination and presentation of objects, Balaga creates assemblages that present alternative viewpoints. Her work invites the viewers to linger upon these once neglected and ignored objects, and explore them carefully and intimately. This way, these ‘leftovers’ become alluring, as she shapes new hierarchies, knowledge and power relations in alternate environments.
Balaga’s work reflects the process of exploration of materials, forms and narratives by repetition, a process remarkably present in the works of Daria Moria. Moria’s abstract objects are created in an intuitive and repetitive process, investigating the relations and influences of different materials and shapes on one another as well as on the spectator. These objects reflect her ongoing interest in the relations between labour and the body, nature and materials, fakeness, foolishness and flatness. The sculptures in the exhibition were handled individually, in a slow, handmade process, aiming to imitate mass production. Moria explores the rough materiality of architectural forms as a deserted land. Standing together, they create a playful installation, which mixes, hides and reveals contrasting sides and qualities of the objects to the spectator, who is invited to stroll the path of this alternative environment and explore these enigmatic bodies, never looking the same with each step and angle.
Giorgio van Meerwijk also works with the concept of repetition of abstract, enigmatic forms, yet from another perspective. He creates organic shapes, from varied materials and sizes, which have similarities but never look exactly the same. By constant repetition, these shapes resemble religious or spiritual motifs, charged with a mystical notion, and evoke different connotations in each viewer. This way, he explores the impact of the repetition of a certain shape on the spectator, as he deals with the way we react to religious symbols, and how the reiteration and mutation of a body turn it into a subject of idolatry. These sculptures emphasise the politicisation of religion and its role in controlling human’s relation to nature; when ancient knowledge and communal practices around nature are being villainised and muted.
The act of hiding and revealing cryptic shapes, forms and themes in the four artists’ practices, is becoming a cohesive narrative in Thanks for Sharing. The works in the exhibition are tied together by both the practical and meta-physical processes that occur within the shared studio space. As the studio becomes a living ecosystem, the works created within its walls hold passive or unconscious learning, carrying the exchange of energy and thoughts of all four artists. By sharing the works with the visitors of the exhibition, the viewers are invited to reverberate this knowledge onwards in the world.