CrazinisT artisT| Rituals of Becoming

Curator: Maria Rus Bojan
Exhibition dates: February 26 – March 12, 2017
Venue: Gallery 1957, Gamel Abdul Nasser Ave, Accra, Ghana

SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2017, 10:30 AM – 11:00 PM

Join us as we celebrate the opening of crazinisT artisT’s debut solo exhibition at Gallery 1957: ‘Rituals of Becoming’.

10:30 AM – Artist in Conversation Breakfast and a panel talk from the artist alongside the curator of the exhibition, Maria Rus Bojan, and CCQ Magazine co-editor Ric Bower
5:00 PM – crazinisT artisT (Va-Bene Elikem Fiats) performance

Gallery 1957 is proud to present Rituals of Becoming, a new exhibition by the Ghanaian-Togolese artist Va-Bene Elikem Fiatsi, who works under the pseudonym crazinisT artisT, from 26 February – 12 March 2017.

Consisting of a theatrical installation that displays multichannel video projections, a readymade sculpture and a performance from the artist, the exhibition explores the assumed distinctions between gender identity, class, political injustice, violence and the objectification of humans. The performance will give the exhibition a tangible sense of the ritual involved in his process of stripping one identity in order to assume another.


Exhibition dates: 28 January – 1 February 2017
Venue: DEPART Foundation, 9105 West Sunset Boulevard, Los Angeles, CA 90069

Los Angeles, CA.,–DEPART Foundation announced that it will present Ulay: The Animist, its first solo exhibition and the first West Coast presentation for German artist Frank Uwe Laysiepen, known by his pseudonym – Ulay (b.1943).

This landmark exhibition highlights key features of his oeuvre, unfolding the main trajectories that draw on his performances and photographic works. A pioneer of body art, performance art and Polaroid photography, Ulay is well known for Relation Works – his collaborative period with Marina Abramović, between the years 1976 and 1988. Recently, Ulay’s individual work achieved newfound attention, culminating with the 2016 retrospective exhibitions at Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, Nederlandse Fotomuseum, Rotterdam and GNYP Gallery Berlin.

The Animist unfolds Ulay’s individual oeuvre by exploring the hidden connections between seemingly disparate aspects of his work and his passionate life. The exhibition traces the genealogy of Ulay’s self-performative Polaroid photography from the early 1970s to the life size experiments he conducted with large format Polaroid technique in the 1990s. This presentation also includes photographic documentations of his travels throughout China and Australia, bringing together a body of works that truly reflects the artist’s underlying preoccupation with the expression of reality in its most immediate and intense form.

The show takes its title The Animist from a 1995 performance of the same name, in which Ulay tests the boundaries of perception and public participation through a subversive combination of sounds and ritual gestures. Considering the metaphor of “the animist” as the most appropriate expression of the core of Ulay’s work – a figure that joins together and reconfigures the relation between the spiritual and material world – the exhibition invites viewers to discover the artist’s intense experiences and insights into what constitutes Reality.

Ulay’s commitment to showing life in its most basic, raw, and truthful form poses an existential and ethical dimension, where the Polaroid is the preferred medium to embody his take on reality by capturing the image’s process of becoming. At a retrospective glance, these images stand out through a personal aesthetic purged of emotion and stylistic artifices. They go beyond the crust of conventional thought in order to penetrate at the heart of what constitutes subjective reality, thus encouraging us to fundamentally reconsider our relationship with ourselves and with the world.

Ulay is the pseudonym of Frank Uwe Laysiepen. He was born in 1943 in Solingen, Germany. Ulay was formally trained as a photographer, and between 1968 and 1971, he worked extensively as a consultant for Polaroid. In the early period of his artistic activity (1968–1976) he explored identity and the body through a series of Polaroid photographs, aphorisms, and intimate performances. At that time, Ulay’s photographic approach was becoming increasingly performative and resulted in performative photography (FOTOTOT, 1976). From 1976 to 1988, he collaborated with Marina Abramović on numerous performances; their work focused on questioning perceived masculine and feminine traits and pushing the physical limits of the body (Relation Works). After the break with Marina, Ulay focused on photography, addressing the position of the marginalized individual in contemporary society and re-examining the problem of nationalism and its symbols (Berlin Afterimages, 1994–1995). Nevertheless, although he was working primarily in photography, he remained connected to the question of the ‘performative’, which resulted in his constant ‘provocation’ of audiences through numerous performances, workshops and lecture-performances. In recent years, Ulay is mostly engaged in projects and artistic initiatives that raise awareness, enhance understanding and appreciation of, and respect for, water (Earth Water Catalogue, 2012). Ulay’s work, as well as his collaborative work with Marina Abramović, is featured in many collections of major art institutions around the world such as Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam; Centre Pompidou Paris; Museum of Modern Art New York.

DEPART Foundation
DEPART Foundation provides an alternative platform for creative experimentation and exploration, set within a global context, that thrives outside of conventional, cultural structures. The impact of its work can best be understood as the charting of new artistic destinations with every project and program it undertakes
Since its founding in 2008, DEPART Foundation has served as a catalyst for the Italian art and cultural community, strengthening the dialogue between Italy and the international art world. Like multiple outposts in Europe and U.S., DEPART Foundation has actively encouraged artistic production through sponsorship of young and established artists and the provision of spaces and resources conducive to the research, production and exhibition of new work, and to the presentation of educational and public programs.
Some of the most interesting and dynamic artists of our time, from around the world, have been presented for the first time in Rome by DEPART Foundation. They include Cory Arcangel, Joe Bradley, Nate Lowman, Ryan McGinley, Tauba Auerbach, Darren Bader, Louis Eisner, Roe Ethridge, Sam Falls, Mark Flood, Elias Hansen, Brendan Lynch, Oscar Murillo, Sarah Braman, Seth Price, Jon Rafman, Stephen G. Rhodes, Amanda Ross-Ho, Sterling Ruby, Lucien Smith, Valerie Snobeck and Frances Stark.
DEPART Foundation in Los Angeles has presented solo exhibitions of work by Gabriele de Santis, Kour Pour, Grear Patterson, Petra Cortright, Mark Horowitz, Giorgio Andreotta Calo, Cameron Platter and Edward S. Curtis.

THE WANDERERS | Contemporary Painting from Cluj

Selected works of: Marius Bercea, Alin Bozbiciu, Cornel Brudascu, Oana Farcas, Robert Fekete, Aurelian Pirosca, Victor Racatau, Ioan Sbarciu, Sergiu Toma
Curator: Maria Rus Bojan
Exhibition dates: 11 January – 19 February 2016
Venue: Richard Taittinger Gallery, NY

The Richard Taittinger Gallery is proud to present The Wanderers, one of the first attempts in the United States to examine the context behind the emergence of the Cluj School, a phenomenon of the last decade related to several generation of artists that graduated the painting department from the Art University in Cluj-Napoca, Romania. Moving beyond the restrictive concept of a school of painting, the present exhibition aims to create a context for a better, more inclusive, understanding of the core of the phenomenon, presenting nine artists of different generations, who contributed essentially to this outstanding development. Beyond the label attributed by the international media, the Cluj School is primarily an artistic phenomenon rooted in the rich historical tradition of Romanian figurative painting with a complex background, which is still to be explored.

Emphasising the crucial role played by the two masters of the Cluj art scene, Cornel Brudascu (1937) and Ioan Sbarciu (1948) – the mentors and creators of the main artistic directions that influenced the development of the following generations of artists – this exhibition offers a unique perspective on the unexplored formative context, which generated this phenomenon with internationally recognized names such as Adrian Ghenie and Victor Man.

Conceived as a trans-generational dialogue, this presentation aims to underline the continuity of a certain tradition of figurative painting without resorting to the idea of a school of painting. Alongside the two masters Cornel Brudascu and Ioan Sbarciu, the show features also mid-career painters like Victor Racatau and Aurelian Pirosca, internationally acclaimed artists such as Marius Bercea, as well as the representatives of the youngest generation: Oana Farcas, Alin Bozbiciu, Robert Fekete, and Sergiu Toma. By bringing together these generations of artists with different positions, conceptual principles, and pictorial approaches, this show proposes a deconstruction of the very notion of the school, while thematising it as a multifaceted and interrelated phenomenon.

What all these artists share is not only a specific national or local identity, but rather a common feeling of longing, a nostalgia for the past as well as focusing on expressing the anxiety of a precarious present. However, despite their different life experiences under communism and during the dramatic changes that followed in the long years of transition, these artists surpassed the trauma of history by embracing a new paradigm that combined the conceptual approach of the Western art with the historical tradition of figurative painting. The success of this phenomenon lies in a reflexive attitude that involves not only a filtering of past ruptures between history and time, presence and memory, but also a process of transfiguration that aims at self-rediscovery.

The romantic metaphor of The Wanderer seems to be the most appropriate for a definition of the common trait that pervades the selection of works included in this exhibition. First, because it points towards a mode of self-discovery as an opening to the world that entails a reconfiguration of place and time. Secondly, it revisits the lyrical features of the Romanian painting tradition by infusing conceptual positions that are both figurative and abstract, realist and magic, nostalgic and critical. Finally, the paintings gathered in this exhibition shows us a multiplicity of experiences that turns us all into wanderers of each individual artistic universe.