Visiable Award Artist Statement

8 November 2013

Curated by Matteo Lucchetti and Judith Wielander

2013 Visible Award: the jury as a public event
The 2013 Visible Award, on the occasion of its second edition, evolves its format, seeking an innovative approach that passes through a more transparent methodology around its jury session, which in this edition will take the form of a public event at the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, The Netherlands. The jury session will not only be a debate between experts, in order to select an exemplary socially engaged art project, but rather a moment for sharing knowledge and collective learning, that in the process of assessing the winning project, will hopefully create an opportunity to put at work the vast network of professionals existing around the Visible project, that so far connects 45 curators, over 200 artists and 30 independent art spaces across the globe.

On the 14th of December 2013 a prestigious, interdisciplinary jury, chaired by Charles Esche and composed of a group of intellectuals operating in different fields of culture, will gather together in order to assess the merits of the artistic projects and select the winner of the 2013 Visible Award. The invited members of the jury are Tania Bruguera (artist, New York), Joseph Grima (architect, writer, former editor of Domus, Milan), Koyo Kouho (curator, Artistic Director of Raw Material Company, Dakar), Nikos Papastergiadis (contemporary social-cultural studies professor, Sydney), and Michelangelo Pistoletto (artist, Artistic Director of Cittadellarte, Biella). A sixth member of the jury will be represented by the vote of the audience who will gather at the Van Abbemuseum for the event. Please sign up for the event at this link, on the museum website.

The ten projects that will be assessed have been shortlisted among a list of 34 art projects nominated by the 2013 Visible advisory board and the 48 projects received, for the first time, through an open call. The ten shortlisted projects are Sammy Baloji, Kumbuka (Congo); Beta Local, From-Tool-to-Tool! (Puerto Rico); Mabe Bethonico, Museum of Public Concerns (Brazil); Bophana Audiovisual Resource Center, One Dollar (Cambodia); Beatrice Catanzaro, Bait Al Karama, (Palestine); Fernando García-Dory, Paese Nuovo / New Country – Borgate (Italy); Inkanyiso (Zanele Muholi), Oui Twenty/20 (South Africa); Ahmet Ögüt, The Silent University (Turkey); The Propeller Group, Christ the King of Bling (Vietnam); Ruangrupa, The Gerobak Bioskop (Cinema Cart) Network (Indonesia).

The long-listed projects will be made available on the Visible website by the end of November. The list features projects by the following artists and collectives: Arteam, Beyond Pressure (Moe Satt), Caminul Cultural, Futurefarmers, Thierry Geoffroy / Colonel, Marlon Griffith, Dor Guez, Honf – House of Natural Fibers, Suresh Kumar G, Iconoclasistas, Les Palettes du Kamer, Maha Maamoun and Ala Younis, Amina Menia, Mosireen, Maria Papadimitriou, Rafani collective, Rigo 23, Meir Tati, Temporary Occupations, Teatro de Operações, Bert Theis, Yeh Wei-li, Siren Eun Young Jung, and Arseniy Zhilyaev. The Visible team would like to express its gratitude to all of them for sharing their work with our network.

The Visible Award
The Visible Award is an international production award of 25,000 euros devoted to art work in the social sphere that aims to produce innovative artistic projects that are able to become visible in fields other than the artistic one.

The Visible Award is looking for artistic projects that in a radical and proactive way are able to rethink our cities in their approach to urban and rural communities, put into question education models while reconsidering different ways of sharing knowledge, support alternative models of economic development and new ideas for the allocation of resources, rethink the access to information or the priority of ecological and environmental needs, as well as experimenting with participatory and democratic political models. These are just few examples of how artistic processes can create areas for reflection and mobilization, acting as a field for action within the public domain, in favour of a reading of participation in art that considers the social body as a potential power for bringing about social change and transformation.

Veronica Ngo – Under My Spell MV

1 November 2013

Axe Apollo branded music video starring our future astronaut…

The Propeller Group – Home Away

7 October 2013

Still from The Guerillas Of Cu Chi, 20:04 min. 2048 x 1152. 25p. Color. Stereo.

Still from The Guerillas Of Cu Chi, 20:04 min. 2048 x 1152. 25p. Color. Stereo.

Curator: Kris Kuramitsu
Location: Armory Center for the Arts, 145 North Raymond Avenue, Pasadena CA 91103
Opening Reception: 10/12/2013, 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm
Exhibition Dates: 10/13/2013 to 1/26/2014

Organized for the Armory by Los Angeles-based independent curator Kris Kuramitsu, this exhibition highlights and contextualizes a group of artists that work in Los Angeles as well as other locations in Asia and Latin America, among them Ho Chi Minh City, Tokyo, Mumbai, Tijuana, Guadalajara, and Mexico City.

Los Angeles is perpetually framed as a prototypical global city, an outer-edge American capital that serves as a key Pacific Rim nexus of exchange for people, goods, and ideas. Home Away explores the contours of a transnational artistic practice that is rooted in this context – the dynamism of Los Angeles in the second decade of the new millennium.
The nine artists in this exhibition have deep ties to Los Angeles, yet maintain studios and live part of their lives in cities across Asia and Latin America. While artists have always had a history of living such peripatetic lives – making homes where their inspiration leads them – the artists in this exhibition have found meaning in the relationship between multiple bases of creative operation. These artists have made a home in Los Angeles as professionals nurtured by the community of creative people in this city, yet actively maintain connections to their former homes, exploring the impact of immigration, surveillance, or trade policies on people, goods, and ideas as they move from place to place.

Home Away seeks to define the contours of different kinds of international artistic practices, simultaneously global and local, that resonate with the way that we live our daily lives in Southern California. The artist team The Propeller Group, for example, works in international collectives borne from the simultaneous conditions of global citizenship, Internet communication, and a commitment to multiple communities they call home. For Bruce Yonemoto and Haruko Tanaka, their mutual Japanese heritage and a media-soaked Southern California are rich sources of inspiration.Tanya Aguiñiga blends a keen vocabulary of modernist forms and a passion for traditional fiber and ceramic arts, maintaining close ties to communities of artists and craftspeople throughout Mexico. Video artist Michelle Dizon, born and raised in Los Angeles as part of the Philippine diaspora, focuses on subjectivity as it intersects with the histories of colonialism and its legacies of immigration, diaspora, and globalization. Neha Choksi has moved between studios in Mumbai and the US for most of her career, exploring the impact of humans on the natural environment. Camilo Ontiveros, Rubén Ortiz-Torres, and Yoshua Okón each explores aspects of US-Mexico trade, surveillance, matters of immigration and labor, and cultural and economic colonialism, and their effects on US and international policy.

The exhibition will include newly-commissioned works and existing works in all disciplines including painting, photography, sculpture, and video.

The Propeller Group Lived, Lives, Will Live!

14 August 2013

The Propeller Group
Lived, Lives, Will Live!
September 12 – October 26, 2013
Vernissage: Thursday, September 12, 6-8 PM

Ho Chi Minh City and Los Angeles-based collective The Propeller Group—formed by Phunam, Matt Lucero, and Tuan Andrew Nguyen in 2006—will open their debut solo exhibition in the United States at Lombard Freid. Reinvigorating a once famous Leninist slogan, Lived, Lives, Will Live!, the group’s new works are part of a larger practice exploring the relationships between politics, celebrity culture, and collective histories. Following close on the heels of the media frenzy surrounding Jay Z’s now infamous “Picasso Baby” performance, TPG’s paintings, sculptures, and photographs form a new strategy where hip-hop and Hollywood converge as historical and political resurgence.

The rise of Communism in the twentieth century led to the erecting of statues of Vladimir Ilyich Lenin around the world, making him the most monumentalized individual in history. Lived, Lives, Will Live! reexamines the legacy of the revolutionary leader at a as the unraveling of Communism has brought about the subsequent toppling of these monuments. TPG’s works revive Lenin through a hyper-consumerist rebranding of his public image for the twenty-first century.

Inaugurating an ongoing series of paintings, TPG have commissioned hand-embroidered interventions on original painted portraits of Vladimir Lenin that once hung in regional Communist Party headquarters across the U.S.S.R. With the addition of various hairstyles spanning Leonardo DiCaprio’s filmography, the revolutionary leader is equipped for contemporary superstardom. Drawing from Internet conspiracies about DiCaprio’s being a lost relative of Lenin, the series addresses the political ramifications of representation and celebrity idolatry. As culture blogs report that DiCaprio will play Lenin in a rumored film, TPG will continue the series throughout the actor’s career until the two figures are united in a Hollywood historical drama, collapsing history and identity.

Additionally, TPG will embellish public monuments of Vladimir Lenin with jewelry as grandiose as the statues themselves. Beginning with one of the first dismantled monuments of Lenin—removed from Leninplatz, East Berlin in 1992—TPG plan to acquire the head of the monument, plate it in gold, and hang it from an oversized Cuban-link chain on the 27-meter tall Lenin statue in Volgograd Russia—the largest remaining in the world. In preparation, the group has created a set of large scaled architectural maquettes depicting the process of beheading, blinging, and installing the transformed head of the Leninplatz sculpture.

The gold pendant, amplified to a monumental scale, references various methods of portraying power throughout history—royal jewels, war medals, etc.—and the appropriation of these tactics through the ostentation and exaggeration of hip-hop culture. Alluding to diamond-encrusted Jesus pieces and rapper Rick Ross’s pendant portraits of himself, TPG’s proposed monumental bling explores the border between identity and ornamentation, tracing the malleability of personality in the public sphere.

TPG will also produce a series of photographs, imagining the blinged-out Volgograd Lenin in its site-specific context. These digitally produced renderings highlight the enormous scale of their proposal and reference the unrealized utopian plans of Vladimir Tatlin and El Lissitzky. Pedestals around the gallery will hold jewelry-store displays, showcasing human-scale gold-plated Lenin necklaces. Produced in an edition of 5, these 3D printed necklaces blur the line between sculpture and jewelry, transforming a public monument into reproducible, privately owned commodities.

The Propeller Group uses mass media as a platform to combine seemingly contradictory phenomena: advertising and politics, history and future, and public and private. TPG often pushes their work back into the public sphere, using commodities as a form of public art. As an integral part of their practice, TPG has cultivated the guise of an advertising agency—a public relations firm that confuses the brand and the brand message. Their work has recently been included in No Country: Contemporary Art for South and Southeast Asia at the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum, New York, and The Ungovernables, New Museum Triennial. TPG has also exhibited at The Museum of Modern Art, The Hammer Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Guangzhou Triennial, and The Singapore Art Museum.