Kristina Benjocki’s work explores the political mechanisms of forgetting and remembering in the context of former East and West Europe. She questions to what extent art can articulate and reclaim forgotten narratives, offer new stories and create space for different histories to take shape. Benjocki’s work examines the conditions in which fragments of time are gathered, recorded, documented, represented, shared, omitted, repressed or overlooked and what consequences this has on the knowledge and the production of identity and community.
Her work is inspired by the practice of archaeology and uncovers archaeology itself. Archaeologists — predominantly male — gave ancient ages names like ‘Iron’ and ‘Bronze’ rather than ‘Flax,’* implying that these metals, but also the people who crafted the tools, were the decisive factors in human evolution. Perishable materials such as woven blankets and carpets — often developed by women and possible more pivotal in the lives of the people — rarely leave traces to be found in the ground. Their existence has been absorbed back into the soil and the significance of the people developing these objects has been lost.
Benjocki’s work — through film, installation, audio and textile works — investigates how narratives are constructed and how that construction implicates the way we understand the past, see the present and imagine the future. Central to her practice is the notion of the archive, which she understands as a grammar according to which new histories are written. Benjocki sees the process of writing and textile-making as interrelated. Not only the words text and textile share the same root**, weaving as one of the earliest technologies played an important role in the material history of the written word. Both paper, from papyrus, and thread, from flax or cotton plant, find their origin in the natural world. The photographic or video camera registration has for a long time held a status of ‘truth making’. In this respect, an image-making is regarded as veracious, and at the same time a technique in which nature makes an imprint of itself. Being a stencil of reality, the image — moving or still — registers and produces evidence of time. In her more recent practice, Benjocki uses weaving and expanded cinema to create large scale installations where different aspects of time and space are made tangible and wherein physical encounters offer a way of grasping and understanding the complexities of the given histories.
* Flax, also known as common flax or linseed, is a flowering plant. The plant has been important for the development of thread and with this woven objects such as blankets and clothes.
** from Latin texere , to weave
Kristina's work inhabits different shapes and forms: exhibitions, screenings, publications, talks, workshops and lectures. Most notably her work has been presented within the context of the Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam , Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Ambika P3 London, Kunsthal Rotterdam, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka, Regionaal Historisch Centrum Limburg in Maastricht, Izolyatsia in Kyiv, American University in Beirut amongst others. Between 2015 and 2017 she was a researcher at the Jan Van Eyck Academy .
Currently, she is preparing the first solo exhibition in Belgium at IKOB, Museum of Contemporary Art Eupen. Later in 2022 she will present her work at Legat Čolaković, Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade and the National Museum in Zrenjanin, the two will be her first solo presetations in Serbia.
Recent portfolio, cv, press and biography on request: info[at]kristinabenjocki[dot]com
"Kristina Benjocki is interested in the remnants of history. As one's perception is always disturbed by a distance – both in the matter and in time – Benjocki delves into the possibility of numerous, often opposing positions within the politics and culture of remembrance. On the one hand, she tries to repair memory, while on the other she also aims to leave space for forgetting. In all cases, the violent past and precarious present of the former Yugoslavia inform her practice. Sometimes this takes centre stage, other times it only fulfils a supporting role in the performances, video pieces, drawings, installations and photographs Benjocki creates.
Benjocki employs elements from her research in different combinations to unveil and unravel bigger histories and personal accounts. By doing so, she addresses the ideological framing of events and reveals the positions of individuals. In direct and metaphorical ways, she presents the outcomes of her in-depth research. The fragility of the findings, both in a material and factual sense, drove her to further examine the very nature of archives and the part they play in the construction of collective historical narratives."
Vincent van Velsen,
The nomination letter, excerpt, Prix de Rome, 2017
“Kristina Benjocki wordt gedreven door een dubbelzinnig verlangen: zij duikt in de artefacten van de geschiedenis om enerzijds herinneringen te repareren, anderzijds om te vergeten. Het gewelddadige verleden en het fragiele heden van voormalige Yoegoslavië vormt een belangrijk onderwerp in haar performances, videos en fotowerken. Hoe afstand en nabijheid onze waarneming bepalen, laat zij zien in haar installatie 45KG BULLET SHELLS, die van een afstand lijkt op blinkend goud van dichtbij een hoopje kogelhuizen blijkt te zijn. De geluidsinstallatie SOUNDTRACK (STATEMENTS OF GUILT) is gebaseerd op de zogenaamde ‘Statements of Guilt’ uit het archief van het Yoegoslaviëtribunaal. Benjocki abstraheerde de schokkende getuigenissen tot een soundtrack van ritmes en zoemende tonen aan wiens trillingen je je als bezoeker fysiek niet kan onttrekken. Voor har recente werk reisde zij langs verwaarloosde (Tweede Wereld) oorlogsmonumenten in Servië; ten tijde van de wederbouw ging de voorkeur uit naar abstracte in plaats van figuratieve beelden. Niet de terugblik op herkenbare oorlogsellende
of heroïek, maar de ‘moderne’ toekomst werd benadrukt. In Benjocki’s foto verrijst het monument op de Kosmajberg in de dageraad als een vervreemdende representatie van de macht; tegelijkertijd biedt het de ruimte voor een verscheidenheid aan interpretaties. “
Prospects and Concepts, 2014
“I believe that the fall of the Iron Curtain and the reappearance of Eastern Europe into the global art scene resulted in a particular interest in history-as-material in art. A lot of verges on a kind of nostalgia and the historical footage that is already interesting in itself. But I don’t think I have ever seen such elaborate de and reconstructing practices like those of Kristina. The work on show was really a surprise, especially in its setting: in the resounding of space and the distribution of the sculptural, the sound and the text parts. The three parts make it all more than their sum and the abstractionist result still evokes the drama of the Yugoslav war in which the Netherlands and the Hague, as political capital and the center of international justice, also played a role.”
Text focusing on the ‘Soundtrack (statements of guilt)’ excerpt
Royal Academy of Art, July 2011
From 13th of October - 12th of November, Looiersgracht 60
Opening 12th October 2023, 17.00-20.00
Looiersgracht 60 is pleased to present ‘The Warp and Weft of History’, an extensive exhibition of the work of Amsterdam-based artist, Kristina Benjocki. The installation includes a comprehensive look at Benjocki’s research-driven practice encompassing new and existing works ranging from textile, film, and multimedia installation. The exhibition includes a new film installation she made together with Stijn Verhoeff.
Benjocki's work and research revolve around forgotten historical narratives, examining the politics of remembering and our social constructions of the past. With a rigorous and interdisciplinary approach, she creates immersive installations that deepen her viewers’ understanding of historical complexity. Uncovering the limitations of archaeology and its impact on history, she explores the biases of the archive and the often-overlooked political and technological significance of perishable material.
‘The Warp and Weft of History’ invites us to engage with the fluidity and fragility of memory and its influence on politics and culture through Benjocki’s diverse and precise methodology. Her practice exposes and questions the tendency towards an ideological framing of events and the responsibility of the archive in establishing collective memory. Born in Zrenjanin, Former Yugoslavia, a city known for its tradition in textile and rug making, Benjocki has long been surrounded by the influence and embedded knowledge of woven culture. Her work continues to emphasize the importance of textiles as ephemeral surfaces that shape civilization and hold the history and narratives of society. By tracing these threads of history, she discredits the tendency to subordinate textile practices and instead asserts their structural significance in our lives.
Working from the context of Serbian rug weaving, Benjocki explores the connective yet tenuous fibers of memory and history, craft and industry, and their inherent debt to marginalized labor. Weaving is one of the most universal and oldest technologies known to humans and yet established archaeological periods have prioritized other materials such as bronze and iron in an effort to imagine a history as static as its namesake. Benjocki, by contrast, has focused her research and production around the woven materials that have threaded us through history.
‘Tableaux VI-VII, La composition’ (2022) is a large-scale installation of two-sided textile works draped over site-specific metal frameworks throughout the ground floor of the space. ‘Tableaux VI-VII, La Composition’ is an investigation into the language, patterns, and systems of weaving. The graphic black and white compositions of the tapestries are based on Pirot Kilims, a Serbian rug weaving tradition that predates the Islamic-Ottoman rule in the Balkans and later used in building of a post-communist national identity. Pirot kilim weaving remains a significant cultural reminder of a time before the 500 years of Ottoman rule over Serbia; the patterns are incorporated into a vast array of National visual communication, including political material, advertisement, religious or mythic iconography, and corporate logos. Tracing the construction upon which the symbols were arranged in the Pirot Kilim, ‘Tableaux VI-VII, La Composition’ examines the direct relationship between textile, colonization, migration, myth making and political power.
While computerized memory has replaced much of the knowledge formerly held in the bodies of skilled craftspeople and laborers, for Benjocki, embodied knowledge is paramount to her research. The textiles that make up ‘Tableaux VI-VII, La Composition’ are therefore hand woven by Benjocki on a combination countermarch loom the mechanisms of which were first developed in the 1930s by Swedish crafts teacher Ulla Cyrus-Zetterström. Working directly with her material offers a greater understanding of the history of the practice of weaving and a connection to the movements and rhythms of weavers before her. Similar to her embodied approach to materiality, Benjocki also seeks out the embedded first-person knowledge and memory at risk of being forgotten. Following the arcs of history and exhuming past narratives, Benjocki’s in-depth research has led her to private archives and intimate conversations with those engaged with certain places in history.
One such place is the enigmatic ‘mountain’ of Cannerberg, a former limestone quarry situated on the border of the Netherlands and Belgium. While colloquially considered as a mountain, Cannerberg is in reality a hill on the Custert Plateau, a historic limestone deposit that has been quarried starting in the Neolithic period. The tunnels, first carved for limestone extraction, have been repeatedly redefined throughout history. Cannerberg in particular has held grounds for many covert operations such as German arms production in WWII, the NATO headquarters during the Cold War, a place where the 12 signatures of the treaty of Maastricht have been memorialized.
Beginning with her time in residence at the Jan van Eyck Academie, Benjocki has spent years of rigorous research into the aggregated geological and political history of Cannerberg and exhumed its myriad histories through access to extensive personal and public archives. Exploring the shifting narratives, motivations, and memories of those who have spent considerable time in the space, Benjocki has translated these stories into an intimate and meticulous body of work.
‘Sedimentation of Memory’, a synchronized installation of 5 Kodak carousel slide projectors, showcases 400 drawings projected onto carefully manipulated and worn limestone blocks. These drawings are based on former NATO personnel’s private archives and presented in combination with visual inserts found in the historic archives of Limburg, in Maastricht. Reaching the height of its usage during the Cold War period, the projector in Benjocki’s installation questions the dissemination of narrative, projection, and history’s place in the present. By representing what was once classified, Benjocki brings new light to stories that were meant to be forgotten. Etching indelibly into the limestone as well as onto the slide film, Benjocki projects her own inquiry on the recollection of memory and history. What is held static and what can be redrawn and represented? Where is power located in the recalling of the past and how does its retelling reshape that dynamic?
Furthering this connection to the history of Cannerberg, Benjocki will present the newly completed, ‘While the Pile of Rubble Grows Towards the Sky’, a two-channel film installation born from collaboration with writer and filmmaker, Stijn Verhoeff. Using the format of a video essay, the work dives into the extensive expanse of Cannerberg's history. Meticulously tracing the genesis of this place, from its ancient and sea-born limestone layers to its recent history as grounds for advanced military activity, Benjocki and Verhoeff look into how much of history is inscribed into the material it is made from. While the societal inclination might be to sweep away the sedimentation of these histories, Benjocki and Verhoeff carefully collect and illuminates them, giving them new life and endurance through their immersive and engaging installations.
From: 7th Of October - 25th of February 2024, Amsterdam Museum
How does past violence define your life in the present? What do you pass on to future generations? Refresh Amsterdam #2 features works by twenty artists from different disciplines, selected through an open call. With their work, they show how wars and conflicts around the world and throughout time play a role in the city of Amsterdam. Refresh Amsterdam is a biennial, interdisciplinary event on Amsterdam's urban culture.
This second edition is organised together with more than 20 Amsterdam cultural institutions, with the collective We Sell Reality as the main partner. More work by the makers shown here will be on display at various locations, and there will be a weekly public programme of talks and performances spread throughout the city.
The names of the selected artists, sometimes in duos or as a collective, are Nasam Abboud & Yazan Maksoud & Roua Jafar, Kristina Benjocki, Marcel van den Berg, Luan Buleshkaj, Dina Danish, Ehsan Fardjadniya & Raul Balai, Tina Farifteh, Clinton Kabena, Ayşen Kaptanoğlu, Susanne Khalil Yusef, Gert Jan Kocken, Senka Milutinović, Vika Mitrichenko, Sithabile Mlotshwa, Pieter Paul Pothoven, Ratu R. Saraswati, Anika Schwarzlose & Elena Khurtova, Victor Sonna, Handan Tufan and We Sell Reality.
Amsterdam has been shaped in part by wars and their consequences. Thus, the city has been a refuge for many for centuries. At the same time, Amsterdam itself has also contributed to war and oppression in various parts of the world. Together, this results in a great diversity of residents. Many people carry war with them, including in Amsterdam.
Portrait of a Mountain exhibition at Legat Čolaković gallery, Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade gets an extensive coverage on the national television RTS1. This reportage includes an introduction by the exhibition curator Miroslav Kari ć. It also includes snippets of conversation with Dutch writer and artist Stijn Verhoeff who speaks about the film we made together. You can watch back the Kultural News program here (from 4:34 min to 6:50 min). In Serbian language.
Nevena Pajić and I had a long conversation about my first solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Serbia. She wrote an engaging text about her visit to the exhibition, also reflecting on our conversation. The entire interview and exhibition review is now accessible on the Plezir Magazin website, see pages 174 - 190. The text is written in Serbian.
It's my utmost pleasure to announce my first solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Serbia. The exhibition Portrait of a Mountain is open from 09.06 until 14.08. Spaning on three levels of the Legat Čolaković building it presents the interrelated body of work about Cannerberg, a cavernous hill on the border between the Netherlands and Belgium.
The Portrait of a Mountain exhibition will feature the first-time presentation of the two-channel film installation While the Pile of Rubble Grows Towards the Sky by Kristina Benjocki and Stijn Verhoeff.
Happy to announce my participation in the Berlin Alexanderplatz residency program. The Mondriaan Fonds supports my four-month stay, during which I will finish my new film. Together with collaborators, I will present it within the context of ABA Salon. Stay tuned!
Open for visual artists, curators and art observers based in the Netherlands, AIR Berlin Alexanderplatz offers research-based residencies with a focus on collective and experimental knowledge production and direct engagement with Berlin’s artistic and cultural landscape.
On Wednesday, March 8th I'll be intoducing my practice and current research in the format of Air Berlin Alexanderplatz LAB. All welcome!
Initiated by Olivera Skoko
curator at the National Museum in Zrenjanin
with Kristina Benjocki, Rajna Krulj
interviewer Miroslava Malbaški
This interview marks the launch of a new cultural supplement, coming out monthly in the oldest newspaper in town 'List Zrenjanin.' It follows the idea of presenting cultural practitioners from Zrenjanin by aiming to create space to connect those who left with those who stayed. The format aims to celebrate diverse practices by inviting cultural workers from different fields in art, music and literature to share their knowledge and stories. It aims at offering readers a glimpse into wide variety of methods and practices. For the inaugural cultural supplement, journalist Miroslava Malbaški has invited painter and poet Rajna Krulj and installation artist Kristina Benjocki to have a conversation.
Kristina Benjocki grew up in Zrenjanin: once one of the largest textile-producing towns in former Yugoslavia. Lucy Cotter visits the artist’s current installation at IKOB and notices how this biographical background has increasingly become a prism through which Benjocki examines the wider intersection of human labour, technological progress, and political histories.
Review by Lucy Cotter is published by Metropolis M. You can read it here .
Guided tour with the artist
Performance by Seamus Cater
Avina Vishnu (AV duo of Aina and Heinrich Mueller of Drexciya, Dopplereffekt & Arpanet)
CV & JAB (Christina Vantzou & John Also Bennett)
CS & Kreme live
An online film screening about political histories, labour and resistance, featuring short films by Veronika Eberhart, Giorgi Gago Gagoshidze, Wendelien van Oldenborgh and Monika Uchiyama. This event forms part of the public programme for the current exhibition "Kristina Benjocki: At sunset we retreat once again, up the hill, to where we can watch the skeins of water reflect colours we’ve never seen before" at IKOB.
This online event took place on 11.05.2022 at 7 pm CEST. The recording of the event, including all the films, is available to view via this link until 05.06.2022.
Focusing on textile production as a vehicle for re-examining dominant historical narratives, Kristina Benjocki's exhibition is a poetic interrogation of how textiles and the very practice of weaving intersect with technological progress, national histories, and the construction of cultural identity. The selection of films places a particular focus on the arising themes of labour and industry and the relationship between human bodies and machines. The works reflect on the changing nature of labour structures, suggesting that the transition to a capitalist, post-industrial economy is an ongoing struggle that continues to demand and provoke political resistance.
The screening includes a short introduction to Kristina Benjocki's exhibition, and is followed by a Q&A with the artists Kristina Benjocki, Veronika Eberhart, Wendelien van Oldenborgh and Monika Uchiyama.
Veronika Eberhart, 9 is 1 and 10 is none , 2017, Video, 22min
The resurrection of a closed-down wood workshop through performative interventions: In pantomime, dance-like choreographies, machines are put back in operation. Working processes are reproduced in their specific rhythms of movement. A mythical invocation of the past and an artistic reflection on femaleness in a capitalist society.
Monika Uchiyama, a new use , 2018, single-channel video, 24min
An observational documentary about a Tokyo family business that has made wax products for generations. Amidst the light banter and pleasant routines of a day’s work lie growing concerns about the family’s future.
Giorgi Gago Gagoshidze, The Invisible Hand of My Father , Video, 2018, 24min
The film tells the story of the artist's father, a former car-factory manager in the Soviet Union turned migrant construction worker who lost his hand on a job in Portugal just as the financial crisis of 2009 was wreaking havoc all over the world. His lost hand is still somewhere out there, a rogue phantom limb, working invisibly.
Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Pertinho de Alphaville , 2010, slide projection with soundtrack, 20min
In this work the massive strikes in the São Paulo industries of the late 70's form a background for reflecting today's changing conditions of labour and the effect this has on the contemporary self. The film was made through encounters with a group of women working in a jeans factory near Alphaville São Paulo.
IKOB, solo exhibition
Curated by Brenda Guesnet
March 11 until June 05 2022
IKOB — Museum of Contemporary Art in Eupen presents a major solo exhibition with the artist Kristina Benjocki, the first significant presentation of her work in Belgium.
Engaging with the local history of the cloth industry in Eupen, the exhibition is a poetic interrogation of how textile production intersects with stories of political resistance and the construction of cultural identity.
Opening: 11.03.2022, 18:00
Generously supported by the Mondriaan Fonds and the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands.
Curated by Fadwa Naamna
February 04 until April 17
With: Kristina Benjocki, Yasmim Salim Flores, Cecilia Jonsson, Csilla Klenyánszki, Esther Kokmeijer, Irene Lusztig, Emmeline de Mooij, Ghinwa Yassine
Titled Dearest Y, the exhibition is inspired by the 1960’s and 1970’s feminist cry “the personal is political”, which underscored the connections between the personal experience of motherhood and the broader socio-economic and political systems. The exhibition brings together paintings, video, textile and mixed media installations.
Gray Light Projects, Heerlen
curated by the Gray Light and Sophie Delhasse
October 30th until December 19 2021
With: Balta, Kristina Benjocki, Arthur Cordier, Xavier Duffaut, Célie Falières, Theo Turpin & ANGL collective, Claude Horstmann, Irma Kalt, Michael Kargl, Donya Saed and Cléo Totti
The flag is a universally used object. Depending on its function, it is political, military, sacred, or the symbol of a project or of a universal fight. It carries collective identities.
In the case of the project What the Flag?!, it is rather a question of setting up flags in the urban space as if to symbolically take over a space for words to be said and thoughts appear in the city. The pieces of fabric - stretched by the wind - interrupt the inhabitants in their daily lives.
For more info can be found here .
An in-depth interview with Sven Spieker about my recent practice is now published on the MIT Press journal ART Margins website.
Read more about the work Ground Bindings (Nada, Gizela, Tereza) and how I started working with textile and why weaving is central to the way I think about my work. Read the full interview on the ART Margins website and find out more about this publication from their rich archives.
In the 1st issue of 2021 Metropolis M, Diaspora Dialogen, you can find 'Wij en Andere Anderen' text written by Iskra Vukšić. Based on a conversation between Iskra Vukšić, Koštana Banović and Kristina Benjocki, this beautifully written and illustrated text is published in the February - March issue of Metropolis M .
Recently I gave a lecture as part of the ‘Democracy in Distress. New forms of propaganda. Image workers’ program at the Free University of Bozen- Bolzano.
In deze reeks geven we een curator of kunstcriticus carte blanche om het werk van een kunstenaar naar keuze voor te stellen. In dit nummer buigt Machteld Leij zich over het werk van Kristina Benjocki.
Veder lezen: HART Nr.209
Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam
Curated by Britte Sloothaak and Fadwa Naamna
September 05 2020 until January 31 2021
With: Sadik Afraji, Leonardiansyah Allenda, Kristina Benjocki, Kasper Bosmans, Rowena Buur, Anna Dasović, Timo Demollin, Quinsy Gario in collaboration with Mina Ouaouirst, Inas Halabi, Remy Jungerman, Natasja Kensmil, Sarah van Lamsweerde in collaboration with Leroy de Böck and Alicia Hoost, DOMINIQUE (Dominique Latoel), Ahmet Öğüt, Wendelien van Oldenborgh, Our Polite Society, Pieter Paul Pothoven, Farida Sedoc, Ghita Skali, Evelyn Taocheng Wang, Jennifer Tee, Gilleam Trapenberg and Werker Collective.
In the Presence of Absence shows a selection of artworks and design projects that challenge the idea of collective knowledge and public consciousness through stories that remain unseen, have been ignored or may be told more often within large public institutions. Spanning more than 14 rooms, the interdisciplinary exhibition In the Presence of Absence presents a selection of (counter) narratives that challenge fixed ideas about our society and question how history is written. When not addressed by organizations such as schools, libraries, archives, and museums, the absence of these stories forms knowledge gaps within the public debates that shape our collective consciousness and memory.
The projects for the Proposals for Municipal Art Acquisitions 2020 were selected by a jury composed of the curatorial duo Britte Sloothaak and Fadwa Naamna, Cédric Fauq (Nottingham Contemporary, Palais de Tokyo), Monika Szewczyk (De Appel, Amsterdam), Prem Krishnamurthy (Wkshps, FRONT International 2021) and Zippora Elders (Kunstfort bij Vijfhuizen, sonsbeek20→24).
This year’s Open Call for the biannual exhibition Proposals for Municipal Art Acquisitions received a record of 1408 entries. Unlike previous editions, the open call invited submissions from makers of all disciplines. A jury selected 23 projects for the exhibition; each proposal offers its own interpretation of the theme. This edition of the Municipal Art Acquisitions presents works that challenge our collective knowledge and public awareness. Which stories are unseen, ignored, or deserve to be told more often?
During the exhibition, the Stedelijk Museum will acquire a selection of artworks and design projects for the collection. With this, the Stedelijk not only seeks to include the stories these works tell within a temporary exhibition platform but also places the works within institutionalised knowledge systems, which include museum collections and archives.
Find more information on the Stedelijk Museum website .
WG studios, Amsterdam
September 28th and 29th
The Wilhemina Gasthuis (WG) exists since 1891. After the hospital closed down, it was squatted 35 years ago. Since then, it hosts artists, writers, performers and artisans of various ages and backgrounds. On 28th and 29th of September, many studios will be open, from 12 until 17 o'clock. Join the celebration! Find out more about the program and activities by visiting the website.
Mondriaan Fonds, Amsterdam
Eighteen visual artists who have worked professionally for at least four years have received a Werkbijdrage Bewezen Talent in April and May. The contribution enables artists to create new work and to experiment and can be used for everything related to the development of new work, such as research, material, equipment or projects. The amount can also be spent to accept an assignment or to participate in exhibitions and events at home and abroad.
The aim is to stimulate the oeuvre, cultural entrepreneurship and visibility so that the selected artist make a meaningful contribution to contemporary visual art in the Netherlands.
curated by Vincent van Velsen
July 11th until September 22nd
With: Kader Attia, Kristina Benjocki, Marcel van den Berg, Alexis Blake, Aslan Gaisumov, Quinsy Gario & Glenda Martinus, Yoeri Guépin, Gert Jan Kocken, Dana Lixenberg, Taus Makhacheva, Uriel Orlow, Pieter Paul Pothoven, Bert Scholten en Aimée Zito Lema
No you won’t be naming no buildings after me
To go down dilapidated
No you won’t be naming no buildings after me
My name will be misstated, surely
– Erykah Badu
In ‘No You won’t Be Naming no Buildings after Me’, guest curator Vincent van Velsen investigates, in collaboration with an international group of artists, modes of commemoration and embodied legacies. Monuments, street names and official holidays represent a limited and often problematic perspective on histories and people that should not be forgotten. This exhibition questions formal expressions of commemoration and explores different methods of keeping memories alive.
In this respect, public space can be perceived as the physical manifestation of a communal archive. However, memory and commemoration can be materialised in various ways, especially when it comes to people and narratives who are not phyiscally represented in the public domain or willing to be an identifiable part of collective memory. This exhibition addresses different, often immaterial manners in which legacies can be passed, as well as modes in which people and knowledge continue to live on, despite of alleged oblivion or denial. Throughout, the body functions as an essential vessel of knowledge as much as a bearer of experience: it is a medium for memory and a beacon of legacies lived.
The exhibition features a series of live events, with performances by Alexis Blake, Quinsy Gario & Glenda Martinus, and Bert Scholten; artist talks with Uriel Orlow and Pieter Paul Pothoven.
In conjunction with the exhibition, online magazine Vers Beton will publish a series of interviews. Different voices from Rotterdam take us to city places entwined both with personal memories and the events they would like remembered.
Greylight Projects, Brussels
curated by Julian Ross
April 5th until April 14th
With: Prapat Jiwarangsan, Nguyen Trinh Thi, Ahmad Fuad Osman, Raha Raisnnia, Praneet Soi, Hannah Dawn Henderson, Floris Vanhoof, Aura Satz, Kristina Benjocki and Tamar Guimarães
In 2004, Kodak stopped producing its famous carousel projector. Although the medium is now considered obsolete, it still proves to be a vital tool for artists. Their slide-based art has come to evoke the past, but from a contemporary and personal perspective.
Greylight Projects will foreground international artists that explore and thereby reclaim history and memory through the use of 35mm slides.
The title "Blackout" refers to the intermittent moment of darkness between two slides. In short, the exhibition deals with historical amnesia; not only on a socio-political level, but also in relation to the apparatus itself, and its afterlife. The narrative of media history is often linked to technological progress, but the continued artistic use of an apparatus long after its industrial demise challenges this story.
De Vishal, Haarlem
curated by Maria Vashchuk and Margreet Bouman
July 13th until August 11th
Ambika P3, London
curated by Julian Ross
March 12th until March 17th
With: Kristina Benjocki, Tamar Guimarães, Hannah Dawn Henderson, Prapat Jiwarangsan, Nguyen Trinh Thi, Ahmad Fuad Osman, Raha Raissnia, Aura Satz, Praneet Soi and Floris Vanhoof
The Kodak carousel slide projector has continued to be used by contemporary artists around the world for the past 15 years, despite no longer being produced since 2004. Now considered obsolete, the slide projector has come to evoke the past. The story of media history is often defined by the advent of technology, so the continued artistic use of an apparatus long after its industrial demise challenges this story. In the age of swipe and scroll, the ‘forgotten’ medium in the history of media technology gives us a moment to reconsider what we have lost and gained in the digital evolution.
This exhibition showcases eleven installations made by international artists after 2004, celebrating not only the heritage of the medium but also its extension into the contemporary context. Blackout, the title of the exhibition, refers to a distinctive characteristic of the slide projector: the intermittent moments of darkness between the projected slides. Unlike analogue film projection, which operates similarly, the slide projection’s low frame rate makes the oscillation between light and darkness visible to the human eye and distinctly felt. The title also references historical amnesia and collectively suppressed memories that many of the artworks call for us to remember.
De Film Krant
Zwarte gaten in het geheugen, Mariska Graveland
Januari 16 2019
De Groene Amsterdammer
Kunst & Cultuur Plato, kodak, pryce
De vleugels van een vlieg, Joke de Wolf
15 januari 2019
curated by Julian Ross
January 24th until February 3rd 2019
Blackout is part of Deep Focus at our 48th IFFR edition, an exhibition at Kunsthal Rotterdam and a series of performances highlighting contemporary artists’ works using the “forgotten” 35mm carousel slide projector. Blackout relates to historical amnesia or collectively suppressed memories, which the artworks will call for us to remember.
Kodak terminated the production of the 35mm carousel slide projectors over a decade ago in 2004. Now considered obsolete, the slide projector has come to evoke the past. You might remember this machine from your grandparents’ photo collection, the historical archive, or from lectures in art school; then again, some of you might have never seen one before. Nevertheless, slide-based works still feature regularly in art galleries and new works continue to be made with the medium. In the age of swipe and scroll, the “forgotten” medium in the history of media technology give us a moment to consider what we actually lose or gain in the digital evolution.
In IFFR 2019’s Deep Focus programme Blackout, you’ll get to see what the slide projector can offer in today’s media landscape. Celebrating the heritage of the medium, Blackout will focus entirely on the contemporary by presenting works made since 2004. While concerned with media archaeology, the exhibition also considers historical amnesia in a sociopolitical context. Many artists use the 35mm slide to illuminate lost or deliberately forgotten histories, reminding us the slide medium was not only used for holiday photos but also as pedagogical tools by colonial powers. The works featured in Blackout see artists take history into their own hands.
The title of the exhibition refers to forgotten or hidden moments in history as well as the intermittent moments of darkness between the individual projected slides. The works selected all explore historical memory from a personal perspective as an alternative to the simplified narratives of history”, says programmer Julian Ross.
Hannah Dawn Henderson [United Kingdom/Netherlands], Floris Vanhoof [Belgium], Aura Satz [United Kingdom], Nguyen Trinh Thi [Vietnam], Tamar Guimarães [Brazil], Raha Raissnia [United States], Prapat Jiwarangsan [Thailand], Ahmad Fuad Osman [Malaysia], Kristina Benjocki [Serbia/Netherlands], Cauleen Smith [United States], Praneet Soi [India/Netherlands]
Blackout will feature an exhibition of slide-based works by a line-up of international artists at Kunsthal Rotterdam; a special performance by American interdisciplinary artist Cauleen Smith; and a number of late-night audio-visual performances as part of sound//vision at WORM Rotterdam.
This exhibition is part of Julian Ross’ research supported by the Leverhulme Early Career Fellowship at University of Westminster. A variation of this exhibition will be held at Ambika P3, London, March 2019 and Greylight, Brussels, April 2019.
De Koepel, Haarlem
knock on the door before you enter
curated by Essam Zaki
October 5th until November 11th 2018
With: Nagham Abo Assaf, Zakia el Abodi, Ghalia Benali, Kristina Benjocki, Sebastian Diaz Morales, Hussein el Faqih, Thana Faroq, Jikke van Loon, Richtje Reinsma, Daphe Rosenthal, Sally Samaan
curated by Alexandra Landré
July 7th until September 16th 2018
With: Kristina Benjocki, Alexandra Duvekot, Giuseppe Licari, Ruchama Noorda, Semiconductor
Kunstvereniging Diepenheim presents the second group exhibition this year: 'Hiding in plain sight'. Five artists show work in which curiosity, research and speculative scenarios form the working guideline. The participants dive into the environment with new questions about the relationship between technology, nature and people. The result is a series of spatial installations, providing unexpected viewpoints into the banality of every day.
Stroom, The Hague
curated by Saskia van Stein and Agata Jaworska
May 19th until July 15th 2018
With: Eline Benjaminsen, Kristina Benjocki, Jean-Baptiste Castel, Yamuna Forzani, Daniel Grumer, Klodiana Millona, Miguel Peres dos Santos, Katarina Petrovic, Fahmy Shahin, Gitte Svendsen, Abel Wolff
The exhibition My Practice, My Politics shows work by artists and designers who recently graduated from the KABK (Royal Academy of Art The Hague). The interdisciplinary exhibition - curated by Saskia van Stein and Agata Jaworska - interconnects fine arts, photography, artistic research and various design disciplines and explores how art is inherently political. The exhibition expands ideas of political modes of expression. Through a wide array of artistic practices, the presentation conveys manifestations, interfaces and exchanges between the individual and the societal. With My Practice, My Politics the Royal Academy of Art portrays the way in which artists and designers capture their views on society through the subject matter they explore, the language and tools they employ, the aesthetics they manifest, and the communities they engage.
curated by Ruth Legg
April 13th 2018
An evening hosted by artist Ruth Legg and include an invited guest from the visual arts who will be asked to present a number of moving image clips that are of particular interest for or influence on them. With an emphasis on an informal discussion, this is an opportunity to explore ideas around the moving image without the pressure to draw conclusions.
Salone del Mobile, Milan - Italy
curated by Saskia van Stein and Agata Jaworska
April 17th until April 22nd 2018
The personal is political. Whether explicit or implicit, there is an embedded political dimension to everything we do. My Practice, My Politics explores how art, too, is inherently political.
The exhibition expands our ideas of political modes of expression. Through a wide array of artistic practices, the presentation conveys manifestations, interfaces and exchanges between the individual and the societal.
My Practice, My Politics portrays the way in which artists and designers capture their views on society through the subject matter they explore, the language and tools they employ, the aesthetics they manifest, and the communities they engage.
Curated by Lorenzo Benedetti
February 7th until February 11th 2018
The new section of Art Rotterdam Commonities will be curated by Lorenzo Benedetti, Curator Contemporary Art at Kunstmuseum St. Gallen.
Regional Historisch Centrum Limburg, Мааstricht
Curated by Krien Clevis
September 1st until November 3rd 2017
With: Astrid Mingels, Krien Clevis, Kristina Benjocki, Chaim van Luit, Bart Lodewijks, Jasper Coppes and Rod Summers
The first exhibition to work within the Regional Historisch Centrum Limburg (RHCL) context to showcase artistic projects and interventions inspired by the geological and industrial history of Caesert plateau in Maastricht.
The exhibition includes the artists from different generations and backgrounds who generated independent projects in the most recent years, as well as those who have discovered and worked with the plateau as early as the 1970s. Pioneers is the first exhibition to make use of the former depot of the RHCL building.
The invited artists share a common interest in archeology as a tool for re-creating and speculating about the past.
The works on display have not or have barely been shown to the public, or have become oblivious, sometimes even literally buried underground and been excavated like an archaeological artefacts.
The Regime of the Visible
pocket map and text for the MIT press journal
published June 2017
The Regime of Visible, in the form of a pocket map, introduces two ways of exploring Cannerberg, a small hill situated between Maastricht, the Netherlands, and Kanne, Belgium. One side of the map traces the ownership of land by mapping cadaster parcels and their corresponding buildings and underground tunnel structures. The other side traces varied sources from the history and geology of Caestert plateau with a focus on Cannerberg. From Neolithic times, continuous mining of flint nodules and later limestone created a complex network of underground tunnels around Maastricht, popularly called “the caves.” Flint nodules were used to make tools and weapons, and to build fire. For centuries, up until industrialization, limestone was extracted by hand and used in building infrastructure in the Limburg province. By the time of industrialization, underground mining in Cannerberg had already been exhausted.
The maze of underground corridors left behind was regularly used by local farmers until WWII, when German troops re-purposed Cannerberg into a storage and assembly facility for V-1 rockets. A few years after WWII, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (NATO) rented out the same “cave” and used it as the headquarters for war operations during the Cold War. In 1992 the NATO headquarters shut down. The same year, the Treaty of the European Union was ratified in Maastricht, its twelve signatures memorialized in Cannerberg's “cave.”
The Regime of Visible collapses the narratives of property and history through the superposition of Cannerberg's storylines. The Regime of Visibleis part of long-term research on the Caestert plateau history, and it functions as an introductory work to “Portrait of the Mountain,” an upcoming video essay.
Sursock Museum- Beirut, Lebanon
This is the Time. This is the Record of the Time.
May 11th 2017
Join us for the book launch of This is the Time. This is the Record of the Time, edited by Angela Harutyunyan and Nat Muller. The book combines theoretical interventions on conceptions of time and temporality by several scholars – including Rico Franses and Ray Brassier – with artistic propositions on its representations and records. Following a collaborative exhibition and public program at the Stedelijk Bureau Amsterdam and the AUB Art Galleries in the framework of Stedelijk Museum’s Global Collaborations program in 2014-15, the publication is both a record of the project and a renewed invitation to think of time in the midst of tectonic geopolitical, social, and cultural shifts.
The book launch will be accompanied by readings, and a conversation with the editors, artists, and authors present: Ray Brassier, Rico Franses, Daniele Genadry, Angela Harutyunyan, Sami Khatib, Walid Sadek, and Cynthia Zaven, among others.
Sedimentation of Memory PuntWG gallery, Amsterdam
Jun 10th until July 2nd 2017
Sedimentation of Memory, installation with five Kodak carrousel projectors and lime stone blocks, duration 8min looped.
The installation collapses visual narratives based on historical and geological findings related to Cannerberg, a cavernous hill located between the Dutch and Belgian border. From Neolithic times, continuous mining of flint nodules and later limestone created a complex network of underground tunnels around the Caesert plateau. In Limburg province, these hand cut tunnels are commonly referred to as “the caves” while hills are often referred to as “the mountains.” Cannerberg bears traces from various histories: from Neolithic times to World War II, the Cold War and the Maastricht treaty- considered as the beginning of European Union.
Sedimentation of Memory is an introduction to Portrait of the Mountain, a long-term research project that will result in a video essay and a book (2015-2018).
Sedimentation of Memory combines technology, visual and material remnants of the time that has passed and of the location. The project draws from a variety of sources from private and public archives, tracing characters as they surface from different mediums: black-and-white or color photographs, VHS tapes, scanned documents, natural history books, military brochures, tourist guides or the most recent unclassified records from the NATO archive in Brussels.
Jan Van Eyck
Akademieplein 1 Maastricht
March 9th until March 11th 2017
With: Abla el Bahrawy, Albergo Rosa, Alessandra Covini, Anna Reutinger, Anneke Brassinga, Bregje Hofstede, Christine Bax, Christine Verheyden, Daan Gielis, Damon Zucconi, Dear Hunter, Dimitrios Rentoumis, Eloise Sweetman, Fabio Roncato, Fazed Grunion, Grace Schwindt, Hannes Bernard & Guido Giglio, Imran Channa, Iván Martínez López, Jessica Segall, Johanna Binder, Ju Hyun Lee, Julie van der Vaart, Junsheng Zhou, Katrin Kamrau, Kristina Benjocki, Lena Bergendahl, Lilian Kreutzberger, Lucia Prancha, Marco Balesteros, Maria Pääkkönen, Matthew C. Wilson, Meri Linna, Mustafa Stitou, Orr Menirom, Paoletta Holst, Pieter van der Schaaf, Radna Rumping, Raewyn Martyn, Rosan Hollak, Santiago F Mosteyrín, Simon Wald-Lasowski, Sol Archer, Tim Hollander and Viktorija Rybakova
Remont Gallery Belgrade
Selected and Curated by: Ana Bogdanović, Milica Pekić, Ivana Vaseva, Suzana Vuksanović and Marko Marković
With: Kristina Benjocki, Mia Ćuk, Bogomir Doringer, Nina Simonović and Mihailo Vasiljević
Dimitrije Bašičević Mangelos Award was founded in 2002 by The Center for Contemporary Art from Belgrade and The Foundation for a Civil Society (FCS) from New York, as part of the regional project Young Visual Artists Awards (YVAA).
The award bares the name of a prominent conceptual artist and art historian from former Yugoslavia, Dimitrije Bašićević Mangelos.
Center for Cultural Initiatives in Kyiv
Curated by Kateryna Filyuk
June 30th until August 24th 2016
With: Kristina Benjocki (Yugoslavia/Netherlands), Luchezar Boyadjiev (Bulgaria), Pilar Mata Dupont (Australia), Cynthia Gutierrez Alvarez (Mexico), Arturo Hernandez Alcazar (Mexico), Christian Jankowski (Germany), Zanna Kadyrova (Ukraine), Guy Königstein, Pilar Quinteros (Columbia), Krassimir Terziev (Bulgaria), Arseny Zhilyaev (Russia)
Social Contract is aimed at creating a discussion platform for the art community, society and authorities on the status and functions of commemorative objects in urban space, using the case of the Lenin statue in Kyiv as an example. The destruction of the statue of Lenin in Kyiv in December 2013 triggered the symbolic Leninfall around the country, calling into action a controversial set of laws on Decommunisation to a broad polemic in Ukrainian society.
Curated by Zoran Erić, Jelle Bouwhuis and Joram Kraaijeveld
April 18th until May 31st 2015
With Kristina Benjocki, Lana Čmajčanin, Adela Jušić, Anna Dašović, Doplgenger, Saša Karalić, Vladimir Miladinović, Quenton Miller, Charles van Otterdijk, Nikola Radić Lucati
"Resolution 827" is the outcome of a collaboration between Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade.
"The immediate reference in the title is to the UN Security Council Resolution 827, which was adopted on May 25, 1993, establishing the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Some synonyms for the term resolution in a sense intended here include settlement, verdict, or decision, all of which point to the juridical aspect of this project's theme and focus. By extending the etymological analysis of resolution, some other important earlier senses of the word underline the multi-layered background of the theme of this exhibition's investigation. For example, the Latin resolution means a 'process of reducing things into small simpler forms'. Derived from Latin, in term resolution in Old French and Late Middle English (14th century) represents 'breaking into parts'. These additional meanings function as effective euphemisms for "balkanization", a notorious term in recent history referring to the dissolution of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia into smaller nation-states".
Excerpt from "Fragments on Resolution" written by dr. Zoran Erić
Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam
Curated by Nat Muller and Angela Harutyunyan
September 13 until 9th November 2014
With: Kristina Benjocki, Sebastián Díaz Morales, Peter Fengler, Priscila Fernandes, Daniele Genadry, Walid Sadek, Rayyane Tabet, Esmé Valk, and Cynthia Zaven.
Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam presents This is the Time. This is the Record of the Time, a collaborative project with the American University of Beirut (AUB) Art Gallery, developed by curators Angela Harutyunyan and Nat Muller. The exhibition features newly commissioned works by nine artists based in Lebanon and the Netherlands.
This is the Time. This is the Record of the Time takes its cue from Laurie Anderson’s ominous 1982 song From the Air. Anderson’s song depicts a feeling of imminent disaster, characterized by a loss of control over our agency and positioning in the world. We seem to live in an era of acceleration, ever-expanding and dominating technology, and ongoing crises that are more than ever before experienced on a global scale. While we can share our daily events to a degree that was not possible before, we seem to have less power over the course that the world is taking. Although we are constantly exposed to the various histories in the making, because of the incessant news feeds, social media and other recording devices we might understand less of our current times as we become overloaded with information. Events play out in real-time, we have them at our fingertips, but does that really help shed light on our current condition? Angela Harutyunyan and Nat Muller suggest that we are in dire need of reconsidering how we experience and record our times.
This is the Time. This is the Record of the Time activates different temporalities and calls on us to pause and reflect, even if only for a moment. The artists investigate to what extent the recording mechanisms and material recordings of our lived times represent and influence our perception of temporality. The works engage with history, politics, form, social and individual narrative and lived experience from a contemporary angle that looks into the past and at the present moment, and glances into the future. Rather than making sweeping generalisations or seeking truths, many works in the exhibition are personal and open-ended, hinting at the suggestion that “records of the time” are always partial, incomplete and subjective. Take for example Rayyane Tabet’s site-specific durational intervention – for a week – where he covers the exhibition space in pencil tally marks. Or Kristina Benjocki’s reinterpretation and rematerialization of Yugoslav history, by transforming excerpts of history books into woven carpets.