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Artists' Association MUU » PERFORMANCE VOYAGE 4 – A Series of International Video Performances
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PERFORMANCE VOYAGE 4 – A Series of International Video Performances

ax_sillanpaa4 – 27 Apr 2014
MUU Gallery


Opening 3rd April, 5-7 pm. Welcome!

Performance Voyage 4 showcases video performances by 15 artists and collectives. The compilation was made from among work submitted in response to an open international call for artists. The theme of self-portrait offers a variety of possibilities for the artists as well as the audience: the works challenge spectators to reflect upon their own self as well.

The themes in Performance Voyage 4 include identity as an act and as a process; autobiography and everyone’s right to their own story; the artist in a social context; the self in relation to others and otherness; and more. One thing lacking in the submissions was interrogation of social gender, a staple theme in self-portraits and performances for decades. Has it already been exhausted through art? Do we live in an age of denial and silence? After all, the submissions comprised over 200 video performances from different social contexts. Performance Voyage 4 series indicates that nudity, tapes, scissors, mirrors, clothes and food supplies still remain at the core of performance art.

The jury members for the Performance Voyage 4 were Taina Erävaara (Degree Programme Manager, Turku University of Applied Sciences), Leena Kela (Regional Artist of Performance Art, Arts Council of Varsinais-Suomi) and Timo Soppela (Director, Artists’ Association MUU/MUU Gallery).

In 2014, Performance Voyage 4 videos will be screened across Europe and globally at various venues in Sweden, Norway, Germany, USA, Canada, Russia and more.


Installation in MUU Gallery: Romulo Banares: Feed me back (Spain)

Anastasia Ax & Marja-Leena Sillanpää: Scream to Scream (Sweden)
Alex Bodea: nine line poems of alex bodea (Romania/Germany)
Elina Brotherus: Francesca Woodman’s Aunts (Finland)
Cristian Chironi: Sticker (excerpt) (Italy)
Chun Hua Catherine Dong: When I Was Born (China/Canada)
Allison Halter: Salt Lick (USA/Germany)
Constantin Hartenstein: FIT (Germany)
Marja Helander: Trambo (Finland)
Marianne Myungah Kim: Remember everything (Korea/USA)
Verica Kovacevska: The Artist (Macedonia/Switzerland)
Julia Kurek: Message (Poland)
Marika Orenius: Talking about… (Finland)
Benas Šarka: Wall Soul (Lithuania)
Minna Suoniemi: Lullaby (Finland)

Total duration: 63 min


During the Performance Voyage 4 –exhibition MUU initiates collaboration with the Finnish-Swedish institute Hanaholmen. The collection of video performances will have their own channel in hotel rooms at Hanaholmen, enabling hotel guests to enjoy high quality video art in the privacy of their own hotel rooms. Key words for the project this year are availability of art and new ways to display it.


1. Anastasia Ax & Marja-Leena Sillanpää: Scream to Scream, 3:10, 2013 (Sweden)
Scream to Scream took place in the NYC subway on 14 April 2013, 14.00–19.30 h. The video is a site-specific self-portrait. The familiar soundscape is used so that a single act changes the environment.

The duo ANASTASIA AX and MARJA-LEENA SILLANPÄÄ have collaborated since 2011. Their mission is to examine the thin boundary between life and death in a direct and fearless way.

www.marjaleenasillanpaa.se, www.anastasiaax.se

2. Alex Bodea: nine line poems of alex bodea, 5:53, 2013 (Germany)
In her self-portrait exercise, Alex Bodea chooses to reveal the quirky, Dadaist, playfully inventive side of her personality. The mental qualities are depicted using visible, material means: lines, formulas and words. The display takes place on a transparent Plexiglas surface that superimposes it over Bodea’s face: the performed content and the performer are one. The playfulness is enhanced by an improvised attraction: the Plexiglas is cracking and unstable, the shooting deliberately amateurish. In medium close-up, using a marker and a transparent surface, Alex Bodea performs her Line Poems as an expression of her playful side.

ALEX BODEA, born in Romania, revealed her two-fold interest in drawing and writing by imitating handwriting while still an illiterate child. Creating from trends and the stubbornness to (re)do things her own way, are defining characteristics of her work. Her first series to confront drawing with three-dimensional space and action were “Draw as if it would have consequences” and “Protection Image”.


3. Elina Brotherus: Francesca Woodman’s Aunts, 2:59, 2013 (Finland)
Two photographers work to make a self-portrait with a large-format view camera. They pay homage to Francesca Woodman, who is young enough to be their niece.

ELINA BROTHERUS works with photography and video. In her early work she explored personal yet universal experiences, the presence and absence of love. In her series The New Painting (2000–2005), Elina Brotherus probed the relation of photography to art history and found inspiration in the iconography of classical painting. In Model Studies (2002–2008) and Artist and her model (2005–2011), she continued to explore the human figure within a landscape, and the gaze of an artist on his/her model. In her current work, she returns to the autobiographical approach, although more distanced than in her youth.


4. Cristian Chironi: Sticker, 2:51, 2007 (excerpt) (Italy)
Sticker is a video that visually communicates the conflict or integration between figure and image, past and present, two- and three-dimensionality, reality and fiction. The pose, costume and gestures all give the illusion that the solid figure can be transformed into an image, until it fails, slowly falling to the ground and leaving the photo-portrait incomplete.

CRISTIAN CHIRONI uses many different languages in his work, including performance, photography, video and drawing, often creating a kind of interaction between them. He works with site-specific performance and installation, always looking for interaction with the context, whether human (public) or environmental (space). His explorations aim to relate image to imagination, fact to fiction, memory to modernity, conflict to integration, material to the immaterial.


5. Chun Hua Catherine Dong: When I Was Born, 3:01, 2010 (China/Canada)
I stand in front of the camera and describe what happened when I was born. I start by saying, “I have a confession; I was born on January 2nd, 1975, in a small village of China in a cold winter. I have a big brother, seven sisters, and I am the youngest one. When I was born, my father looked at me and said I was just another mouth to feed.” Being a woman at that time was a mistake, and my father’s words were open wounds that remained unhealed until the day I shared my story with my audience. And now the wounds turn into scars that are alive within the subject, knitting difference into identity and identity into difference, becoming signs of courage and evidence of the ability to mend.

CHUN HUA CATHERINE DONG is a Chinese-born performance artist living in Canada. She has been invited to perform in multiple international venues, such as the 9th Kaunas Biennale in Lithuania, Infr’Action Performance Festival in Italy, Internationales Festival Für Performance in Germany, and Festival de Théâtre de rue de Lachine in Canada.


6. Allison Halter: Salt Lick, 5:26, 2013 (USA/Germany)
Salt Lick is an investigation of the topographical implications of the performative body as it is acted upon by other bodies. My face functions as a mineral lick, a source of nourishment, providing sustenance while simultaneously being eroded. The inherent absurdity of this unlikely gesture encourages the audience to question what it means to have one’s body acted upon in such a way, and the results of these actions, for both the performers and the audience.

ALLISON HALTER is currently based in Berlin. Her work has been exhibited and performed at dOCUMENTA(13) (DE), Golden Parachutes (DE), Ditch Projects (US), d’CLINIC Studios (SI), Feminist Form (US), and the Citizen Jane Film Festival (US). Her practice spans performance, video, film, sound, writing, and photography. (She received her Master of Fine Arts in Visual Studies from the Pacific Northwest College of Art in Portland, Oregon.)


7. Constantin Hartenstein: FIT, 4:42, 2012 (Germany)
FIT examines contemporary ‘non-places’ as described by Marc Augé in his phenomenological approach to supermodern spaces in metropolitan settlements. A contortionist, through challenging his physical abilities, becomes part of the architectural environment. The transformed image creates an evacuated space. FIT wants to question the ideal body image that is communicated via media and presents how our bodies can become victims of obsession.

CONSTANTIN HARTENSTEIN is an installation and video artist living and working in Herzberg, Berlin and New York. Hartenstein worked for the 2011 Venice Biennale as a film producer for the German Pavilion. He has participated in residency programs at Triangle Arts New York (USA), Grand Central Art Center Santa Ana (USA), Künstlerhaus Schöppingen (GER) and Flux Factory New York (USA). Hartenstein’s works have been exhibited and screened at international institutions such as Goethe Institute New York, Art and Exhibition Hall of the Federal Republic of Germany, German Consulate General New York, Volksbühne Berlin, Berlinische Galerie, transmediale and Herzliya Biennale (IL).


8. Marja Helander: Trambo, 3:26, 2014 (Finland)
Trambo is a self-portrait of an indigenous Sámi person wandering on a mountain. The woman is dragging a big trampoline, a burden she hopes will bring a bit of joy to the monotonous journey and life. The trampoline is a reference to the modern age, but can also be seen as a prison or a wall that is hard to see through. The round shape of the trampoline, the jumping and the sound that it makes also refer to shamanism and a long-lost heritage. Another way of seeing the video is as a dreamlike state, a glimpse into another world.

MARJA HELANDER originally trained as a painter, and then pursued her interest in photography. Helander’s work explores the issue of identity with regards to her background as a member of the Sámi, the indigenous people of Scandinavia. Helander’s recent work has focused on landscapes, portraying dark, mysterious views without any people. The works examine the modern union between nature and mankind, not as something harmonious, but dark. Helander has presented works in solo and group exhibitions both in Finland and abroad, including the Hasselblad Center in Gothenburg, Bildmuseet in Umeå, Kunsthal Charlottenborg in Copenhagen, Galleri F15 in Hamilton, Johannesburg Art Gallery in Johannesburg, and the 7th African Photography Meeting in Bamako.

9. Marianne Myungah Kim: Remember Everything, 2:40, 2004 (Korea/USA)
Remember Everything is an experimental performance-based video inspired by the Japanese butoh movement and the writings of Elias Cannetti. Remember Everything references the phenomena of twin-like behaviour within the confines of imagined role playing. The twins in the video conjure up the roles of lovers, sisters, and mother/child, all struggling with their ambivalence whether to be attached or not. The concept of reflection is used in the video literally and metaphorically as a portrait of two women moving, of fantasy and isolation.

MARIANNE MYUNGAH KIM is a Korean-American artist working with video, dance, and multimedia installation. Her projects have been presented at venues including Dance Film Association’s Dance for Camera Festival, the Singapore Arts Festival, Harlem Stage in New York, the Jumping Frames International Dance Video Festival in Hong Kong, Zendai MoMA in Shanghai, the Total Museum in Seoul, and Fundacion Ludwig de Cuba.


10. Verica Kovacevska: The Artist, 2:18, 2013 (Macedonia/Switzerland)
The Artist is a short split-screen video that features the artist herself. In the video, she performs a series of repetitive actions that document an artist’s working process – research, creativity, management, construction, marketing, etc. As the work becomes more and more affordable in the video, The Artist critically examines the value of creative production in today’s market-based economy.

VERICA KOVACEVSKA, born in Skopje, has lived and worked since 2009 in Zurich. She has participated in many international exhibitions and festivals, such as Re.act.feminism in Berlin; Belgrade: Nonplaces at Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade; This is Not a Gateway Festival in London; Other Possible Worlds at Casino Luxembourg in Luxembourg, and Moscow Biennale of Contemporary Art in Moscow.


11. Julia Kurek: Message, 9:57, 2007 (Poland)
Message won the first prize at the Biennale of Art in Piotrkow Trybunalski, Poland. The environment works as a performance as well as a self-portrait. The video examines the relationship between identity and other people as well as their reactions.

JULIA KUREK, born in Szczecin, began her artistic career at the Academy of Fine Arts in Gdansk. After graduation, she applied for doctoral studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Krakow, finishing in 2012.


12. Marika Orenius: Talking about…, 5:06, 2013 (Finland)
Are we free to talk, dance, sing and scream? I am concerned about spaces as well as our freedom for bodily response and action. My aim is to make visible ideas concerning philosophical and socio-political structures. In the video, I sit on my bed, figuring out the relationship between an individual and the world.

MARIKA ORENIUS works with moving image, photography, drawing, performance art and installation. After graduating from the Finnish Academy of Fine Arts she has furthered her education at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris and the Valand School of Fine Arts at the University of Gothenburg. She is currently a doctoral student at Aalto University.


13. Benas Šarka: Wall Soul, 6:51, 2013 (Lithuania)
Solitude and boredom are the origin and eternal source of poetry. Poetry can be the last resort, knowledge that pre-exists conscious knowledge in the human mind. Or existing afterwards, when all illusions of knowledge fade away.

BENAS ŠARKA is a well-known Lithuanian performance artist who works with alternative theatre as a director and an actor. In 1987, he founded an independent theatre company called Gliukai, which focuses on public spaces: streets, storehouses, industrial spaces, etc. Since 1988, he has created 35 performances and participated in 65 international theatre festivals. In 2008, Šarka started to work with experimental audiovisual projects, and in the space of five years he created several short films that have been screened at many festivals.

14. Minna Suoniemi: Lullaby, 3:39, 2012 (Finland)
Lullaby is a revisioning of the many mother and child motifs in the history of art. The mother lies on a bed while the child plays with her face. The mother growls and shows her fangs, but the child has no fear of her beast mother.

MINNA SUONIEMI lives and works in Tampere. She has worked actively as visual artist since 1996. Suoniemi has exhibited her work in major museums in Finland as well as internationally, most recently at the Preus Museum of Photography in Norway and at Kunsthalle Helsinki and Kiasma Museum of Contemporary Art. Her video Little Red Riding Hood and Wolf won the Palokärki Prize of the Finnish Artist’s Association in 2012.


15. Romulo Banares: Feed me back, 2013 (Spain) – Installation at MUU Gallery
Feed me back is an installation in which the visitor is invited to participate in the work by lying on a bed. An image of the visitor lying on the bed is recorded with a webcam and projected back on the bed. When the visitor gets up, he/she can see his/her own image on the bed like a virtual copy.

This work tells about the ways in which the technological environment affects our mind, how our subjectivity is deeply affected by the use of the new media in the post-capitalist era, and how these new technologies induce emotions and desires in us. Identity as a feedback loop in which our body is just an image among others, digital information that we can manipulate, share and copy – the myth of Narcissus in the era of social networks.

ROMULO BANARES is an artist born in Valencia, Spain, and living and working in Madrid.