Dimitrina Sevova, Play Chain Boys, 2023
Site-specific installation, dimensions variable. Consists of appropriated gymnastic rings, appropriated suits treated with raw clay slip, hand-made ceramic boxes, cast porcelain and objects.
A formal and repetitive structure of appropriated gymnastic rings hanging from the ceiling by metal chains forms an apparatus that hints at a network across the exhibition space. It resembles a mechanical production line, at the same time a kind of playground. Formal suit jackets dipped in raw clay slip serially hang from the rings like boneless gymnasts, left to dry directly on the circular structure. The installation includes a series of ceramic boxes, in the size and proportions of those used for shipping and home delivery by online services like Amazon or Zalando. Their surface is clad in easily recognizable commercial patterns appropriated from the fashion industry and Playboy magazine. Being from ceramic, they are not exact copies like Andy Warhol’s Brillo boxes, and through humor further displace the notion of the ready-made with hand-made, inexact copies. It also refers to Paul B. Preciado’s pharmacological modification of labor, the expansion of the network into every facet of work and life. As for biopolitics, the body remains central to cognitive politics and to new forms of pharmacopornographic production and consumption.
Soft Diagrams – Play and Work. (Re)Productive Turn(s) – running after its own tail
A group exhibition project at INDUSTRA, Brno, Czech Republic
with Marc Busse, Elena Corvaglia, Rocco A. de Filippo, Alina Kopytsia, Fabio Melone, Katerina Sedy and Dimitrina Sevova
curated by Dimitrina Sevova and Rocco A. de Filippo
Thursday, 23 November 2023 till Thursday, 08 February 2024
INDUSTRA, Lazaretní 925/9, Brno, Czech Republic
With the kind support of Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia
The project was selected by an international jury for INDUSTRA’s open call 2022 for their exhibition program 2023.
The exhibition brings on display art works by seven Swiss-based contemporary artists whose site-specific installations involve textile materials in a variety of forms to poetically reflect the double significance of the textile industry as cultural heritage, a powerful economic force with substantial environmental impact. The textile industry is the fabric of a long-term history of transformations of labor and technology, to the current restructuring and technological changes of postindustrial development that has brought new values of culture, nature and ecological demands for a circular economy. From the textile industry to fashion, the notion of labor has evolved from concentrated industrial production to the dispersed factory that has taken hold of everyday life, all the way to labor under the conditions of digitalization, AI, the climate crisis, and new hot zones of continuous war. Textile has long been associated with domesticity, intimacy, and femininity. The exhibition refers to Paul B. Preciado’s horizontal worker who embodies the fundamental biopolitical changes of labor under the pandemic and post pandemic, who erases the distance between workspace and home.
Thread is an essential part of textile. Like vectors span flat surfaces, one-dimensional threads form three-dimensional objects-spaces that evoke the scene of Alice’s black kitten in Through the Looking Glass: “The kitten had been having a grand game of romps with the ball of worsted Alice had been trying to wind up, and had been rolling it up and down till it had all come undone again; and there it was, spread over the hearth-rug, all knots and tangles, with the kitten running after its own tail in the middle,” an allusion to the fabric of reality, strings of complicated knots, entanglements of micro complexity. Soft diagrams are a web of metaphors for the transformation of work and life in a digitalized world, but also for the non-violence of micro and care politics.
The artists accumulate everyday materials, from fabrics to narrative materials, from hand treated to readymade, soft and flexible structures that build objects and installations defined by an ambiguity of work, life, and affect. Soft diagrams bring softness of forms into the architecture of the exhibition space of Industra, defined by the concrete and iron armatures of an ex-factory, to turn it into a strange intimate space – a conceptual and material soft diagrammatic space of hyper production of content. Folding and unfolding, adaptive to the space, the flexible surfaces and structures perform intricate entanglements that forge linkages between the works of each presented artist.