This exhibition brings together international artists. Through the medium of photography, their works reveal contexts that lie beneath the surface of aesthetic experience, developing new meanings that change the principles and position of the discipline in contemporary art.
For most of us, interacting with existing images and their approximate classification within contemporary visual culture is a natural process.
The Skɪz(ə)m exhibition is organised to let images activate and subvert those culturally consolidated meanings of art. We purposely work with photography “only”. As a discipline, photography was deemed “contemporary art” as late as the 1980s. While in the last decade many artists have tried to surpass or complicate the practices of photography, we multiply the medium’s possibilities to perceive its added values and overlaps.
The exhibition creates an enthralling visual environment: one that is dependent on our willingness to struggle with new contexts. Double-edged allegories reveal layers of pleasure and discomfort lurking under the surface of aesthetic experience.
We aren‘t quite sure whether our surprise is caused by the works’ resistance to easy classification or by our limited imaginations. Or is the response a product of our own minds and its natural need to absorb the principles of cultural history presented to us?
DD & LD
Ilit Azoulay (*1972, Tel Aviv, Israel) graduated from the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, Israel. In her art practice, Azoulay uses thousands of high-definition photographs to create collage panoramas simulating fictitious spaces. She photographs individual segments of dilapidated, cultural heritage buildings and uses these to create utopian images with archeologic subtexts. Azoulay has presented her work at solo exhibitions in the Centre for Contemporary Art in Tel Aviv, Kunst Werke in Berlin, and Andrea Meislin in New York. She is the recipient of the Recontres d’Arles Discovery Award and Constantinen Photography Award and has participated at a number of group exhibitions in Paris, Melbourne, New York, Jerusalem, Munich, and Berlin. Her works are part of numerous art collections, including MoMA, New York, Centre Pompidou, Paris, and Lacma, Los Angeles. Ilit Azulay lives and works in Berlin and Tel Aviv.
Andrey Bogush (*1987, Saint Petersburg, Russia) is a graduate of the Academy of Fine Arts in Helsinki, Finland, and received a degree in psychology at the Saint Petersburg State University. In his work, Bogush researches the unstable nature of image production by transferring digital data to analogue form. He uses personal and online photography archives to create new compositions by means of digital manipulation and CGI technologies, which he then transfers to exhibition spaces in the shape of multi-dimensional installations. His large installations have been exhibited in Tate Modern, London, in the Finnish Museum of Photography, in Kunsthalle and in Kiasma Museum in Helsinki, and NRW-Forum in Düsseldorf. He has received awards at the French Festival international de photographie d'Hyères in Hyères and at Foam Talent in Amsterdam. In 2020, Bohush will participate in the artist-in-residence programme of the Cité internationale des arts in Paris. He lives and works in Helsinki and Berlin.
Roger Ballen (*1950, New York, USA) is an American photographer who has lived and worked in Johannesburg, South Africa since the 1970s. Ballen’s work has developed over the course of four decades: the artist started with documentary film but his scope has enlarged to encompass fictitious visual dialogue between people, their architectural space, found objects, and domesticated animals. Ballen studied psychology at the University of California. He participated in the video “I Fink U Freeky” for Die Antwoord and has held numerous solo exhibitions, e.g. in Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles, in WILLAS contemporary Oslo, in Istanbul Modern in Istanbul, in Christophe Guye Galerie in Zurich, and in Hamiltons Gallery in London. His works are part of the collections at Tate Britain and the Victoria and Albert Museum in London, the Rijksmuseum and Stedelijk Museum in Amsterdam, and MoMA, New York.
Asger Carlsen (*1973, Frederiksberg, Denmark) began his career as a photographer-journalist and crime scene photographer. He uses photographs of humans, animals and inanimate forms and manipulates them to create unsettling photographic statues. The surrealist hyperreality of unreal amorphic bodies, manipulated in post-production with an almost clinical process defocuses borders of the seemingly honest and true world. Carlsen has exhibited in Foam Museum in Amsterdam, in Macro in Rome, in Sade galleries in Los Angeles, in V1 in Copenhagen, in Cob in London, in Dittrich & Schlechtriem in Berlin, and at the IX. Berlin Biennale. He lives and works in New York.
Elise Mazac aka Mazaccio (1988, Villefranche-de-Rouergue, France) and Robert Drowilal (1986, Rodez, France) have collaborated since 2009 as the Mazaccio & Drowilal artists’ duo. Mazaccio studied at the École des Beaux-Arts de Paris and at the School of Visual Arts, New York; Drowilal graduated from the Nantes School of Art. In 2017 they were both artists in residence at the International Studio & Curatorial Program ISCP in New York. Mazaccio & Drowilal work with photography and collage to comment on various aspects of the contemporary world. Their visual practice and aesthetic approach are strongly influenced by contemporary iconography and digital culture. In 2013 they were the winners of the BMW residency in the Musée Nicéphore Niépce. Their work has been presented at solo exhibitions in the Recontres d’Arles, in Les Abattoirs in Toulouse, in Multimedia Art Museum in Moscow, and in the French Institute of the Alliance Française in New York. They are guest lecturers at the École cantonale d’art de Lausanne (ECAL) in Switzerland. They live and work in Villefranche-de-Rouergue.
Artists Lukáš Jasanský (1965, Prague) and Martin Polák (1966, Prague) have worked together since the 1980s, emphasizing and honouring the formal attributes of photography, while at the same time undermining them in a specific way. They both like to depict every day, trivial subjects and have an inclination for traditional genres such as landscape, reportage, portrait, and still life, but they can turn these inside out with humour and content, or by means of the absence of content and impossibility of classification. This is how they’ve been “researching” the medium of photography over several decades. The duo have held solo exhibitions in the Dům fotografie Galerie hlavního města Prahy, in Musée d’art modern de la Ville de Paris, Kunst Haus Hamburg, in Galerie Václava Špály v Praze, in Moravská galerie in Brno, in Galerie Svit Praha, in BWA Zielona Góra, Tarnów and the Bunkier Sztuki Gallery in Poland, and at Expo 2005 in Japan. They live and work in Prague.
Joanna Piotrowska (*1985, Warsaw, Poland) graduated from the Royal College of Art in London and the Academy of Fine Arts in Kraków. In her art practice, Piotrowska focuses on family structures and how they relate to systems, including politics, economics, and social and cultural life. She draws attention to social hierarchies and translates gestures and everyday intimate behaviour to new scenarios, providing them with an almost caricature-like quality. Piotrowska has held solo exhibitions in Tate Britain in London, in Kunsthalle in Basel, Madragoa Gallery in Lisbon, and in the Dawid Radziszewski Gallery in Warsaw. She has participated in shows in Kunsthalle Wien in Vienna, in MoMA New York, in the Andrew Kreps Gallery in New York, and at the X. Berlin Biennale. She lives and works in London and Warsaw.
Special thanks to the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic and Moravian-Silesian Region.