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Short presentations by the artists

Karo Akpokiere (Artist in residence in Gothenburg)
Karo Akpokiere is a child of the 80's born and raised in Lagos, Nigeria on a robust and consistent diet of cartoons,  comic books and drawing time. He received a diploma in Graphic Design from the Yaba College of Technology, Lagos, Nigeria in 2006. His work attempts to strike an effective balance between the personal and commercial aspects of production in graphic design, illustration and pattern design. Using traditional and digital drawing techniques, he creates works that are experiential and reflective of his interests in employing graphic design, illustration, pattern design to pass messages that are sometimes personal, humorous and social.

Akpokiere has taken part in several exhibitions locally and internationally, including having his first solo exhibition 26/365: An exhibition of Illustrated letters Goethe-Institut, Lagos, Nigeria (2011) and the first Lagos Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) Public Art Exhibition, Lagos (2012). Recent group exhibitions have included the 56th Venice Biennale: “All of the World’s Futures” (2015), 2nd Berliner Herbstsalon, Maxim Gorki Theater, Berlin (2015) and Making Africa: A Continent of Contemporary Design: Vitra Design Museum, Weil am Rhein (2015), Guggenheim Bilbao(2015 – 2016).

Tobias Alm was born in 1985 in Stockholm where he is currently based. He holds a Master of Fine Arts from Ädellab (2014), the Department of Jewellery and Corpus, at Konstfack, the University College of Arts, Craft and Design, Stockholm.

Since 2014 Tobias has worked with sculptural installation art and conceptual jewellery art. Focusing on the theme of masculinities, his latest work critically investigates the role played by craftsmanship and a specific certain group of hand tools in the construction of destructive ideals of masculinity. An important component in the process has been the analysing of the tool belt as a piece of jewellery, used as a symbol of an ideal of masculinity.

The relationship of the human body to the hand tool is central to Tobias’ Master’s degree work, comprising sculptural hybrids between Tobias’s own body and a group of hand tools and tool belts. The works are primarily made of opaque silicone, which is very similar to Tobias’ own skin.
Since last year Tobias has been working on the project The Châtelaine. The work comprises a series of hybrid objects, this time between today’s tool belt in leather and historic châtelaine jewellery. Both objects are filled with practical functionality (tool) and symbolic/social functionality (jewellery). Despite their similarities they are interpreted very differently because of their different contexts and gender constructions. Works from the series have been acquired for the collections of the Nationalmuseum in Stockholm and the CODA Museum in Apeldoorn, Netherlands.

During the past ten years Tobias has exhibited widely in international contexts, including at museums such as the Design Museum, London; the Pinakothek der Moderne, Munich; the Nationalmuseum and Röhsska Museet in Sweden. He has also held a number of solo exhibitions at galleries in Sweden, the Netherlands and Spain.

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Natsai Audrey Chieza is an independent designer, researcher and educator working at the intersection of Design and Science. Educated in Architectural Design at the University of Edinburgh and Material Futures at Central Saint Martins, Natsai considers herself a multidisciplinarian: able to mediate creative practice with a strong sensibility to materials and aesthetics, as well as a great sensitivity to context. She is part of a growing cohort of designers shaping knowledge around emerging technologies and living-systems design for Architecture, Future Textiles and Sustainable Fashion Futures. A Designer in Residence at the Advanced Centre for Biochemical Engineering, Department of Biochemical Engineering, University College London, Natsai’s research explores how the life sciences can give rise to novel design and craft processes for a post-fossil fuel material paradigm. Collaborating with Professor John Ward, Natsai has invented an innovative process for printing and dyeing textiles using bacteria – a clear alternative to a key stage of textile manufacturing where most of the environmental harm occurs. As an educator she works across a host of institutions in London including Central Saint Martins and The Bartlett, University College London.

Fikret Atay
Born 1976, Batman, Turkey. Lives and works in Batman, Turkey.
Of Kurdish descent, Fikret Atay highlights the tensions that arise from permanent opposition between West and East, civilians and military, tradition and experimentation: a situation he experienced in his hometown of Batman, located in Turkey on the Iraqi border. His simple, unaffected style lends an apparently straightforward authenticity to the images, yet the meanings of the performers’ actions remain mysterious to viewers unfamiliar with the local culture. In 2010 he was nominated for the bi-annual Future Generation Art Prize, presented by the Victor Pinchuk Foundation. He has had solo exhibitions at PILOT (Istanbul, 2014), Viafarini Docva (Milan, 2010), Bonner Kunstverein (Germany, 2008), Site Gallery (U.K., 2007), UCLA Hammer Museum (Los Angeles, 2006), FRAC Île-de-France-Le Plateau (Paris, 2006), Maison de l’Architecture (Paris, 2005) and Museo de Arte Contemporáneo di León (Spain, 2005). He has participated in numerous group exhibitions, both nationally and internationally, at prestigious art museums and institutions including Istanbul Modern, New Museum, Tate Modern. Recent group exhibitions include “Lines Made by Walking”, Haifa Museum of Art, Israel (2011), “Future Generation Art Prize@Venice”, Palazzo Papadopoli, Venice (2011) and “Starter, Works from the Vehbi Koç Contemporary Art Collection”, ARTER Space for Art, Istanbul (2010). His work was also included in the 10th Lyon Biennial (2009), the Alexandria Biennial (2009), the 10th and 8th Istanbul Biennials (2007, 2003), and the Sydney Biennial (2006).

Sofia Hultin (b. 1982) is a graduate of Konstfack, the University College of Arts, Craft and Design, Stockholm. Employing a historical and norm-critical perspective, she works with performance and video with the starting point in her interest in marginalised stories. For the past three years Hultin has been working on the project I’m Every Lesbian - a first-person guided tour that presents parts of a city’s lesbian history based on interviews with local lesbians. She has realised the project in Tirana, Belgrade and Oslo and at a number of locations in Sweden. Sofia Hultin’s work has been displayed at, among others, Tensta konsthall, Norrköpings konstmusuem, Marabouparken Art Gallery, Stockholm; Malmö Art Museum; the Gothenburg Museum of Art, Gävle konstcentrum and the Munch Museum, Oslo.

Essi Kausalainen (Artist in residence in Umeå)
In my current and upcoming works I explore the inter species communication: the complex interaction between humans, plants, animals and minerals. These
dialogues are approached through my performance-based practice that, instead of objects or images, operates on actions, gestures, situations and processes.

Focusing on the (dangerous) intimacy of the organic and inorganic bodies - the
leaking, the digesting, the resonating- the work grows into systems that take the liking of a plant or mycorrhiza, and thus resists traditional narratives. By building inter-species companionships and by approaching objects and spaces as coperformers I aim to escape the hierarchical and linear ways of thinking and operating.

Essi Kausalainen (b. 1979) has studied performance art and - theory in Turku Arts Academy and the Theatre Academy of Finland. Her work has been exhibited and performed in venues such as la Galerie (Noisy-le-Sec), kim? (Riga), Malmö Moderna Museet, Frankfurter Kunstverein, Museum for Contemporary Art Roskilde, Nikolaj Kunsthalle (Copenhagen) and Kunstraum Bethanien (Berlin).

Jenny Källman
“Traditionally and historically photography has conveyed some kind of truth, though what’s not always discussed is the feeling of the actual, the struggles going on outside of the frame, before and after each shot”.

“We’re all victims and perpetrators in life”
Jenny Källman (in conversation with Jeff Rian, Surveillance, 2012)

In her new body of work, Jenny Källman investigates a type of space and a world that remains closed to most of us; the prison cell. Working not only with still photography, but also with sound, music and the moving image, she opens these spaces up towards a kind of representation other than the strictly documentary. Photographing and filming inside a prison for young offenders, she has based a large section of her work on conversations and visits with one particular young boy. The title of the exhibition, Lounge, is an ironic take on the open-ended time and the shared social spaces of the institution. Here, the words Lounge and lounging, stand in direct opposition to their usual connotations of comfort and leisure. As a starting point, Källman has explored the prison space from a very basic, immediate and physical vantage point. She has entered the room with the notion of it being much like a camera, where light is only allowed inside in controlled portions.

What comes out of darkness, mirrors and reflections; these endless loops – signifiers of isolation and confinement? To most of us the significance of these spaces only exist at the margins of our consciousness, too problematic to begin to grasp. What lies in the privilege of choosing where to be? What happens when a person’s scope of action is limited to the very narrowest of spaces, when their choices are minimized?

In these new works, Källman explores and visualizes the subjective experience of being confined. She gives visual and sonic shape to the prison room and the person enclosed within it. The images carry a sense of surveillance characteristic of much of Källman’s work; a sense of being involuntarily or subconsciously watched. In confinement, basic choices become important. Using the simplest of means; light, reflection, sound, rhythm and space, Källman conveys a sense of humanity restricted, of a spirit bound up, but with its very own force and individuality in tact all the same.

Given this minimal space to act out one’s own individuality, it may become
diminished and neglected, but importantly it still asserts itself. In these works, the struggle for independence is expressed through a quiet and persistent ability to maintain and re-create a space - even in confinement. Using sound, music, the moving and the still image, Källman constructs a stage for the minute gestures of individuality to unfold. Through vision, song, action, and small movements, what prevails is an inherent ability to re-define a space within one’s own vision, and through this only can confinement be made possible to endure.

Christer Lundahl and Martina Seitl formed Lundahl & Seitl in 2003 — a transdisciplinary artistic collaboration that focuses on making the viewer’s perception the central medium of the work, breaking down the perceived barriers between ‘doing and viewing’. Time and evolution are the key experiences of this serial practice. Strongly rooted in research, each project is specific to a particular place and situation, while also investigating the symbiotic evolution of human consciousness and cognition with culture and technologies. Lundahl & Seitl’s practice includes curatorial work, large-scale projects, workshops and seminars, often in collaborations with different disciplines.

During the IASPIS Studio Programme, two main projects are under development:

Unknown Cloud on its Way to Europe

This project reflects our recent development with smartphone projects involving large groups of the public in an interplay between physical and virtual spaces, traditional and social media. With a starting point in the evolutionary function of humanity’s ability to collaborate in large groups, bonded over a shared belief in fictional objects, the Cloud is an exploration of art’s ability to act as a tool for personal and social change.
New Originals - If this was an Object

It begins in the visitors’ mind as they enter a fictional world of tangible memories in an illustrated novelette*. At the museum, the visitors enter an architectural installation: a construction reminiscent of a Black Maria. However, in contrast to Edison’s film studio, the function of this building aims to work towards a dissolution of an image as a fixed object. In a choreographed physical experience in three stages, visitors observe their own stream of visual and sensory processing and how memory is formed over time. In this room historical objects float free of their bibliographic and museum anchorings, and in the visitor’s consciousness new originals are formed.

*collaboration with Alex Bäckström.
Upcoming commissions include the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India and the Centre Pompidou-Metz, France, as well as solo exhibitions at Kunstmuseum Bonn and Martin-Gropius-Bau, Berliner Festspiele Berlin.

Éva Mag is an artist born in 1979 in Csíkszereda (Romania). She lives and works in Stockholm, Sweden.
Mag makes minimalistic sculptures using heavy organic clay and fabric bodies that seek the universal, both within the human body and the structures surrounding the body. The work began as a performance in which she was trying to get heavy clay bodies to stand without armature. The attempt was executed several times and each time the bodies collapsed and ripped apart. As with her earlier work, Mag mends and provides the remains of the bodies’ new life and meaning. The performativity becomes ritualistic and can occur both in her studio, in front of a camera and an audience.

Mag completed her MFA at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm in June 2015 and held her first solo exhibition, entitled KÖSZÖNÖM/TACK/THANKYOU, at Galleri Riis in September 2015. She is also a grant recipient of the Anna-Lisa Thomson Stipend.

Vita Malulu
(Artist in residence in Gothenburg)
Vita Malulu (Born in Mwanza) is a painter, sculptor, print maker, musician, and dancer based in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania. He received his training from the Bagamoyo College of Arts (TASUBA) and has his studio (and a membership) at Nafasi Art Space, Dar es Salaam. He is also a member of the Norsesund Konstvandring in Sweden.

Malulu works mostly with recycled material to create sculptural instillations that interrogate challenges and difficulties that face the lower class majority of Tanzanians who are often rendered voiceless. His works have been exhibited and sold through several galleries in Dar es Salaam, South Africa (Rose bank mall) and Germany (The Hamburg Mawingu collection).

Solo shows include; The vote and handout, Goethe institute Tanzania(2015)  Majangili-Poachers, Goethe Institute Tanzania (2014), Poachers, Kuona Trust, Nairobi (2014), Chasing the Tail, Goethe Institute, Tanzania (2013), Chasing he Tail, 32 degrees East, Uganda (2013).

Group shows include; (2015) February,  Beauty Salons and the Beast, apex art franchise program winning exhibition, Dar es Salaam, Tanzania , (2015)    January,  Cabinet of Curiosities, Nafasi Art Space Dar es Salaam Dickens & Malulu at Emerson Hotel, Zanzibar (2014), Stena hall Gallery, Sweden (2014), East African Encounters, Circle Art Agency (2014), East Africa Art Biennale, Dar es Salaam (2013).

Katja Pettersson
Industrial designer Katja Pettersson has run her own company and worked with groups in the area of fair design, and as a lecturer and teacher. Katja is a co-founder of the design group Front, which she left in 2009 to start 50/50, a company in which the designers and producers work on an equal basis and share the profits fifty-fifty. Katja is currently a part-time lecturer at Konstfack, the University College of Art, Craft and Design, Stockholm and in her own practice she is presently developing a public art commission from Stockholm Konst for the courtyard of the Stockholm City Museum.
Katja’s work deals primarily with reunderstanding and relearning, both individually and collectively. Employing conversation and an intuitive gathering of phenomena in nature (spiritual and physical), she interprets her readings onto the objects she designs, thus attempting to convey to the user a sense of recognition and understanding of the objects. Her main question is how materiality and design can increase our understanding of economic, social and political sustainability. During her residency at Iaspis she will focus on her ongoing investigation of how we abuse our resources, with the conditions of the basic elements as mediators. Analysing the elements, attempting to recreate their essence as archaeological discoveries, she highlights that which we take for granted today and tomorrow may be inaccessible.
Katja Pettersson (b. 1972) was born and raised in Karlstad, Sweden. Katja has a practical background and studied textile techniques at Stenebyskolan, Dalsland and at the Swedish School of Textiles, Borås, and has also worked as a seamstress, costume assistant and costume designer at various theatres. In addition to receiving an MFA from Konstfack, the University College of Arts, Craft and Design, Stockholm she has also studied at RISD (the Rhode Island School of Design) in the USA. During her time with Front the group realised a huge range of investigative projects, some of which are represented in museum collections such as MoMA, New York; Centre Pompidou, Paris and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London.

Benny Nemerofsky Ramsay
His artistic gestures in sound, video and text contemplate the history of song, the rendering of love and emotion into language, and the resurrection and manipulation of voices – sung, spoken or screamed. In his work you will find bells, bouquets, enchanted forests, folding screens, gay elders, glitter, gold leaf, love letters, imaginary paintings, madrigals, megaphones, mirrors, naked men, sign language, subtitles, and the voices of birds, boy sopranos, contraltos, countertenors and sirens.
Nemerofsky’s work has been exhibited internationally and appears in the permanent collection of the Kunsthistorisches Museum Vienna and the National Gallery of Canada.

Simon Rydén
Simon Rydén (b. 1985 in Frillesås, Sweden) recently received his MFA in photography from Valand Academy, Gothenburg (2015).

His graduation work, Men hans händer darrar (But his hands tremble), was mainly inspired by Duras and her understanding of the limitations of words and consequently her confidence in words. His works in the exhibition interacted with Duras’ text “Les Mains négatives”, exploring issues such as identity, loss of identity and origin. The works emerged out of questions about how the gaze constructs the individual and the problem of photographic representation.

Simon is interested in our expectations of a photograph – what we imagine a photograph to be. He employs photographs as a commitment in an everyday meditation. Brecht’s ideas of epic theatre and the role of the actor have guided him to his view of his photographic practice, as a stage in which he wishes to visualise the gaze of the viewer. This has spurred him on to move photography into the studio and photograph objects without any obvious value or purpose.
Simon is currently working with constructing textile sculptures, unshaped objects, which he explores with the medium of photography. In the encounter with the viewer, the sculptures appear to assume the roles of actors, posing questions about what and how we see.

His graduation work was exhibited at Galleri Mors Mössa (2015), Gothenburg and he also participated in the graduation show at Göteborgs Konsthall (2015). He has been awarded a project grant from the Swedish Arts Grants Committee (2012) and the Mannheimer Award (2015).

Thale Vangen
Thale Vangen’s work is based on studies of small details of natural processes, particularly focused on movement and function. She employs familiar motifs from various areas including nature, dream, mythology and mechanics. Elements from mystical and scientific conceptions appear in symbiosis in her works, in which powerful images are more important than truth. She is concerned with the dilemmas of various forms of knowledge and how different models of reality are continuously revaluated, affecting our identities and our ways of thinking, experiencing, choosing and acting.

She works mainly with sculpture, preferably in traditional materials such as bronze, wood and leather. A significant part of her work deals with exploring materials and their potential to affect. Sometimes the materials participate on their own terms, but the working process also reveals traces of a struggle with the physical conditions. Thus the sculptures display an aura of decrepit vulnerability mixed with a dynamic, unbridled force.

Thale Vangen lives and works in Malmö. She was educated at Malmö Art Academy and has a Bachelor’s degree in biochemistry from the University of Bergen.

Elisa van Joolen is an artist, designer and researcher based in Amsterdam. Her approach to clothing design is characterised by strategies of intervention and reconfiguration. Her projects often reflect specific social contexts and emphasise collaboration and participation. They expose relational aspects of clothing and subvert processes of value production. One example is her ongoing project 11"x17": that examines and challenges the fashion industry’s prevailing value systems and proposes new methods of production.

For Invert Footwear, part of 11”x17”, Van Joolen turns donated sneakers from Converse and Nike literally inside out. Van Joolen’s treatment of the shoes enables us to look at them with fresh eyes, to see them independently from their original brands and accompanying marketing campaigns. In addition, the inversion process reveals the seams that are normally hidden within the shoes. These seams were sewn by factory workers and in revealing them the role of these workers in the production process is brought to the fore.

Van Joolen holds a BA from the Gerrit Rietveld Academie (NED) and a MFA from Parsons (USA). Her work has been recognised with a Fulbright Award (2010), Han Nefkens Award (2016) and nominated for the Dutch Design Award (2013) and New Material Award (2014). She participated in shows and exhibitions, such as the Art&Design Biennial in Shanghai, Brazilian Design Biennial, New York Fashion Week, Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam, Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen in Rotterdam and OCT Art Terminal in Shenzhen. Van Joolen is a lecturer at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam and is visiting lecturer at Goldsmiths University in London and ArtEZ Institute of the Arts in Arnhem.

James Webb (b. 1975) is a South African artist based in Cape Town. His work, framed in large-scale installations at galleries and museums, or as unannounced interventions in public spaces, often makes use of ellipsis, displacement and détournement to explore the nature of belief and the dynamics of communication in our contemporary world. His practice employs a variety of media including audio, installation and text, referencing aspects of conceptualist and minimalist traditions, as well as his academic studies in advertising, comparative religion and theatre.
Webb has presented his work around the world at institutions such as Wanås Konst, Palais de Tokyo and the Darat al Funun, as well as at major international exhibitions including the 12th Bienal de la Habana (2015), the 55th Biennale di Venezia (2013), the 3rd Marrakech Biennale (2009) and the 8th Biennale d’Art Contemporain de Lyon (2007).

Recent projects include the creation of an associative audio guide for the Skogskyrkogården cemetery in Stockholm, and La Syzygie, a multi-dimensional reading of the Théâtre Graslin in Nantes. In 2016, Webb will stage We Listen For The Future, a solo show at the Yorkshire Sculpture Park, participate in History Unfolds at Historiska museet, Stockholm, and he will hold a solo exhibition at Galerie Imane Farès in Paris.
Updated: 2016-09-28 Tell a friend

Elisa van Joolen

Image: Benny Nemerofsky

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