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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).

Minia Biabiany (Artist in recidence in Malmö)
In her problematic Minia Biabiany proceeds from space to history to present realities. Coming from Guadeloupe, a non independent french Caribbean island, her installation work focuses on objets and language as elements to create horizontal narratives based on a fragmented territorial approach, or, in other words, based on the archipelago form and paradigm giving more importance to create connexions between things than to objects themselves. In those site specifc works, the installation becomes a spacial diagram. This organization/orchestration is weaved between the space specifcity (light, structure, texture, vestige) and the historical and social charge of the material (like cotton, fabric, salt, clay, water). As a receptacle, the place is a source to constitute a mental territory in the spectator mind. While moving, his gaze rebuilds links between what he sees. Tis slow unfolding of the constitutive elements conveying personal and collective memory allows the merging in a specifc temporality of the installation poetic and poetry.

Recently she focused on the intertwining between the intimate and the politic by
involving language and texts of diverse sources like Edouard Glissant, common Creole proverbs, Paul B. Preciado among others, convoking the way language leads and molds our conception of ourself and our relation with our context. Her last spacial non-organized-narratives implicated a refexion on gender and the internalized colonization heritage connected with an interest in pedagogical issues now orientating her work to question the process of learning itself.

Minia Biabiany lives in Mexico City. In the past she exhibited in Paris (Jeune Creation 2012, Dohyang Lee gallery, 6B) Marseille, Lyon, Shefeld (Reino Unido), Mexico city (Crater Invertido, Bikini Wax) and in the museum of contemporary art TEOR/éTica in San Jose (Costa Rica). She has been in residency in the cité des arts in Paris one year in 2014 and just fnished the art program Soma in Mexico in 2015.

Heman Chong (Artist in recidence in Malmö)
Heman Chong is an artist based in Singapore. He received his M.A. in Communication Art & Design from the Royal College of Art, London in 2002. His work is located at the intersection between image, performance, situations and writing. He is interested in interrogating the functions of producing narratives in our everyday lives. In 2006, he produced a writing workshop with Leif Magne Tangen at Project Arts Centre in Dublin where they co-authored PHILIP, a science fiction novel, with Mark Aerial Waller, Cosmin Costinas, Rosemary Heather, Francis McKee, David Reinfurt and Steve Rushton. Between 2012 and 2014, he produced Moderation(s), a programme between Witte de With Contemporary Art in Rotterdam and Spring Workshop in Hong Kong that involved more than fifty artists and engender a conference, three exhibitions, three residencies and a book of short stories. In 2014, he co-founded Stationary with Christina Li. A collection of stories published by Spring Workshop, defined as a recess from their own practices, Stationary invites artists, curators and writers to take stock, chart and elaborate on their obsessions, fascinations and influences within a suspended temporal moment. Copies of Stationary are distributed free of charge via

Smadar Dreyfus
Smadar Dreyfus is an Israeli artist based in London. Her practice excavates scenes of everyday life for reverberations of a wider socio-political context. She often uses documentary sound recordings gathered over long period of research, focusing in particular on the role of the voice in the constitution of contested public spaces; how it enacts a specific moment in time, and the way in which culture is embedded in speech. Her sound and video installations consist of specific architectural enclosures designed to immerse and implicate viewer-listeners in affective soundscapes and to explore conditions of translation.

Dreyfus’ most recent work has focused on educational structures and the formation of subjectivity in relation to national identities. About School (2009-11), Irit Rogoff wrote: “The work throws up questions regarding the ideology of modernist progressiveness, the indoctrination of the curriculum, the conviviality of the classroom as a conversing community, and questions regarding translation. While the recordings were made in Israeli schools and the materials being taught often relate to both the region’s political conflicts and the ideological and knowledge bodies which underwrite these conflicts – they do so in complex and ambiguous ways that allow us to open new perspectives, rather than in simple moralizing binaries.”

Smadar Dreyfus is a graduate of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem; Slade School of Fine Art (UCL) and the Royal College of Art, London. Selected solo exhibitions include School, Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin (2014), Magasin 3, Stockholm (2009), Extra City Kunsthal, Antwerp (2008), Victoria Miro Gallery, London (2006), Ikon Gallery, Birmingham (2005). Selected group exhibitions include: The Folkestone Triennial (2011), Hareng Saur: James Ensor and Contemporary Art, S.M.A.K., Ghent (2010), Beyond Mediations, Zamek Art Centre, Poznan (2010), Trail Balloons, MUSAC, Spain (2006), and the 9th Istanbul Biennial (2005).

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.

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).

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.

ruangrupa ARTLAB
ruangrupa ARTLAB focus on providing space for research and creative/artistic collaboration for individual artists or groups and people from other disciplines and backgrounds. Collaboration involves artists from Indonesia and abroad. The participants of the projects are artists and people from different but related disciplines that can enrich the process of collaboration. After a period of research and observation, participants collaborate to produce works in diverse media and artistic approaches in questioning, criticizing, negotiating, creating public interaction by playing/experimenting or addressing statements pertaining to social issues and the city.
The main objective of the cooperation is to provide a basic platform/orientation for how the project can be relevant to the social context. ruangrupa would like to open up the problems of actualisation of contextual issues and provide a certain positioning towards the public in order to ascertain the possibilities of working on social problems. In addition, the project aims to involve social space in relation to artistic strategies and extend it nationally and internationally. One very important element in the development of our modern civilization is the movement of people from one place to another.

Mobility here is understood as the traffic or movement of people in the city, country and region. The experiences of people’s mobility that come from different social, economic and cultural backgrounds have created diverse behaviour and groups of different communities. There are maps of hybrid behaviour as well as social realms that influence one another. In this main theme, the project wishes to see “mobility” in the context of history, motivation, behaviour, social location and its function within the infrastructure.
The city, which should be accessible and experienced comfortably by all people, becomes the site for sporadic experiences that fulfil temporary needs. These things have also reproduced some disparity of the social entity. We should still digest certain experiences of our daily situation of dealing with and living in the city as we now know more than before about different places and realise that, perhaps, these fields of social reproduction can be connected to each other.

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).

Catarina Simão
Catarina Simão, born in Lisbon, Portugal, is an artist and independent researcher. Simão has also worked as an architect, curator and filmmaker.
Catarina Simão’s practice is based on long-term research projects. She is known for her essay-like displays, using visual documentation, drawing and videos related to Mozambique films and images made during the struggle and after independence from the Portuguese colonial occupation. Employing an “in flux” format, she is working on the nature of perception and encoded memory, built up through image and archival concepts. Simão combines film and art with writing and other experimental forms of presenting her research, such as radio programmes and public talks, conferences, workshops, curating film screenings and self-publishing.

Based in Lisbon, Simão regularly travels to Mozambique for research and activities in local cultural projects. Simão is interested in actively reconstituting a map of international socialism routes of solidarity and ideological alliance associated with a specific film production, in order to expand her views through the experience of her project. Past (and forthcoming) projects include: Bratislava (; Bucharest (National Securitate Archives); Moscow (Garage Museum) and Stockholm/Malmö (Iaspis 2016). Her work has been shown at the Serralves Museum; Manifesta 8 Biennial; Africa.cont; the Reina Sofia Museum, Madrid; the School of Kyiv Biennial; and other institutions across Europe and also in South Africa and Mozambique, and, recently, in Beirut, Zagreb and New York.

Ayesha Sultana
Through sound, drawing, sculpture and photography, Ayesha Sultana is interested in the poetics of space and the relationship between material and process in notions of making. Within the context of drawing, her practice in the recent past has been an investigation into the rudiments of form through architectural constructions, often derivative of the landscape and attempting to peer into what is out of view.

Rooted at a point where both the built and the natural environment converge, her work explores the duality and coexistence that are present in her surroundings. Through other elemental gestures and implications of measuring, plotting, merging, erasure and filling-in, Sultana makes whole, an otherwise fractured image. Sultana was the winner of the 2014 Samdani Art Award and was featured as one of ArtReview’s ‘Future Greats’ in 2015. She is a member of Britto Arts Trust, Bangladesh.

Based in Dhaka, Ayesha Sultana received a BFA in Visual Arts (2007) and a Post-graduate Diploma in Art Education (2008) from Beaconhouse National University in Lahore. Her participation in recent solo and group exhibitions include Immateriality in Residue, Experimenter, Kolkata; Approaching Abstraction, Jhaveri Contemporary, Mumbai; 1mile2 Dhaka, Dhaka (2015); Blue Velvet, Galleria Valentina Bonomo, Rome; Ethereal, Leila Heller Gallery, New York; Outside the Field of View, Experimenter, Kolkata (2014).

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.
Updated: 2016-04-21 Tell a friend

Image: ruangrupa artlab

Image: Cecilia Hultman

Image: Benny Nemerofsky

Image: Mafune Gonjo

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