Transcendental Sympathy / Tales of the Soil publication is available to buy at BYOB art fair at ENTER ENTER in Amsterdam 15 Sep - 15 Oct ☆
To own your own joy
Text by Sjoerd Beijers
(...”A mysterious white figure stares into a mirror. Sharp white fangs, clinging around a poem. A tail—reminiscent of that of a horse—wagging slowly, as they delicately step throughout the space.
In the performance To Own Your Joy, Natalija Gucheva recites a self-written poem, accompanied by the sound of Benjamin Schoones. In an altered—deeply harmonised—voice their words sharply fill the room:
“As the oyster opens
Soft liquid oozes and drips on your legs
Coding different systems of pleasure”
In their writing, Natalija found inspiration in Goblin Market by Christina Rossetti. The Victorian poem explores themes of temptation and sisterhood. The relationship between its two main characters is interpreted as same-sex desire and becomes fertile soil for their own expression to spring from. They expand upon this, voicing their personal truth on gender and sexuality, and the freedom entailed within. Being confronted with the pressure to conform to heteronormative societal norms is a daily practice for queer individuals, to which the artist finds an escape, even if it is temporary. Weaving together garments—by Alexis Gerlach and Aidan Abnet—Natalija searches for identity. A tail, claws, horns. Animalistic elements in their costume can be perceived as a symbol of the constant mutation and code-switching that queer individuals go through. Yet at the same time, they might resemble the monstrosity that society perceives them as. However, as powerfully demonstrated in the performance, these can also be claimed and used as a means to voice anger. To fight back:
“To claw out of our monstrous bodies
Burn the cocoon and lick the ashes
Spit in the face of terror
As a final lullaby”
In a similar notion to the original poem by Rossetti, the norms of the venue become subverted. Natalija’s personal truth on gender and sexuality momentarily intruded the space, as a loud scream unleashes:
“I OWN MY OWN JOY”
Alexis Gerlach & Aidan Abnet
Photography credits go to Johan Poezevara
The full poem can be found here
Transcendental Sympathy / Tales of the soil
(..Like daisies in the field
They whisper some secrets
Into the messengers
A small ecstasy
A sound so pure and known
Has emerged from the sky
And cast them to moan
To say a chant, a prayer
A queer memoir on its own..)
We ground ourselves in a new cloak of light. The sound of the soil carries us to new discoveries. We exist together in a land of pulsating rhythm, where many tales form, only to show what we have already known. Visceral and abundant, we listen to our bodies as we listen to nature. Guided by our zeitgeist, we embrace time in its true mystical essence.
How do we listen? How do we experience and connect? How do we form bonds with our communities and our spiritual essence? Transcendental Sympathy becomes a Tale of the Soil, and invites us to feel and play, and explore the possible futures of our personal utopias.
Merel van Vlijmen
Design and Illustration by
Naomi Hettiarachchige Hubèrt
Jentl Rietdijk aka Jeshiva Mendel
Photography credits go to Rasheed Vlijter
The publication carrying the literary aspect of the performance with the same name can be purchased via email and at selected bookstores such as De Utrechtse Boekenbar in Utrecht, Rokko in Ghent, Terry Bleu in Amsterdam, Extrapool in Nijmegen and PrintRoom in Rotterdam
Documentation made by Jos Mauro Witteveen can be viewed on Vimeo (access via email or message)
(re)birth / you melt my heart
We live in a constant cycle of destruction and rejuvenation. The Earth is changing. We are changing. How will a potential post-human life evolve and shape new visions of the world?
Four Fine Art students from the HKU (NL) and KASK (BE) explore these questions and reimagine them in a site specific installation here at the ExBunker. New ground is given for nature to start sprouting again and artefacts from a lost past will emerge, intertwined with contemporary and past habits. The Bunker is transformed into a space of potential life that will survive even in an apocalyptic scenario, similar to the Svalbard Global Seed Centre in Norway, harbouring its seeds and giving them the opportunity to flourish again, giving rise to a new landscape that goes beyond the known geographical and social boundaries. The installation comes to life, grows and reveals traces of a long gone past, frozen in time, conjuring a speculative reality that is not far from the truth.
“...The objects, each possessing a mystery, can take on the roll of a relic of time. Past, present and future blend in the divergent shapes, and create new archives - ones that exist within our perception, and weave a portal to another realm. They generate a place of transition, of wild growth and new breeding grounds. Experimental labs, where organisms and ideas have the luxury of being hidden. It is a place where our imagination can mutate, expand, shape, a new layer of reality - one that can merge worlds. We think of the dance of the nymphs, satyrs and water sprites in the muddy water, embracing the diversity of nature, and protecting the sacred habitat of shadows. We think of the (re)birth of a new-age habitat, a space where spirits collide. The amulets, oracles and vessels exhibited, entail a new energy, a contemporary homage to a lost past, with the ability to fertilise new grounds for a new dance - one in alliance with the past, and speculative of new beginnings.”
Photography credits go to Vincent Entekhabi
celestial furnace: sentient vessels
By taking objects that are traditionally associated with function and transforming them into non-functional objects, we can play with our expectations and challenge our understanding of what these objects represent. In this way, the objects such as plates, bowls, and vases can take on new meanings and become symbolic of something divergent - emotions, ideas and new cultural values.
The vessels in this series form an equilibrium between human and non-human, crafted by the desire for (re)imagining hybrid futures. Drawing inspiration from nature and the divine, the objects open a portal for envisioning new narratives and a playground for emerging rituals.
Some still available for purchase, contact via email regarding size & delivery / price list here
boiling point: soft walls & open hearts
60kg of flesh
1 beating heart
1 tbs. of salt
Visible at latitudes between +90° and −60°
Two seeds (one where the other one cannot be found)
Melt together & carve in tiny veins on a beach house far away
(Destilaat #24 Interview / Jakob Akkeman)
“...For the exhibition in Extrapool, she is looking into how the properties of food can be implemented for more than just consumption for energy. She invites her audience to sit around a table and create an enumeration of emotions, feelings and personal stories through the format of recipes. The work, boiling point: soft walls & open hearts revolves around the juxtaposition between openness and the culinary. Natalija finds it interesting to remove personal boundaries and to be just one step closer to each other in order to understand each other better.
She finds it important in her work not only to present herself as a maker, but also to give the audience a role in her work. Through interactive performance, she hopes to be able to reach the audience better and initiate self reflection. There are also ceramic works, candles and sage for spiritual rituals, but in the end it's all to support the concept and give the audience a moment where they can enter full tranquility.”