Ola Vasiljeva: Long Farewells
Pori Art Museum is closed 18.3.-13.5. Borrowing from moments of history, literature, and counter-cultural movements, Ola Vasiljeva creates imaginary environments in which sculpture, drawing and found objects commingle.
20.03.2020 – 30.08.2020
Ola Vasiljeva engages with the Pori Art Museum primarily through its architectural ancestry. Formerly a weigh house, the building in the town port had a transitive, measuring, evaluating function. It was a threshold space, made for the passage of goods, for their transition via a temporary halt, display and estimation.
As if subjected to a similar transition, Vasiljeva’s artworks are passersby in this liminal space. The exhibition, consisting of a multi-layered arrangement of artifacts, materials, and media, brings together works, old and new, and echoes the artist’s longstanding interest in the relationship between display and backstage — that is, the relationship between the displayed and the allegedly never displayed, or rather: the effectively concealed. This relationship is mediated through devices that double as thresholds or membranes, instruments such as the cinema screen, the curtain, the dressing room, props, costumes and tools suspended between use and ritual, mimicry and fiction. This interest finds a natural host in the threshold space that became the museum, and informs an all-encompassing environment that might include drawings, sculptures, textiles, ceramics, writing, video and song.
Borrowing from moments of history, literature, and counter-cultural movements, Ola Vasiljeva creates imaginary environments in which sculpture, drawing and found objects commingle. The props and furnishings in her installation often evince a vibrant disorderliness, as though they stood surrogates for the offstage characters to whom their existence seemingly testifies. As if theatre sets at intermission, her environments are often littered with telling clues of unseen performances, obscure and often absurd activities.
In recent years Vasiljeva’s work has recycled several themes that are concerned with the idea of knowledge production. These ideas were exercised in her Jargot projects (the triumph of nonsense over common sense) as well as University projects, which focused on the notions of anti-pedagogical experiments and disobedient structures. Vasiljeva’s most recent works, Haus Der F. and N’attendons pas M.Lapatine, though very different in their approach, both address the problems of hierarchy, displacement and forgetting.
Institutional structures that mirror society, such as the theatre, the museum and the academy, play a major role in Vasiljeva’s practice, yet her work is never about them per se. It has more to do with their backspaces, underpinnings, internal infrastructures and the detritus of these places, their forgotten histories.
Ola Vasiljeva (Latvia, 1981) lives and works in the Netherlands.
Her recent solo exhibitions include N'attendons pas M. Lapatine at Galerie Antoine Levi, Paris (2019); Haus der F. at Kaiser Wilhelm Museum, Krefeld (2019); Song and Love (with Matthew Lutz-Kinoy) at Indipendenza, Rome (2018); The Decline of the Showpieces at Grazer Kunstverein, Graz(2017); Zefiro Torna at Centre d'art contemporain Passerelle, Brest (2017)
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