Geary is pleased to present a multi-event presentation of performance work curated by Jemila MacEwan.
At the heart of every personal and societal crisis there is a body thrown into a state of exile. In a state of exile, one becomes separated from and unable to return to what we define as home. Notions of what is ‘body’ and what is ‘home’ are expanded by the work of each artist in this program. They express the conflicts of belonging and acceptance to that which gives us meaning and freedom. As a live practice, performance helps us feel inside the lived-experience of the body in exile.
The works presented in The Body in Exile occupy, in one form or another, exile. The artists create incomplete worlds from where they can patchwork a new order made from fragments and contradictions. In this way they make a claim for belonging to and acceptance in a constantly transforming world. They reveal that the strongest kind of belonging can come from recognizing and repairing crisis.
The Body in Exile addresses the paradox that is at the heart of the experience of exile in a globalised world – the paradox of simultaneously being inside of and excluded from the system one inhabits. It is a peculiar kind of exile where one belongs to the system but the system does not belong to them. We see this in systems of politics, patriarchy, colonialism and capitalism – root causes of every global crisis we face today. Together, the works have been selected for their ability to extend one’s thinking of how the experience of exile includes and implicates us all.
For the three-week program at Geary, live performance works by Pei-Ling Ho (Taiwan; June 15), Martha Skou (Denmark; June 22), and Nooshin Rostami (Iran; June 29) will be presented. In the spirit of the collective experiential nature of performance art, an evening of performance-on-screen works on June 29 by artists: Aram Atamian (Armenia), Laura Anderson Barbata (Mexico), Archie Barry (Australia), Valentina Medda (Italy), Emilio Rojas (Mexico), Nyugen E. Smith (Caribbean-American), Hanae Utamura (Japan) and Jevijoe Vitug + Maureen Catbagan (The Philippines) will follow.
‘The Body in Exile; vol. 1’ is the first event of an ongoing project devoted to the interwoven dialogue between performance artists who work within this theme.
Jemila MacEwan is an interdisciplinary artist living and working in New York. MacEwan was born in Scotland to Sufi parents, and immigrated to Australia as a child, where her upbringing intertwined scientific, mythological and spiritual ways of learning from the land. She continues to draw connections between people and place; material and culture; spirituality and experience. MacEwan received a Masters of Contemporary Art at the University of Melbourne, Australia. She has an extensive record of performances, exhibitions and residencies including: The Australian Consulate-General New York, Pioneer Works, Ox-Bow School of Painting, Chashama, NARS Foundation, Spring Break, BRIC Biennial III, the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, Victori +MO, Spring Break Art Fair, The Melbourne International Arts Festival (Australia), Skaftfell Center for Visual Art (Iceland), Arquetopia (Mexico), and Castlemaine State Festival (Australia). She is the founder of the performance process residency; Land-Falls, in the Catskills, NY. She has been generously supported by the Australia Council for the Arts, the Dame Joan Sutherland Fund, the Ian Potter Cultural Council and the Graduate Women of Victoria.
Pei-Ling Ho (Taiwan) is an interdisciplinary artist. She holds a MFA in Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts and a BFA in Advertising from the National Chengchi University. Through performance, video, photography and mixed media, PEI-LING explores questions of gender identity and perception within various contexts, ranging from the conflict between exotic and local culture and the legitimacy of parents under social system, and drawing from her experience growing up in Taiwan. She has had group exhibitions include ITINERANT: the annual Performance Art Festival in NY, SATELLITE ART SHOW in Miami, the 2nd Ningbo International Photography Week in China, 29th Festival Les Instants Vidéo in France and more. Recent reviews and features include PERFORMANCE IS ALIVE, Hyperallergic, The News Lens and more. PEI-LING currently lives in Queens, New York.
Martha Skou is a Danish-born artist based in New York City. She is an interdisciplinary artist who moves freely between audible and visual worlds. Both analytical and experimental, her work toys with opposites in color, shape and/or sound. She earned her master’s degree from the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Design while at the same time playing with her former band Betting On The Mouse. Her musical interest influences her practice in various ways through experimental sound performances, interactive installations and moving textiles. She has created personal universes surrounding her work both in her collaborations and solo projects. Her language is abstract and atmospheric, with compositions in spatial formats as well as two-dimensional media. Skou has been accepted to several residencies around the world and have shown work at venues such as The Museum of Arts and Design (MAD) NYC, Maison Du Danemark, Paris. Telfair Museums, Savannah and Pioneer Works Center for Art + Innovation in NY among others.
Nooshin Rostami (b. Shahroud, Iran) is a New York-based interdisciplinary artist and educator. She grew up in Tehran and immigrated to the United States to pursue her graduate studies and so far has been unable to return to her home country. In her work, she examines the impact of displacement as physical, emotional and psychological conditions. Through a metaphorical construction and a game-like problem solving process, she creates abstract spatial landscapes. As a multidisciplinary artist, Rostami works predominantly in performance, installation, and sculpture where a series of abstract forms mutate into an amalgam of objects, constituting personal, social & political narratives. Rostami has widely exhibited and presented her work in solo and group settings in Austria, Canada, Germany, India, Iran, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and the United States. She has participated in residencies both locally and internationally such as BRIC Contemporary Art Program, NARS Foundation, and Tifa working studios.