ARCAthens Virtual Residency June 2020
We are delighted to introduce our Inaugural ARCAthens Virtual Residency Fellows.
Blanka Amezkua is an artist, cultural promoter, educator, and project creator based in the South Bronx with exhibitions at P.S.1 Contemporary Art Center, The Bronx Museum of the Arts, Queens Museum, El Museo del Barrio, Art Base; Brussels, the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts, San Diego Art Institute, and the Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts, among others. Amezkua’s practice is greatly influenced and informed by folk art and popular culture, and in 2008 she began an artist-run project in her bedroom called the Bronx Blue Bedroom Project (BBBP). BBBP ran from 2008-2010. Between 2010-2016, she lived in Athens, Greece where she initiated FoKiaNou 24/7, now FokiaNou Art Space, in the center of the Hellenic capital. Blanka currently operates AAA3A(Alexander Avenue Apartment 3A) an alternative artist-run project which offers food, dialogue, workshops, and art in her living room. Mentions of her work and projects can be found in various notable publications including HYPERALLERGIC, The New York Times, ART NEWS, HuffPost Arts, The International Review of African American Art, and Time Out New York. www.blankaamezkua.com
Eirene Efstathiou is a visual artist living in Athens, Greece who works in a variety of different media from painting and printmaking to performance to small scale installations. Her practice investigates collective and archival memory, sentiment, affect and how these function in the public sphere. Efstathiou is a graduate of the School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and Tufts University, (Studio Art Diploma and BFA, 2003) where she studied painting and printmaking, and the Athens School of Fine Arts, (MFA 2010). She received a residency fellowship at Zea Mays Printmaking in Northampton, MA in 2017, and she is currently a PhD candidate at the Athens School of Fine Art. Efstathiou has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions in Europe and the United States. Her most recent solo exhibitions include: A Jagged Line Through Space, Eleni Koroneou Gallery Athens (2020); Regarding the Continuity of Disrupted Images, Irene Laub Gallery, Brussels Belgium, (2017); I Draw, I Learn Greece, Eleni Koroneou Gallery, Athens, Greece (2016). Her most recent group exhibitions include: When the Present is History, DEPO, Istanbul, Turkey (2020); Anatomy of Political Melancholy, Athens Conservatory, Shwartz Foundation, Athens Greece (2019); Truth Is Always Something Else: A dialogue between two Collections, Galleria Nazionale d’Arte Moderna e Contemporanea, Rome, Italy (2018); ANTIDORON. Works from the EMST Collection, documenta 14, Kassel, Germany (2017). Efstathiou’s work is represented in public and private collections in Europe and the United States. In 2009 she was the recipient of the DESTE Prize, DESTE Foundation, Athens, Greece. She lives and works in Athens, Greece. www.eireneefstathiou.com
Instagram Visual Conversation
ARCAthens Virtual Residency #1 is the work of our first two AVR Fellows, Blanka Amezkua, the Bronx, New York, and Eirene Efstathiou, Athens, Greece. The Instagram conversation below took place from June 1-June 30, 2020.
Week 1: Location
Under the Pavement, a Mountain’, 2017-19 (detail) Lithograph and screen print on linen 81 x 54 cm. Referring to the May ’68 slogan ‘under the pavement a beach’. Read More
“STAND BY AND FOR BLACK PEOPLE!!!!” ♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡♡ Black was one of the first colors used by artists in neolithic cave paintings. In the Roman Empire, it became the color of mourning, and over the centuries it was frequently associated with death, evil, witches, and magic. Read More
Imprint study or the view from the middle of the street. (That’s were we’ll be). Here from the demo last Sept. One year after the murder of Zak Kostopoulos. Read More
La Lutxona (The fighter); Embroidery on fabric and crochet; 30x31in.; 2007. “Today, we look at Toni Morrison for guidance: ‘If you can’t imagine it, you can’t have it.’ Read More
A list of demonstration meeting points from July 1965, that although nearly illegible, are almost identical to those of July 2015, to those of today. Lists are useful, as are indexes and archives. Read More
“America’s Protests Won’t Stop Until Police Brutality Does. This country has failed to provide one of the most fundamental protections in the Constitution: the right to life.” Read More
Curatorial Reflections Week 1: Location
Although ARCAthens had aspirations of a more robust digital platform from its inception, the timing of the AVR’s birth was directly inspired as a response to the #Covid19 #Pandemic. Little did we, nor our #Fellows, ever imagine our first week would close on the 10th day of historic demonstrations inspired and captivated by tragedy and the nation’s disgust, exasperation, and readiness to push the country further away from the death-grip of institutional racism.
Predictably, many of the AVR Fellows’ posts have been journalistic. With the theme of “Location” -Blanka’s base is in The Bronx, Eirene’s in Athens- both Fellows are in locations experiencing public demonstrations. This time, both in Covid and protests, The Bronx is #epicentric.
Mixing original, sometimes older works with current photos is revealing a poetry in this project that transcends documentation and begins a peak at deeper, long-identified issues of research and concern for both these artists.
The dots are connecting in an interesting, multi-layered visual poem, and I excitedly anticipate Week 2.
I’ll chime in again at the end of Week 2. Meanwhile, please share your thoughts with us here, and stay healthy, stay focused, and support the arts, for a vision with clarity and hope.
Week 2: Proximity
New York City Begins Reopening After 3 Months of Outbreak and Hardship…As many as 400,000 people may return to work on Monday in a city still recovering from the pandemic and roiled by protests.” Read More
Image: KARNALITAS (Sisters); Embroidery on cotton fabric, 36 x 36 in., 2005 / ARCAthens has invited and to an #InstagramTakeover, where these two wonderful artists engage in a visual conversation in June. For week 2, the theme changes from Location to Proximity. Join us!
Image: KARNALITAS (Sisters); Embroidery on cotton fabric, 36 x 36 in., 2005 / ARCAthens has invited
to an #InstagramTakeover, where these two wonderful artists engage in a visual conversation in June. For week 2, the theme changes from Location to Proximity. Join us!
“If you experience the love, you have to touch the spirit not the body.” ~ Rumi / “On Tuesday morning, 15 days after that anguished cry, Mr. Floyd will be laid to rest beside his ‘Mama, his mama’ Read More
During the lockdown I was nostalgic for crowds. Now that lockdown has been lifted, I wonder, how close can you come to another person from 2 meters distance? Read More
Here bodies close to each other, at a concert, in protest and a festival, Details from the works: ‘Map Trace 1’, ink on found map 2016, ‘We Are Not (Just) An image on T.V.’, Oil on panel 2013, and ‘Ρετάλια 88’, lithograph/ARCAthens has invited
to an #InstagramTakeover, where these two wonderful artists engage in a visual conversation in June. For week 2, the theme changes from Location to Proximity. Join us!
Some years back I began a series of photographs, where I placed my body inside corners, in this exact posture, as a way to occupy space and fuse my body with the architecture. Read More
A Jagged Line Through Space, the making of, or hot August days, in which various existences shed their skins. How close do we come to other beings? Read More
The 2016 United States presidential election was the 58th quadrennial presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 8, 2016. A republican businessman and reality television act was elected. Read More
From around 2013 until the present I have done a series of actions in public space that are neither exactly performances nor activism, but awkwardly and intentionally situated somewhere in between. Read More
CORNERS AND FORM. An ongoing series of photographs created through my interest in the physicality and the importance of corners in space (internal and external) Read More
I have never lived in a landlocked place, yet although I have always lived in close proximity to the sea or the ocean, encountering it in an urban setting is always both a surprise and a relief. Read More
Excerpts from the work ‘Artifacts (for) the Revolution’ 2014. How close do we come to the world as we wish it to be? How close is what we imagine to our everyday practices? Where is it embedded but latent in everyday objects? Read More
Curatorial Reflections Week 2: Proximity
With Week 2’s theme, #Proximity, #BlankaAmezkua (#TheBronx) and #EireneEfstathiou (#Athens) ask us several questions: • How close do we come to the world as we wish it to be? • Read More
The #AVR Fellows’ images this week are records of their artworks, whether objects or performances, and they seem to weave here an extempore chronicle of conceptual, narrative, as well as formal relationships: corners, cones, and lines, leading from one image into the next, as the touch of a hand passes on the baton of wonder. Together with the Fellows, we ponder #Proximity through physicality, presence/absence, and desire –“Desire to touch and be touched by the amorous other is always also the desire to touch another world.”
The #AVR Fellows’ images this week are records of their artworks, whether objects or performances, and they seem to weave here an extempore chronicle of conceptual, narrative, as well as formal relationships: corners, cones, and lines, leading from one image into the next, as the touch of a hand passes on the baton of wonder.
Together with the Fellows, we ponder #Proximity through physicality, presence/absence, and desire –“Desire to touch and be touched by the amorous other is always also the desire to touch another world.”
Week 3: Movement
The Movement of Bodies ♡☆♡☆♡☆♡☆♡☆♡☆
He fractured white light into seven colours, reckoned the distance to the moon, wrote laws for the movement of bodies: no mystery to him, until now. Read More
and it colours: to each action an equal and opposite reaction. He tries to think straight: the moon. I worked out its mass. Moonlight, kissing in moonlight. The movement of bodies. The moon draws the tides. A knife in my eye. Once, probing for truth, he nearly blinded himself. This time he will flinch from the lacerating light. Legend will say he died a virgin, and never saw the sea. ♡☆♡☆♡☆♡☆♡☆
Poem from Sheenagh Pugh’s 2005 collection, The Movement of Bodies /Photos of me playing with my shadow while fascinated by the forms created by very slight variations of my posture and movements in Morelos, Mexico 2017. Posted by
Movement of bodies and of movements in Exarcheia square has not stopped for as long as I remember. Read More
SWING FORWARD WHILE SWAYING BACK
In 2018 I was invited to create an installation for a show by cultural worker and curator Amanda McDonald Crowley Read More
A sudden camera movement indicates the passage of time, or an abrupt break from the way we usually experience time. Read More
By Audre Lorde ♡☆♡☆♡☆♡☆♡
I have studied the tight curls on the back of your neck moving away from me beyond anger or failure your face Read More
Do not remember me as a bridge nor a roof as the maker of legends nor as a trap door to that world where black and white clericals hang on the edge of beauty in five o’clock elevators twitching their shoulders to avoid other flesh and now there is someone to speak for them moving away from me into tomorrows morning of wish and ripen your goodbye is a promise of lightning in the last angels hand unwelcome and warning the sands have run out against us we were rewarded by journeys away from each other into desire into mornings alone where excuse and endurance mingle conceiving decision. Do not remember me as disaster nor as the keeper of secrets I am a fellow rider in the cattle cars watching you move slowly out of my bed saying we cannot waste time only ourselves. ♡☆♡☆♡☆♡☆ Peekaboo; Black and white photocopy, glitter, and glue; 8.5 x 11 in; 2014. Post by Blanka Amezkua
Works from the series ‘A Jagged Line through Space’ or excerpts from a natural history of Exarcheia home of so many movements. Read More
Etching, lithograph, Chine-collé and guache on paper 34 x 24 cm Post by, Eirene Efstathiou.
Nopal (from the Nahuatl word nohpalli for the pads of the plant) There are approximately one hundred and fourteen known species endemic to Mexico… Read More
Nopal silhouette; Sliced nopal; Variable dimensions; 2014 —– Post by Blanka Amezkua
Some images of furniture of the movement, or the dynamic evolving life of objects, (and their outcome), or what if we think about reification as and expanded dialectic with vectors moving every which way? Read More
VANISHING WHILE MOVING ——-On September 26, 2014, 43 male students from the Ayotzinapa Rural Teachers’ College were forcibly abducted and then disappeared in Iguala, Guerrero, Mexico. Read More
Post by Blanka Amezkua
People move for all sorts of reasons, and the politics in and behind movement has many layers and dimensions. Read More
Curatorial Reflections Week 3: Movement
For Week 3, the theme chosen by the #AVR Fellows was #Movement. #BlankaAmezkua (#TheBronx) and #EireneEfstathiou (#Athens) abducted us, sailed us, and transported us to places of their past, places that also seem like places in our present. Read More
Again we are asked questions to ponder: -What counts as history? -What counts as a historical document? -Can the records of movements through a space made for moving bodies remind us of our shifting social constructs and our shifting social contracts? -Can the forms of paper shaped mandorlas, laid out as a mandala, move us to imagine how violence can erase human beings, disappear their, and our, humanity? -Can a cactus, delicately transformed into the shape of a body remind us of the journeys between worlds, old and new?
Can a capsized raft in the north eastern Aegean Sea transport us to imagine journeys through space, through fear, through hope and desperation? -Can we be moved ourselves?
Week 4: #MagicOrTheTimeIsNow
It’s time for some looting, y’all. ♡☆♡☆♡☆♡ Nothing new under the sun. For everything there is a season. And this is the snatching season. You know that you would not be the first to take everything you can get in the midst of a crisis. Read More
The weather is consistent: hot. Μainstream political promises for tomorrow are rhetorically as predictable as the weather, and as practically limited as a confined space. Read More
What passes for structural changes in the org? Insist on that. Cuomo said a pandemic was the perfect time to reconsider the ENTIRE CONCEPT of public education! Read More
Two works from the ‘A Jagged Line through Space’ series. ‘Flora over Asklipiou’ and ‘Dark Star’. The magic of things reflected in the sky, the magic of the quotidian. Read More
Get in. Get out. Get it over with. This burden shouldn’t fall to you, yet here we are. You have spent so much time doing this work, and they have spent so much time ignoring the pain — even if they recoil in shock at the suggestion. Read More
From, “Start Looting as if Your Life Depended on It: A Call To Action,”
By Gail Drakes (@gaildrakes)
(link here) —— Kalamata findings/ nails/ dead cricket; Black and white photographs; variable dimensions; 2016. An image from this series was included in THE BORDER CROSSED ME at Bronx Art Space, South Bronx in 2016. Post by Blanka Amezkua
Details from the series ‘How Things Are Made’. Frankenstein newspaper collages, terraced Cycladic landscapes, and loom schematics chronicle the labor of making, of consent and resistance, of the mundane and the exceptional. Read More
Depending on where or when or how it goes down, they might even come to you looking to cover their behinds. Read More
Start Looting as if Your Life Depended on It: A Call To Action
By Gail Drakes (@gaildrakes) (link here) —— Disco dreams; Color photographs; Variable dimensions; 2016. A series of photographs taken in random locations using a portable pipe cleaner soft sculpture as the main protagonist in the overall composition. Post by Blanka Amezkua
Drawings from the archival work ‘Fortification Typology – an Overview’ (2014). The drawings are from a group of photographs I found at the Greek Military’s historical archives. Read More
2020 NEW YEARS RESOLUTIONS:
1. return to the basics: the lungs, they are for breathing. the heart, it is for forgiving.
2. remain porous through the pain. a broken heart is an invitation: there is space here, inside. Read More
3. your life is your greatest romance. so, speak roses. make every conversation a ceremony.
4. amidst diffused despair, harvest hope. cultivate idealism. wear them like heirlooms.
5. become indelible. linger in everything you touch.
6. permanence is unambitious. things don’t die, they go somewhere else.
7. “natural” & “reality” are political aesthetics. birth new worlds. every pattern can be unwoven.
8. language is bewitching, but do not mistake talking about the thing as doing the thing.
9. comparison is creativity’s curse. genius is the ability to orbit elsewhere, imagine otherwise.
10. even trash is teeming with life. surrender to your insignificance & find your magic there.
11. empathy is a daily baptism, but do not confuse bartering your dignity as compromise. ——-******** / Alok Vaid-Menon
ALOK is an internationally acclaimed gender fluid writer, performance artist, and public speaker based in New York City. /photo of the floral installation, “Neither seek nor avoid, take what comes”; Mixed media; silk flowers, thumb tacks; Variable dimensions (72 x 72 in roughly); 2020. Part of
EXODUS III: : MEXICO IN NEW YORK – FROM OROZCO TO OROZCO at WhiteBox, NYC
May 5 – June 12, 2020. Post by Blanka Amezkua
Two views of a road that leads to the sea. If, as I speculate, Exarcheia is an island, then undoubtedly the Polytechnio is its chora and its southern coast. Two blurred and fleeting views of its historic front entrance gate (and a detail). Read More
Curatorial Reflections Week 4: #MagicOrTheTimeIsNow
The Fellows have been asking us questions throughout the AVR, just as we are desperate for answers. We all have questions, now more than ever, about the pandemic, about the state of our communities, our nation, our world, our planet, our humanity. I’ve often found myself asking, “Can someone please tell us the truth?” Alas, answers, and truth are always elusive, and, as we search now, we seem to be in a moment of haze, confusion, and lack of clarity. Or, are we? Is tomorrow really “unknown” now any more than ever, or is our perceptive facility under a necessary reconstruction? Blanka reminds us the words of #AlokVaid-Menon: “permanence is unambitious. things don’t die, they go somewhere else,” and “’natural’ & ‘reality’ are political aesthetics. birth new worlds. every pattern can be unwoven.” Maybe it’s not haze or confusion we are experiencing, but the pain of truth, unmasked, forced on us to contend with?
Eirene asks, “What can happen as if by magic, between two tomorrows?” I was pleasantly surprised to see the Fellows choose this final week’s theme, #MagicOrTheTimeIsNow because, as we battle viruses –physiological or perceptual- artists (and all of us, really) need to continue asserting and embracing the unknown: that which we may not yet be ready to visualize, or even comprehend, through our corrupted rational or political tropes, and allow for a courage, or audacity, to overtake us for that which comes, however new, together, with light.