DRESS THE STATUE
A performance/visual Art exhibition curated by Danae Loukaki & Anna Vauhkonen
3Space Blackfriars, London 2013
Dress the Statue' was an event that took place over two floors of the Blackfriars Courthouses building offered by 3Space and was consisted of a night of live performances and an exhibition which was open for several weeks. It addressed some timeless concepts like the sense of context, freedom, controversy, religion, responsibility, politics, sexuality, criticism, boundaries, censorship, ethics in relation to the very existence of the Arts.
The event included pieces by a plethora of international artists: Hannah Breslin, Danae Loukaki, Christopher Tavoularis, Marco Turcich, Vicky Kyriakoulakou, Anna Vauhkonen, Simona Zemaityte, Howard Sivills, Natalia Zagorska-Thomas, Malgorzata Drohomirecka, Patrizia Paolini and Andrzej Maria Borkowski.
With respect to the spirit and the values of the platform, the curators of the event chose to bring to a dialogue the way that art and performance are a reflection of the current socio-political situation existing not only in the U.K., but inside a wider frame too. By asking a plethora of international emerging and established artists to participate in the event, what is aimed at is the revelation of new connections and artistic bonds within the frame of the contemplation and reflection on the current social, financial, political ethos and on the concepts/ key- issues provided as topics by the curators.
The abovementioned key- words/ key- issues not only providing a stimulus but also determining the rationale behind the event, derive from some ‘eternal’ questions in relation to the time and space and hence, the context, the role of the audience in relation to the artistic creation, how these two interact and what is in fact their bidirectional nature- relationship, the moral responsibility and duties of the artist towards her/ his creation on the one hand, and towards the audience on the other hand contrasting the freedom of expression and creativity. Moreover, sexuality and ethics, how the respect towards a culture and religion clashes in some cases with the artistic product leading to acts of censorship, what can be perceived as controversial nowadays, now that we have seen and confronted almost everything in the Arts, are employed as the centre of an axis around which the event framing has been established.
Graham Ovenden’s case and Tate Gallery’s reaction leading to the removal of the images of his work from its online gallery and also the removal of the access to his work in its galleries, operated as one of the main and recent cases that offered the stimulus, the motive and simultaneously, the alibi towards the realization of the timeliness of our concept and the desire to contemplate on and therefore, create a journey into the participating artists’ reflection on the exposed situations/ concepts.
The unfortunately, timeliness of the event is thoroughly maintained by some other incidents as well. Firstly, Whitechapel Gallery’s removal of 12 works by Hans Bellmer due to sexual overtones and a probable offense towards the Muslim population of the area back in 2006, secondly, artist Ulla Karttunen’s case of 2008 who was convicted on child pornography charges due to her controversial artwork ‘Neitsythuorakirkko’ (Virgin-Whore-Church) at Helsinki’s Kluuvi Gallery however, without being assigned any punishment, and last but not least, the most recent case of the ancient Greek statues (an archaic-era Greek youth and a Roman-era copy of a classical athlete) lent for the ‘Olympic Games: past and present’ exhibition presented in Qatar in March 2013 and covered in cloth by the organizers due to cultural clash, prove the dynamics and the immense relevance of the event to the socio-political context we nowadays reside in.
What the curators of the event are mainly interested in creating is a hearth and a collection where the investigation of the artists’ reaction (as the cerebral and creative response to a stimulus as well as, the state resulting from such a response) takes place. As not believing in a general unanimity, with this event we aim at celebrating its opposite: the freedom to express and test the heterogeneous disciplines and ideas deriving from each participating artist’s creation. Furthermore, an old courthouse like ‘Audit House’ where our event is hosted, expresses the spirit of exploration of conventional disciplinary areas, literally and metaphorically, and the way that as a fact on its own, leads to an unconventional outcome.
Having an absolute faith to the necessity of Controversy in relation to the context and the creative process, what we believe in is that such a quality only leads to Transcending the Boundaries.
Danae Loukaki & Anna Vauhkonen