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Robin Bale, Nov 2022.

Live Art Club


Live Art Club is a monthly platform for artists to try out new ideas in a supportive environment. It takes place on the first day of most months at VSSL studio.

Taking the function of a studio as a site of artistic creation, Live Art Club expands  the idea of what a studio can be. Rather than imagining a studio as a private, enclosed space, Live Art Club proposes the studio as a place of gathering, where creative experiments take place in dialogue with peers and community.




Join Live Art Club

Do you have part of a new idea, an experiment in working with an audience, a way of moving your body, a series of sounds you’re excited by, an unexpected activation of the space, an interruption of tradition, guttural words that want to explode out of you, a re-performance of a forgotten idea or anything else that might look/feel/taste like Live Art?

We want to see it! Share what you’ve been working on with us at our next event.

> Info for Artists


Next: 

Thurs 1st February, 7pm


There is no need to book, just come along to the event.

> Location & access


Upcoming

Live Art Club will be taking a hiatus after the event on Thursday 1st Feb. More details plus a call to action will be published soon.

Contact

LiveArtClubLdn@gmail.com
info@vssl-studio.org





HERMAPHROGENESIS
Marcin Gawin

JANUARY 2024


“The Body operates in the cultural narrative that requires it to be stable and often relegates it as subservient to the mind. 'Face to the Seventh' is an inquiry into the correlation and the organisation of fixed systems, like the organisational fixations of the facial and organ systems. The presets in the installation are composed of the rearranged human viscera - with the exception of sexual organs - foregrounding parts that are a common denominator between all human organisms.”


Launch Event:
5-9pm, Friday the 12th of January 2024
RSVP Here

Exhibition Opening Hours:
12-5pm, Thursday to Sunday - 11th to 28th of January 2024


Curatorial Interventions: Dr Erinma Ochu in conversation with Marcin Gawin
6:30-8:30 pm, Friday 26th of January 2024
RSVP Here  

FACET Expanded: On Hermaphrogenesis & Centering Queer Art
6:00-7:30 pm, Friday 16th of February 2024
As part of LGBTQAI+ History Month 2024 in Lewisham, VSSL Studio is hosting a talk to explain their recent 9-month programme, FACET.
RSVP Here  



Hermaphrogenesis: Organs as Ruins of the Posthuman Body

By [M] Dudeck

Long ago, in Ancient Rome, the organs and entrails of sacrificed animals were decoded and interpreted by those tasked with defining the limits of reality. This ancient divination technique— called haruspicy – was performed by a trained priest – called a haruspex – who ritually consulted the liver, lungs, and heart of skinned beasts to discern the will of the gods.

Interdisciplinary artist Marcin Gawin performs a hybrid form of haruspicy in their new installation Hermaphrogenesis, remixing occult divination techniques with queer aesthetics in new forms of media. Here, the artist is interested in the body as a metaphor for the mutability of fixed systems. They hack biology by skinning the sciences, exposing the heteropatriarchal and anthropocentric institutionalization of bodies, both inner and outer, as a cyberpunk/witch haruspex. They etch, sculpt, diagram, exegete, cast, photograph, and manipulate a trinity of hand-crafted silicone organs, leaving us to decipher the will of the queer gods the artist has invoked on our behalf.

Gawin’s neo-goth, psychedelic laboratory/chapel circumnavigates the artist’s ongoing interest in re-imagining biology – and the body – as material for queer potentiality. They are transposing symbols from the sciences and religion into transmedial sigils, inviting the audience into an immersive hallucination, transposing organs into ruins for the posthuman body. A series of five illustrated iconographies, which the artist has titled ‘The large Head was split into five each’ – presents hyper-stylized illuminations of a brain stem spliced and flayed open in an illustrative style evoking anime, mediaeval iconography and early 90s internet art. These icons are illuminated with lightboxes and, suspended from the ceiling using chains and meat hooks, binding the aesthetic of BDSM with ceremonial magick.

A trinity of hand-crafted silicone organs– lungs, intestine, stomach – are re-arranged by the artist into mutant formations, evoking floral still-life drawings and inverted rorschach ink splots. The artist presents us again and again with the otherness of our interiority – exposing the influence of anatomical drawings in aiding the imagination to visualize that which we ourselves cannot see (our chthonic interiority.) By making the internal alien, and making that alienness mutable, Gawin creates a ceremony for us to absorb and embody their thesis: mutability and metamorphosis, nothing fixed, nothing set; forms at the mercy of endless reconstruction; queer Magick as the art of redefining reality:

One internal organ at a time.


At the centre of the installation is enshrined Gawin’s arcane Codex; an anatomical atlas turned punk grimoire titled “Face to the Seventh.” This textbook is annotated with biomorphic hieroglyphics and neo-mediaeval illuminations. It’s almost written in tongues, difficult to decipher but the artist appears to be inviting us to read it aloud as a devout priest might incant their sacred text in the temple. The blacked-out words echo redacted government statements that bridge the occultic with biopower and hint at the anarchist imperative to abolish the state (which still governs many of our internal organs).

The term hermaphrodite emerges from an ancient Greek myth, describing the proto-trans son/daughter of Hermes (the patron saint of alchemy) and Aphrodite (the goddess of lust, love, pleasure, and beauty), uniting male and female characteristics into a single unified organism. Genesis descends from the Greek describing origin, creation and generation. Hermaphro-Genesis is Gawin’s origin myth which the audience must read through the organs and entrails of their posthuman body. The organs at the nucleus of this exegesis perform as skinned internal landscapes, a micro-interiority ripped open, exposed and remythologized as queer talismans for the future. Hermaphrogenesis as a posthuman temple, sanctifies pareidolia (the process of perceiving meaningful images in ambiguous visual patterns) and elevates it to a metaphor for queerness.

CREDITS
Exhibition Text: [M] Dudeck
Sound and Composition: Nik Rawlings
Welding and Fabrication: Ash
Woodwork and Finishing: Pearl Sharp



SPECIAL THANKS:
Anna Gawin, Aleksandra Gawin, Beau Palmer, Calum Holden, Dana Holdampf, Daniel Gibbs, Jacek Gawin, Jahna, Jessica DeLeyza, Kuba Jablonowski, Lise Herman, Michal Czyz, Pat Janus, Pat Pinkowska, Pearl Sharp, Sacha Korsec, and VSSL Studio Team

ABOUT MARCIN:
Marcin Gawin is an interdisciplinary artist from Poland, based in Bristol, whose work encompasses image construction, installation, and live art. His fascination with the human body and its’ potential for transformation is evident in his practice, which explores the bodys function in mundane practicality, as well as in speculative and occult realities.

In 2019, Marcin completed Marina Abramovic’s Cleaning the House training in durational performance, further developing his expertise in this area. He also honed his skills in The Sunday Skool for Misfits, Experimenters, and Dissenters, where he studied under Martin O’Brien, Shabnam Shabazi, and Joseph Morgan Schofield in 2021.

Currently, Marcin is pursuing an MA in Virtual and Extended Realities at the University of the West of England, where he is researching the concept of embodied cognition in virtual environments and utilizing immersion as an artistic strategy.

Marcin's work has been presented at various locations, including the Palace International Film Festival in Bristol, Modern Art Oxford, Terytoria Festiwal in Poland, and Oxford Brookes University. His solo and participatory work is sure to leave a lasting impression. 

@mrcn.gwn


-> Read more about the complete FACET programme HERE

Frutas Maduras: Rocío Boliver 

NOVEMBER 2023




Boliver confronts the absurdity of society's narrow beauty standards and the consequent marginalization of aging women. The works offer an empowering message to women, urging them to embrace their sexuality and bodies unapologetically.”


Launch Event:
RSVP Here
6-9 pm | Friday | 10th of November, 2023. 
During the launch event the exhibition will be activated
by a live performance (rsvp essential) from:
Rocío Boliver and her collaborators Karolina Bazydlo and Bartlomiej Gudejko.

Exhibition Opening Hours:
12-5pm, Thursday to Sunday - 10th to 26th of November 2023


Curatorial Interventions:
Rocío Boliver: an intimate, physical workshop
12-6pm, Saturday the 18th of November at VSSL Studio
More information (including on how to apply) here



FRUTAS MADURAS: Rocío Boliver (collaborating with Bartlomiej Gudejko & Karolina Bazydlo) installation photography by Marco Berardi.


FRUTAS MADURAS: Rocío Boliver (collaborating with Bartlomiej Gudejko & Karolina Bazydlo) installation photography by Marco Berardi.


Boliver's collaboration with photographer Karolina Bazydlo and collaborator Bartlomiej Gudejko (Rocio’s lover at the time) for the FACET program is a bold challenge to the invisibility of the aging female form and female sexuality. The photographic series of twelve images centers the aging female body within the realm of sexual pleasure, desire, and erotic play. The artist has reimagined the conventional 'pin up' calendar idea and created exquisite portrayals of womanly autonomy and female sexuality.


Boliver's collaboration with photographer Karolina Bazydlo and collaborator Bartlomiej Gudejko (Rocio’s lover at the time) for the FACET program is a bold challenge to the invisibility of the aging female form and female sexuality. The photographic series of twelve images centers the aging female body within the realm of sexual pleasure, desire, and erotic play. The artist has reimagined the conventional 'pin up' calendar idea and created exquisite portrayals of womanly autonomy and female sexuality.

Through these images, Boliver confronts the absurdity of society's narrow beauty standards and the consequent marginalization of aging women. The works offer an empowering message to women, urging them to embrace their sexuality and bodies unapologetically. The images are both playful and poignant, creating a space for the celebration of women's bodies and sexuality.

The images are aesthetically stunning as well as tongue in cheek, while also holding a political charge. Boliver's work succeeds in highlighting the beauty of aging women while encouraging viewers to recognize and celebrate female sexuality, autonomy, pleasure and the power that this holds.


ABOUT ROCÍO:
Rocío Boliver, known as La Congelada de Uva, is an iconic figure in underground performance art in Mexico and is internationally renowned. For over thirty years, her work has confronted the ideological grid that shapes women's lives, challenging ageism and capitalism's impact on women in the stage of life between menopause and old age. Boliver's performances aim to demystify the horror of old age by creating her own deranged aesthetic and moral solutions for the "problem of age." Her work critiques the repression of women and exposes the broken society based on looks and how old age became a synonymous of insult.

Boliver's performances have been presented in Europe, Asia, North and South America, and she has participated in important performance festivals globally. She is a grantee of the National System of Creators of Mexico and has also taken part in many alternative forums. Boliver's aesthetic is grotesque, and her performances disrupt accepted reality, revealing the most authentic truth when facing the inability to react.


www.thisisliveart.co.uk/resources/rocio-boliver-collection

-> Read more about the complete FACET programme HERE

FACET Group Exhibition

OCTOBER 2023




ROCIO BOLIVER - ALICIA RADAGE - BENJAMIN SEBASTIAN - MARCIN GAWIN - JUNE LAM


“The exhibition serves as a window into the non-homogeneity of expanded queer communities, allowing for multifaceted readings of contemporary queer experiences.”


Launch Event:
6-9pm, Friday the 6th of October 2023

Exhibition Opening Hours:
12-5pm, Thursday to Sunday - 5th to 29th of October 2023


Curatorial Interventions:
VSSL have partnered with Ugly DuckQueer Art Projects and took part in Pretty Doomed with opening performances by Alicia Radage and Benjamin Sebastian

-> Read Francis Whorrall-Campbell’s commissioned responsive, experimental text HERE

-> Read Iris Colomb’s commissioned responsive texts of Pretty Doomed‘s opening performances for Benjamin Sebastian HERE and Alicia Radage HERE 

B.Sebastian - Video: Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance - 2023.
A.Radage - Video: Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance - 2023.

The FACET programme's group exhibition unites the participating lead artists from the programme's multiple exhibitions, offering a unique and diverse range of artistic practices. The exhibition serves as a window into the non-homogeneity of expanded queer communities, allowing for multifaceted readings of contemporary queer experiences.

Through a variety of mediums such as performance (to camera), sculpture, video, photography, and installation, the group exhibition showcases different perspectives on contemporary queer experiences - connecting the various exhibitions and artists in the FACET programme - while highlighting the diversity of queer artistic practice.

FACET Group Exhibition launch event documentation - Video: Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance - 2023.

Overall, the group exhibition offers a comprehensive and captivating look into the breadth of artistic approaches explored in the FACET programme, showcasing the unique perspectives of each participating artist and the interconnectedness of the expanded queer experience.

More information about each participating artist can be found via their respective FACET exhibition pages through the links provided below.


Installation photos by Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance - 2023.
Installation photos by Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance - 2023.
Installation photos by Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance - 2023.
Installation photos by Marco Berardi & Baiba Sprance - 2023.


Future Anatomy, VestAndPage, 2023. Still from video. Image courtesy of the artists.

Artist Lab with VestAndPage

Future Anatomies: Exquisite Corpse, Exalted Flesh 

26th & 27th September, 11am - 5pm

Please join FUTURE RITUAL for this two day lab facilitated by the artists VestAndPage considering artistic reimaginings of the body. The capacity for this lab is limited. Please book early to avoid missing out.

£30/£40/£60 - Book here


Received social and political understandings of the body are demonstrated, unceasingly, to be weird and obsolete. Though we remain committed to the immediacy and centrality of our sweating, sensate forms, we desire to imagine new anatomies, new functions, and new modes of embodiment.

We will watch, read and discuss the work of artists and thinkers engaged in similar lines of enquiry, develop our own texts and scores, and explore performative strategies for reimagining the flesh. Informed by queer theory, ritual practice, post human phenomenology and dis/ability arts, the lab is a space to think creatively and fluidly into these new possibilities.



Key Info

Tues 26th & Weds 27th September 2023, 11am - 5pm,
VSSL Studio, Resolution Way, London, SE8 4AL

£30 (Concession) / £40 / £60 (Solidarity Ticket)
> Book tickets

This is an unfunded event, all ticket income goes to facilitator fees and the event costs. Buying a solidarity ticket helps support the attendance of those for whom otherwise would face financial barriers. If you face financial barriers and would like to attend but cannot afford the ticket price please email producing@futureritual.co.uk and we will do our best to accommodate you.

venue & access Info

VestAndPage’s trip to the UK is supported by the Italian Cultural Institute.

Under Scars, VestAndPage, Venice International Performance Art Week, 2022. Photo by Lorenza Cini.


Future Ritual

Future Ritual works  in service of new and more attuned cultures, collaborating with artists to create  contemporary expressions of ritual.

Intentionally shapeshifting between iterations, Future Ritual temporarily activates and inhabits borrowed spaces, organising public programmes and pedagogical exchanges, publishing artist-driven research, and collaborating as a creative producer with a  constellation of performance practitioners.

https://www.futureritual.co.uk

VestAndPage

Since 2006, German artist Verena Stenke (b. 1981) and Venetian-born artist and writer Andrea Pagnes (b. 1962) have been working together as VestAndPage and gained international recognition in the fields of performance art, performance-based film, writing, publishing, and with collective performance operas and temporary artistic community projects. Since over a decade, VestAndPage have been exploring performance art and film as phenomena through their collaborative creative practice, as well as through theoretical artistic research and curatorial projects. Their works – a celebration of life – have been presented in museums, galleries, theatres, cinemas and a variety of sites worldwide. Their writings have been extensively published and translated for international readers.

VestAndPage's art practice is contextual and situation-responsive, conceived psycho-geographically in response to social contexts, natural surroundings, historical sites and architectures. In their works they move between the unseen and the unforeseen, the unsaid, the forgotten and the repressed. They inquire performance art as an urgency to explore the physical, mental and spiritual bodies, where moments of crisis or extreme situations often see the crossing of boundaries by the break with norms and known orders, to interface with the ephemeral matter of art and existence.

On December 2012, VestAndPage conceived and initiated the live art exhibition project VENICE INTERNATIONAL PERFORMANCE ART WEEK. Between 2012 and 2016, the project showcased in the Trilogy of the Body historic pioneer works on exhibit in conjunction with live programs of durational performances, presenting over 120 international artists and an ongoing educational program. Since 2017, the project presents in the new format Co-Creation Live Factory an international educational platform with residential and collaborative nature.

Besides sharing their pedagogy on collaborative performance making in intensive workshops and co-creationclasses. Since 2019, they are tutoring guest artists at the Master of Performance Practices at ArtEZ University of the Arts, since 2020 at MA Performance at the Norwegian Theatre Academy.

https://www.vest-and-page.de









Gathering in a Time of Plague


VSSL studio programme

November 2020 - June 2021

Kimvi, VSSL studio, 2021. Photo by Zack Mennell.

VSSL was established  in a time of plague. In response to the conditions of pandemic, we intend that the studio remains a place where performance practices may continue to unfold, unmediated by the screen. Our work continues to foreground the power and immediacy of live performance.

Gathering in a Time of Plague was VSSL’s first public programme, and featured a series of developmental and performance  opportunities, which were programmed by invitation and open call.

→ PROGRAMME ARCHIVE

Artists

Kelvin Atmadibrata
Adriana Disman
Chinasa Vivian Ezugha
Jasper Llewellyn
E.M. Parry
Niya B
Shaun Caton
Jade Blackstock
Kimvi

Curators

Benjamin Sebastian
Joseph Morgan Schofield

The programme was funded by public funds from Arts Council England, and by VSSL studio and ]performance s p a c e[.

With thanks to Ash McNaughton.




Kelvin Atmadibrata, PSX exhibition launch, VSSL studio, 2021. Photo by Zack Mennell.

Studio Residencies

→ Gathering in a Time of Plague

Our studio community was  joined by artists Kelvin Atmadibrata and Adriana Disman, who undertook seven month studio residencies at VSSL, supported by Arts Council England and ]performance s p a c e[.



As an expansion of my post-graduate investigation of the performing masculine body, I was introduced to the language of queer abstraction and minimalist erotica that I have since been experimenting and developing within my illustration of the mecha and transhumanist fantasy. The past months of lockdown and consequential shift towards the digital have also evoked queries upon my personal pace as I struggled to keep up with both the pandemic and the online, both that have more than ever, evolved with such robust momentums. I plan to utilize the studio space, peer and mentoring support with VSSL to reflect on these observations and refocus my productive engine with the ultimate aim of progressing my current artistic inquiries.
-Kelvin Atmadibrata

VSSL interviewed Kelvin about his practice, the relationship between fantasy, the erotic, drawing and performance, and the importance of studio culture.

→ read Kelvin’s interview


Kelvin Atmadibrata, PSX exhibition launch,
VSSL studio, 2021. Photo by Zack Mennell.
Adriana Disman, PSX exhibition launch,
VSSL studio, 2021. Photo by Zack Mennell.


The love of my life is performance art. In the current context in which we are not able to witness the work of others, my own practice has shrivelled. It has no physical or mental space. It needs the nourishment and accountability to more creatures, to discover how it is now and what serves it. Through the support of this residency, I intent to cultivate a nourishing studio culture that mobilises potential exchange between artists to re-energise my commitment to my own practice. I am not looking for a simple physical space from which to transplant an already known practice, I’m looking for sparring partners who will challenge and push me with love and become part of the space that will form the practice. I dream that in this way, I might find some delicious edges from which to push off and kick out into a new ocean. Performance is vast.
-Adriana Disman




Kelvin and Adriana presented works made during the residency at the exhibition launch for PSX: a decade of performance art in the UK.


Kelvin Atmadibrata, PSX exhibition launch, VSSL studio, 2021. Film and editing by Baiba Sprance and Marco Beradi.


Adriana Disman, PSX exhibition launch, VSSL studio, 2021. Film and editing by Baiba Sprance and Marco Beradi.



Performance Programme

→ Gathering in a Time of Plague

The Gathering in a Time of Plague programme featured seven live performance works by Chinasa Vivian Ezugha, Jasper Llewellyn, EM Parry, Niya B, Shaun Caton, Kimvi and Jade Blackstock. unfolding in and around VSSL in the spring and early summer.

Niya B, VSSL studio, 2021. Photo by Zack Mennell.


Gathering in a Time of Plague compilation video. Videography and editing by Baiba Sprance and Marco Berad




Tongues, Chinasa Vivian Ezugha, VSSL studio, 2021. Photos by Zack Mennell.



Tongues


Chinasa Vivian Ezugha 

Saturday 17th April, 2021

Imagine a new space, a space of possibilities- vocality and movement. The mouth is the new theatre. RE-imagining space and the placement of the body in space, this performance will use the tongue as the point of entry into a new performative space. ( I may need to speak with you to expand )

Tongues is a one-to-one performance by Chinasa Vivian Ezugha, with each encounter lasting around 5 minutes.

Chinasa Vivian Ezugha is a Nigerian-born artist living and working in Hampshire. Her work looks at the transition of Black women and their identity within culture from colonised subjects to emancipated figures. Vivian works predominantly in performance, using the medium to decontextualise and reconstruct what it means to be alive in this present time andtoprotest for a worldwhere we are all allowed to dream. She is the founder of Live Art in Wymondham, a one-day site-specific series of events that aimed to bring emerging artists working in live art to rural Norfolk.

Her work has been presented in venues across Europe, America and the UK, including In Between Time Festival (Bristol, 2017),SPILL Festival (Ipswich, 2018) and Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival (Chicago, 2015). She is the winner of the New Art Exchange Open Main Prize (2019), and a recipient of the Santander Universities Post Covid-19 Performance Making Enterprise Award (2020).

vcezugha.wixsite.com/work-in-progress


Jasper Llewellyn

Saturday 8th May 2021

Working  to the tidal rhythm of the  Thames, Jasper Llewellyn’s work began on the shore of the river, before continuing at VSSL.

The work for VSSL contributes to a larger body of action-based interventions that Llewellyn has undertaken on the Thames foreshore in Deptford since mid-2020, most of which have been conducted without an audience. This ongoing series of actions are  embodied attempts to attune to the diverse array of affective and nonhuman entities that comprise the assemblage that we term ‘the Thames’, reimagining our relationship to the river as a whole in the process.

Jasper Llewellyn is an artist working with actions, sounds and words. His ongoing PHD research project involves the deployment of various embodied artistic strategies in order to take an expanded view of improvisation, treating it both as a methodology for living and art-making. He makes music with the project ‘caroline’ and has had writing published in Frieze magazine.

www.jasperllewellyn.co.uk/


Jasper Llewellyn, 2021. Photos by Zack Mennell.




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VSSL studio logo design by Ben Normanton.