We finished the exhibition of Kevin Morrow. We nearly closed the residency season and now have more time to work on the exhibitions of next year: for Gaelle Pelachaud, Andrea Hasselager, Phil Moody and Yvonne Halfens.
It is also the time of the year to harvest olives and pomegranates from the trees that we planted some years ago. And quite a crucial job is to make the fences of our vegetable garden rabbit-proof.
Kevin Morrow (USA) Had a beautiful exhibition in the Caste of Evoramonte, entitled: Diáspora: see this page for more information and a video impression. The exhibition is part of an ongoing project “The Great Exchange”, for which he may re-use some of the sculptures. Until than they wait with patience in our fruit garden.
Stella Whalley (UK) was deeply shocked by the fire in the Grenfell tower in London, first of all because possibly over 80 people lost their life. But also because the fire was caused by greediness of the builders who used too cheap material and because the rich neighborhood showed little compassion with the victims, who mostly were poor. Stella prepared installations that refer to this tragedy and that is being exhibited in October (Q Park level-3 Cavendish Square Oxford Circus).
Apart from this societal motivated work she also made several beautiful interventions in the landscape. See the slideshow for an impression.
Matthew Manowski (USA) is a multimedia artist. He was fascinated by the ants. He built an object that refers to an ants’ nest, he painted them and he recorded their work in image and sound. Later he manipulated these video and audio info to a base for an installation in which he performed himself in a minimalistic manner. He performed three times, two times for his fellow residents and one time in public: at the opening of Kevin Morrows´ exhibition. Everybody was astonished by the artistic quality and originally of his work. See his slideshow below.
Raymond Ghirardo and Megan Roberts (USA) are for many years a couple in art and life. They collected sounds and images, and experimented with it in video. One revelation of their residency was the projection with a micro projector on the inside of an egg shell. Surprising was also that the shell is sufficiently transparent to watch the video also on the outside of the shell. Their first results were impressing. From the concept point of view the installation seem to contemplate on inside-outside, on protection and exposure. And the spectator is brought in such an intimate atmosphere that he feels being part of a secret.
Randy Akers (USA) made intriguing, half abstract paintings, generally in a brownish colour spectrum. His source of inspiration and starting point of his creations was his deep frustration with Donald Trump. Every day he checked the New York Times on news on Trump and choose one or two words that he felt to have sufficiently relation with his anger. The chosen word became both an inspiration and the title of the painting. At his final presentation we had an in-depth discussion on all aspects of his work: the concept, the translation of anger into abstract images, the expression, the aesthetics and options to present it to a broader audience.
Sue Anne Rische (mixed media; USA) had a sabbatical in which she made a “tour around the world in 80 days”. She choose to analyse the phenomenon of “privacy” during this journey. She was working in OBRAS-Holland on that subject after a residency in Japan. The contrast could not have been more. In Japan she had no privacy at all, which was tough in the beginning but she stepwise started to like it. In Holland she had all privacy which was a relief in the beginning but stepwise she was longing for more societal interaction. In Holland she explored graffiti, billboards, traditions in food and public holidays.
Andrea Hasselager (game designer; Denmark, currently living and working in Berlin) came back, first of all to work on her exhibition next year in Évora: love letters between my grandparents: See below on this page.
Bridgette Badowich (visual artist; Canada) worked on several projects. One is on an encyclopaedia that her grandfather used after is immigration in 1947 from Poland to Canada, to master the English language. On many places in the book he wrote some personal notes. The book tells both the universal story of a man trying to find his way in a new country, as well as the personal story of her grandfather. Bridgette experiments with manipulating images and taking words of that book and bringing it in another context.
In another project she experiments deconstructing classical drawings of the female body.
Sherry Wiggins (visual artist; USA) was at OBRAS in January for a great solo exhibition (see youtube clip) and came back in October for a photoshoot with master photographer Luis Branco (Portugal). Sherry was photographer in nature and mostly in water. The images show a strong, mythical human-nature relation. They also suggest nature embracing a middle-aged woman. Some seem to tell about (re-)birth, life (excitement and reflection) and death.
Sonja Roth (musician; Switzerland) created several songs dedicated to the dilemmas she felt on migration in relation to freedom and solitude. Most of her songs are mysterious and dreamy. Generally she accompanies herself on guitar although she also sings in a band. But at OBRAS Sonja was experimenting with a synthesizer to sing “duets” with her own voice. She was invited to sing some of her songs on Momentos Poéticos, a cultural event in the Castelo de Evoramonte. Her performance was highly successful.
Kirsten Whatley (USA) spend most of her life on getting close with the native people of Maui, Hawaii. She speaks their language fluently and dances (even teaches) traditional hula dance. For the Maui as well as for Kirsten this dance is much more than an aesthetic expression. It tells about the relation with the earth, the volcanos and life in general. Kirsten is contemplating about being a white woman trying to get integrated in the Maui society and culture: about historical guilt, about clash of values, about what can be learned from each other and about what future may bring. Being a writer, singer, dancer and photographer, Kirsten has lots of options to tell her story. Her artist talk showed this and all were flabbergasted.
In the next updates of this newsletter more information will be given of the residents and their projects in October at OBRAS Holland: Kirsten Beets and Lucy Stuart (both are visual artists from South Africa),
We are now evaluating the applications for residencies of next year. Decisions will be communicated around 15 December.
And we are working on the exhibitions of next year: for Gaelle Pelachaud, Andrea Hasselager, Phil Moody and Yvonne Halfens.
Gaëlle Pelachaud (France) will have an exhibition: ÁUREAS (Refleçcoes duma Segonha), in the INATEL building in the Centre of Évora: from 19 April until 19 May 2018 During her artistic residencies in 2016 and 2017 at OBRAS Foundation OBRAS in Evoramonte, Gaëlle made hundreds of drawings of storks, especially of the storks nest at the abandoned railway station of Evoramonte. She will show several these drawings, partly in the form of artistic installations. Ideas that still have to be developed in more detail are to make a “real” storks nest on a pole and to lay a drawing of the floor that shows the landscape in a birds eye view.
Gaëlle Pelachaud creates artist books (some of them will be shown in vitrines). At this moment she is creating an artist book entitled Áureas, together with the bookbinder Jão Ruas. In this artist book several poems by Maria Sarmento will be published. Maria Sarmento (Evora) wrote a series of poems inspired by the work of Gaëlle Pelachaud. The poems are in Portuguese with a translation in French. The artist book will be ready for presentation at the opening of the exhibition.
Andrea Hasselager (Danmark, currently living in Berlin) will have an exhibition: Love letters between my grandparents, also from 19 April until 19 May 2018 in the INATEL building in Évora. Andrea has a specialty in digital storytelling and game design. During her residencies in 2015, 2016 and 2107 at OBRAS she worked on a project in which central is an envelope that she got from her grandparents with their instruction to open it only after their decease. She came to Portugal to open the envelope on an inspiring place. It contained letters that her grandparents wrote to each other in the first years of the 2nd world war. Andrea is preparing a multi-media presentation that includes a collage of postcards and text fragments that she found in the envelope, a video that shows her opening the envelope and a computer game with which the visitor of the exhibition can experience act of discovering this type of both historical and personal information..
WHITE WORKS is the working title for an exhibition with Phil Moody (USA), scheduled for 30 June – 15 September in the Palacio dos Marqueses da Praia e Montforte, Estremoz. Phil Moody came in 2014 and 2015 for making photo portraits of workers in the marble quarries. Very exceptional was that Phil got permission to make a documentary of workers deep in a marble quarry of Estremoz. He intends making some ten 2x2m photo mosaics. In addition he wants to make a book where these images are combined with information on marble: the history, geology, economy and especially the life of the workers. For this he wants have marble workers interviewed by students of the industrial archaeology department of Évora University. He is especially interested in the stories of retired employees: they started when it was common to bring water to the workers with a donkey, they experienced the booming of the marble sector, but also the decline and the crisis that seems to be structural of this sector.
Yvonne Halfens (Holland) will get an exhibition of her ceramic work in the fortress of Evoramonte in August - September 2018 (exact dates will soon be announced). The working title: HEADQUARTERS refers to most of her objects being human heads. The majority was baked at a potter of Evoramonte.
Apart from exhibition individual objects Yvonne intents to make an installation and to have an open atlier in the Castle. . In some cases the head is used as a screen for a video.
While preparing this exhibition Yvonne was considering that the Castle of Evoramonte could be seen as the body of her heads. On the other hand, the Castle interior is a very empty and pure architectural space that triggers a feeling of human absence. To place heads in this human void is like the visitors who come, look around and go, leaving behind an empty building. They remain separate entities.