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Fora Residents, Unframe, Curate Our Artwork
We speak to Fora Resident Irina Turcan about her company, Unframe, and a project close to home; the curation of our Dallington Street space artworks.
What is Unframe?
Unframe is a contemporary art platform that showcases a carefully selected group of artists from around the world. Online on unframe.london, art lovers are able to support artists’ work through crowdfunding, while offline we exhibit art in unconventional places and organise events that connect artists with a diverse crowd. Artworks range from painting and sculpture to video work and performance.
Can you tell us a little more about the Caro Halford piece that you’re pictured with above?
Caro Halford’s artwork, which has the title ‘Who is this Disobedient?’, seeks to project and asks questions concerning those who are being viewed as an object of desire. From this idea, she manipulates an original photograph from a fashion and lifestyle magazine and a cut out image of an assemblage taken from her studio. Through the subverting of this imagery, we see threads of masculinity and femininity that are shown through the use of a colour tainted glass mirror and a common garden hose.‘Who is this disobedient?’ is an important part of this piece, which also addresses the abstract concepts of being looked at, or others looking at a subject. To conclude in Caro’s practice as an artist, she feels that in a culture of celebrity, there is a prevalence of narcissism, for example the widespread use of selfies and the fact that artists are judged by how they look and act. From the artist’s studio, Caro is touching on aspects of performance culture and self-consciousness and how it then feels to be viewed in a gallery, on display, for everyone.
‘Who is this disobedient?’ was displayed at the Goldsmiths MFA Fine Art Degree Show 2016 as part of an installation titled ‘She’s Come Undone’ and was shortlisted for The Clifford Chance Purchase Prize 2016.
When choosing pieces for the Dallington space, what did you take into consideration?
At Dallington, I wanted to showcase seven diverse female practices, from Boston to Taiwan, from painting to installation. Each artist has a dedicated space that highlights their work. You’ll encounter themes that explore nature, human thought, time, language and technology.
Right at the entrance, you can spot the work of the South Korean artist and RCA graduate Jae Jo. In her practice, the artist explores the idea of post-medium painting in conjunction with the performative. It revolves around thoughts of nature and urbanisation, events and encounter.
Proceeding into the corridor on the right, you’ll see Caro Halford’s work we talked about earlier. On the way to the reading room, there is a large painting by Yuxin Su, a Slade graduate who is now based between Taiwan and China. Yuxin Su is interested in capturing time within static media. For her, painting is a piece of a bigger and longer time-based narrative. The reading room on the ground floor features artworks by two American artists, Emily Lazerwitz and Jaanika Peerna, two very different practices.
Emily’s work explores the intersection of technology, language and craft. She is interested in how the technology impacts the development of language. Technologies enable us to connect with anyone in an instant. At the same time, they also limit us in the use of language by restricting length and vocabulary. In Lazerwitz’ work, the speed and simplicity which define technology are lost. The artist spends days to weave texts into patterns. This meticulous process is further intensified by the fact that the texts are written in a binary code that only computers can understand. At first sight, her work is simply an aesthetic object, but when connected to a computer, it becomes a story.
Jaanika Peerna is an Estonian-born, New York-based artist. I first discovered her work when she was doing a live drawing performance called Gracier Elegy in 2016 in London. She used ice, pigment and movement to interacting with the audience. The performance highlighted human connection and, to a certain extent, fragility. To see Jaanika perform was fascinating. When I saw the reading room at Dallington, a calm, bright and intimate setting, I immediately thought of Jaanika’s work. Besides creating performances, Jaanika works with drawing, video, and light around the themes of natural phenomena. Her artwork, which is pigment mixed with water on mylar, introduces a beautiful movement, which plays nicely with the natural light coming throughout the glass ceilings.
On entering the lounge on the top floor, you can see two photographs from the series “People do water” by Benedetta Panisson. This work is part of a larger, long-term project where the artist explores ideas of physical connection of the human body with water.
Finally, in the lounge itself, you’ll see six etchings by artist Xiaowei Chen. I visited Wei earlier this year and when I saw the works in her Boston studio I immediately knew they would be perfect to showcase in the lounge. In her work, Xiaowei interlinks themes of natural environments, natural disasters and human thought. Her work is poetic, her drawings have the power of inducing the viewer into a meditative state. The small-scale black and white etchings create a beautiful contrast to green plants placed above them in this spacious, naturally bright room, where I just love spending my mornings.
What do you enjoy about being a Fora Resident?
What I love most about Fora, is the atmosphere and the inclusive culture the team is building. The events are a great way to meet and catch up with other residents. I like the little corners like the reading room and the lounge where you can escape for a moment of calm, and the Forage cafe where you can enjoy great coffee. There’s a good sense for detail and minimal design that fosters creativity.