Profil


portrait Araya

Kinga Araya

Poland/Canada
Fellow 07-08

Studio Art / Critical Theory



ICI Project (2007-08)

Performing Exile

Discourses of exile are often defined by their proximity to postcolonial, hybrid, multicultural, diaspora, minor, national and transnational theories. In order to clarify and expand on the existing definitions of walking in exile as represented in some performance artworks, I would like to elaborate on a threefold interdisciplinary methodological framework. In particular, I would like to combine critical theory of performance art (Amelia Jones and Peggy Phelan, amongst others), interdisciplinary theory on exile (Edward Said, Julia Kristeva, Giorgio Agamben, Homi Bhabha, Paul Tabori et al.) and philosophical meditation on movement and stasis (primarily deconstructive philosophy of Jacques Derrida). My challenge will be to discover how the critical theory and philosophical discourses can be applied to reveal the richness of selected contemporary exilic art performances. Moreover, elaborating on Julia Kristeva’s contention that, “the foreigner points to the limits of nationhood and the concept of citizenship” (Kristeva, Strangers to Ourselves), I will examine the political dimension of selected performances that are either expressed in ephemeral, time-based actions, or represented on video and photographs, conceptualizing them as critical counter-narratives of a different type of text and travel. Furthermore, I will refer to selected theoretical texts to argue that the work of a truly responsible artist does not participate in the politics of national superiority and does not support the myth of an autonomous artistic progress. I will demonstrate that “performing exile” means to profoundly rethink the exilic, national and performative dwelling in-between countries. My contention is that some performance artists question the socio-political and cultural status quo by performing mobile, marginal, and estranged limits of citizenship. 

Vita

Ph.D. Special Individualized Program, Art History/Visual Arts, 1999-2004, Concordia University, Montréal
Title of Ph.D. Thesis: Walking in the City: The Motif of Exile in Performances by Krzysztof Wodiczko and Adrian Piper.
Title of Ph.D. Thesis Exhibition: Prosthetic Self, Oboro Art Gallery, Montréal

SOLO EXHIBITIONS:

  • Title to be determined. Gallery 101, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada, 2008
  • Thirty-six. Centre Sagamie, Alma, Québec, Canada, 2007
  • Paroxysm. Maison de la culture, Gatineau, Québec, Canada, 2007
  • Fifty-Five. Fisch Haus, Wichita, Kansas, 2007
  • Fifty-Five. La Centrale-Powerhouse, Montréal, Québec, Canada, 2007
  • Domestic Exiles. Peak Gallery, Toronto, Ontario, Canada, 2004
  • Prosthetic Self. Oboro Art Gallery, Ph.D. Thesis Exhibition, 2004
  • Walking with Arms. La interior Bodega, Barcelona, Spain, 2003
  • Hybris-Part IV. Maly Salon - The Zacheta Gallery of Art, Warsaw, Poland, 2003
  • Hybris-Part III. Galeria Kronika, Bytom, Poland, 2003
  • Hybris-Part II. Galeria Bielska, Bielsko-Biala, Poland, 2002
  • Hybris-Part I. Galeria Biala, Lublin, Poland, 2002
  • Hybris. Galerie Christiane Chassay, Montréal, Canada, 2002

GROUP EXHIBITIONS:

  • Fuori della gabbia. Sermoneta, Latina, Italy, 2007
  • Points of Departure. Fox Art Gallery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 2007
  • Inner and Outer Journeys in Contemporary Art, 2007
  • The Art of Reinvention. Rosenwald Gallery, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, 2007
  • Rythmes Urbains. Centre Culturel Stewart Hall, Pointe-Claire, Québec, Canada, 2007
  • POZA. Real Art Ways, Hartford, Connecticut, USA, 2006
  • Without a Passport. Karsh-Masson Gallery, Ottawa, 2006
  • Tolerate Me. Galeria DAP, Warsaw, Poland, 2005
  • 1st Biennale of Young European Art, 2005
  • L`ète a la Galerie. Galerie Christiane Chassay, Montréal, 2003
  • Cluster 3. Peak Gallery, Toronto, 2003
  • Polska. Teatr Akademia, Warsaw, Poland, 2002
  • Becoming Canadian. La Centrale-Galerie Powerhouse, Montréal, 2002

ICI-Project: Performing Exile

Performance art, a new development in visual art that arose in the 1960s and continues as a vital force today, is frequently tied to political issues. Since I conceptualize performance art as one of the most provocative contemporary art forms that challenges the socio-political and cultural status quo, I focus on performances that translate movement (walking in particular) vis à vis immobility (performances in and about detention/refugee/reservation camps, illegal border crossings, checkpoints etc.).

If exile is a “crippling sorrow of estrangement” and something that is “strangely compelling to think about but terrible to experience” (Said, “Reflections on Exile”), it is also a humanistic and interdisciplinary term whose dialectics challenge logos and pathos. Exile, unlike other human experiences, seems to be rooted in spiritual (for i.e. major biblical events are constructed around the leitmotif of exile) and philosophical (Heidegger, Existentialists, and Deconstructive philosophy) understanding of what it means to be human. In his impressive historical undertaking of exile, Hungarian-born journalist and film critic, Paul Tabori, confesses that exile is an “impenetrable jungle, a kind of super maze” that resists any definitions (Tabori, The Anatomy of Exile). While demanding serious cultural and political scrutiny, exile bleeds with an intense personal history that speaks about “unbearable lightness of being.” Discourses of exile are often defined by their proximity to postcolonial, hybrid, multicultural, diaspora, minor, national and transnational theories, to name but a few. In order to clarify and expand on the existing definitions of walking in exile as represented in some performance artworks, I would like to elaborate on a threefold interdisciplinary methodological framework. In particular, I would like to combine critical theory of performance art (Amelia Jones and Peggy Phelan, amongst others), interdisciplinary theory on exile (Edward Said, Julia Kristeva, Giorgio Agamben, Homi Bhabha, Paul Tabori et al.) and philosophical meditation on movement and stasis (primarily deconstructive philosophy of Jacques Derrida). My challenge will be to discover how the critical theory and philosophical discourses can be applied to reveal the richness of selected contemporary exilic art performances. Moreover, elaborating on Julia Kristeva’s contention that, “the foreigner points to the limits of nationhood and the concept of citizenship” (Kristeva, Strangers to Ourselves), I will examine the political dimension of selected performances that are either expressed in ephemeral, time-based actions, or represented on video and photographs, conceptualizing them as critical counter-narratives of a different type of text and travel. Furthermore, I will refer to selected theoretical texts to argue that the work of a truly responsible artist does not participate in the politics of national superiority and does not support the myth of an autonomous artistic progress. I will demonstrate that “performing exile” means to profoundly rethink the exilic, national and performative dwelling in-between countries. My contention is that some performance artists question the socio-political and cultural status quo by performing mobile, marginal, and estranged limits of citizenship. During my theoretical research, helped by the deconstructive philosophy, I will critically analyze the cultural and political potentials of selected art works that make us rethink the relationship of the “self” vis à vis the “other” (a group, a community, a nation etc.)

Finally, I am currently learning German as a performative artwork. I document my lessons practicing spoken and written exercises alone and with other people (audio, photo and video documentation). My interaction with German and non-German speakers about learning a new language is documented not only as a linguistic and social phenomena, but also as an intense intersubjective  performance.

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