BravinLee programs is very pleased to present "The Accidental Pursuit of The Stateless," its second solo project with Elektra KB, opening Thursday, September 10th, 6-8 p.m., and running through October 17th.
KB, born in Odessa, Ukraine, is a Colombian artist living and working in Berlin and New York. KB is an MFA candidate at Hunter College. Her film The Accidental Pursuit of The Stateless will be shown simultaneously at BravinLee and at Moving Image in Istanbul.
"The Accidental Pursuit of the Stateless" speaks to issues about migration, mobility, transculturality, and a sense of place. The discourse is informed by the current experience of migrant women. This year is seeing a refugee and migrant crisis all over the world. A U.S. presidential candidate-- aided by the media-- is a symbolic figure who plays a key role in constructing the fear of immigration which is fed to the American public. Plans of building a wall to separate the USA and Mexico are being tossed around. Over 30,000 refugees and migrants died in their attempt to reach or stay in Europe since 2000. Money is being lavishly spent on detention centers, on walls being erected and even artificial sniffers that can smell refugees and migrants trying to hide at border crossing points are being developed in Europe. The post-modern hybridization of culture is fueled with violence and power games.
Elektra KB’s body of work is of a performative nature in the thread of the post-colonial discourse and uses the platform of the personal mythology: The Theocratic Republic of Gaia, a Utopian-Dystopian world.
The exhibition culminates a year-long fellowship in Berlin. During this time, KB traveled to what she perceived as a mutant city, where east meets west driven by the interest of unpacking her own conflicted feelings of sense-of-place and home of an Odessa born Latin-American living in New York and her interest in the issue of migration. She researched the experiences of migrant women from post-colonial societies focusing specifically on Latin-America, in the context of a city that is a post-soviet hybrid. KB undertook the task of interviewing several women who left their countries for a variety of reasons, existential, economic, psychological and political persecution. KB created works as a result of this research. Each work is inspired and/or performed based on an individual story, or a collective story. KB uses textile, photography and video as her main mediums.
The film, "The Accidental Pursuit of the Stateless" entails KB’s performances based on several real life experiences from a fellow Colombian migrant, a political refugee that emigrated to Germany during the post Berlin Wall turmoil in the 90’s, with whom the artist worked together with and became a close friend. The first part of the film introduces the viewer to the Theocratic Republic of Gaia, which plays with critical humor and the aesthetics of colonial art tropes and the insurgent struggle she grew up with (The Papess, the veiled women, the guerrilla fighter), using pre-Hispanic imagery and the cross-- an autobiographical nod to her upbringing in a rural hospital in Colombia. The T.R.O.G is a parallel universe fighting between the tensions built on a totalitarian state and the revolutionary Cathara Insurgency, situating itself close to the political sci-fi genre.
Elektra KB received a DAAD award to pursue a visual arts fellowship with professor Hito Steyerl at Berlin Univeristy of the Arts. She is currently an MFA candidate at Hunter college. Her work was recently written about in ARTnews and she was named an artist to watch by British art critic Zoe Pilger, in the Independent Newspaper in 2015. The video in the BravinLee exhibition will be simultaneously showing at Moving Image Istanbul. KB will have a solo show in Istanbul at Gaia gallery in January 2016, and will also be showing at the Istanbul contemporary art fair and at El Museo Biennial in New York in 2017. 8 works by KB were just acquired by the Yinchuan Museum of Contemporary Art in China.