WHO ARE YOU?
Olivier Castel, Martin Soto Climent, Than Hussein Clark, Dorota Gaweda & Eglé Kulbokaité, Selina Grueter & Michele Graf Curated by Samuel Leuenberger & Elise Lammer
26 Nov – 15 Jan 2017

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Opening: 26 November 2016, 5pm

Press Release

Who Are You? is a group exhibition exploring alter egos, collective identity, meta-artists, improved or lessen versions of oneself: if the fictional artist has often served as a strategy to convey political resistance, artists have never stopped mediating their own image. Today, publicly concealing one’s identity—a real paradox —seems to emphasise that we live in an environment overshadowed by austerity and fear. In this context, a need to test what is often perceived as an “unstable” reality has emerged.

Olivier Castel (born in Paris, lives and works in London) usually presents work under heteronyms and has created over thirty different identities since 2001. Often using ephemeral or temporal forms he works primarily with projections, reflective surfaces, light, text and audio. His work functions as a set of propositions, employing the imaginary and exploring the process by which something is made visible.

Dorota Gawęda (born in Lublin, Poland) and Eglė Kulbokaitė (born in Vilnius, Lithuania) are an artist and writer duo living in Berlin and Basel. Agatha Valkyrie Ice (born in 2014) is a virtual character, an open-ended script, a social-media entity, a live-feed on becoming real and becoming-virtual, an evolution of forms, relations of matter as well as form and the intervals between, a consideration directed towards the idea of post-gender allowing a multiplicity of voices to take part in collective performance. Valkyrie Ice is currently the director of OLSO1O in Basel and has participated in the past in many collaborations including Catherine Prieto Österberg, Rosie Hastings and Hannah Quinlan Anderson, Elin Gonzalez, Gabor Szabo, Manuel Scheiwiller, IFF INC NYC, Adrien Figeac, Zayne Armstrong, Ana Andra, Aaron Ritschard, Luca Iemi, Clémence de la Tour du Pin, Claire Tolan, Zuzanna Ratajczyk, Stefanie Hessler, Sarah Miles, Anastazja Moser, Anne de Boer, Eloise Bonneviot,
Riverside (Bern), newscenario, Orion Facey, O FLUXO, Klára Utke Ács, YGRG, Tariq Hindic, Blunt x Skensved, Daniel iinatti, Lukas von der Gracht, contributors to Agatha Valkyrie Ice soundcloud, WEFINDWILDNESS, etc.

The collaborative practice of Selina Grüter & Michèle Graf (born in Zurich, both live and work in Zurich) extends through various media that are based on performance and their co-involvement with the Zurich-based artists-run space Taylor Macklin. Their work is an ongoing investigation of performance, not only through a social and art historical prism— it’s often based on the involvement of individuals from their immediate surroundings and rethinks the between body and examines the role of the individual within different communities and relationships—but also a formal one, as it materialzes with conceptually-rooted formal elements such as scripts and photographic documentation.

Than Hussein Clark’s (born in the US, lives and works in London and Hamburg) practice explores the histories of design, architecture, and theatre to narrate interogations of queer subjectivity. Arguing that form might follow fiction, Clark articulates objects as characters and exhibitions as dramatic scenarios cast with historical protoganists, literary identities, friends, lovers, and a company of actors the artist has worked with over the last five years. The German actress Laura Schuller (born 1986) is a figure that has played a central role in the artist’s imaginative world; as muse, model, first actress, her image and performances
have become one of the key materials in Clark’s production and his explorations of how emotion, narration, and affect might delimit the production of objects in the present.

Martin Soto Climent (born in Mexico City, lives and works in Mexico City) recently started breaking his practice and identity into several, different personas, each with their own, highly identifiable style. Those artists are neither real nor invented; yet, just like characters in a comedy, they all embody a specific artistic genre. From Mexican graffiti artist Jesus Martinez, or New-York sculptor John Brown, to his imaginary friend Caramel Huysmans, they all contribute to gather a fragmented, yet coherent vision of Soto Climent’s most intimate and instrospective personnality.
SALTS is kindly supported by Swisslos Basel-Landschaft, Fondation Nestlé pour
l’Art, the Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia and Stiftung Roldenfund.

Photos: Gunnar Meier Photography

Dorota Gawęda and Eglė Kulbokaitė, Agatha Valkyrie Ice: FREEPORTS, 2016 was
made possible thanks to the generous support of Swisslos-Fonds Basel-Stadt.