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Karen Van Telt and Parvaneh Karimi

In light of the pandemic which has been raging throughout the world for the past year and a half, it is no surprise that the masters’ student’s final graduation presentation at the HKU this year gestures towards a more introspective, verging on poetic approach to contemporary art practice. Themes such as temporality, care, walking as a method for production, sustainability, memory and parallel narratives are all present throughout the presentation with the majority of the work taking a more documentational and new media approach to display. As the title of the exhibition implies, (The Time that Keeps Growing in Our Absence) the overarching motif which returns throughout the exhibition, is the notion of giving form to something intangible in nature, a feeling, a gesture, a memory all linked in one way or another to time and its uncanny ability to move at multiple speeds and in different manifestations.

Mapped out throughout the city of Utrecht, in Moira Expositieruimte, AG space for new art and media, The Creative Playground and the Abraham Dolehof courtyard of Casco Art Institute: working for the commons, the satellite nature of the exhibition reflects a familiar experience – separated yet connected in solidarity or what we have come to know as the ‘new normal’. Being able to enter the exhibition live already feels like a privilege, each artwork greets the viewer and offers a perspective of our times derived from an intimate and considerate place.

Kaylie Kist audiotour

Kaylie Kist audiotour

Kaylie Kist takes the locality of Utrecht itself as a starting point through her series of audio walks. [There] Audio walks: Three Walks and a Pause (2021) examines the concept of walking, journeying and temporality and unfolds throughout the city available to the listener via a QR code until time ends.

Moira Expositieruimte acts as the starting point for two of the walks Walk with: The She Wolf and Drift: Subterranean Flow and follows little known or imagined narratives based around the Singel canal. Starting at Moira, the listener is positioned at a crossroad and faced with a choice between narratives, either moving left towards the prison on the Wolvenplein to meet a blindfolded she-wolf, or right towards the canal itself.

Both walks lean on the notion of sharing stories through bodily, environmental, political, societal and temporal rhythms. Listeners are transported each time they press play, tracing the steps which Kist has taken sometimes in collaboration with strangers she has approached to help her in her research. A soundscape made up of field recordings assists as audio signposts confirming your location and prompting your further transportation between this world and the world of a She Wolf or a lady in a red dress – both watch over the daily activities of the canal in their entirety.

Alëna Vinokurova

Alëna Vinokurova

The graduation installation by Alëna Vinokurova also finds its place at Moira, along with the work of Angelina Kumar and Amy Webb. All touch on themes surrounding the environment and sustainability through film, ceramics and installation. The space is set out in a sparce way, in the back and darkened second gallery, Vinokurova has positioned two wooden screens which play two videos simultaneously on loop surrounded by soil on the ground around them in space. The installation Brown Hair Rhymes with Soil (Chapter1) (2021) consists of filmed material, found footage, archival material and 3D imagery and explores the concept of a split void. The films are in Russian and display English subtitles which are sometimes read backwards giving the feeling of two planes of existence together in parallel.

Vinokurova attempts, through her work – an active archive – to reconcile histories, based in personal memories related to Yakutia the land where the artist was brought up. Vinokurova signals a disconnect to the land common to the contemporary context through images from circling drones and reflections filmed using an Iphone. Of particular significance is the measuring of time passing from the perspective of the land and its transformation as a result of human mistreatment or ‘slow violence’.

Amy Webb audiotour

Venturing between locations, the AG Space for new art and media is nestled exactly in between and exhibits the work of Amy Webb, Cara Farnan, Kaylie Kist and Anon Chaisansook. The video installation by Anon Chaisansook There is no better place (2021) is located in the back gallery behind a heavy dark curtain. Once on the other side of the curtain the viewer is immediately confronted by a large screen. Glowing with a hologramlike figure stumbling their way around a seemingly abandoned building, they dissolve and reform again, the screen sometimes becoming a radioactive green.

Chaisansook’s work explores the connection between humans and ghosts through a feeling which he captures through moving image and sound. Interested in political and social structures particularly in his native country of Thailand, Chaisansook calls in to question what it means to be human in a fast passed exploitative society lead by technology. Ghostly shapes dissolve and take form moving between worlds casting a feeling of uncertainty and instability throughout the room. Images flicker on to the screen and off, a protest of the capitalist structures still in place. The overall experience created by the installation synthesizes a gesture towards the uncomfortable nature akin to change and crisis, an intangible feeling felt globally of late on a large scale.

Anon Chaisansook

On the other side of the spectrum of intangibility, is the nomadic installation and performance by P-K-K-P titled Leaving Traces (2021). The courtyard of the Abraham Dolehof courtyard at Casco Art Institute: Working for the Commons acts as a meeting point as visitors are welcomed into the homely setting of Karen (Vantvelt) and Parvaneh Karimi. On arrival P-K-K-P immediately offer a visitor a cup of lemon tea and invite you to sit down on their hand-woven rug, bright and colourfully made from scraps of old clothes.

Karen van Telt and Parvaneh Karimi

Karen van Telt and Parvaneh Karimi

Karen van Telt and Parvaneh Karimi

Karen van Telt & Parvaneh Karimi

The accommodating approach which they take with their performance considers the exhibition as a welcoming space which fosters belonging. Objects are installed as physical signs of the familial relationship which P-K-K-P have built together over the last year, collaborating and working towards an understanding and definition of the concept of ‘home’ through their developing relationship poetry and language acting as a bridge between. Upon arrival the visitor is transported into their world, objects and texts represent their process in developing their home. Visitors can eat, drink and chat to them, the traces of these pleasant experiences supported by the colourful ever-growing carpet they weave in the process. Through this method, P-K-K-P reflect on how people make connections between language, objects, experiences and each other, moving beyond memories together as well as forming new ones.

Angelina Kumar

The overall graduation exhibition finds its strength in its mapped-out nature across the city. It takes the audience outside the confines of the exhibition space and encourages them to make contact with their immediate context through the lens of the work they are experiencing.

Cara Farnan

Cara Farnan


Photographs by Chun Yao and Alëna Vinokurova

The exhibition was open from 27.6 to 8.7.2021 

More info on HKU MAFA here and here

Alyxandra Westwood

is an artist, writer and curator and is based between Utrecht and Melbourne

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