Journal

Tag: Clark House Initiative

Uncategorized February 12th, 2016

Kamarado in India – A Look Back

In the autumn of 2015, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam presented the group exhibition, Kamarado. In January 2016, Kamarado travelled on to India, giving co-curator Jelle Bouwhuis the opportunity to visit the exhibition on site and report on what he discovered there.

Kamarado looked different in India than it had at the SMBA. The project took place simultaneously at two different locations: at the partner organization, the Clark House Initiative in Bombay (they prefer the old city name to Mumbai, introduced in 1995 by local nationalists) and the India Art Fair in Delhi, the country’s largest art fair.

Installation Kamarado with works by Sosa Joseph and Saviya Lopez Read More »

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Uncategorized December 31st, 2015

Kamarado in images

From September 12 till November 8, the Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam presented the exhibition Kamarado, which was the first result of collaboration between Amsterdam and the Clark House Initiative in Bombay. Kamarado brought together a group of artists from across the world who together explored the idea of the comrade, a term which originally refers to ‘the one who shares the same room’. Kamarado was the fourth and final collaborative exhibition project realised under the umbrella of the three yearlong Global Collaborations program of the Stedelijk Museum. Below a visual impression of the images.

Kamarado, exhibition overview in Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam, 2015

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Uncategorized October 29th, 2015

Yawnghwe Office in Exile: A conversation with Sawangwongse Yawnghwe

Sawangwongse Yawnghwe is one of the artists participating in Kamarado, the group exhibition that was on view between 12 September and 8 November 2015 at the SMBA. The exhibition is one of a series of collaborative projects in the framework of the three-year Global Collaborations program. Sawangwongse Yawnghe has a splintered background: born in a jungle camp in Myanmar’s Shan State, he fled to Thailand in 1972 and emmigrated to Canada in 1985. He is currently living and working in Berlin, Amsterdam and Chiang Mai.

As part of the Kamarado project, the Global Collaborations Online editorial team interviewed several of the exhibiting artists, aiming to unpack some of the historical complexities that run through their works and the exhibition. Joram Kraaijeveld spoke with the artist about his installation, Yawnghwe Office in Exile, and how his turbulent family history influences his work as an artist.

Sawangwongse Yawnghwe, Office in Exile, Installation view at SMBA, 2015 (photo by Gert Jan van Rooij)

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Uncategorized October 20th, 2015

Comrades of Time

On 13 September, in collaboration with the SMBA, the Stedelijk Museum Amsterdam held a public programme in the framework of Kamarado, the exhibition that opened the previous day at Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam.The programme investigated the meaning and significance of the word ‘comrade’ in today’s contemporary, globalized context. The Kamarado exhibition is part of the Stedelijk Museum’s three-year Global Collaborations research programme, and has been organized by the curators of the exhibition: Zasha Colah, Sumesh Sharma, Jelle Bouwhuis and Kerstin Winking.

Zasha Colah opening Forum: KAMARADO Read More »

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Kamarado – Camaraderie in times of globalisation and social media

On Saturday 12 September, the Kamarado group exhibition opened at the SMBA. Kamarado is the fourth and last in a series of collaborative projects that are part the three-year Global Collaborations research and exhibition project. After collaborative exchanges with KUNCI in Yogyakarta, the AUB Gallery in Beirut and the Belgrade Museum of Contemporary Art, the Stedelijk Museum/SMBA entered into a dialogue with Clark House Initiative in Bombay, India. Clark House Initiative was founded in 2010 by Sumesh Sharma and Zasha Colah, as a curatorial collaborative, an experimental institution and an artists’ union concerned with ideas of freedom. In the past year, Sumesh Sharma and Zasha Colah have collaborated with Jelle Bouwhuis and Kerstin Winking, curators for Global Collaborations, to realise the ambitious two-part Kamarado project, whose Amsterdam edition consists of an exhibition and a related public program. After Amsterdam, the project will travel to Bombay.

Adrian Melis, Productivity Control System for the Last Cane Cutter, 2015

Kamarado

As was the case in the first exhibition project in the series, Made in Commons, which took place at the end of 2013 and was developed in collaboration with the KUNCI art platform in Indonesia, the important themes of ‘collectiveness’ and ‘the commons’ are at the centre of the Kamarado project. What meaning or importance does camaraderie still hold, when so many want to close national frontiers to those fleeing from war and terror? What does camaraderie mean in a society driven by materialism, profit and ‘my happiness before anyone else’s’?

The themes of collectiveness and communality are intrinsically linked in the term ‘comrade’. The title of the exhibition, ‘kamarado’, is from Esperanto, the politically neutral language developed in the late 19th century to encourage transcultural communication and exchange. In the first place, the term is associated with such political ideologies as socialism and communism, but, as the curators write in their introduction to the exhibition, the term also evokes connotations of less utopian ideals.

Judy Blum Reddy, Futurama, 2014-15Six artists from different parts of the world were invited to participate in the exhibition, reflecting on the meaning of the term ‘comrade’ from their own practices, contexts and world views: Sharelly Emanuelson from the Netherlands, Adrian Melis from Cuba, Amol K. Patil and Rupali Patil from India, Sawangwongse Yawnghe from Burma, Sosa Joseph from Kerala, India, and Jeronimo Voss from Germany. In the exhibition, the new works conceived and realized for the project are complemented with a number of existing works by Judy Blum Reddy, Mieke Van der Voort, Htein Lin and Rupali Patil, which, as the curators express it, operate as ‘cues’, referencing the historical complexities and relations between the new works. By inserting these cues, the curators want to show the connectivity between ‘here and there’, the present and the recent past, and to speculate on a possible narrative regarding the central theme of the exhibition, which is not based on similarities or a singular position, but instead shows the various manifestations and identities of the comrade today.

Can You Describe This?

Can You Describe This?, an essay written by Zasha Colah, one of the curators, for the SMBA Newsletter, makes it clear that there might be another theme running through the exhibition. This is the question of if, and how, we can describe any situation (‘this’) when confronted with images of terror, war, destruction and repression, with a ‘degree zero of political capacities’. ‘To describe alone, in the sphere of intellectual production, is considered a low form that precedes analysis, critical judgment, and theory. (…) Yet describing or description is also a method that is applied in literature and art history.’ Colah then refers to Svetlana Alpers’ seminal study (1983) on 17th-century Dutch painting and its relation to the prevalent optical theories of those times.

Sosa Joseph, What must be said, sketch, 2105Contrary to narrative, description carries an aura of objectivity and neutrality. But, as is the proposition of Jeronimo Voss’ installation, Initial (Aspects of the Milky Way), which engages with the work and life of the Dutch socialist and astronomer Anton Pannekoek (1873-1960), ‘description is also something unstable’. In Pannekoek’s case, for instance, his observations and descriptions of the stars and the Milky Way were shaped by his socialist ideas regarding the correlations and interdependences within the social (i.e., ideal socialist) sphere.

 

Kamarado is on view at the SMBA from 12 September through 8 November. An informal walk-through, with interviews with the artists about their work by Clark House Initiative and the SMBA took place before the exhibition opened. On Sunday, 13 September, a special public event further extrapolated the exhibition’s different themes in a programme of performances, films and a lecture.

India: A Travelogue

Following Kerstin Winking’s account of her travels in and around Yogyakarta, and Nat Muller’s introduction to the art scene in Beirut, this is the third travelogue introducing the artistic landscape in one of the four cities with which the Global Collaborations project is developing an exchange. Global Positions IV will take place at SMBA in September, 2015.

At the Yamuna Riverside

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