Maja Bekan's first extensive solo exhibition in Germany, P for Performance: All about us will take place between May 6 to July 2, 2023.
The project is part of a series of exhibitions at the Kunstverein on various performative methods; it includes all of Bekan’s works to date, which have been designed as a continuous series under the collective title P for Performance since 2011. Bekan is also working on a new performance and video production that involves visual artists and women who work at a nuclear facility, the European Nuclear Security Training Centre (EUSECTRA) at the Joint Research Centre in Karlsruhe.
Maja Bekan explores the concept of community as an artistic framework, as well as the power of collectivity to influence social change. Her participatory approach has resulted in long-term initiatives involving social groups, the modes of togetherness of which she investigates under the concept of “collective intimacy.”
Many of Bekan’s project participants are women who advocate for themselves in dangerous situations. Caring and solidarity are important ideals in her artistic practice, as are self-organization and self-empowerment. The use of performance (and dance) as a rhythmic form to connect individuals is a distinguishing feature of her collaborative work. Through stage sets and video, audio, or text installations, their experiences are shared with a larger audience.
Maja Bekan is re-enacting all P for Performance projects around the building. During the Covid-19 pandemic, the work Troublemakers (Hold it Together (We Have Each Other)) (2020/2021) established contacts between various women in New York City in order to virtually discuss issues related to connectedness despite physical distance, as well as social structures and friendships in times of crisis. Later in the live performance, the players took on the roles of “troublemakers”: women who face societal rejection as a result of their extraordinary lifestyles. Bekan cast artists and military women in her latest project, Throw Like a Girl (2022), who pondered side by side on how new places for freedom might emerge exactly in periods of conflict.
The well-staged mixed media installation What if we began producing less and reused more? (since 2007, with Gunndís Ýr Finnbogadóttir) urges visitors to become active participants in the work, to contemplate and interact in a playful manner. It is intended to be a continuous archive that serves as an addendum to Maja Bekan’s collaborative work. Bekan and Finnbogadóttir offer texts and production notes that have inspired their practices and emerged through years of collaborative dialogues through presentation panels. Bekan demonstrates how agitation, doubt, and procrastination, as well as wit and self-irony, play important roles in the creative process, helping to preserve lightness and promote excitement for one’s own activities.
Curated by Anja Casser.
Friday, May 12, 2023, 6pm
Artist talk with Maja Bekan
Saturday, May 13, 2023, 7pm
Throw Like a Girl
Rehearsal (constructed situation)
With: Gabriela Dávalos Aray, Darly Benneker, Zosia Nowakowska, Claudia Redout, Amy Son
Save your Wednesdays!
Activating the installation What if we started making less and reusing more?
Each Wednesday, 6pm