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Motherland 1 @ Kunstvlaai

Motherland part 1 was presented at the Kunstvlaai 06 exhibition (Westergasfabriek, Amsterdam) from the 6th till the 14th of may 2005

There are probably more images than places in the world. The fact, that some spots appear on photos, paintings or postcards more often than other, can change our feeling of the place we live in completely. With the development of digital technologies and Internet, images are endlessly being circulated and recycled. They start a life of their own, independent of their maker and the context of making.

The Motherland project includes about 150 works by more than 60 artists from 30 countries. Artists and designers were asked to e-mail works and images of works, which tell something about their homelands- places they live in, imagine or think of as home. The collection process has resulted in a wide range of attitudes and sentiments conveyed by photos, drawings, paintings, animation and video stills. To name just a few visions of Motherland: an anti-utopian project (Iced Architects); the artist’s own private film-set (Hans Gindlesberger); a stage for some absurd manifestation (boat-people.org). It represents an urban landscape in its full power (Aram Tanis), deconstructed (Marina Chernikova) or with a touch of science fiction (Hiroshi Ono). Motherland is hiding behind abstract patterns (Anna Khodorovich), repetitive elements (Meiya Lin) and individual faces (Ivana Kersting). It can be funny (Johnny Amore), or sad (René de Rooze), or both (Liron Lupu, Paulien Oltheten). It is full of nostalgia for something which seems to be within a hand’s reach, but is not there anymore (Ilya Rabinovich).

This nostalgic spirit combined with loss of belonging anywhere radiated by many of the works can probably be partly explained by the fact that two thirds of the participants do not live in their native countries. And even if they do, they are obsessed with the idea of travelling. The works by Natalia and Michail Bassov relate to dreams and nightmares of nomadic artists’ generation: all photos from their Views of the Cities of the World series were taken in their small home town of Taganrog in the middle of Russia.

The collected works become part of an audio-visual installation by Irina Birger- artist and co-curator of the project. The concept of “recycling” works by other artists plays both with the notion of dictatorship suggested by the “meta-artwork” and with democratic principles of Internet culture. There is no hierarchy in selection or in placing the works: all pieces projected as slides get equal amount of attention and respect, and the order of showing is determined only by “random play” function.

The visitor walks inside the installation, where images, sounds and ambience play equally important role. The slide-show is accompanied by music compilations from the collections of OMFO, Liron Lupu, D.Ryba, Kyoko Inatome and Karl Grandin. While random play allows the visitor to freely connect, associate and dissociate the works displayed, the cosy atmosphere invites him or her to sit down and take a relaxed trip between remote locations as if on a flying carpet.