Maria Hassabi, Staging
Born in Cyprus in 1973, and based in New York, Hassabi begins each work on her own body. She makes a dance like STAGED (2016)—the black-box half of a diptych; the other half of which is STAGING (2017), a live installation—first as one very long solo, built on her own movements. Then she teaches it to her dancers, which means that the four dancers of STAGED multiply her, fracturing a solo into multiple parts that can now touch one another, repel or entwine. Their movement is slowed to sometimes no more than stillness, with the slightest hint of breath. But we watch more than those bodies. Emanating from the torso of each of Hassabi’s epigones are shapes that heat and cool each other, that demonstrate how far a rhythm can be stretched before it can no longer be felt or seen, or how much distance can be implied before two points lose contact. From these minute tensions and perpetual adjustments surface the connection between what we perceive as gradual movement and the shapes of the dancer’s trunks as they are forming. Each trembling reinvents the very notion we carry of shape, no longer only a static picture—integer-like, symbolic, a template—but a mobile and powerful force.
Vivian Suter, Untitled
Born in Buenos Aires to exiled European parents four years after the end of World War II, Suter returned to Basel when she was thirteen, and it is to this city and its art scene that she stays connected. Nevertheless, it was on a trip through North and Central America in 1983 that she found love and so set down roots on the banks of Lake Atitlán. Since 2007 she has lived and worked there alongside her mother, artist Elisabeth Wild. Her paintings, wild and alive, swathes of color on unstretched canvases, some layered one on top of the other, some unfurling from the wall like scrolls. Conceived in Panajachel, Guatemala, where Suter has lived for more than thirty years, surrounded by palms and an abundance of other plant life, her works will later inhabit art spaces in ways that invoke the origins of their making.
REGINA JOSE GALINDO
El Objetivo (The objective, 2017), Performance in purpose-built chamber with four G36 assault rifles , Dimensions variable, Stadtmuseum Kassel, Kassel
Regina José Galindo, born in 1974 in Guatemala City in the midst of civil war, is known for taking risks, testing the limits of her body and its capacity to speak. She has been waterboarded (a form of torture that simulates drowning), and shackled and chained for days while carrying on her daily routines. Objective (2017), has Galindo in the middle of a closed room in Kassel. The only way to see her is by looking down the barrel of a gun. Germany ranks among the top five weapons manufacturers in the world. Much of the country’s munitions profits come from the sale of G36 Heckler & Koch assault rifles, which are exported to conflict zones including the Americas. (Galindo notes it was such guns that killed the forty-three students of Ayotzinapa, Mexico, in the Iguala mass kidnapping.) While Galindo places herself in vulnerable situations, she is never a victim. Her vulnerability has a way of exposing our susceptibilities: When you look at her through a gunsight, will you feel the impulse to look away, intervene, or pull the trigger?
Alexandros Psychoulis, Alexandros Delmouzos and the eighty may beetles (2014), still
Alexandros Psychoulis’s six-minute film Alexandros Delmouzos and the eighty may beetles (2014) tells the story of a unique school in his home town of Volos, which was established in 1908 based on a proposal by physician Dimitris Saratsis to provide basic education to girls after primary school. Among the school’s untraditional practices for the time: It taught the girls classical texts in modern Greek, used no textbooks, took the students on walks to supplement their education, forewent morning prayers, and gave no grades or tests. This history is the catalyst for Psychoulis’s work, which intersperses text with gauzy footage of young women acting out various activities described in the narrative. Viewers quickly learn that this ambitious educational endeavor did not end well for school director Alexandros Delmouzos and his colleagues, however. Following a series of negative articles in the press about their pedagogy (which was deemed vulgar), a number of pupils were withdrawn—and, upon the high school’s closure, authorities prosecuted the school’s staff. Delmouzos’s persecuted efforts echo in portions of the world to this day. And Psychoulis’s work serves as an important reminder to those in developed, Western societies just how close in historical terms we are to similar denials of education to women and minority groups, the knock-on effects of which reverberate still.