REFUSE: REFUGE: RE-FUSE
Curated by Gabriella Sonabend
2 June – 5 July 2016
The Koppel Project
• indicate or show that one is not willing to do something.
• matter thrown away or rejected as worthless; rubbish.
• the state of being safe or sheltered from pursuit, danger, or difficulty.
• to re-join or blend to form a single entity.
In the semantic slippages of ‘Refuse: Refuge: Re-fuse’ we find associations of both the decisive and empowered, the disregarded and silenced. For its third exhibition, The Koppel Project presents six artists whose work interrogates these loaded signifiers; examining notions of value, freedom, safety and dependency.
Using these words as a point of departure, ‘Refuse…’ is tied together by a sensitivity that is neither judging nor conclusive, but rather proposing complex, personal and universal narratives. Whether filtered through the slums of Bangkok, Chinese prisons, or castaway furniture, the stories and images that make up the ‘Refuse…’ confront us with moments of fear, doubt, conviction and hope; re-fusing experience into new forms and possibilities.
IVICA BONIC BABIC
Ivica Bonic Babic (b. 1970) is a Croatian artist whose secretive and often subversive practice involves the making a placement of guerrilla artworks that speak about human rights and justice. Throughout the past 20 Years, Ivica has been through all the stages that an immigrant can possibly go through both emotionally and politically: trying to belong whilst in search of his identity. Ivica describes himself as a creative mind put on hold because of the war. “During my life in London I have never got my thoughts out because of sheer survival. As time heals everything I have finally found my inner peace and opportunity to get it all out.” – “Once a refugee, always a refugee”
Yvonne Feng (b.1989, China) lives and works in London. Feng completed her BA at the Slade School of Fine Art in 2012, her MA at the Royal College of Art in 2014 and is currently studying for practice-led PhD in Fine Art at the Slade. Her recent research is centred in the notion of narrative shaped subjectivity and self-empowerment through storytelling in drawing and painting. Feng was the winner of the 2015 Excellence in Drawing Award, presented by The Arts Club Charitable Trust. Her recent exhibitions include ‘An Amnesiac’s Stories’ (solo), in Hundred Years Gallery, London; ‘Creekside Open 2015’, in APT Gallery, London; ‘Psychoanalytic research in the 21st century: Where we are now’, in Freud Museum, London; ‘Griffin Art Prize’, in Griffin Gallery, London / White Moose, Devon; ‘Drawing from Here and There’, in Elysium Gallery offsite, Swansea / Clara Hatton Gallery, Fort Collins, USA.
Ana Cvorovic was born in Sarajevo and migrated to the UK in 1989. She lives and works in London. Her installation-based work considers the role of borders and boundaries and the psychological effects of war and migration. She examines the position between exile and inclusion and the psycho-geography of migration. In 2012 Ana was awarded the Leathersellers scholarship and in 2013 she received an MA Sculpture from the Royal College of Art, London. She has exhibited in the UK and internationally and her recent shows include Freedom Audit at Art 15, Olympia, Members Show at TAP, Southend 2015, Res/Dual at Maddox Arts, London 2016 and ‘Unexpected’ at Ben Uri, London, 2016. Her work is part of the Saatchi Collection, London.
Sam Gregg (b.1990, London) is a documentary photographer who has spent the past three years living and working in Bangkok. After studying French & Italian at UCL Sam travelled to India in 2013 inspired by Steve McCurry’s South by Southeast. From thereon he arrived in Bangkok where he worked on a succession of international films. Although fascinated by the visual facets of cinema, the intense socio-political turmoil of Bangkok drew him far closer to the visceral narrative of reality. Sparked with a newfound sense of curiosity Sam approached his conscience in the only way he knew how, with a 35mm camera in hand. Initially enticed yet quickly repelled by the pulsating neon of the city he soon found solace in the forgotten slums of the capital. Sam is particularly interested in the marginalising effects that westernisation can have on the culture and socioeconomics of a country. At the core his photography aims to deconstruct negative stereotypes and to cast light on the beauty of the neglected human spirit.
Svetlana Dmitrenko (b.1993, Donbass) is a Ukrainian filmmaker and photographer living in the border town of Kharkiv. Svetlana studied Television Directing at the Kharkiv Academy of Culture, obtaining a BA in Cinema and Television Art. While her films Each has its own front and Helena have been shown on Ukrainian Television, this exhibition is the first time her work will be shown in the UK. Recently, one of Svetlana’s films helped police identify a man who led dozens of masked people to beat up a group of protestors. Her films take the form of reports on war, interviews with soldiers, and character studies of volunteers. Coming from a place where resources are extremely limited and funding scarce or non-existent, Svetlana’s effort to make her work is a daily struggle; involving travelling long distances to use friends’ computers for editing, and relying on others for transport and equipment.
Yu-Xin Su is a Taiwanese painter currently living in London. Yu-Xin Su has been exploring the boundaries of time and space within painting, printing, writing and installation. In her recent works, she employs water as a motif or analogy for exploring notions of freedom, memory and the poetry of perception. Yu-Xin Su studied at the Taipei National University of The Arts in Taiwan, majoring in Chinese Painting, and she is currently studying an MFA in painting at Slade School of Fine Art. Su has exhibited extensively in Taiwan and in 2013 she was selected for the New Artists Funding Program by The Ministry of Culture in Taiwan.