On the 27th of May Platforms Project in Athens starts a 2021 edition of an on-line art-fair for independent artist initiatives. More than ninety participants shall contribute. On the 5th of April these initiatives start an online teaser on the Platforms Project-site in which they present themselves. Platforms Project invited EX-MÊKH so we decided to show our individual studio work by making a video about what our practice looks like. My contribution is Berliner Porträte, seven studies of portraits of people that have caught my eye. From the initial sketches in my little notebook to the sketches in oil-paint on stone-paper one can see how these portraits develop.
The Greek Site Dreamideamachine asked international participants of Platforms Project NET 2020 some questions about the fair. I was brought in contact with Efi Michalarou to answer the questions on behalf of EX-MÊKH. The interview was published on the site yesterday:
How do you feel participating in an online Art Fair like Platforms Project 2020? A new experience that emerged through the needs of Covid 19 World Pandemic fighting. What are the new challenges and what do you expect from this participation?
Kees Koomen (EX-MÊKH): The online Art Fair came about because of the crisis and had to be put together in a short period of time. EX-MÊKH had planned a project with participation of the public, but now that there is no public to participate with directly we changed our plan. Within a week we decided to comment on the situation in a video, making use of our practice in the Malieveld Project in Den Haag. We planned an exhibition in a public space, the Malieveld in Den Haag, with performances and installations. About it we would make a video and send that to Artemis as our tribute to the fair. The result is a Buster Keaton – like video in which artists try to set up an exhibition which seems to fail, but somehow it shows the experience of trial and error artists and curators know from their practice.
We found the challenge in the required improvisation and in the idea of showing a direct reaction on the situation of artists in the world right now in the medium that somehow solves a lot of problems these days . Working with online exhibitions is new to us and we are looking forward to the moment the fair is online.
We expect the fair to have a lot of attention, as always, and we also expect more visibility than in the normal fair. All participants will activate their network so attention will be global. I am curieus about the views on the fair in general and on our booth in particular. Personally I am also participating in three other online artprojects and I expect the artworld to move increasingly in this direction as other elements in society will do. The chance to be part of a big on-line project like this is of course great. I hope there will be a lot of reactions from the public in general. We already benefited from our participation at Platforms project by doïng projects with other platforms and maybe we can make new acquaintances to work with and arouse interest with curators and galleries
In the mean time we are in the middle of the Corona-crisis and most cultural activities have been cancelled. For me personally it was a great disappointment Platforms Project 2020 is not happening in Athens this year but the director, Artemis Potamianou, and the board decided to organize it all on the internet. EX-MÊKH was going to do a participation project but now that our booth is goïng to be shown in digital 3D simulation we decided to make a video about trial and error. We went to the Malieveld and shot a video with performances. More news soon, but for now some material to chew on:
Following the performances on December 7th EX-MÊKH would install the exhibition PROBE on December 8. Installing the exhibition was presented as a performance in itself after which the opening would take place. My work, Sensitory Selfportrait was prepared in the studio, so all I had to do was to communicate with my colleagues about the location, which appeared to deliver little discussion. After three hours the exhibition looked like it needed nothing more, so it would stay in the Haus der Statistik the whole month of December.
For the Selfportrait I teared black painted paper to imagine my senses: Sight, Hearing, Taste, Smell, Feeling. I glued seasalt to it and wrote down on the paper what they were and what it does to the creative process.
I put two little canvasses on the ears on which I wrote words made out of plastic strap: I bended the straps into words and taped it together with narrow yellow tape: Haste, Anger, Inertia, Negligence, Unfocused (A collection of sentiments to avoid) en Ambition, Recognition, Perfection, Fear, Awareness (A collection of attitudes to dose)
A-Trans in Berlin invited EX-MÊKH for a weekend of performances. This would take place December 6, 7 and 8, 2019 in the Haus der Statistik in Berlin, near Alexanderplatz. For the occasion Yorgos Dimitriades and me decided to join forces: Yorgos played an improvisation on percussion and electronics and I would write the sounds he made. Here you can see a brief impression, shot by Marian Wijnvoord:
A trans featuring EX-MÊKH: PROBE
Haus der Statistik, Berlin (D), December 8 until December 31, 2019
The exhibition and weekend of performances are featured by A TRANS at the Haus Statistik as part of the ‚Pioneer Uses‘ program organized by The Network of the independent Berlin Project Spaces and Initiatives in collaboration with Haus der Statistik.
In this exhibition EX-MÊKH will show their inspiration and working method, the themes that have always been important to the collective. The preceding acts together with the collective of KRAATZ during the performance weekend will be used as fertilizer for the process that will eventually result in an exhibition about the creating of an exhibition.
A Weekend of Performance
Saturday December 6
16.00 h- KRAATZ (Marian Wijnvoord and Forbes Morlock): Writing on Art
17.00 h – Kees Koomen: Tssssss K-BAM
In the context of writing The Diaries and writing down what enters my senses I will now try to visualize the sounds that I hear. Working together with improvising musician Yorgos Dimitriades who will improvise on percussion I will try to translate this sound into images.
17:30 Ellen Rodenberg and Yorgos Dimitriadis: Feed
In this “In between time”- space of the Haus der Statistiek I want to do a performance in which I will show a working attitude. It originates from a barrel full of experiences in my studio, daily life and education which I feel to be socially and constructively useful in my functioning as a human being.
18.00 h – Saturday December 6 – Maarten Schepers: Stelle
Can we live in any place on Earth and call it Home? What is home? Is it the stuff that keeps us warm? Is it our past we recognize in our surroundings? Is it in the place we act to keep on living? Schepers will try to elaborate on this question in the performance he proposes.
18:30 Yorgos Dimitriadis DUO: Das Sahnehäubchen
Sunday December 7 – EX-MÊKH: The Act
EX-MÊKH was invited to make an exhibition in the space on the invitation of A-Trans which will be shown during the month of December. We came together as a collective that wants to think about the nature and process of making exhibitions. For this occasion the opening of the exhibition will be a theatrical performance about our practice. We will start a process in front of the public culminating in an exhibition.
In this exhibition EX-MÊKH will show their inspiration and working method, the themes that have always been important to the collective. The preceding acts during the performance weekend will be used as fertilizer for the process that will eventually result in an exhibition about the creating of an exhibition.
I am proud of the installation I did with my diary-texts over the period EX-MÊKH had the MÊKH-web exhibition at Quartair. Every day I would write the appropriate text on the wall with a high or low of the day with wool and push buddies. During opening days I would do this live for the public. Here you can see the final result, and here you can see the phases it went through.
Foto’s van de opening van de EX-MÊKH tentoonstelling MÊKH-web. Ik heb wat leentjebuur gespeeld met permissie…