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By Russian artist Vika Kova
21 December 2016 – Art & Social experiment. Contact us for an invitation.
The mission of Land of Good is to create further awareness for the theme of more balance between men and women, and introduce a free and safe platform of gender symmetrical society, by means of the educational power of Art.
Land of Good is a long term art project. The first phase, “sHe” is about researching the female roles in societies and their interaction with male roles as well as the influences of culture on their relationship. The second phase, “The Crossovers”, uses the data collected to push the two diametrally opposed systems, matriarchy and patriarchy, to the extrems of their own logics.
Amsterdam is a city of equality and non judgment. For Vika Kova, a Russian citizen, the contract with her own country is striking. Beside being the city she has chosen to live in, it is the best location to propose an alternative social model.
On 21st December, the longest night of the year, when the Moon, a feminine symbol, will bathe the earth in her soft light, Vika Kova is sharing with the broad public her vision about another social dynamic.
The event, a Space Invading Social Experiment, is happening in a location, kept secret until the last minute. Maybe no permission was asked- but it is above all feminine as non invasive, non agressive… and fugitive. If you are late, you miss it and museumplein is again dark and silent. The performance is not associated with the Stedelijk Museum. They just happen to have the best wall in town to project videos! It is the same as for graffiti artists: they paint where the wall is the most appropriate to the piece they have in mind! This is maybe why Vroom&Varossieau gallery related to the project and embraced it.
Art can contribute to change the world.
“The world is like a huge city that is reflected in a mirror.”
Based on concepts of scientific and philosophical reasoning, “Land of Good” reflects upon the duality of masculine and feminine forces. This duality establishes the underlying dynamic of social change. For Vika Kova, the duality of the sexes, or rather an imbalance between female and male societal influences around the world has been a major focus behind her drive to create. Exaggerated and uneducated male ego is represented in our society by wars and terrorist attacks, however, the governments prefer to invest in security and weaponry instead of education and awareness. This enigma has inspired the artist to go on a journey – to travel the world in search for the answers. On a first-hand account, Kova researches by meeting and observing women of different cultures and social classes in search for the source of social duality. It is through pure artistry that Kova developed her hunger for social knowledge into an exciting complex study of various theories of social systems. Speculating the inner-polarity within every “brick” of our society, Kova searches for recognition of duality within the individual and portrays cultural symbols resembling some of those theories.
It also contains the expression of disapproval of our society’s denial of the fact that events and things only “seem” to be separated in time and space; and ignoring that what we experience every day is a projected reality in which everything is bounded and connected. The purpose of human existence, therefore, is the balance and harmony of opposites (well-matched duality).
Living in the world where everything is measured, examined and then compared, the artist asks herself: Is it possible to calculate the right yin-yang ratio of a certain human being? If yes, then what would be the ideal rate? And what would be the desirable rate within the artist herself? If humans can measure the temperature on Mars, can we also measure such an important ratio within ourselves? And if we could, how much yang and how much yin you get within each person? How do these contrary forces actually complement, interconnect and give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another?
“Land of Good” is the reflection of an age-old duel between male and female, right and wrong, light and dark, silence and noise. This duality is physically created by utilising white oil-painted textile placed on top of the black acrylic-painted canvas. Composed with a keen cinematic contrast between moving and steady images, balancing between calmness and clutter in the music-mixing.
Series 1 – Land of Good: sHe.
“Women are the very fabric of life”.
Kova has conceived multimedia canvases, video’s and video installations, completing the series one from her Land of Good project, called: sHe. sHe is an attempt of the artist to unravel the enigma behind the biggest social paradox of our society: a contradiction between praise and at the same time control of women by the majority of the men.
The mission of sHe is to examine female roles in different societies throughout today’s “modern” world as seen through the eyes of the artist. Kova’s visual depictions of femininity take viewers around the globe to observe cultural backgrounds as well as contemporary identity of womanhood, within the complex structure of our male-driven world.
Using new media and audio-visual technologies, Kova projects her works on to canvases coated with textiles. Layering canvases with regional fabrics fashioned to allude to different cultures, she then superimposes sound and video bringing to life the many voices and identities of modern woman. Her fabric choices and panel construction methods are meant to imbue subtle underlying messages: the choice of denim in a shape of a T-shirt suggests a unisex culture, symbolising a certain state of womanhood. In addition to these multimedia canvases, Kova produces large-scale video/sound installations meant to be projected both indoors and outdoors.
The right choice of textile is playing rather an important role in this complex artwork, as it is a material manifestation of the results of the “Land of Good”- research. The textile always correlates with the theme of every artwork. It is also the anchor for the authentic bound between different powers of the world. Therefore Vika very carefully chooses suitable type of textile, which makes every artwork unique in its quality. Because human duality reveals itself in complexity and imperfection, every piece of textile is not perfect as well. You will find some flaws, wrinkles or needless, lines, inspired by human nature. You also won’t find a perfect symmetry in the cut of textile, representing the same essence. In the framework of “Land of Good” Vika Kova developed an unprecedented style of music composing: mixing (like a DJ does) different fragments of symphonic music with relevant popular music and iconic, hard-to-find quotes of legendary personalities, creating a new original sound, early unknown in both classical and contemporary music world.
These sound creations, mixed and compiled exclusively for every piece of “Land of Good” sound surprisingly harmonious when you put them all together: regardless of time and space, the viewer gets to hear the random symphony of co-existence. To experience each artwork separately the viewer is invited to put on headphones, that are attached next to every piece. Another significant part of “Land of Good” is advanced technology. Familiar objects such as 3D-projection introduced in an unusual ad creative way, allows the artist to use technology not only as ornamentation, but also as communicative and interactive medium to reach a viewer.
Series 2 – Land of Good: The CrossOvers (2016-2017)
“If patriarchy is survival of the fittest, then matriarchy is survival of the kindest”.
The CrossОvers is dedicated to the introduction and exploration of both male- and female driven society systems. Inspired by the quantum mechanics theory of multitude realities, the artist creates a parallel world, which is female-driven, and is the opposite of our male-driven world. Kova imagines that once in a long while this parallel reality crosses the ours, for the sake of information exchange. Kova “sets up the meeting” between the representatives of the two worlds in order to film it and illustrate the basic principals of both societies.
On 21st December Kova will present video The CrossOvers #1, in Amsterdam. This first edition of The CrossOvers series gives an opportunity to experience on the adventure-like way the alternative way of running the society, based on values, unknown to our patriarchal world. Therefore, it is not only an art installation, it is also information- and education station.
Non-judgemental, joyful view is essential – the artist is keen to present both systems as independent and light as possible. Following the discovery of eventual alternatives for our male-driven world, the viewer is free to extract the conclusions on his own.
About the artist
VIKA KOVA – multimedia and video artist
Born in 1970 in Vladivostok, Russia. Lives and works in Amsterdam, The Netherlands from 1996
1988 – 1993 Tchaikovsky Moscow State Conservatory – Moscow, Russia, Master of Arts, Contemporary Music and Pedagogy department
1977 – 1988 Music and Arts School & Academy – Krasnodar, Russia
2012-present Multimedia & video project “Land of Good”
2013 – 2014 Multimedia project “THEMIX”
1993 – 2014 Singer, DJ, performing artist
Projects include among others (commissioned): Sensation White festival – Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Winter Olympic Games, Unilever – Sochi, Russia. Innercity festival, ID&T – Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Marlboro Mxtronica festival – The Middle East tour, Russia tour, Ukraine tour. Playground festival – Jakarta, Indonesia. Russian Standard, Maxxium – Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Tomorrowland festival- Antwerp, Belgium. Mysteryland festival, ID&T – The Netherlands. Heineken events – Amsterdam, The Netherlands. Philip Morris Tour – Moscow, Sochi, Russia; Almaty, Kazakhstan
2014 YPO privet viewing – Los Angeles, USA
2014 Hilton Hotel – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2014 Ontdek de Kunst van Zuid, Amsterdam Arts Village – Amsterdam, The Netherlands
2016 Vroom & Varrosieau Land of Good, Amsterdam
GROUP EXHIBITIONS and FAIRS
2015 UnderGround|Water exhibition @ MertonD.Simpson Gallery, New York, USA
2015 Beirut Art Fair, Beirut, Lebanon
2015 Art Nocturne, Knokke, Belgium
2015 @ Dock Gallery, Rotterdam, NL
2016 Beirut Art Fair, Beirut, Lebanon
2016 Resistance & Persistence exhibition, René Mouawad Garden, Beirut, Lebanon
Hilarious Seth Meyers, kind hearted Seth Meyers! Thank you for supporting our project, for the love of Amsterdam, orange football shirts and obviously great memories! We suggest a Famous City New York with Seth Meyers on the cover to make up for the fact you were not on the cover.
The exhibition at Art’otel, Amsterdam is on show until 9 February: come and visit us, buy the book and support a great and caritative project!
More information: www.famouscityamsterdam.com
The works of Valérie Jouve, collectively entitled Bodies, resisting, may suggest the answer. This amazing photographer and video maker presents an interaction between urban populations and city landscapes: something that is omnipresent for most of us yet often not paid attention to. The artist focuses on depicting the act of inhabiting the space in, what she calls, an intense way. The monumental, raw scenery of a city is accompanied by dynamic, emotional portraits of the urban dwellers. With her portrayals of body and space interacting, Valerie invites the works’ recipients to experience the momentum of urban life in a similarly active way.
The relation between urban landscape and bodies is also tackled by Willi Dorner and Lisa Rastl. The artists share Valerie’s desire to show the dynamics of urban life, yet they approach the work execution in a different way. Unlike in Bodies, resisting, the depicted individuals are rather non-differentiable: they form a bizarre cluster of diversified textures and various body parts. And so an attempt is made to fully incorporate human body into space.
Helen Zeru explores the issue from yet another perspective. In her work, the artist reflects upon the socio-political changes of Ethiopia and its capital city Addis Ababa. The changing, seemingly developing landscape of Addis Ababa is improving the quality of life for some, yet forcing the rest to leave their neighborhood and demolishing their houses. After being left with no other choice but to displace her mother’s mortal remains, Helen suffered from emotional trauma that she eventually transformed into art. The artist aims at inducing a dialogue about a definition of development, which may be detrimental apart from its rather positive undertone in today’s world.
Why do we develop? What does development mean? What do we value? How do people deal with this kind of situations? How does it affect our life? (Helen Zeru)
What can influence today’s world? The most common answers are politics, business and economics… But… what about art? Is art so powerful as to change the world? French street artist, JR, explains how, using art, he turns the world inside out.
Having realised how his street art has influenced a social change in Paris, French artist JR has decided to travel around the world and tackle ongoing social issues with art…
Portraits of Palestinians and Israelis (performing the same job as for instance being a taxi driver) were pasted on a wall. Hardly anyone could spot the difference between the subjects’ origin. Despite a premature skepticism towards the Face-to-Face Project, the exhibition was welcomed in 8 Palestinian and Israeli cities with an enthusiasm and, in some cases, a desire to become a part of JR’s work. The question arises: how different are the Palestinians and Israelis?
The Women are heroes project was launched in Providencia. Appreciating the females as a pillar of the community, local men were pasting pictures of women all around the favela. Full of violence, drug trafficking and tears, the favelas were inaccessible for reporters. The project has therefore created a communication bridge between Providencia’s community and the media as the journalists received the information on Women are heroes from the subjects themselves. And so the art managed to change the small world of Providencia.
The artwork revealed itself only when dust had stuck to the white paper…
Some prints are still there, some were washed out, ruined, scrapped out…
But the art didn’t simply disappear. It evolved into a true social change. Women are heroes encouraged people to build a vibrant cultural community, while appreciating female as pillars of the society. JR’s art has reached people for whom art had been inaccessible before.
The project was appreciated all around the world, being exhibited in Paris, Rio de Janeiro, London, New York and Long Beach. The range of art pieces used varies with the authors and theme. Regardless of any differences, the key is to share the power of art.
“Art is not supposed to change the world, it’s not supposed to change the practical things… but it can change the perception. The fact that art cannot change things makes it a neutral place for exchanges and discussions and then enables you to change the world.”
You are given an opportunity to join JR and thousands of others in getting the message across. Support the Inside Out Project here.
Société Réaliste Art Collectif has introduced a concept of an identity blend through its art work, UN Camouflage. With 193 flags of all UN members embedded them into the common military pattern, the artistic cooperative shows a strange blend of the participating countries. Indifferentiable yet peculiarly familiar, united yet culturally different… Seeing the colorful patterns, the audience asks: Which flag represents me?
What is the outcome of mixing Western and Arab cultures? The answer may be delivered by Fayçal Baghriche, Paris-based artist born in Algeria. His work is a surprise for most – while we tend to focus on the vast differences between the cultures, the artist proves that the line that separates the two cultural identities is in fact very blurry.
Is the difference between war and peace as clear-cut as we think it is? Fabian Knecht challenges our perception of that separation using his latest installation, Verneinung. The artist believes that the world has changed rapidly and so the definition of war has become more ambiguous then ever before.
“War was supposed to be sharply distinguished from peace, by a declaration of war at one end and a treaty of peace at the other. Military operations were supposed to distinguish clearly between combatants – marked as such by the uniforms they wore, or by other signs of belonging to an organized armed force – and non-combatant civilians. War was supposed to be between combatants. Non-combatants should, as far as possible, be protected in wartime.” (Eric Hobsbawm)
A simple yet powerful billboard in Teayaran Square, Baghdad is a reminder of what nowadays seems to be discarded by most – the Iraqi war is not over. The conflict continues to kill people despite its alleged end in 2003.