New Viewings #35

Curated by Ksenia Jakobson and Asya Yaghmurian

Do You Ever Just Ascend?(1)

The struggle is real. Do You Ever Just Ascend? is an exercise in reflection on identity. We are living through the moment when identity politics became a tool of division, through which the intensity and precariousness of late capitalist work culture have left us in a state of simultaneous exhaustion and overstimulation.(2) As the Western paradigm keeps proving to have fundamental faults we turn to identity for insights into ourselves. In Do You Ever Just Ascend? each exhibition offers a profoundly personal take on identity, on working through it, unlearning and learning from it, challenging it.
The central point lies not in the recognition or affirmation of identity, but rather in its destabilisation. Exploring the revolutionary potential of self-abolition of identity offers a hopeful promise of the future, even as it is slowly being cancelled.(Ibid) After all, as Negri puts it, revolutionary politics has to start from identity but cannot end there.(3) In the past couple of decades, identity politics has replaced economic issues as the defining narrative in politics.(4) Today the notion of identity penetrates all realms of life – from personal to political and beyond. In the utopian safe space of the gallery four artistic perspectives unfold in four distinct ways as they touch on questions of personal history, dogmatic knowledge, political struggle and mythology. Since identity is not a fixed construct, maybe just for a moment, let us lose who we are to discover who we can become.

Ksenia Jakobson and Asya Yaghmurian

Ksenia Jakobson and Asya Yaghmurian would like to thank Clémentine Deliss, Saâdane Afif, Slavs and Tatars and Mitch Speed.

2 Franco “Bifo” Berardi,“Precarious Rhapsody. Semiocapitalism and the pathologies of the post-alpha generation.”, Minor Compositions, London, 2009.
3 Michael Hardt, Antonio Negri, “Commonwealth”, The Belknap Press of Harvard university press, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 2009.
4 Francis Fukuyama “Against Identity Politics: The New Tribalism and the Crisis of Democracy”, Foreign Affairs, September/October, 2018.

Shalva Nikvashvili

Shalva Nikvashvili, *1990 in Sighnaghi, Georgia
lives and works in Ghent, Belgium


We have invited Shalva Nikvashvili and he didn’t come alone. For the exhibition CEMENT FIELDS he has summoned six characters, who have been patiently waiting to tell their story.

CEMENT FIELDS is about the work of mourning and memory – be it personal, collective or cultural. Mourning offers a way to process past trauma through memorial practices. An essential part of mourning is the desire to know, to share the pain and express it clearly, not necessarily to make sense of it, but to tell the story. In order for the work of mourning to be complete, what has been dug up needs to become public.

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Galerie Barbara Thumm \ New Viewings \ New Viewings #35
Galerie Barbara Thumm \ New Viewings \ New Viewings #35
Galerie Barbara Thumm \ New Viewings \ New Viewings #35
New Viewings \ New Viewings #35

Ana Prvački

Ana Prvački, *1976 in Pancevo, Serbia
lives and works in Berlin, Germany

„Objects Might Seem Louder Than They Appear“

We have been taught that the world operates in binaries, that we should follow the reason, that there are men and women, that the ears are for listening and that vagina is a part of a female genital tract, responsible for the reproductive system. In the exhibition „Objects Might Seem Louder Than They Appear“, Ana Prvački invites us to question the norms, beliefs, organs, perceptions, function and purpose.
Addressing the biblical canon, in particular the narrative of creation, Prvački plays with dogmas. What happens when you assign a characteristic of one organ to another or of an organ to an object? What happens when you collide them together?
The piercing sound of the „Syncope Whistle“ which is inspired by the voice of god (1), yet stripped from religious connotation, urges us to indulge in the act of deep listening (Ibid). It invites us to tap into a mode of non-normative profound sensation, which is beyond common perceptual experience.

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Galerie Barbara Thumm \ New Viewings \ New Viewings #35
Galerie Barbara Thumm \ New Viewings \ New Viewings #35
Galerie Barbara Thumm \ New Viewings \ New Viewings #35

Selma Köran

Selma Köran, *1989 in Coblenz, Germany
lives and works in Berlin, Germany

7 available works
on this platform

„Alternation of Ends“

The starting point and the central piece of the exhibition is Selma Köran’s continuously developing video work EXIT ATHENA, that she started in 2018.

In this work Köran takes on an ambitious task of challenging the narrative that has been projecting the course of Western thought for many centuries to come – that of Hesiod’s Theogony. EXIT ATHENA also refers to the chapter written by Köran to append to Hesiod’s poem. In a sensible gesture of giving a new ending to the story, she begins another one, but this time with an open end.

Rather than presenting the audience with another narrative, Köran brings it back to chaos, the initial state of the universe, before the ancient Greek Gods established their order.

The title „Alternation of Ends“ refers to a rule in table tennis, in which the players have to switch the ends of the table on the game point of the match. Just like that, the chaos is replaced by order and back to chaos again and so on and so on.

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Rufina Bazlova

Rufina Bazlova, *1990 in Grodno, Belarus
lives and works in Prague, Czech Republic

3 available works
on this platform

„There Is No Internet Connection in Belarus“

In „There Is No Internet Connection in Belarus“ Rufina Bazlova tells the story of Belarusian struggle against tyranny of Alexander Lukashenko’s regime. In red thread on white cloth Bazlova records the history of Belarusian protest movement. Like so, Bazlova’s work becomes a document of history.

Using the traditional Belarusian technique of embroidery in red on white, Bazlova accents the palette of the white-red-white flag used by protestors. Over the course of the last century this variation of the Belarusian flag kept reappearing in the context of the revolutionary struggle. Yet again, in 2020 the white-red-white flag came back as a symbol of Belarusian national identity.

Rufina Bazlova is working with an open wound while it is torn further apart. In an act of commemoration and commitment she delicately employs the traditional medium of embroidery to write the chronicle of her people.

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Galerie Barbara Thumm \ New Viewings \ New Viewings #35
Galerie Barbara Thumm \ New Viewings \ New Viewings #35
Galerie Barbara Thumm \ New Viewings \ New Viewings #35