Curated by Lhaga Namlha Koondhor
The Centre d’Art Contemporain Genève introduces the second chapter of its Swiss Panorama, a 5th floor program presenting a selection of digital works recently produced by Swiss artists, or artists living in Switzerland, which aims to draw a panorama of the territories and forms emerging from the local art scene. This monthly program will be curated by Lhaga Namlha Koondhor.
As an artist and curator of interdisciplinary exhibitions, Lhaga Namlha Koondhor’s practice spans across the fields of curatorial work, creative direction, and music programming. Her projects, always relating to lyrical themes (parasitism, reproduction, pop and counterculture), articulate themselves much like theory-fiction and oral mythology. They are thoroughly informed by a collaborative approach, never possessing a dominant authorial voice, but rather articulating themselves by including other voices and being marked by a shared understanding.
Lhaga Namlha Koondhor, also known as Asian Eyez, was born in Switzerland, and currently lives and works between Zürich and Shanghai. Koondhor defines herself as a curator and cultural provocateur devoted to establishing strategies for inclusion and breaking the boundaries between disciplines. By finding innovative ways to bring together her network and community, she creates artistic interventions that look beyond existing systems and deepen the notion of communality.
Iels Allaient Dévorer Ensemble…
This short film is an adaptation of a scene from Peter de Rome’s 1970s x-rated gay film Adam and Yves (1974). The protagonists observe and narrate a uniquely Parisian fetish: Le Soupeur – anyone carrying a baguette in Paris is suspect!
This film was shot in Paris under the form of alternative documentation. It acts as the culmination of a series of performances called Anácronicas I, II, III that were shown in the context of Cathy Josefowitz’s first major travelling retrospective The Thinking Body (2021-2022) at Centre culturel suisse Paris, Kunsthaus Langenthal, Arsenic Lausanne, and following research residency at La Becque.
Garrett Nelson (b. 1982) makes artworks through performance, text, and image. Their practice is often in direct relation with the work of other artists, writers, architects, and activists, thus creating dialogues, collaborations, critical analysis, historical reframing, and accompaniment. They work on the contemporary history of the voice in performance art as a queer feminist strategy to occupy space and create visibility. In the past, Nelson has exhibited at Museo de la Ciudad Mexico, Kunsthalle Zürich, Taylor Macklin Zürich, Oslo10 Basel, Kunsthalle Basel, Kunsthaus Pasquart Biel, SALT Galata Istanbul, Les Urbaines Lausanne, Sinop Biennial Türkiye and Centro Munar Buenos Aires.
Giualia Essyad’s video features a character wearing an inflatable blue suit, bouncing to the beat of a pop song in a factory hall. The artist reprises a scene from the movie Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, where protagonist Violette Beauregard transforms into a blueberry after eating magic chewing gum. The “Blueberry Inflation” effect has become an internet meme for an entire online community, so much so that inflatable blueberry costumes are now sold online. The pop song featured in the video is taken from the commercials for these aforementioned inflatable costumes.
Giulia Essyad (b. 1992) is an artist, poet, and performer from Lausanne, who now lives and works in Geneva. Her artistic practice engages with sculpture, photography, video, writing and her own body. Essyad seeks to observe and question different representations of the body, both online and in real space – taking a particular interest in the forms of alienation that stem from the production, circulation, and consumption of images of the body. During the BIM’21, Giulia Essyad presented Bluebot, which tells the story of a robot-doll in a futuristic matriarchal society. A version of the film was also screened at the Chêne-Bourg station of the Léman Express, as part of the MIRE project produced by the Fonds Cantonal d’Art Contemporain Genève.
Untitled (After Love)
Gazing into a cockscomb blossom conjures up a host of associated images: home videos, television segments, social media content, quotes, improvised scenes, and karaoke videos succeed each other and thus become intimately interconnected. These visuals allude to ambivalent feelings that exist both within family structures and society: belonging versus detachment, commitment versus autonomy, obedience versus rebellion. Birthday parties, funerals, extreme Tiktok makeup videos, ecstatic family dances, self-portraits and roleplays between parent and child, between viewer and performer, between individual and community – all are performed in a complex interplay.
Among the mostly Western soundtrack, which alludes to a reference system that shaped the artist’s youth in Switzerland, Asian megastars Teresa Teng and Leslie Cheung appear and disappear, acting as figureheads of a culture to which she had rather fragmentary access. The recurring karaoke format involves the audience in a fictional chorus that meanders between cultures, events, emotions, and states.
Jiajia Zhang (b. 1981) works across several digital (moving-)image media, video, and photography, which she presents in spatial installations. By the means of an exact process, she rearranges partly self-produced and partly found visuals and relates these fragments to each other in unexpected ways. In doing so, social phenomena and mass-produced products meet minor matters like private YouTube videos or Instagram posts. The artist thus opens up a tension-filled borderland that blends the personal and the generic, challenging our perceptions of the private and the public. While Zhang’s work acts as a pictorial examination of reality, it also confronts us with a speculative perception.
Jiajia Zhang studied architecture at ETH Zürich from 2001 to 2007 and photography at the International Center of Photography, NY, from 2007 to 2008. In 2020, she completed her Master of Fine Arts at the Zürich University of the Arts (ZHdK). Her work has been included in various exhibitions, including Fluentum, Berlin (2022), Swiss Art Awards, Basel (2022); Werkstipendium Zürich (2022); Friart, Fribourg (2022); Coalmine Kulturort, Winterthur (2021); Kunsthaus Glarus (2021); Fondation d’entreprise Pernod Ricard, Paris (2021); Haus Wein (2020); Kunsthalle Zürich (2020); Kunsthalle St. Gallen (2019)