15 December 2021 – 10 January 2022
The Bag Factory is excited to host Artists' Film International, a collaborative project featuring film, video and animation from around the world. Established by the Whitechapel Gallery (London) in 2008, AFI includes 21 global partner organisations. Each organisation selects an exciting recent work by an artist from their region which is shared amongst the network. The programme is adapted to every venue and is shown over the course of a year.
The Artists Film International 2021 programme responds to the theme of care. Within the scope of the program, a curatorial selection by our Director, Candice Allison of nine works will be screened online, available to view on our website.
The artists participating in the exhibition are: Neda Kovinić (Serbia); Himali Singh Soin (India); Sena Başöz (Turkey); Thania Petersen (South Africa); Sajia Sediqi (Afghanistan); Victoria Verseau (Sweden); Julia Sbriller & Joaquin Wall (Argentina); Kiri Dalena (Philippines); Agnė Jokšė (Lithuania)
Artists’ Film International (AFI) is a partnership of 21 international organisations that celebrates moving image. Partners are:
Bag Factory, Johannesburg South Africa
Ballroom Marfa, Marfa, Texas, USA
Belgrade Cultural Centre, Belgrade, Serbia
Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden
CAC / Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
CCAA / Centre for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan, Kabul, Afghanistan
Crawford Art Gallery, Cork, Ireland
Fundación PROA, Buenos Aires, Argentina
GAMeC / Gallery of Modern and Contemporary Art in Bergamo, Italy
Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, USA
MCAD / Museum of Contemporary Art and Design, Manila, Phillippines
Mohammad and Mahera Abu Ghazaleh Foundation, Amman, Jordan
Moscow Museum of Modern Art, Moscow, Russia
Museum of Modern Art in Warsaw, Warsaw, Poland
n.b.k. / Neuer Berliner Kunstverein Video – Forum, Berlin, Germany
rhizome Agency, Algiers, Algeria
Tromsø Kunstforening, Tromsø, Norway
Whitechapel Gallery, London, United Kingdom
Video, 11:15 mins
Selected by Belgrade Culture Centre, Belgrade, Serbia
Together Apart (2020) by Neda Kovinić (b. 1975, Serbia) is a filmed performance made on the streets of Belgrade during the height of the pandemic. Attempting to interact with the public, dancers move within restricted parameters to explore how can we dance and be together in this plague year, when physical distancing is the ultimate performance.
Neda Kovinić graduated in fine arts from the Faculty of Fine Arts and interior design at the Faculty of the Applied Arts in Belgrade. She holds a PhD at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade, Department of Multimedia. Since 1996, she has been exhibiting in solo and group exhibitions in Serbia and abroad. She creates ambient and conceptual installations and in recent projects has been trying to grapple with multiple temporalities and the space of global capitalism – from the neoliberal to the conservative, the retro-local and the national. She explores types of escapism in artificial autonomies, the space of escape and retreat, especially in former the Yugoslavia after the wars and the rise of nationalism.
Her latest research is based on creating networks between artists of conceptual dance and various nationalities, dance backgrounds and age, in order to create the practice of togetherness, and the exploration of social, political and art-political issues.
Himali Singh Soin
Setting the Stage for a Gathering of Friends
Hylozoic/Desires (Himali Singh Soin and David Soin Tappeser)
Video, Colour, Stereo Sound, 10:35 mins
Selected by Project 88, Mumbai, India
Himali Singh Soin’s Setting the Stage for a Gathering of Friends, which was made in the heart of the pandemic of 2020, in Delhi, is about uncertainty, fear, chance, missed connections, false promises. The work is a return to something we once felt and a repetition of something we had never experienced. It charts the path of an Ensō (a special circle form in Zen Buddhism), a depiction of a “whole” or a “void”, a different cosmology, depending on the way you look at it, up-close or at a distance. The circle in the video holds together the improvised elements of free jazz and the disparate footnotes found in fortunes opened at random. It sets the stage for a gathering of friends and proposes that waiting can be a form of love.
Himali Singh Soin is a writer and artist based between London and Delhi. She uses metaphors from outer space and the natural environment to construct imaginary cosmologies of interferences, entanglements, deep voids, debris, delays, alienation, distance and intimacy. In doing this, she thinks through ecological loss, and the loss of home, seeking shelter somewhere in the radicality of love. Her speculations are performed in audio-visual, immersive environments. Soin's art has been shown at Khoj (Delhi), Somerset House, Mimosa House, Serpentine Gallery (London), Gropius Bau or the HKW (Berlin), Migros Museum (Zurich), Anchorage Museum (Alaska) and the Shanghai Biennale. She is part of the curatorial team of Momenta Biennale 2021 in Montréal. Soin is currently Writer-in-Residence at the Whitechapel Gallery in London, and was the recipient of the Frieze Artist Award 2019.
Single channel video, 04:31 mins
Selected by Istanbul Modern, Istanbul, Turkey
Sena Başöz explores gestures of care and compassion in The Box (2020) as hands gently stroke a woman’s hair revealing symbolic objects hidden in her locks. Başöz’s video consists of a sequence of various objects hidden inside thick, dark, long hair being picked over sometimes by a male and sometimes by a female hand. The artist works with the notions of compassion and care, which triggers the phenomena in contrast such as concealment and revelation, holding on and letting go, death and life.
Sena Başöz (b. 1980, Izmir, Turkey) is an artist and filmmaker living and working in Istanbul. She received her BA in Economics from Boğaziçi University in 2002 and MFA from Bard College Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts in Film and Video in 2010. Her recent solo exhibitions include Ars Oblivionis, Lotsremark Projekte, Basel (2020); A Consolation, Krank Art Gallery, Istanbul (2020); Hold on Let go, MO-NO-HA Seongsu, Seoul (2020) and On Lightness, DEPO Istanbul (2018). She has participated in group exhibitions such as Transitorische Turbulenzen, Kunstraum Dreiviertel, Bern (2020); Studio Bosporus, Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin (2018); Quiet Dialogue, Tokyo Metropolitan Museum (2018) and Sharjah Biennial Offsite Exhibition: Bahar, Istanbul (2017). She participated in artist residencies at Cité Internationale des Arts, Paris (2017), Atelierhaus Salzamt, Linz (2010) and Delfina Foundation, London (2020).
Sena Başöz’s artwork focuses on healing processes after cases of trauma evolving out of the importance of care, the ways nature self-regenerates creating a balance in the long run and the organism’s capacity to repair itself.
Single channel video, sound, 12:10 mins
Selected by Bag Factory, Johannesburg, South Africa
KASSARAM (2020) is taken from an old Malay word meaning ‘a big mess’ or ‘things being out of place’. Thania Petersen‘s (b. South Africa) animated film looks at the artistic strategies historically used by European colonisers to demarcate hierarchies of diverse communities in South Africa.
Thania Petersen is a multi-disciplinary artist who uses photography, performance, and installation to address the intricacies and complexities of her identity in contemporary South Africa. Petersen’s reference points sit largely in Islam and in creating awareness about its religious, cultural, and traditional practices. She attempts to unpack contemporary trends of Islamophobia through her analysis of the continuing impact of colonialism, European and American imperialism, and the increasing influence of right-wing ideologies. Threads in her work include the history of colonialist imperialism in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, as well as the social and cultural impact of westernized consumer culture. Her work is also informed by her Cape Malay heritage and the practice of Sufi Islamic religious ceremonies. Petersen studied at Central Saint Martin’s College of Art in London. In 2018, Petersen held her solo exhibition IQRA at WHATIFTHEWORLD, Cape Town. She has hosted additional solo exhibitions in 2016 at the AVA, Cape Town and in 2017 at the Everard Read Gallery, Cape Town. She has participated in numerous group exhibitions both locally and abroad, including Radical Love at the Ford Foundation, New York (2019) and Present Passing: South by Southeast at the Osage Art Foundation, Hong Kong (2019). Petersen was awarded the Thami Mnyele Residency in Amsterdam in 2019.
From Red to Black and White
Video performance, 11:37 mins
Selected by the Centre for Contemporary Art Afghanistan (CCAA), Kabul, Afghanistan
From Red to Black and White (2020) was made in one of the psychiatric hospitals in Kabul called ‘Aliabad’. Sajia Sediqi (b. Afghanistan) used the ruins of the hospital, where severely ill patients were once treated, to examine women’s lives in Afghanistan, which have become more restricted during the pandemic.
Sajia Sediqi graduated from the Institute of Fine Arts in 1995 and is currently studying at the Faculty of Fine Arts, Kabul University. Sediqi has been working at the Center for Contemporary Arts Afghanistan and the Studio of Contemporary Arts Faculty of Fine Arts for the past two years. Her work focuses on the traditional views of women’s identity and position in society.
Approaching a Ghost
Selected by Bonniers Konsthall, Stockholm, Sweden
Approaching a Ghost (2021) is an attempt to capture the memory of Victoria Verseau‘sfriend Meril and their time together far away from home in a remote city in Thailand. Meril and the artist met when they were about to undergo gender confirmation surgery, something the pair had longed for most of their lives. They awaited an uncertain future and supported each other in their worries. Three years after the operation, Meril decided to end her life. She was Verseau’s only other trans-friend and the artist had always mirrored myself in her. Then and there, Verseau felt her world fall apart.
Some years later, she decided to travel back to the city where she had met Meril. Verseau brought her camera with the intention of capturing the memory of them. There, she realised that her self-perception had changed and the elapsed time had affected her memories, so instead she found a void. The people she knew were gone. Left was only the familiar scenery with backdrop-looking buildings, streets and vegetation; there to the absence of our presence.
Victoria Verseau (b. 1988) is a Swedish artist and filmmaker working in a variety of media ranging from moving image to sculpture, installation and performance. She lives and works in Stockholm where she recently graduated with an MFA from the Royal Institute of Art.
Verseau’s artistic practice revolves around the exploration of issues of gender, identity and social structures. The starting point for her work is her personal experiences of being a trans- and a new woman. She often investigates ideas of transition and recollection, as well as the ambivalence in telling personal stories, while at the same time being protective of one’s integrity.
Victoria Verseau is currently working on the feature film Meril that will premiere in the coming years. She has had several solo exhibitions in Sweden. Her films have been screened internationally, her most recent being Exercise One (2016) and The Session (2015). In 2017, she received the prestigious Anna Prize for her work with film, a stipend awarded by Women in Film & Television and UN Women Sweden.
Julia Sbriller & Joaquin Wall
In collaboration with Roco Corbould
High-definition video, 02:17 min
With support of: Art Gallery of Burlington, CA/Fondo Nacionaldelas Artes, AR Selected by Foundation PRÓA, Buenos Aires, Argentina
Nude performers dive headfirst into the unknown in Torontoides (2019) by Julia Sbriller and Joaquín Wall, challenging the laws of planetary physics and entrusting their lives to the rest of the team.
In geometry, torus is a surface of revolution generated by a closed curve rotating around an axis. The torus is said to be the only energetic or dynamic pattern that can sustain itself and that is made of the same substance as its environment. Torontoides is a video performance by the Argentine duo in collaboration with Roco Corbould, that reflects on the body that contains us: the planet, its hemispheres, its magnetic fields and its mysteries. It draws on the individual and collective possibilities of challenging the physical properties between the liquid and the solid, gravity and non-Newtonian surfaces, wondering on how to unite the opposite poles of the planet travelling through an inner passage of the Earth.
Julia Sbriller (b. 1986, Argentina) & Joaquin Wall (b.1986, Argentina) are a multidisciplinary duo based in Argentina. Their work, essentially hybrid and experimental, draws on a variety of mediums, including performance, architecture, sculpture, choreography, video and installation. Their work has been exhibited in Swab Barcelona Art Fair (ES), Buenos Aires Photo (AR), Fundación Proa, Buenos Aires (AR), MunarArte, Buenos Aires (AR), Art Gallery of Burlington, Ontario (CA), Bendita Tu Fest, Barcelona (ES). Julia and Joaquin are currently represented by Quimera Galería in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Video, 02:06 mins
Selected by MCAD, Manila, Philippines
In Kiri Dalena‘s Mag-uuma (Farmer) (2014), a young woman sings a ballad in which she laments a history of exploitation and poverty that has afflicted her rural community in a region of commercial plantations and mineral reserves.
Kiri Dalena (b. 1975, Philippines) is a Filipino visual artist and filmmaker whose body of work confronts the underlying social conflicts in contemporary Philippine society. Articulating certain realities of injustice and inequality, Dalena’s deep understanding of the mass struggle greatly influences her artistic practice, depicting forms and histories of civil resistance. Her works assert the importance of protest and activism against state persecution. She participated in Berlin Biennale 11: The Crack Begins Within, KW Institute for Contemporary Art, ExRotaprint (2020); JIWA: Jakarta Biennale 2017, Gudang Sarinah Ekosistem, Jakarta (2017); and Singapore Biennale: If the World Changed, Singapore Art Museum (2013).
Single-channel HD video, color, sound, 24:17 mins
Selected by the Contemporary Art Centre, Vilnius, Lithuania
Dear Friend (2019) is a video by Lithuanian artist Agnė Jokšė (b. 1993, Lithuania). Performed by the artist and based on a letter-form text written in contemplation of friendship as platonic love between queer women, the work openly and sensitively speaks about various forms of love, affection and care in the contemporary world.
Agnė Jokšė (b. 1993) is currently based in Copenhagen, studying for a Master’s degree at the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Media Arts. In 2017, Jokšė graduated from Vilnius Academy of Arts, Department of Monumental Painting and Stage Design. Since 2018 she actively participates in various art projects. Her work Dear Friend was produced by the Contemporary Art Centre in Vilnius and won the JCDecaux Award in 2019.