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Art exhibition: Closer To Home

This project goes deeper into my ongoing curatorial research focused on identity, origins, and memories of past vs present.

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Artist Claudia Virginia Vitari, Invisible Cities, 20212, Janine Mapurunga Photography

photo from Unsplash

The curatorial concept of my project is focused on identity and how it changes based on our age, cultural background, migration, gender, and past memories vs today's reality. I am heavily influenced by the writings of French philosopher Michel Foucault namely Archaeology of Knowledge and Discipline and Punishment. Archeology of Knowledge fascinates me because of the thoughts on how our subjective memories are turned into official monuments of the past regardless of the objective facts and then we are taught through the educational system to worship those false monuments.

Photo by moises-gonzalez from unsplash_sm.webp

photo from Unsplash

The second book Discipline and Punishment intrigue me because of the microphysics of power. Foucault does not see power as a privilege but rather as a set of strategic moves which are exercised by a dominant class or group. This thought directly feeds into the power-knowledge relations where those in power provide just a certain kind of comfortable knowledge to the masses based on the subjective memories that were turned into official monuments and we are not encouraged to critically question them and objectively research the past. However, in my curatorial approach, I want to question the norms of the past, and their shifts to place them within the context of today.

The objective of the exhibition is to provide an opportunity for artists who collect stories of people who openly speak about their life experiences of living as an immigrant or descendants of immigrants. It is about the exploration of how different generations understand the perception of home, traditions, and memories.

The outcome of the exhibition is to gain a better understanding of the fluidity of our roots, background and memory. Because a certain appearance, background, or time frame, does not define you as a person.

Identity is a part of who we are. Even so, it is based on our upbringing, culture, and location where we were born as well as on the origins of our parents and their upbringing, and yet, from my point of view it is something we have to explore and frame on our own.


The artist, Pham Thai Ho, is Berlin-based but he grew up in Bavaria. His parents immigrated from Vietnam when he was a baby. His installation Wunderbare Klischees, 2022, talks about how hard is to fit into society being born outside of the place where you grew up. Molotov Cocktails 2021, reflects upon how society reacts when those who dare to raise their voice against racism and discrimination were silenced.

The next artist, Runo Lagomarsino from Sweden and his installation, Sea Grammar, 2015, captures the journey of his parents, who were political refugees,  from South America to Sweden. The individual slides are performed by a hole punch creating an extremely unwelcoming atmosphere to anyone who is vulnerable and in need of help and compassion.

Andrea Ziegler is Hamburg-based artist who spent a significant part of her childhood in the Western part of the Czech Republic. One of her projects deals with fictional cartography that was documented with embroidery. The collection is composed of a subjective mapping, architectural collection and so-called "rulers", representative, mostly faceless figurines. Thematically, "Auf der Grenz" deals with an investigation of what home and foreign actually mean.

Can it be reduced to one place, or rather to a mixture of places and experiences tailored to individuals?



​Claudia Vitari is a Berlin-based artist who created an interesting art installation in collaboration with Syrian refugees back in 2016. First Claudia help them to sort out German paperwork and bureaucracy, then she made sketches of their portraits and place them into glass spheres. The glass spheres with the trapped faces of the refugees were arranged in a way that reminded me of a scientific experiment which is exactly how the people are treated as mere experiments and not as human beings.

Mariana Vassileva is a Berlin-based artist whose artwork  Boat People, 2015 is based on the memory of her father who wanted to travel around the world but that was almost impossible in Bulgaria at that time of the communist regime. People could not freely travel and if they were lucky enough and were allowed to travel then they could not take sufficient amounts of money to support themselves on their stay abroad. As result, they smuggled a small additional amount of cash hidden in their shoes. This way the shoes became a symbol of resistance against the regime of that time and an unstoppable desire for a decent life.

The Sea Grammar is a quite loud piece because of the repetitive clicking sound of the old fashion projector running the individual slides echoing in a room with a high ceiling.


Andrea´s artwork Auf der Grenze is embroidery mapping subjective borders created by so-called leaders without faces in a spotlight which is going to work as a bridge between Runo´s and Sharon´s artworks.


Pham Thai Ho´s and Claudia's artworks talk about frustration from a lack of understanding of immigrants and refugees. The entrance room pictures blending into the mainstream culture and the consequences of such absorption.

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