Master of Arts in Fine Art

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(Dis)comfort Narratives: Moving with the Feeling

19 June — 29 June, 2024
Wed — Sun, 12.00—18.00
BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, Pauwstraat 13A in Utrecht
Opening 19 June, 18:00—21:00

HKU University of the Arts Utrecht, in partnership with BAK, basis voor actuele kunst, presents (Dis)comfort Narratives: Moving with the Feeling, as graduation event of the 2023—2024 Master Fine Art class, with works by the graduates Habiba Afifi, Fatemeh Asiri, Naomi de Bruijn, Savvas Gerolemidis, Wenkang HohnGuan, Athina Koutsiou, Nguyn Ngọc Tú Dung, Cornalijn Overweg - Ramaker, Öykü Özoğul, Natsumi Sakai, Parel Strik, Pan Vanitcharoenthum, and Sean Ali Wang.

The diverse range of graduation projects sheds light on the tensions and proximities inherent in the interplay of eco-socio-cultural pressures and intimate, relational dynamics, from multiple perspectives and diverse contexts and backgrounds.

Within the shifting relationalities of reality, comfort and discomfort can never be entirely separated. From the social and communal to the personal realm of the mind and body, political dynamic is always at play. To come to terms with oneself, these young artists pose a question: What are alternative ways of storytelling, connecting, and living in current eco-socio-political climates? In their presentations, they bring together the complexities of the relationship between society and the self — to exemplify displacement, alienation, re-location, and coexistence — asking the pivotal question: what does it mean to connect’?

To connectactually means different things to each one of them, including the internal connection with the self, a connection with the surrounding environment, a connection with society at large, or the immediate community within and around oneself.

Spanning from human communities to non-human ecologies, these narratives explore (dis)comfort through various means. It may take the form of investigations into the moments of encounter through conversations or effectual and intuitive interactions: Parel Strik with her close community, and Natsumi Sakai with the anonymous other. Savvas Gerolemidis creates dream infrastructures, seeking alternative ways of co-existence and co-creation. Habiba Afifi explores the potential coexistence between humans and ecologies through science fiction, while Pan Vanitcharoenthum does so through acts of hunting. On the other hand, Sean Ali Wang highlights the existence of pluralistic but isolated communities. Nguyn Ngọc Tú Dung is drawn to the educational context, and she practices (un)learning as a way to challenge and play with pedagogical realities. Some are led by introspective exploration. Öykü Özoğul delves into and expands upon a trace of thought, while Athina Koutsiou firmly advocates for acceptance and actively works towards living with mental illness. While the research of others focuses on social norms, such as Wenkang HohnGuan's questions on societal restraints through experimental gatherings; and Naomi de Bruijn's challenging social conventions through the culture of protest. Fatemeh Asiri navigates the South of Iran, while Cornalijn Overweg-Ramaker delves into the Eastern Netherlands, questioning the societal expectations imposed on women in these geographically divergent settings.

Throughout these propositions, the emerging artists invite the audience to co-inhabit, and at times co-author, encounters and the narratives created. Moving together with all the feelings present is a concrete attempt to collectively draw possibilities for empathy and solidarity.