The Temporary Separatists

 

The Temporary Separatists is a woman*-identified artist collective that seeks to explore the use of collectivism as a feminist methodology in art practice.  This is research through praxis: The Temporary Separatists learn by doing: making exhibitions, conferences and essays collectively to explore its lived reality. They also learn by example creating dialogue with past and present collectives, creating a platform from which to disseminate knowledge and generate discussion producing the kind of art world in which they are interested in participating.

*Women = Gender as distinct from Female = biological sex

powersalute

 

Why work collectively?

Collectives demonstrate a specifically feminist methodology to art practice where a rootedness in gender and in place offers resistance to the atomising individualism of neoliberal capitalism, making a space not to recreate or infiltrate patriarchal hierarchies, but instead present a radical shift of focus.

The practice of working together, with its call for provisional approaches to creativity that continually respond to circumstances in the present, and thus towards active engagement with difference, shifts the focus of art making away from production and commodity and towards communication and exchange between equals with a shared common interest. Collectivism destabilises notions of authorship, suggesting something that may be closer to the way we live: an acknowledgement that we are shaped by those around us, that we do learn from others, and while we may be different, there are many things that we share. Collectivism can be a way to rethink what artistic practice is and can be: a site for inclusiveness, and social engagement, focused on process rather than product which seeks positive change on a local level, becoming a platform that helps to protect, connect and spread communities.

 

Why work Separately?

In the light of feminism’s dual program where it both seeks to recognise gendered group treatment while also attempting to find a route to autonomy and liberation from such categorisation, women only spaces and working groups pose an interesting problem. These are spaces where the painful aspects of society are revealed to demonstrate the courage found in the strategy’s contradiction: on one hand seen as ghettoizing but on the other hand as needed over time in contemporary contexts to change cultural ideologies. This strategy acknowledges that gender continues to shape lives, dominating both the economic and the cultural spheres and so calls for feminist action, an action that burrows beneath the surface to confront the subterranean aspects of history that the dominant political vocabulary cannot bare to tackle. The strategy could be summarized as a methodology that realises short-term projects for long-term interests.

 

Past Projects

collectivism

 

Collective Collectivism 14th May 2016 - 12th June 2016 Gallery Box, Gothenburg, Sweden

An Exhibtion Exploring Collectives Working Collectively

The Temporary Separatists propose to use the exhibition space as a site to explore collective making. They hope to consider, to learn by doing, if separatist collective spaces and modes of working can provide a feminist methodology that resists hierarchical and individualistic artistic practice. The exhibition will consider feminisms dual program: where it is both a method to recognize gendered group treatment, and also a route to autonomy and liberation from such categorization. It will interrogate the cultural benefits of collective separatism and ask if such practices can harness the disruptive force produced by this oscillating movement between these two aims that are seemingly at odds with one another. This exhibition will examine authorship, individualism, autonomy and gender and ask if separatist collective working can provide a space for a radical shift of focus away from the hegemony of an atomizing neoliberal ideology. This exhibition will explore these ideas through practice.

The Temporary Separatists propose to turn the exhibition space into two mini-residencies first occupied by themselves and then occupied by a second woman-identified artist collective, H. arta Group. The period of the exhibition will be divided into four sections of one week each. For the duration of the exhibition coffee and other refreshments will be available to encourage the visiting audience to stay and interact with the space and talk with the artists.

For the first week The Temporary Separatists, will use the space as an ‘open studio’ – viewable to the public, where they will create an installation with sculptural, sound and light interventions. Drawing upon feminist methodologies and educational activism that encourages the breaking of hierarchies, they will turn the gallery from a space of authority and autonomy into a meeting point for interaction and consciousness-raising. This will include the creation of gallery furniture and protrusions from the architecture of the gallery space. This will become an environment that attempts to address the ways in which the space is used and navigated through by both the artist collectives and the audience. It will offer the opportunity to reimagine the white cube gallery space as a place to occupy and to live within rather than survey and pass through. They will blur the boundaries between the traditional public space of the gallery and the private space of the studio/home. The Temporary Separatists will build furniture-like structures that make people conscious of the space whilst encouraging conversation. This furniture will take over the gallery, making it in to a participatory space where people can sit down and interact with each other both by themselves but also during workshops and seminars. Through out this period The Temporary Separatists will invite the public to work with them collectively to create this installation and hold evening talks and workshops (see full program below)

 For the second week, having completed this installation, the exhibition will be open to the public and presented as a ‘finished’ work.

For the third week The Temporary Separatists will invite a second artist collective, H.arta Group to make work in response to this environment. This will be a way to explore how environments shape and inform artistic practice, and the ways in which artists are in constant dialogue with their situation. The collective will occupy the space again as an ‘open studio’. They will be invited to produce a series of workshops and performances in the space.

The Temporary hope to encourage interaction between the works produced, to make a space where practices can overlap, interrupt and comment upon one another. By inviting the second collective to participate the exhibition will facilitate the practice of working together, and within that explore the possibilities of something shared. This will be an opportunity to explore collective working as an on going process, where members and groups are constantly negotiating the ways in which they work with each other, and how they respond to their environment. The authorship already questioned by the very notion of an artists collective, will be further challenged by the interactions between the works of the two collectives.

The final week of the exhibition will be a presentation of the works produced collectively by the two groups, where layering, and interruptions between the works undermine a straight reading of the exhibition. Thus the show, as a site for interactions between the collectives and the existing works, will challenge ideas of ownership, authority and individualism.

 

Exhibition Program:

13th May
Bring Your Junk/ 13.00-17.00
The Temporary Separatists would like you to come and leave things you are going to throw away!
It can be old furniture, textiles/clothes, wood and cartons, or anything you have that you don’t need. Working with the idea of recycling and collective efforts to create art and a public interaction, these unwanted objects will be used to create an installation at Gallery Box.

14th May
Opening Reception at Gallery Box / 12.00-16.00
Screening of “It Takes A Million Years to be a Woman”/ 13.40
Sisters of Jam present an excerpt of their video installation from Kate Millett Farm. “It takes a million years to be a woman”, video 10 min.

Directly Followed by Sculpturetalk V: The Expanding Field & the Collective as Strategy/ 14.00-15.00
Sisters of Jam in dialogue with curator Karolina Pahlén and The Temporary Separatists. Presented by Snowball Cultural Productions: sculptureHUB

17th May
All Day Collective Making Workshop/ 13.00-17.00
The Temporary Separatists invite artists and the public to come to the space during the day to create art with them. You can bring your own material or work in the space with material that is there.

18th May

Portfolio Viewing/ 13.30 – 16.45
SculptureHUB - invite women artists whose practice falls within sculpture in the expanded field to participate in a “speed-dating” style portfolio viewing with The Temporary Separatists, Galleri Slätten from Malmö and sculptureHUB- Josefina Posch & Sofia Landström. Space is limited and participants will be pre-selected through an open-call. Information on how to apply can be found on sculptureHUB http://www.snowballproductions.com/index.php?category=5&page=10

19th May
All Day Collective Making Workshop/ 13.00-17.00

The Temporary Separatists invite artists and public to the gallery space during the day to create art with them. You can bring your own material or work in the space with material that is there.

Talk with Feminist Pedagogics/ 17.00 - 18.30
Feminist Pedagogics from Akademi Valand will present their work and open up for dialog with the audience about feminist strategies in education and methods for feminist pedagogy. The session at Galleri Box is an opportunity for the group to continue the dialogue they started at Valand, and welcome interested audiences to join and contribute to the discussion in preparation for the three day 'mobilisation' at Valand that the group is planning for October 12th-14th, 2016.

31st May -3rd of June
H.arta Group is invited to use the gallery as a mini-residency in which to make work in response to that left by The Temporary Separatists. Free to use the space however they wish they might produce a series of workshops, performances or artworks interacting with the work already in place so that the practices of the two collectives will overlap, interrupt and comment upon one another.

2nd June
Reading/ 15.30-17.00
H.arta Group will read a performance in connection to their previous work.
http://www.hartagroup.ro/index.php?/projects/group-portrait/. The performance is followed by a discussion where H.arta considers the common realities of lost gains and the present struggles and potentials. They will analyze collectively histories of our grandmothers, mothers and us and talk about everyday life where this interconnects with history and past political moments, as a way to think about where we find our selves now.

3rd of June
Opening Reception of H.arta’s Work and Artists’ Talk/ 18.00 -21.00
Opening of H.arta’s work and a talk between The Temporary Separatists and H.arta exploring the collective work and the benefits of such practice.

 

 

Participants

The Temporary Separatists
 A woman*-identified artist collective that seeks to explore the use of collectivism as a feminist methodology in art practice.  This is research through praxis: The Temporary Separatists learn by doing: making exhibitions, conferences and essays collectively to explore its lived reality. They also learn by example creating dialogue with past and present collectives, creating a platform from which to disseminate knowledge and generate discussion producing the kind of art world in which they are interested in participating.
http://temporaryseparatists.org/

H.arta 
A group of three women artists, Maria Crista, Anca Gyemant and Rodica Tache. They have been working together as h.arta group since 2001, when they founded h.arta space, a not-for-profit space in Timisoara, Romania. H.arta is sometimes a physical space, but often its projects take different formats.  They are interested in topics ranging from knowledge production and (re)writing histories to gender issues in global capitalist times, all these in the context of working in various collaborations with people and groups from different backgrounds.
http://www.hartagroup.ro/

Sisters of Jam
Sisters of Jam was founded in 2008 by Moa and Mikaela Krestesen they have been working in interdisciplinary art projects using multiple media – photography, video, drawing, installation and text – in an ongoing investigation of community, solitude, historiography and continuity.
http://sistersofjam.com/

Karolina Pahlén 
Karolina Pahlén is curator for moving image at Borås Art Museum. With an education in visual art, film and curating at the International Center of Photography (NYC, University Collage of Arts (Sthlm) and the University of Stockholms , her curatorial practice focuses on the moving image as well as the creation of platforms for art and knowledge production. Amongst her latest curatorial projects are; the Screens & mirrors, exhibition at  Borås Art Museum; Archaelogy & Exorcisms: Moving Image and the Archive, seminar and publication with Steven Cairns (ICA, London), the exhibition Syster in which Sisters of Jam participated and they are also collaborating in the project IN 21ST CENTURY ZESTERHOOD. http://systerboras.blogspot.se/2014/11/antligen-far-vi-ta-plats.html

Slätten Gallery
A gallery based in Malmö, specializing in art, performance, photography and installations with women artists.

Feminist Pedagogics
The group came together out of a collective desire to explore feminist pedagogies at Akademi Valand, Göteborg University. Through regular meetings, the sharing of texts, strategies and ideas as well as planning a three day 'mobilisation' at Valand on October 12th-14th, with the  intension to unpick what Feminist pedagogies means, and how it can influence us both inside and outside the academy.

Sculpture Hub
Sculpture Hub is a networking site and blog for sculptors, created by Snowball Cultural Productions in response to the uneven gender representation within the sculpture field. Aimed at women sculptors in the Nordic countries with aspirations to reach beyond the field and geographical boundaries.
http://www.snowballproductions.com

Josefina Posch
Josefina Posch is active as an artist, founder of Snowball Cultural Productions and initiator of SculptureHUB. She has exhibited extensively around the world and organised exhibitions and events such as the Guerrilla Girls Nordic Tour and nordic art/Between Miracles at Center for Contemporary Art, Tbilisi, Georgia. 
http://www.josefinaposch.com/

Gallery Box
Box is an artist-run space for contemporary art, located in Gothenburg, Sweden. The gallery aims at promoting contemporary Swedish artists, as well as introducing international artists to a Swedish audience. Since the gallery was established in 1998 it has shown over 100 exhibitions. With events such as exhibitions, artist talks, seminars and dialogues, Box has build and establish a position as an important place for communication within the field of contemporary art.
http://galleribox.se/

Many thanks to all participants.

The exhibition and talks are made possible through the support of Göteborgs Stads Kultur.

 

Past Projects:

Women Working Collectively What is Your Value? 6.30pm Thursday 9th July 2015 ICA, London, SW1Y5AH

Organised by The Temporary Separatists this discussion focused on collectives that are rooted both in gender and in place. Panelists were asked to consider if women’s artist collectives can provide a resistance to the atomising individualism of neoliberal capitalism that is at the heart of current global art markets. This discussion brought together a number of voices from past and present collectives to create a space for dialogue, elliptical associations and learning between and across the generations

Chaired by The Temporary Separatists (Rose Gibbs and Sofia Landström)

Speakers Included

Angela Dimitrakaki, Senior Lecturer in Contemporary Art History and Theory at the University of Edinburgh

Catherine Elwes, a video artist and writer, co-curated the feminist exhibitions Women’s Images of Men and About Time at the ICA (1980) member of the Women's Art Collective (1975) and Women Art Alliance (1976)

Johanna Gustavsson, artist and collaborator in FAGS – Feminist Art Gallery Solidarity, radikal pedagogik, MFK - Malmö Free University for Women, the YES! association, I want a president... , Nobody Puts Baby In A Corner, The Production Unit

Margaret Harrison, artist and founder of London Women's Liberation Art Group, member of Women's Workshop of the Artists Union (1972)

For more on the participants, the collectives of which they have been part and the discussion please look here