Prelude brings together the work of four emerging artists: Sophia Al Maria (Tender Point Ruin), Kapwani Kiwanga (Flowers for Africa), P. Staff (Conjunctions) and Jakob Kudsk Steensen (Liminal Lands).
It questions new relationships with nature and the way in which ecological narratives and the destruction of the natural environment influence and shape our socio-political-cultural realities. It articulates three newly created projects (Conjunctions, Liminal Lands and Tender Point Ruin) alongside an inherently new work (Flowers for Africa).
With the latter, Kapwani Kiwanga challenges the conventions of the archive and extends the possibilities of documenting history.
Sophia Al Maria's Tender Point Ruin focuses on ancient Arabic poetry, collective history and an assemblage of exquisite cadaver moments.
Conjunctions by P. Staff explores the intensity, the relationship of two bodies in contact, celestial or planetary, human or cyborg, living or undead, reflecting on the transfer of energy through matter.
Liminal Lands by Jakob Kudsk Steensen immerses the viewer intimately in the landscape of the Camargue where he has created a dynamic composition that reminds us of the mysterious and complex world we live in and the countless processes that are constantly taking place around us.
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Sophia Al Maria
Sophia Al Maria is an artist, writer and filmmaker. Her cinematic artist’s videos are fueled by the combination of critical rigor with an affective charge in their explorations of language, imperialism and counter-histories. Al Maria co-coined the term “Gulf Futurism” to describe the growing atomization of individuals and the shifting ground of urban planning, aesthetics, and media, and their impact on everyday life in the post-oil Persian Gulf. Her work has been exhibited internationally, including; Tate Britain, London, Julia Stoschek Collection, Dusseldorf, Project Native Informant, London, Whitechapel Gallery, London, Whitney Museum, NY, Palais de Tokyo, Paris, New Museum, NY and the Gwangju Biennale. Al Maria has an upcoming solo exhibition at GARAGE, Moscow.
Kapwani Kiwanga (b. Hamilton, Canada) lives and works in Paris. Kiwanga studied Anthropology and Comparative Religion at McGill University in Montreal and Art at l’école des Beaux-Arts de Paris.
In 2020, Kiwanga received the Prix Marcel Duchamp. She was also the winner of the Frieze Artist Award and the annual Sobey Art Award in 2018. Kiwanga’s work traces the pervasive impact of power asymmetries by placing historic narratives in dialogue with contemporary realities, the archive, and tomorrow’s possibilities. Her work is research-driven, instigated by marginalised or forgotten histories, and articulated across a range of materials and mediums including sculpture, installation, photography, video, and performance. Kiwanga co-opts the canon; she turns systems of power back on themselves, in art and in parsing broader histories. In this manner, Kiwanga has developed an aesthetic vocabulary that she described as “exit strategies,” works that invite one to see things from multiple perspectives so as to look differently at existing structures and find ways to navigate the future differently.
Jakob Kudsk Steensen
Jakob Kudsk Steensen is an artist working with environmental storytelling through 3d animation, sound and immersive installations. He creates poetic interpretations about overlooked natural phenomena through collaborations with field biologists, composers and writers. Projects are based on extensive fieldwork. Key collaborators include Composer and Musical Director for the Philip Glass Ensemble Michael Riesman, Ornithologist and author Dr. Douglas H. Pratt, Architect Sir David Adjaye OBE RA, BTS, the Cornell Lab of Ornithology, and the Natural History Museum London. Kudsk Steensen has recently exhibited interna- tionally at the Venice Biennale, the Serpentine Galleries, the PinchukArtCentre, MATADERO Madrid, Tranen Center for Contemporary Art, Pylon-Hub, SXSW, BRIC Brooklyn, the 5th Trondheim Biennale for Art and Technology, the Carnegie Museum of Art, MAXXI Rome, FRIEZE London, and OK Corral, among other institutions and festivals. Kudsk Steensen was most recently Artist-in-Residence at LUMA Arles in France, where he documented algae and crystallization processes across the Camargue wetland.
P. Staff (b. 1987, UK) lives and works in Los Angeles and London. P. Staff
studied at Goldsmiths College, London (2009), and was part of the Associate Artist Programme at LUX, London (2011). Through a varied interdisciplinary body of work, P. Staff interrogates notions of discipline, dissent, labour and queer identity. P. Staff has had solo exhibitions at Serpentine Galleries, London (2019); Irish Museum of Modern Art, Dublin (2019); Dundee Contemporary Arts, Scotland (2019); LUMA Westbau, Zürich, Switzerland (2019); Collective Gallery, Edinburgh, Scotland (2017); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles (2017); Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver, Canada (2016); Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK (2015); The Showroom Gallery, London, UK (2014); and Monte Vista Projects, Los Angeles (2012).