David Levine: Installation Art at ECLA

On Thursday the 25th of January students participating in the Installation Art class shared their projects with the community. This being their first exhibition, the students channelled their enthusiasm into (as many of them later described it) “the perfect opportunity to express creativity”. According to David Levine, the course tutor, the class presents students with the opportunity to “get conceptual autonomy; the chance to work with their hands, show their work, and acquire fairly versatile technical knowledge”. How students relate to installation art is what we tried to learn by interviewing some of them about the concepts and techniques employed in their first works.

Anca Rujoiu (2007, Romania) describes her interest in being creative as a result of having accumulated a lot of information at ECLA and now feeling the need to translate this into an expressive language. Her installation focused on the contrast between the interior and exterior of the medium, as if “two people inhabited the same body in a state of constant tension”. While this tension was transferred to objects, the human dimension of the work made use of two voices in a dialogue taken from Hemingway’s short story Hills Like White Elephants. As the conflict between the voices becomes more acute, the objects themselves deteriorate.

The Installation class was one of the major factors for Mariam Gagoshashvili’s (2007, Georgia) decision to study at ECLA. She had always practiced painting and had a strong interest in installation art. Her installation exposed the automatic processes that take place inside the human body. “Everyday things that we do without conscious intervention may be rather complex and sometimes involve so much effort on behalf of our bodies” she explained. Her construction represented an oesophagus accompanied by voices describing dysfunctions of the digestive system.

‘Don’t be afraid’ was repeated in the sound installation made by Lia Tarkhan-Mouravi (2007, Georgia). A chair enclosed in a cage of bars, resembling a prison cell, made people “want to look for themselves at what was happening inside”, while sound travelled all around the enclosure, as if discussing the content of the cell. “Some visitors thought it was scary, in spite of the voice that kept telling them to have no fear”, stated Lia about her project. She intended to avoid giving her work explicit meanings and provoked spectators to bring forth their own interpretations.

The first installation exhibition this year paved the way for three more shows that are to follow over the course of this term. As David Levine explained, the overall aim of the elective is for the “participants to be able to obsess over their own issues, content-wise”. We are all looking forward to see their ‘artistic obsessions’ in the next shows.

By Clara Sigheti (2007, Romania)

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