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FOCUS with artists Beatriz Santiago Muñoz and Sam Samiee, and special guests Francis McKee and Elizabeth A. Povinelli

Live Book Tickets

Location: Auditorium, Kunstinstituut Melly
Free entrance, reservation required via the ticket link

Join us for FOCUS, a dive into our exhibitions together with special guests.

This special edition of FOCUS marks the launch of our autumn/winter exhibition program with a round-table conversation on intimate grammars – discussing works in film and painting through the politics of location, translation, day-dreaming, and resignification.

Audiences are welcome from 4 pm onwards for a preview of two exhibitions; The Navel of the Dream a solo exhibition by Puerto Rican artist and film-maker Beatriz Santiago Muñoz; and A Garden of Clouds, an Anchored-commission by Iranian painter Sam Samiee.

At 5 pm, a round-table will be held exploring these exhibitions and the dialogues between them, joined by special guests; writer and curator Francis Mc Kee (CCA Glasgow), and anthropologist and film-maker Elizabeth A. Povinelli (Columbia University / Karrabing Film Collective).

Presenting a body of new and existing work, Santiago Muñoz’s The Navel of the Dream addresses translation as a hybrid linguistic and territorial concern. Methodologically Santiago Muñoz explores a process of making work from different places in the Caribbean region, and how to speak and form coherence across these. The exhibition centers on a recent work El cuervo, la fosa y la yega / The Raven, the Trench, and the Mare (2021). The film focuses on an attempt to translate Marcel Proust’s famous fin de siècle exploration of self-narration and signification Á la temps perdu / In search of lost time into Haitian Kreyòl by playwright Guy Régis Jr.

Sam Samiee’s cycle of new painting A Garden of Clouds is similarly interested in signification and location, albeit among the layers of one site in particular. This is the current building of Kunstinstituut Melly which stands on the corner of its former namesake the Witte de Withstraat and the smaller and quieter Boomgaardsstraat or ‘Orchard Street’. This used to be the perimeter of a Botanical Garden up until the neighborhood was urbanized following tuberculosis and cholera outbreaks. In A Garden of Clouds, the artist draws upon his psychoanalytic training to welcome a collective renegotiation of the colonial patriarch as a symbolic father through daydream and ‘floating signifiers’.

Francis McKee is a renowned writer and critic, and director of the CCA Glasgow. His essay ‘Universal Copernican Mumbles’ was published as part of Munoz’s monograph A Universe of Mirrors published by the Perez Art Museum (Miami). The term ‘intimate grammars’ is borrowed from Elizabeth A. Povinelli’s text of the same title, which discusses the emergence of a coherent and durable subject through language in light of the non-translatability of colonial space-time and territory.

The program will be moderated by Research and Programs Manager Vivian Ziherl, who will be joined by Annalee Davis and Iyawo (Holly Bynoe) from Sour Grass. Santiago Muñoz’s The Navel of the Dream is presented as part of Gatherings and Passages, a long-term collaboration between Sour Grass and Kunstinstituut Melly creating a dialogue between the Netherlands and the Caribbean.

Following the round-table audiences are welcome to join the exhibition opening festivities from 6 pm. Please stay tuned for a future FOCUS program delving into the solo exhibition by Pablo Castañeda, also as part of our autumn/winter exhibition program.

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