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Afra Eisma: Poke Press Squeeze Clasp

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Using craft techniques in novel ways, Afra Eisma explores and manifests personal stories through immersive and intimate installations made of textiles, sculptures, ceramics, and sound. Born and based in the Netherlands, inspiring her works are characters or imaginary friends that interweave sensuality with an intended lightheartedness. For 84 STEPS, the artist presents a specially commissioned environment designed to hold a variety of social activities, ranging from large-scale workshops to intimate conversations and educational activities. Responding to an increasing experience of uneasiness, isolation, and uncertainty, towards anything deemed extraneous to our familial environment, Eisma seeks to appease these maladies by fostering mutual understanding and shared experience through art.

Drawing on literature by influential female authors—amongst them, Audre Lorde and Ursula K. Le Guin—the artist interweaves characters drawn from her imagination with ideas provoked by their writing. Seeking to imbue the gallery with a certain liveliness and informality, Eisma creates a convivial gathering amongst alien beings, delighting in pleasures we are not yet able to amidst the pandemic, that of physical proximity, assembly, and embrace. Gathered around a floor tapestry, various environments are invoked; the domestic setting of a lounge or perhaps an outdoor campfire. Interlaced are a series of vessels: those figured within Eisma’s textile pieces, created from terracotta, and inferred by sound. The artist draws on the vessel as both a carrier and agent of imagination, thought, and feeling.

The artist would like to thank Mechteld Jungerius, who assisted in the making of the installation; Marnix van Uum, editor of the audio-work; and Nadie Borggreve, unofficial Head of the Alien Fashion Department.

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