COLLECTIVE BECOMING: Expressions of Love, Freedom and Resistance

Date: Saturday, December 10, 2016 – 12:00pm
Sullivan Galleries, School of the Art Institute of Chicago
Location: Chicago (IL) - USA


A Performance Art Experiment and Exhibition curated by Verónica Peña

Featuring Artists:
Hector Canonge, Kathryn Cellerini Moore, Joseph Ravens, and Kledia Spiro

Reception: December 10, 2016 12:00 - 2:00 pm
Sullivan Galleries (33 S. State Street, 7th floor, Chicago)

"The search for peace and harmony is an endless human endeavor. I feel that we live in an increasingly violent and unstable time, and I think it is important to counteract violence and fear by promoting art performances that inspire tolerance and mutual understanding." Verónica Peña, Curator of Collective Becoming

Collective Becoming is an ongoing Performance Art initiative of international scope that wants to contribute to the abovementioned endeavor by fostering collaboration amongst artists to promote empathy, freedom, and human unity. Expressions of Love, Freedom and Resistance is the second project to be developed under the umbrella of Collective Becoming. The first project, called The Urban Caress, took place in 2015 in Berlin, Germany, as part of the Month of Performance Art. Through an open call, The Urban Caress invited artists to create art performances that would transform the city into a less hostile place.

Collective Becoming: Expressions of Love, Freedom and Resistance is a Performance Art experiment and exhibition. Artists living in different locations within the United States were asked to enact a performance in a space of public use in the area where they live. Purposely with almost no other information than the title of the call, artists Hector Canonge (New York), Kathryn Cellerini Moore (Oregon), Joseph Ravens (Illinois), and Kledia Spiro (Massachusetts) were invited by curator Verónica Peña (Indiana) to perform, and video document their performances. The exhibition at SAIC Sullivan Galleries presents the video documentation that the artists themselves edited of their performances. Peña's idea of instigating public expressions of love, freedom and resistance in multiple locations within the United States was partially motivated by a desire of sending a positive response to the uncertainty caused in the country by the current socio political atmosphere. Peña is currently a Visiting Artist at the SAIC Art As A Social Force: Experimental Exercises Of Freedom class. 

Special thanks to Drea Howenstein and Trevor Martin.

Artists' Biographies: 

Hector Canonge is an interdisciplinary artist, curator, and cultural entrepreneur based in New York City. His work incorporates the use of new media technologies, cinematic narratives, performance, and socially engaged art to explore and treat issues related to constructions of identity, gender roles, and the politics of migration. Challenging the white box settings of a gallery or a museum, or intervening directly in public spaces, his performances mediate movement, endurance, and ritualistic processes. His installations, interactive platforms, and performance art work have been exhibited and presented in the United States, Latin America, Europe, and Asia. As cultural entrepreneur, Canonge created the annual Performance Art Festival, ITINERANT, and directs the programs ARTerial PERFORMANCE LAB (APLAB), a transcontinental initiative to foster collaboration among performance artists from the Americas; PERFORMEANDO, a program that focuses on featuring Hispanic performance artists living in the USA and Europe, and PERFORMAXIS, an international residency program in collaboration with galleries and art spaces in Latin America. Canonge teaches Media Arts at City University of New York, and conducts workshops in Performance Art as a guest artist for universities and cultural organizations. From his living-studio in Queens, MODULO 715, Canonge directs projects, programs, and initiatives like CONVIVIR, the international residency program for co-habitation and collaboration, and the new Performance Art initiatives TALKaCTIVE, LiVEART.US, and CENTIPDE hosted at Queens Museum, the Bronx Museum of the Arts, and JACK respectively. The artist is currently finishing his long term Franklin Furnace Award project, LABoRAL to be presented at Glasshouse Project on December 20, 2016.

Kathryn Cellerini Moore explores the ways formative experiences continually effect health, behavior and worldview. Her time as a research assistant working with young teenagers in a stress and coping laboratory, in addition to her ongoing health concerns, give Moore the firsthand experience and understanding that body, mind, and environment are an intertwined ecosystem. Moore derives her imagery from photos of her childhood and constructs objects and performances intended for self-reflection and healing. She believes that openly sharing thoughts, emotions and coping strategies through the transformative process of making art is important in a culture that prefers emotions be masked or tucked away from the public realm. Moore participated in The Month of Performance Art in Berlin, Germany and the Does Live Art Have to Be Experienced Live? performance series at SOIL Gallery in Seattle, WA. Exhibition venues have included Duplex Gallery in Portland, OR; The Schneider Museum of Art in Ashland, OR; The McDonough Museum of Art in Youngstown, OH; Center of Contemporary Art (CoCA) in Seattle, WA; Hunter College Times Square Gallery in NY, NY; and Besse Gallery at Bay College, Escanaba, MI. Moore was recently an artist-in-residence at PLAYA Summer Lake, and is currently the artist-in-residence for TEDxSalem. 

Joseph Ravens (b.1968) has presented his work throughout Asia, Europe, South America, and the US. He studied audiovisuals at the Gerrit Rietveld Academie in Amsterdam, Netherlands, and is a graduate of The School of the Art Institute of Chicago with an MFA in Performance. Ravens is a two-time recipient of the Illinois Arts Council Fellowship for Performance Art and New Performance Forms. Other grants, awards, and opportunities have allowed him to build an international reputation. Ravens was included in Live Biennale Vancouver (Canada 2015); 20th Bienal Internacional de Curitiba (Brazil 2013); Venice International Performance Art Week (Italy 2012); and Intrude: Art and Life 366 at Zendai MoMA, Shanghai (China 2008). Ravens is founder and director of Defibrillator Gallery, and co-founder and director of Rapid Pulse International Performance Art Festival. He is recognized for his work as an artist, an educator, and a curator.

Kledia Spiro (1987, Tirana, Albania) creates videos, performances, installations, and paintings. Kledia was born in Albania and was part of an olympic weightlifting team. She uses weightlifting as a symbol of survival, empowerment and celebration. Weightlifting becomes a vehicle for discussing women's role in society, immigration and times of war. Spiro explores the connection between weightlifting, folk dance and daily life as a new celebratory ritual for understanding the relationship between the artist and her parents, as well as the present and the past. By experimenting with indeterminate methods, Spiro wants the viewer to access the otherwise inaccessible spaces. Her works are based on Freudian and Piagetian behavioral concepts: visions that reflect psycho-analysis, behavioral psychology, and a sensation of indisputability, combined with details of odd, eccentric, absurd, totemic and humoristic elements. By questioning where one is and the concept of movement, Spiro investigates the manipulation of lifting objects overhead and it's effects. Spiro received her MFA from the School of the Museum of Fine Arts and Tufts University. She also received the Museum Studies Certificate from Tufts University in 2015. She has a BA from The College of the Holy Cross in Studio Art and Psychology with an Asian Studies Concentration. 

Verónica Peña is an interdisciplinary artist from Spain based in Indiana. Peña's work explores the themes of absence, separation, and the search for harmony through performance art. Her recent work consists of experimental participatory performances that create shared moments amongst strangers. Peña studied Fine Arts at The Polytechnic University of Valencia, Spain, with a concentration on Painting. She earned her Master of Fine Arts degree at Stony Brook University, New York, focusing on installation and performance art. Peña has performed in Spain, Germany, Italy, South Korea, Chile, Argentina, and the United States. In New York, her work has been featured at the Queens Museum, Grace Exhibition Space, Momenta Art Gallery, The Lab Gallery, Times Square Alliance, the Armory Show, DUMBO Arts Center, and numerous galleries. In Spain, her work was exhibited at Casa de America, Fundacion Antonio Saura, Museo Orus, and Fundacion Caja Rioja amongst others. She was a recipient of the Socrates and Erasmus Grants, and a Universidad Complutense de Madrid Fellowship. She was a candidate for the Dedalus Foundation Grant, and an Artist-in- Residence at Vermont Studio Center. She published "The Presence Of The Absent", a thesis about her body of work. She curates "Collective Becoming", an initiative to promote human unity. She is a Visiting Artist at The School of the Art Institute of Chicago class Art As A Social Force. She is currently at work on her new project about freedom, fear, and resistance, "The Substance of Unity".


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