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From the Portfolio of Freewill – Mariam Haji & Nural Moser w/performances by Alessandro Rauschmann & Natalia Korotyaeva

Please join us Friday, October 11th at 7 pm for the opening reception of 'From The Portfolio Of Freewill'
Mariam Haji, Nural Moser with Alessandro Rauschmann, Natalia Korotyaeva
Curated by Georgie Pope

Vernissage: Friday 11 October 2019, 19 – 22 H, performance at 21:30. Afterparty from 22 H with Bendik Giske (Powerline Agency), Dj Habibti, Naim and Panasiagirl (No Shade)

Running time: 11 October – 1 November 2019
Exgirlfriend Gallery, Lankwitzer Str. 14, 12107 Berlin

Female identity and empowerment under political, religious and gender power structures is the exploration of the next project on view at Exgirlfriend from 11.10 – 01.11 2019. Titled "From The Portfolio Of Freewill", curator Georgie Pope has focused on veiling as the specific tool for exhibition making, birthed from the visual language that is often synchronized in the works of Mariam Haji (b. Bahrain) and Nural Moser (b. Vienna), who will meet for the first time for the exhibition. "From The Portfolio Of Freewill" will feature new and existing video works from both artists, as well as a performance during the show’s opening, by the German-Russian duo Alessandro Rauschmann and Natalia Korotyaeva.

Mariam Haji is best known to international art audiences for her charcoal drawing “The Victory”, featured in the Bahrain Pavilion at the 55th Venice Biennale, 2013. In drawing, painting, sculpture, performance and video, Haji mixes art with ethnographic research and autobiographical stories in order to question cultural systems, habits, and assumptions. In “The Willingness to Act,” a video work in Bahrain by Haji and Rauschmann, Haji veiled in the Daffa, leads Rauschmann on his hands and knees through the desert - a reinterpretation of the 1968 performance by Valie Export, “Aus der Mappe der Hundigkeit” (From the Portfolio of Doggedness). The result is a work that examines the dynamics of gender and space within Bahraini culture.

“Freedom is not defined by Safety – Safety is defined by Freedom”. Under this code of conduct, Nural Moser started her ongoing project “Safety Travelling” in 2016. With lavatory selfies, Moser documents her airplane travels while varying her cultural garb with her persona as the veiled woman. Raised in Austria, Moser’s practice is informed by the story of her Syrian father, who migrated to Vienna in the late 1970s. There he met Moser’s Austrian mother in the feminist center of Vienna’s squatted cultural venue WUK. The crossing of Eastern and Western borders, as well as institutional authority, is thus a natural topic for Moser. Exhibited at Exgirlfriend will be selected “Safety Travelling” selfies and video works such as “Evet until Hajir” (“Yes until No”), in which Moser examines political codes communicated by society. Her concepts deal with humanism, political philosophy, inclusive feminism and sexual sensitive reading of religious writings.

The 21.30 H performance by Rauschmann and Korotyaeva is being newly conceived, as a gestural interpretation of the Email and WhatsApp correspondence that has unfolded between Haji, Moser and Pope during the research and art-making phase of their project. Pope has provided source material to Haji and Moser for further discussion, raising issues such as cultural appropriation, exoticization, and the risk of commodifying the identities of the oppressed. As a result of this exchange, Haji and Moser are also creating a new, shared artwork, a 3-person game of chess.

As a continuation of the exhibition’s exploration, "From The Portfolio Of Freewill" will also include an afterparty on location from 22:00 H with live music acts. Bendik Giske (Powerline Agency) will transition the exhibition into the afterparty, using his saxophone with physicality, vulnerability and endurance as tools for expression. Non-binary rapper and producer Naim will also perform live, with DJ Habibti and Panasiagirl (No Shade) continuing the afterparty with a genre-bending exploration including RnB, arab, dancehall, hybrid club, trance and rave.

Georgie Pope is Curator of Independent Collectors, the non-commercial global guide to private collections of contemporary. Born in Australia and based in Berlin, Pope is also an art mediator at Berlin’s Boros Collection and assisted Haji on “The Victory” project. In curating exhibitions, her interests lie in further activation of artists’ practices through experimental programming and public engagement.

All are welcome to stay late and join in the portfolio of freewill!