NIKA Project Space is proud to announce its fourth exhibition, I Can No Longer Produce the Limits of My Own Body, opening on 15 November 2023. Put together by independent curator and art critic Nadine Khalil, the group show will feature seven artists delving into practices that explore the body as an expanded site and medium; Liane Al Ghusain, Mirna Bamieh, Isaac Sullivan, Dalia Khalife, Sara Nirookbaksh, Lilia Ziamou and Christiane Peschek each question what defines the limits of our bodies and probe the anatomical, animal, material and technological aspects of embodiment.
Palestinian-Kuwaiti textile artist and writer Liane Al Ghusain explores a number of forms including video, sculpture, and text to research the fields of mysticism, feminism, post-colonialism, and science fiction. Mirna Bamieh, renowned for her socially engaged work, is the founder of the Palestine Hosting Society, a live art project and platform for interaction she founded in 2018 to collect Palestinian recipes on the verge of disappearing. Through her work, Bamieh explores the politics of disappearance and memory production by unpacking the social concerns and limitations of Palestinian communities amid contemporary political dilemmas. Lebanese artist and scenographer Dalia Khalife, a recipient of the Home Workspace Program (HWP) Fellowship from Ashkal Alwan, The Lebanese Association for Plastic Arts in Beirut, is known for her installations, site-specific interventions, paintings and performative gestures which examine psychophysiological happenings as well as elements of spectacle and play within power structures, social events, and rituals. Abu Dhabi-based Iranian-Canadian artist Sara Niroobakhsh, whose performative and visual concepts engage the globalizing feminine psyche, references the notion of cultural objects through installations and performance layered with her own technology and science-based interventions. Greek-American New York-based artist Lilia Ziamou explores how technology can transcend the biological and ideological constraints that shape the body in digital paintings, sculptures and drawings. Christiane Peschek, an artist who lives and works in The Cloud, produces multi-sensory installation and retouched self-portraits observing the possibilities of online and offline intertwined lifestyles. Isaac Sullivan is a Dubai-based multimedia artist whose work explores emerging technologies and cybernetics and engages with ecological thought and AI’s impact on images, data, territory, and observation.
For I Can No Longer Produce the Limits of My Own Body, Mirna Bamieh will present Sour Things: The Kitchen, a multimedia installation originally commissioned for Sharjah Biennial 15: Thinking Historically in the Present (February-June 2023) under the name Sour Things: The Souq. This captivating piece is comprised of drawings, ceramics, text, video and ferments, and highlights the process of fermentation as a method for sharpening our propensity for listening, learning, and caring. This second iteration of Sour Things is produced by NIKA Project Space in collaboration with UAE-based artist Isaac Sullivan, and takes a raw approach to ingestion/digestion, human and non-human. “The body expands into a kitchen,” explains Bamieh, “becoming a stage of rawness, in which revealing and confessing is constructed over eating, devouring on one hand, preservation, transformation and decay on the other. The excess will reveal its sourness if only one looks long enough.”
Sara Niroobakhsh will share The Tabalvour (2020), a project unveiling the profound symbolism of crystallization, referencing the artist’s mother’s eight-year medical journey and battle with cancer. In the performance-video, Niroobakhsh crafts saffron-infused crystals on selected objects reminiscent of her mother’s room and explores the transformative power of crystallization by documenting the crystallization of her skin submerged in hot saturated sodium borate and saffron.
Lilia Ziamou will present a new iteration of a series she created related to bones as a metaphor for the body. She has developed a unique technique, scanning the bones of anatomical models used in medical schools and using 3D printing techniques to created textured sculptures. By combining classical techniques such as stone carving, casting and draping with digital fabrication, digital imaging and synthetic materials, Ziamou’s process leads to multiple transformations that allude to the body shaped through technological interventions.
Dalia Khalife will present a performance which sets her physical movements to the backdrop of her life size digital avatars, raising questions on the boundaries and the liminal spaces between the human form and technology. The performance is tied a project Khalife produced in Beirut exploring “sweat” as a political and paradoxical condition, through which she weaves a choreographic language from a bodily archive, while contemplating how the body embodies the extremity of states such as ecstasy, abjection, elation and grief.
Liane Al Ghusain’s Womb Amulets is a series of 29 stitched pink stoneware for each of the Palestinian women imprisoned in illegal occupier prisons as of January 2023, a response to the conditions of female political prisoners, who are cuffed to hospital beds by their hands and feet while giving birth. The amulets are abstracted wombs, each one containing the name of a prisoner among other information.
Through immersive installations and self-portraits, Christiane Peschek evokes somatic, ephemeral states and explores various forms of digital consciousness through poly-sensory experiences that encourage self-reflection and self-awareness. In a phygital “hyper-now”, the artist designs spaces in a contemporary present marked by intimacy that create dialogues between humans and technology.
Veronika Berezina, NIKA Project Space founder, says: “With I Can No Longer Produce the Limits of My Body, we are interested in researching bodily practices in the era of technology – how the body ferments the outside world and what are its boundaries. The exhibition brings together outstanding artists from the Global South and the rest of the world, thus expanding on our gallery’s mission of providing a platform for amplifying the voices of practitioners from the Global South and drawing attention to their probing practices.”
Nadine Khalil, independent curator and art critic, says: “While I Can No Longer Produce the Limits of My Own Body features predominantly women-centric perspectives, the works are not about the gendered body per se. Rather, they take a post-human perspective of entanglement and fluidity and interrogate the notion of boundaries by creating unique and site-specific architectures of occupying space – whether this is building a kitchen for fermentation or creating the material manifestations of grief.”
The exhibition runs at NIKA Project Space in Al Khayat Avenue until 7 January 2024.
Press release from NIKA Project Space