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The Stillness of a Departure
Mirak Jamal, Anna Ročňová, Sung Tieu
24. 5. - 15. 7. 2017
text and curated by Christina Gigliotti

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Heels slap the pavement – yours. Fruit is rotting in the refrigerator, and someone speaks calmly in an indeterminable language. The stillness of your departure blankets everything.

On a walk ­I notice the street debris under my shuffling feet. Staying still makes the whirlwind come into focus. There are personal touches on yellowing doorways. Greetings. Someone is sitting and waiting, shifting his eyes, scanning.

Looking too long at thrown out mattresses on the street makes me feel like a voyeur getting an uninvited glimpse of a naked belly. I’m fixated on the stains and rips and indentations from encounters. Sleep, make-up smudges, stray curly hairs. Imaginary feet are entwined.

You’re all alone on a 747, and you made the mistake of bringing your old self to the new place. You are a self-imposed exile, trying to understand what it means to arrive and depart.  



This exhibition sprung from conversations with Sung Tieu about her life and work, which are inextricably intertwined. Tieu migrated from Vietnam to Germany when she was 5 years old with her mother. Part of the way, they traveled on foot through Czech forests to reach the German border. Her works serve as the base for the exhibition The Stillness of a Departure, which deals with movement, memory, and the silence in between coming and going.

Tieu commissioned the nail panels in the exhibition to be painted by employees of a few nail salons in Germany, which are mainly run by Vietnamese people. She gave them blank metal sheets, and asked them to paint whatever they wished. The intention was to engage with this community and offer them an opportunity to express themselves on a larger format than usual. The results were surprising, beautiful, sometimes funny. I was moved by the idea of this self-expression, which then lead me to start organizing this exhibition around artists who seemed to carve out a place for themselves using their experiences, memories, and often shifting surroundings.

Through Mirak Jamal's work, one can notice motifs of moving bodies, nods to the recent past, and figures struggling to fit into rigid architectural structures, sometimes appearing to burst out of them.The work of Anna Ročňová can be seen as a gathering, an endeavor to create something from the materials that surround her in every day life. In this case, nature and man-made materials layer on top of one another, referring to a kind of slow accumulation that happens as time passes. 



Mirak Jamal (Canadian) was born 1979 in Tehran, Iran, and currently lives and works in Berlin. His artistic practice predominantly comprises of drawing, collage, sculpture, and site-specific installation. He has shown his work internationally with recent solo exhibitions: Mother! Minsk! Where are you! at Galerie Sultana in Paris, France (2016), Mirak Djamal, IRONIMUS '91 at Rolando Anselmi in Berlin (2016), and BRUSSELS OCT. 29TH, 2015 at MonCheri in Brussels, Belgium (2015). Selected recent group exhibitions include Black Hole Sun at The Loon in Toronto, Canada (2016), Dream Song 386 at Cooper Cole in Toronto, Canada (2015), Conflicting Evidence and An Account of Discovery and Wonder at 1857 in Oslo, Norway (2015). 

Anna Ročňová was born 1989 in Trutnov, Czech Republic, and lives and works in Prague. Her mixed media sculptures combine organic as well as manufactured gathered materials, which allude to a focus on collecting, daily activities, and grappling with the passage of time.  She has shown her work in solo exhibitions such as Taking a Bath and Moisturizing at Jeleni Gallery in Prague, CZ (2015), and group exhibitions including Against Nature: Young Czech Art Scene at the National Gallery in Prague, CZ (2016), Herbarium at Altán Klamovka Gallery, Prague, (CZ), and Subversive Tactics at the Czech Center New York in New York City, USA (2015).

Sung Tieu (German) was born 1987 in Vietnam and lives and works in London. Her artistic practice is expressed through a wide range of media including video, performance, written prose, and sculpture. Her practice exists through a series of geographic displacements: between her birthplace, Vietnam, her respective home city, Berlin and internationalized culture she later grew up in. Recent solo exhibitions and performances include Music Performance at Hamburger Kunstverein in Hamburg, Germany (2017), Between Your Parted Legs at the Royal Academy of Arts in London, UK (2017), Memory Dispute at Sfeir Semler Gallery in Hamburg/Beirut (2017) and Emotion Refuge at
Micky Schubert Gallery in Berlin, Germany (2015).