Swashbuckling at Galerie Juliette Jongma

Artists: Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert

Exhibition title: Swashbuckling

Venue: Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Date: November 24, 2017 – January 6, 2018

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artists and Galerie Juliette Jongma

Within Swashbuckling you are caught up in a slightly sinister, yet spontaneous clash of performative demeanors of works by artists Astrit Ismaili, Sophier Serber and the Quistrebert brothers, entangling heroic yet vulnerable (meta)narratives on family affairs, gender, and body politics and the parameters of the flat surface.

Love research is a one take video by Astrit Ismaili (1991, Kosovo), wherein the artist sings a song and is dressed up as a highly pregnant Venus-like persona, surrounded by a crowd of elderly admirers performing a synchronized choreography. Within his practice Ismaili operates between visual art, theatre and pop culture, and is interested in the concept of ‘becoming’ against the backdrop of the moral standards of society. In his performative works Ismaili often creates melancholic utopias for the urban landscape, by using the potential of the abandoned space as a stage, and by profiling the self – and others surrounding the artists in his work – as a nonexcluding collage of gender, age and being.

In the gallery Ismaili’s soft and whispering singing voice dissolves into the sound of an ultra monotonous monologue, coming from Sophie Serber’s sound piece not remain located in the back of the space. Within this work the artist reads out loud pages from a book written by her mother, whereby her voice has been distorted, and is slightly modified in slow motion, resulting in an unheimisch, and yawning kind of mantra. The sound work is part of a series of works Serber made for her final presentation at the Rietveld academy last summer, for which she won the GRA Award for autonomous art. The series consists of tapestries of colouring books, an air conditioner and monochrome peanut butter surfaces, that arose out of an obligated period of minimalized brain activity to recover from a concussion. The attitude deriving from the pace of her voice balances between boredom and contains a post-modernist and rebellious attitude against the artistic endeavour of her ancestors, in this case her own mother. An act of ridiculing existing relationships as part of the coming to age, or coming to whatever you take a stand for, which is also strongly present in Ismaili’s work and that of the Quistrebert Brothers.

The art practice of Florian & Michael Quistrebert is rooted in the tradition of geometrical-abstract art and opt-art from the sixties and seventies, translated to the post-everything era within the parameters of the painterly surface. At the back of the gallery space, alongside Serber’s distorted voice, the brothers present a new body of paintings combined with fabrics, that are enhanced through black light. The black light highlights the works as being in the spot light, and minimalizes the presence of their surroundings, leaving merely no other than the surface itself and its legendary aura for further contemplation. The Quistreberts often ‘entertain’ or activate the flat surface in a performative manner, and deliberately push and mystify the boundaries between what is considered ‘high’ and ‘low’ art.

Swashbuckling is a literature and film genre, portraying a moralist, often armed, hero. The clash of the three practices within this exhibition, creates a spooky suspense, that might be reminiscent of a haunted scene requesting a heroic swashbuckler. Not necessarily to rescue you from the unknown, but to tell you it is all fine when things do not make any sense to you. As it will always do make sense to someone else.

-Jeanine Hofland

Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Swashbuckling, 2017, exhibition view, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Swashbuckling, 2017, exhibition view, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Swashbuckling, 2017, exhibition view, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Swashbuckling, 2017, exhibition view, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Swashbuckling, 2017, exhibition view, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Swashbuckling, 2017, exhibition view, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Swashbuckling, 2017, exhibition view, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Swashbuckling, 2017, exhibition view, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Swashbuckling, 2017, exhibition view, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Swashbuckling, 2017, exhibition view, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Swashbuckling, 2017, exhibition view, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Swashbuckling, 2017, exhibition view, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Swashbuckling, 2017, exhibition view, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Swashbuckling, 2017, exhibition view, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Swashbuckling, 2017, exhibition view, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Astrit Ismaili, Sophie Serber, Florian and Michael Quistrebert, Swashbuckling, 2017, exhibition view, Galerie Juliette Jongma, Amsterdam

Nemesis, performance by Astrit Ismaili, 2017

Nemesis, performance by Astrit Ismaili, 2017

Nemesis, performance by Astrit Ismaili, 2017

Nemesis, performance by Astrit Ismaili, 2017

Nemesis, performance by Astrit Ismaili, 2017

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