Dionisis Chistofilogiannis: Hi Ruyin, I would like to ask you to talk briefly about your biography.
Ruyin Nabizadeh: It’s a pleasure! Thank you so very much for giving us such an amazing time and space to be showcasing
alongside one another in Athens and the chance to be meeting you. I’m currently based in London and in my final year of MA in sculpture at Slade School of Fine Art, UCL. From 2016 I’ve been working closely with the Gold Figure, a collective of two curators Adele Coachline and Julia Thoma which have helped put together exhibitions with Ellie Antoniou, Clementine Bruno. Touring our each other’s hometowns which gave an interesting, quasi-speculative/ fictitious mode of working since I’ve know Ellie and Clementine from early years of bachelor’s studies at Goldsmiths, so it’s been almost working with perhaps a second-hand knowledge or rather experience of places we were going to engage with. Alongside my artistic practice, and soon after finishing my foundation at Cambridge School of Visual and Performing Arts, I engaged with more curatorial practices and in 2014 won the British Council grant to tour LongPlayer project, an art piece composed by Jem Finer that was commissioned by the Artangel for the new millennium and is ongoing for this millennium! Touring Longplayer to nine different across Iran for one year and working with independent spaces. Since early last year I’ve been working collaboratively on two projects with Clementine Bruno, one of them was exhibited recently in Paris at Sans titre.
DC: How would you describe your work?
RN: Practicing in the field of visual culture, and having been operating in two different socio-political economies, it has become more and more important to me to work in and around grappling with the ways in which visual informations are firstly inscribed and reinscribed but also how they reimpose modes of subject formations within the wider society. Thinking of visual culture and its mode of production as a way, perhaps could be argued, to contaminate and infect such tightly knitted structures of knowledge production through audio visual practices, although formal and informal art institutions, specially in post-secular societies, represent a great deal of appetite for this parasitic and rather fluid mode of interpretation and manifestation. During my research I became more focused towards the notion of hospitality, widely scrutinised by Jacques Derrida in his book Of Hospitality . 1 Looking at hospitality and what it stands against and in fact holds and carries with itself as opposed to what it offers to provide, namely of hostility, I was interested to draw on a wider scope of friend and foe; its implicit parameters of inclusion and exclusion that was also very proximate in what I knew from geopolitics of Greece and through my friendship with Ellie over the past years. Almost as a border which in itself then provides a space and a notion that is at once constructed with its own polar negations, or rather the utmost point of extremity which blurs its borders. Working with familiar objects and what they connote in our collective memory, such as serving tables, molded jellys, velvet cushions, etc. I’m drawn to the extremity where these objects and form no longer correspond to their expected affect of emphatic materiality. By that I mean the point or as a plane of coexistence how such recognisable universal signifiers could be freed and activated in a non-committal fashion as to be functioning in a lateral and non-hierarchical structure of themselves. Collapsing of binaries of what kind of object carries cultural capital in terms of objects versus images. Recently crucial in this constellation, is conventional relation between objects of interpretation in interdisciplinary art practices that of the viewer, which for me refers back to subject formation through interpretation of visual information. In the show there were distinct forms, or I hope them to be, as recognisable as in our collective memory and perhaps more loosely formal substitute, a kind of stand-ins, supplementing figurative rendered abstracted, like the hair line that for me resonate with the title I reply: by I want him to know (that) I wai him to know;
him to know; they saw it in a dream which was a collective title from our previous show in London at 59 Old Bethnal green. Perhaps a linguistic sense where there are multiple known things in play and also something more affectual and transient where the relation of sound and image of the words merge and are disseminated only to mimic the meaning without being bound to grammatical logic. In a similar vein and close to rethinking of Xenofeminism questioning of the very hegemony of the disc
ursive take on dualism and 2 working a possible immersion of non-human and non-animal thingness, the mode of actualisation of these forms, images and object are at stake. The relation between those that are made through more traditional techniques and their immediacy or translation and those that are translated and reconfigured through machinic and computer matrix, hierarchical relation between digestion versus machinic processes, machine versus nature and nature versus human.
DC: How you experienced the fact you exhibit in Athens a body of your work/research of the last months in London?
RN: It is so thrilling and almost a little scary working towards showing works made for places that I’ve had a certain affinity with because of my friends and people that I closely work with, getting to know their custom and living with their stories of those places, almost constructing something new that exists between us, somewhat similar to recalling lyrics of a song with one of your friends; seeing where you both stand. But better yet, we get to go back in time and live it anew! So Athens, in so many ways a lot for me, not only because of its similarities with my own city, Tehran, its people, urban design, its economical situation and exactly being
not that. On the other hand it’s been immensely inspiring how visitors picked up various areas of interest with a high consciousness regarding their origins, how they are made and the fact that were are currently on a visit middle of our studies and what this showcasing meant for both of us and specially the young public which gave a real and fresh perspective on speculating and reading about Greece but more specifically the recent interest in Greece as a bristling art scene. So all in all it was such a mega tese to be meeting such a place and its people for as long as we did!
DC: What is your view from the front? Do you have specific projects or goals that you are looking for in the near
RN: This question we would like to reply as a group.
Taking upon the your offer for the one month residency for space52, we have already started preparing for it and its consequent show: ALL DRESSED UP AND NOWHERE TO GO: THE SYMPOSIUM by THE THIRD POSSIBILITY
Revisiting the term ‘symposium’ and in fact its etymology: late 16th century (denoting a drinking party): via Latin from Greek sumposion, from sumpotēs ‘fellow drinker’, from sun- ‘together’ + potēs ‘drinker’, collectivity and crowd dynamic is key to our proposed project. We are considering the symposium’s multiple possible roots from various layer of origins: our research dating back to the Elefsinian Mysteries. Thus, the part of our title, ‘all dressed up and nowhere to go’, represents this regroupment of artworks as actant, waiting to be seen or looked at by an audience (or themselves), in an intertextual play (dialogue), engaging the works themselves, the artists, the audience and the space. To quote Ina Bloom essay “Media Animism: Rachel Harrison’s Living Images” : “Whenever you look there is appeal and beckoning, instruction and admonishment, a perpetual “look at me” as well as “do you see what I am seeing”1. Considering the symposium as a celebration, we thought of this form as a possible articulation for the show; this celebration forms through a set of sequences; a degenerative structure of distinct genres and forms of representation taking place in various locations and including different artistic practices. The project will aim to unfold a mode existence as being a state of ‘becoming’, a state when artworks become’ ‘alive’ differently, and thus in opposition to static modes of representation. Further from being a mode of existence materialized through the work themselves it will be emphasized by the core of the project itself as laying the ground for a non-conventional curatorial engagement. Thus, ‘All dress up and nowhere to go’, assembles a short-lived, yet ever evolving and malleable set of events.
1 Derrida, Jacques, and Anne Dufourmantelle. Of Hospitality. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press, 2000.
2 Hester, Helen. Xenofeminism . Newark: Polity Press, 2018.