FOR text by Dieter Roelstraete
This exhibition coupled the work of Chicago-based Israeli photo-artist Assaf Evron with that of Slovak feminist video pioneer Anna Daučíková. The immediate occasion for this pairing was a shared interest in Soviet-era artists of little renown but substantial visual impact: Ukrainian native Valery Lamakh (1925–1978), best remembered for his decorative tilework on Kiev’s Stalin-era residential buildings, and Israeli muralist Shlomo Eliraz (1912–1994), who created public artworks in Herzliya and Tel Aviv. Lamakh was the subject of Daučíková’s elegiac video installation Along the Axis of Affinity (2015). Eliraz’s oeuvre was the centerpiece of Evron’s large-scale, site-specific photo work, itself part of a larger inquiry into the lost utopia of 1970s urbanism. In revisiting the legacies of these forgotten artists, Daučíková Evron revisited the trials and tribulations of the public art complex at a time of dwindling opportunities for artistic thinking on an architectural scale. In addition to this coupling, Daučíková premiered five video vignettes in which she used books from her personal library to shed light on the puzzle of gender in Russian literature. On the Neubauer Collegium terrace Evron presented four new sculptures inspired by his ongoing research into vernacular architectural traditions. Consisting of brightly colored tiles reminiscent of Mediterranean street life, this suite of quasi-minimalist objects doubles as a backdrop for the social life of the Neubauer Collegium’s patio. The exhibition’s subtitle, FOR, paid homage to the propositional nature of these artists’ projects and practices. Whether they salvage little-known pioneers from certain art-historical oblivion or re-energize the worn-out utopian aspiration of dissolving art into life and vice versa, Daučíková and Evron both stand “for” something or someone: art, artists.