Roman Fine Art is pleased to present Deconstructing Borders: The Flux of Dissent, its first solo project with Elektra KB, opening Friday, January 27th, 6-8 pm, and running through February 19th.
Elektra KB, born in Odessa, Ukraine, is a Colombian artist living and working in Berlin and New York. KB’s body of work is of a performative nature in the thread of the post-colonial discourse and uses the platform of the personal mythology: The Theocratic Republic of Gaia, a Utopian-Dystopian world.
Deconstructing Borders: The Flux of Dissent speaks to issues about migration, mobility, transculturality, and a sense of place. The discourse is informed by the current experience of migrant women. This year is seeing a refugee and migrant crisis all over the world. Our current President Elect-- aided by the media-- is a symbolic figure, who plays a key role in constructing the fear of immigration which is fed to the American public. Plans of building a wall to separate the USA and Mexico are strongly being considered. Over 35,000 refugees and migrants died in their attempt to reach or stay in Europe since 2000, with 2016 being the deadliest year by far. Money is being lavishly spent on detention centers, on walls being erected and even artificial sniffers that can smell refugees and migrants trying to hide at border crossing points are being developed in Europe. The post-modern hybridization of culture is fueled with violence and power struggles.
Many of the works included in Deconstructing Borders have culminated from KB’s year-long fellowship in Berlin. During this time, KB traveled to what she perceived as a mutant city, where east meets west. Driven by the interest of unpacking her own conflicted feelings of sense-of-place and home of an Odessa born Latin-American living in New York and her interest in the issue of migration. KB researched the experiences of migrant women from post-colonial societies focusing specifically on Latin-America, in the context of a city that is a post-soviet hybrid. KB undertook the task of interviewing several women who left their countries for a variety of reasons, existential, economic, psychological and political persecution. She created works in response to this research. Each work is inspired and/or performed based on an individual story, or a collective story. Textile, photography and video are her primary mediums.
Deconstructing Borders: The Flux of Dissent features six new GIFs highlighting Elektra KB’s fantastical world, The Theocratic Republic of Gaia, or T.R.O.G. for short. The T.R.O.G., plays with critical humor and the aesthetics of colonial art tropes and the insurgent struggle KB grew up with. The Papesse, the veiled women, the guerrilla fighter are represented here as well as pre-Hispanic imagery and the cross-- an autobiographical nod to her upbringing in a rural hospital in Colombia. The T.R.O.G. serves as an allegorical homeland created from a sense of necessity—the artist has spent most of her life as a migrant. Anxieties over oppression—from religious authority to gender/racial inequality—are battled out in KB’s fictional country. KB has perhaps best summarized the urgency of her militant aesthetic by quoting Frantz Fanon from his 1961 book The Wretched of the Earth: “Either one must remain terrified or become terrifying.”
Elektra KB received a DAAD award to pursue a visual arts fellowship with professor Hito Steyerl at Berlin University of the Arts. In 2016 She received her MFA from Hunter college. Her work has been written about in ARTnews and she was named an artist to watch by British art critic Zoe Pilger, in the Independent Newspaper in 2015. Her GIFs and films have been featured in Art F City’s acclaimed, Geographically Indeterminate Fantasies: The Animated GIF as Place curated by Paddy Johnson and Rea McNarama and at Moving Image Istanbul. KB has shown at Gaia Gallery in Istanbul, Bravin Lee Programs in NY, Untitled, Miami and the Istanbul Contemporary Art fair. Her work will be included in the El Museo Biennial in New York in 2017. Eight works by KB were just acquired by the Yinchuan Museum of Contemporary Art in China.