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Conflictual Distance

As part of The Immigrant Artist Biennial 2023: Contact Zone. EFA PROJECT SPACE 323 W 39th St, New York, NY 10018.

November 16, 2023 - January 6, 2024
Curators: Bianca Abdi-Boragi, Katherine Adams, and Anna Mikaela Ekstrand
Maria Kulikovska, Watercolors on the Paper, Received from Migration Offices series, 29,7 x 21 cm each, 2020-now.
Photo sourse: @theimmigrantartistbiennial
Installation View
by Julia Gillard
Conflictual Distance probes concrete approaches to presenting distant conflicts to local publics. The exhibition considers conflict through the lens of political exile and cultural diasporas, focusing on immigrant artists' experimental approaches to processing distant conflicts in local contact zones. When exhibitions are so often asked to carry out various forms of site-specific placemaking, called on to speak to an immediately present public, how can we make visible those experiences that are not fully legible from within an exhibition site's immediate surroundings? Whether the conflicts they address are personal or collective, each artist in Conflictual Distance tackles how the mediation of distant conflict pushes images to their infrastructural limit. Confronting the risk of their references becoming dislocated and decontextualized – misunderstood in their "foreign" setting – the media in these artists' works become modes of inscribing "elsewhere" here, where we find ourselves in the present. The cumulative effect of such exercises is to fashion a layered sense of place that can tackle critical issues, unbound to strict divisions between locality or foreignness.

The second edition of TIAB: Contact Zone centers U.S. and international immigrant and exiled artists, and explores how storytelling, embodied memory, and projections of diasporic futures can be strategies for straddling different cultural and political terrains. TIAB 2023, co-curated by Katherine Adams, Bianca Abdi-Boragi and Anna Mikaela Ekstrand, presents: Contact Zones (exhibitions), Field Work (panels), and Arena (performances and screenings), taking place across seven venues, including: Brooklyn Museum, EFA Project Space, NARS Foundation Gallery, Artists Alliance Cuchifritos Gallery + Project Space, Wendy's Subway, Alchemy Gallery, and Accent Sisters in addition to a Field Guide (catalog), from September 8 2023 - January 2024, presenting 48 artists from over 35+ countries.