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Mikhail Karikis
I Hear You
28 September 2019 – 19 January 2020
First floor gallery
De La Warr Pavilion, Bexhill on Sea

A new moving image commission developed in collaboration with Project Art Works.

When another human being approaches and you are face to face … you are under an obligation to respond … so that she or he might be heard.
Philosophers Jean-Luc Nancy and Ann Smock

This autumn sees the launch of a major commission by Mikhail Karikis that explores the relationship between listening and care. Karikis’ new moving image installation has developed with Project Art Works, an artist-led organisation in Hastings that collaborates with people with complex support needs. Focusing on interactions between carers and non-verbal people who use Project Art Works’ studio spaces, Karikis invites us to pay attention to the sensitive tuning-in of support workers, artists and family members to those they support – a precarious role that is often invisible, misunderstood and undervalued by society.

Over the course of a year, Karikis has spent time with different groups of people in Project Art Works’ studios. He was drawn to the intimate relationships between caregivers and those they support, noticing the subtlety and difference in each person’s non-verbal language, how it is paid attention to, heard and interpreted. The resulting installation comprises a series of video portraits of caregivers, captured in the acts of alert listening to and communicating with those they care for, accompanied by the non-verbal vocalisations caregivers hear and their responses to them.

Monday 16 December, 10.30am – 12.30pm, De La Warr Pavilion
As part of our Peer Support Network, this event is open to all carers to share stories and celebrate the skills, love and dedication they bring to their role. Light refreshments provided.
FREE, booking essential via [email protected] or call 01424 423555.

Mikhail Karikis writes:

“At a crucial moment in history marked by persistent deadlock in political negotiations, divisive ideological discourse and growing differences of opinion over common purpose and future in the UK and in Europe, observing caregivers working with non-verbal people, so that they may be heard, serves as a gateway to a generous and inclusive way of thinking about relating to others. It is a hopeful affirmation that, no matter how difficult the circumstances are, communication is possible.”

Kate Adams (artist and Director of Project Art Works) writes:

“Through his sensitive interactions with us in the studio, Mikhail quickly recognised the expansive nature of non-verbal communication where the ‘inconspicuous signifiers’ of those who do not use language to communicate can be picked up and responded to by those who support them.”

This new work continues Karikis’ long-standing interest in non-verbal communication as a political agent that can transmit the experience of existence on the margins of society. He is also concerned with invisible and marginalised forms of labour, and those who are made vulnerable by capitalist society.

Mikhail Karikis’ project is commissioned as part of Project Art Works’ EXPLORERS – a three-year programme of awareness raising and encounter workshops, conversations, productions, commissions, exhibitions and seminars in collaboration with people who have complex needs and those who support them. Taking place against a backdrop of increased hardship and intolerance toward disabled people, the aim is to develop positive relationships between cultural organisations and the social care sector and to reposition people who have complex needs at the forefront of mainstream culture. The programme led by Project Art Works is taking place at partner galleries across the UK and in Australia with Autograph, Fabrica, De La Warr Pavilion, MK Gallery, Photoworks, Tate Liverpool and the Museum of Contemporary Art, Sydney.

I Hear Youis kindly supported by the RTR Foundation.

EXPLORERS is supported though an ACE Ambition for Excellence grant awarded to Project Art Works and the Paul Hamlyn Foundation

Mikhail Karikis’ exhibition runs alongside an exhibition of an entirely new body of ceramic and textile works by Renee So, in the Ground floor gallery, created during a residency at West Dean College.

Image: Mikhail Karikis, I hear you, video still (Doreen+Carl)

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