May 15, 2018

Anna Daučíková & Assaf Evron

Neubauer Collegium for Culture and Society

Anna Daučíková, Along the Axis of Affinity (still), 2015. Courtesy of the artist.

This exhibition couples 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 is a shared interest in Russian-born and/or Soviet-trained artists of little renown but substantial visual impact: Ukrainian native Valery Lamakh (1925–78), best remembered today for his decorative tilework on Kiev’s many Stalin-era residential buildings, and Israeli muralist Shlomo Eliraz (1912–94), whose name today primarily survives in a handful of public artworks scattered around Herzliya and Tel Aviv. Lamakh is the subject of Daučíková’s elegiac video installation Along the Axis of Affinity (2015). Eliraz’s oeuvre is 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 heroes of a certain avant-garde’s last stand, Daučíková’s video and Evron’s photo-mural revisit the trials and tribulations of the public art complex at a time of dwindling opportunities for artistic thinking on an architectural scale. On the occasion of the exhibition, a key text by Eliraz on the often uneasy relationship between art and architecture in the public realm will be made available in translation.

In addition to this coupling, Daučíková will be premiering a series of five video vignettes in which she uses books from her personal library to shed light on the lives of such titans of Russian literature as Pushkin, Tolstoy, Gogol, Blok, and Platonov, with specific attention to the puzzle of gender in their work—reflections that are informed by Daučíková’s memories of trying to make a living as a queer artist in Moscow from the late 1970s until the late 1980s. On the Neubauer Collegium terrace Evron will present four new sculptures inspired by his ongoing research into vernacular architectural traditions and their occasional intersection with the history of design and the scenography of everyday life. Consisting of brightly colored tiles reminiscent of Mediterranean street life, this suite of quasi-minimalist objects will double as an impromptu backdrop for the social life of the Neubauer Collegium’s patio.

The exhibition’s subtitle, FOR, pays homage to the propositional nature of these artists’ projects and practices. Whether they agree to salvage little-known pioneers from certain art-historical oblivion or to 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.

Anna Daučíková was born in Czechoslovakia in 1950. She studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Bratislava and moved to Moscow in the 1980s, working as a glassblower and painter and eventually becoming a member of the Soviet Artists’ Union—though her more experimental photographic work hardly ever saw the light of day during the Soviet Union’s tumultuous transition from Brezhnev-era stagnation to Gorbachev’s Glasnost and Perestroika. She returned to Bratislava in 1991 and co-founded the influential feminist journal Aspekt there, while branching out into performance and video, the medium for which she is best known today. Along the Axis of Affinity was first shown at the 2015 Kyiv Biennial, and her work was featured prominently in documenta 14 in Athens and Kassel in 2017. She currently lives in Prague.

Assaf Evron was born in Israel in 1977. Prior to obtaining an MFA at the School of the Art Institute in Chicago, he worked as a photo journalist for Israel’s leading liberal-left newspaper, Haaretz, and studied history at Tel Aviv University—a formative influence in shaping his archaeological, archival, and geological interests. A recipient of multiple grants and prizes, he has exhibited at the Herzliya Museum of Art, the Haifa Museum of Art, the Chicago Architecture Biennial, and the Bauhaus Archive in Berlin, as well as numerous Chicago galleries and institutions such as Gallery 400 at the University of Illinois at Chicago, the Hyde Park Art Center, the Museum of Contemporary Photography, the Suburban and the Sullivan Galleries at SAIC.

This exhibition is curated by Dieter Roelstraete.

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