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Announcement
April 19, 2021

Lecture by Ernesto Pujol and Double Feature MFA thesis exhibitions

University of Pennsylvania

Ernesto Pujol, Time After Us. Performance view, Crossing the Line Festival, NY, 2013. Photo: Nisa Ojalvo. Courtesy of Ernesto Pujol.

The Department of Fine Arts at the University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design announces three new online public programs for spring 2021.

On Thursday, April 22, 6pm EDT, artist Ernest Pujol, the 2020–2021 Keith L. and Katherine S. Sachs Visiting Professor in the Department of Fine Arts, will give a lecture about his work. Admission is free and open to the public with advance registration; email mfa [​at​] design.upenn.edu to register.

On Friday, April 30, the department opens the online thesis exhibition for the MFA class of 2020, and on Monday, May 21, for the MFA class of 2021. Entitled Double Feature, the exhibitions are curated by Yuri Stone, assistant curator, Glenstone Museum. “While neither exhibition features a full-length film, the program follows the same premise as a double-bill: each exhibition is a unique and independent presentation, shown back-to-back,” says Stone. “In a year without movie theaters, the title felt appropriate.”

Ernesto Pujol works as social choreographer. His interdisciplinary public projects are the result of entrusted, ethical collaborations with gatekeepers and stakeholders in communities across the globe. Through a grounded psychic acuity, Pujol seeks the rich performativity of the human condition's ongoing desire for transcendence, in the face of human rights violations and climate crisis. He believes that the creative tools of socially engaged cultural producers are more relevant than ever to the sustainability of democracy; within increasingly diverse yet impoverished societies seeking human and environmental justice. A portraitist of place, the artist strives to reclaim public space from the culture of speed and distractions, revisiting emblematic architecture and mythical landscapes through performative, meditative presence. Pujol’s durational group performances often consist of repetitive walks and minimal gestures, from slowness to stillness, seeking silence for deep listening, manifesting the psychic architecture of human interiority, encouraging the healing awakening of consciousness. Pujol is the author of Sited Body, Public Visions (2012) and Walking Art Practice (2018). Artist interviews and essays are found in publications such as Awake: Buddha Mind in Contemporary Art (2004), Fernweh: A Travelling Curators’ Project (An Atlas of Small Places, 2015), and The Brooklyn Rail (Vulnerability as Critical Self-Knowledge, 2013; The Cult of Creative Failure, 2017).

The Sachs Visiting Professorship has been previously held by Mary Reid Kelley and Patrick Kelley, video-based collaborators who script works performed on elaborate sets of their own creation; Ralph Lemon, a choreographer, writer, visual artist, and curator; Josiah McElheny, a sculptor, performance artist, writer and filmmaker best known for his use of glass with other materials; and alumnus Wael Shawky (MFA‘01), whose work tackles notions of national, religious and artistic identity through film, performance, and storytelling.

Chaired by Ken Lum, the Marilyn Jordan Taylor Presidential Professor, the two-year Master of Fine Arts program at University of Pennsylvania Stuart Weitzman School of Design is focused on the professional development of studio artists. Through studio work, seminar courses, international residency opportunities and interactions with vital working artists, the program provides an open intellectual framework to foster critical awareness and independent methods of artistic research. Students extend their conceptual strategies while inventing and then refining their own hybridized forms of art making methods. The program encourages exploration, extending studies into other disciplines within the Weitzman School and the University with a rich selection of outside electives and optional certificate and dual-degree programs.

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