Opening reception: Friday, June 9, 2023 at 5pm-8pm

On view June 9 – Aug 12, 2023

Artists: Ilknur Demirkoparan, Charles Edward Williams, Keoni K. Wright

Public Reading with American poet, Leonard Schwartz and Chinese-American poet and librettist, Zhang Er on June 29

Curated by: MPAC

MinEastry of Postcollapse Art and Culture is pleased to present PLAY, a contemporary art exhibition of three artists.

This collaboratively organized and artist-curated exhibition reflects on the spirit of the artists’ individual practices as well as their collective existential outlook. On display will be works by the American painter, Charles Edward Williams, Suriname-based filmmaker, Keoni K. Wright, Zürich-based Turkish interdisciplinary artist, Ilknur Demirkoparan. Each work serves as a celebration of life through a reflection on personal experiences. Williams’ Self series explores the nuances of his emotional relationship to swimming given the historical uses of water to drown enslaved Blacks in the US South, and the artist’s own will to play in water through the perspective of a young African-American male growing up in the Carolinas. Wright’s experimental short video, Moto Mukti, extends the metaphor of living life to the fullest in the aftermath of surviving testicular cancer. The two-minute short features a young Trinidadian man speeding his motorcycle through the streets of Brooklyn, New York, as a metaphor of male sexual vitality, going against the odds in a will to stay alive and live fully. Demirkoparan’s I Want to Live Forever body of paintings alludes the Turkish kilim tradition, and specifically the meaning of the toka (hair brooch) motif woven together with the strands of the weavers’s own hair. Her abstract renditions of this motif conceptually build upon the thirst for eternal life and the practice of happiness.

The Play theme is inspired by the role of artist-run initiatives for displaced artists during the first two world wars, and specifically, the playhouse that the Dadaists established in Zurich–where MPAC is presently located– to sustain hope amidst a fury of political and social upheavals. The historical functioning of artist-run initiatives, the emergence of creative intellectuals through their collaborations, and the shaping of a new discourse against war have deep resonances with today’s political and climate crises.

Accompanying this exhibition will be a series of programs, free and open to the public, including readings by the American poet, Leonard Schwartz, and a reading by Chinese-American poet and librettist, Zhang Er. Additionally, there will be an artist talk on the collaborative curatorial work on Play, moderated by curator Dr. Vuslat D. Katsanis. 

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