The Αngry, The Fool, The Healer/Caretaker, The Ghost, The Innocent, The One Whose Words Penetrate Brains, The Puppeteer, The...
With Eleni Kamma’s ‘Casting Call’ (2017 - ongoing) Kunsthal Gent presents a temporary solo exhibition amid the Endless Exhibition for the first time. 'Casting Call' is an investigation into the concept of parrhesia: the courage to speak one’s mind and stand up for your own opinion, from a comedic and excessive perspective.
The exhibition takes the form of an installation of characters (drawings, videos, costumes and props) that moves through the Endless Exhibition like a parade, inviting the visitor to participate in a sensory experience. The period of the exhibition will also be used as production time for a new character, developed in collaboration with a group of performance students from KASK (supervised by Hans Bryssinck).
Eleni Kamma employs performative strategies and fictional characters to playfully ask serious questions about living well together and the role of public space and time in contemporary Europe. The characters in 'Casting Call' use texts and sketches commissioned by the artist on seven social concepts that lead to heated discussions and disagreements: Democracy, Prosperity, Solidarity, Europe, Languages, Migration, Pluralism. Kamma borrowed these from the BELvue Museum, which uses them to help the visitor discover Belgium and Belgian society. Reflecting on these concepts, Kamma’s parade of characters is rooted in entertainment, populist jokes and excess.
'Casting Call' operates between a dark, cultural allegory of contemporary Europe and an invocation of an old, comedic parrhesiastic community.
In preparation for the exhibition and to develop a new, locally inspired character, Eleni Kamma was part of Kunsthal Gent's 2022 development programme (Prosperity Meets Pluralism, more info here). She explored popular local forms of entertainment in Ghent and was drawn to 'the spelleke of folklore' and puppetry in Ghent (including Pierke).
To further develop a new local character, she will collaborate with the performance department of KASK School of Arts in Ghent over the course of the exhibition. With designer, performer, theatre-maker, visual artist and filmmaker Hans Bryssinck and his first-year young performance students, she explores the city of Ghent as a setting for Pierke. With this group, Kamma is developing a new work that will be produced and presented during her exhibition at Kunsthal Gent.
Eleni Kamma (b 1973, Athens) is a visual artist and researcher. She studied at the Athens School of Fine Arts and the Chelsea College of Art & Design in London. In 2008/2009, she was a researcher in Visual Arts at the Jan Van Eyck Academy, Maastricht. She received her PhD from the Academy of Creative and Performing Arts at Leiden University. Her thesis "Taking Place: Parrhesiastic Theatre as a Model for Artistic Practice" and her artistic project "Casting Call (2017-ongoing)" explore the relevance of the practice of parrhesia for critical contemporary artistic practices.
Solo exhibitions took place at the Centre de la Gravure et de l'Image Imprimée, La Louvière (2022); West Den Haag (2021); SPACE, Liège (2021), ArBA-EsA, Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Brussels (2018); Netwerk, Aalst (2015), Macedonian Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki (2013); NAK Neuer Aachener Kunstverein, Aachen (2012); Museum Alex Mylona, Athens (2012); Wiels, Brussels (2011). Her work has been presented at various exhibition venues and festivals worldwide, including the 10th International Biennial of Istanbul (2007); the 5th Biennial of Thessaloniki (2015); Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2016); ARGOS Centre for Audiovisual Art, Brussels (2015); Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland, Bonn (2013) ; the 1st Limburg Biennial, Marres, Maastricht (2020); Centre d'art Le Lait, Albi(2020); EMST National Museum of Contemporary Art, Athens (2017); Petach Tikva Museum of Art, Petach Tikva (2017), Casino Luxembourg, Luxembourg (2011); Bonnefanten Museum, Maastricht (2008); DESTE Foundation, Athens (2007); SALT, Istanbul (2011); Dazibao, Montreal (2019); Kristianstads konsthall, Kristianstad (2020); Transmediale, Berlin (2016); Rencontres Internationales Paris/Berlin (2021) and Playground Festival, Museum-M, Leuven (2018). In 2012, she received the PREIS FÜR JUNGE KUNST from Neuer Aachener Kunstverein.
Kamma has been a guest lecturer at the Royal Academy of Arts in The Hague, LUCA School of Arts,Brussels, MAFAD, Maastricht, Royal Academy of Fine Arts of Brussels, École nationale supérieure des arts visuels de La Cambre, Brussels and Frank Mohr Institute, Groningen. She lives and works in Brussels and Maastricht.