18 May sessions start in TAVROS
13 June end of sessions
4 June, 19.00-21.00
duration 90 mins.
Capacity at any one time: 28 people, no booking needed
& 17 Sept.-24 Oct
Tavros Μetro station
IASI begins at the start of us all. Our breathing bodies.
Few of us really comprehend how much we limit our breath. How much we limit our living. Our ability to take in the world and to inhale, this our ultimate most vital act of sharing; in turn, as we exhale, perhaps our most generous act of giving. This rhythmic circularity has been interrupted as we seemingly gasp for air: the reverberations are political and existential. How much oxygen are we allowed in a world going up in flames? Stifled, unable to breathe, and speak, not just for the sake of the words but in order to be heard.
IASI, Georgia Sagri’s ongoing research practice which started almost ten years ago in the form of self-training and which continues at her studio and artist run space Ύλη[matter]HYLE in Athens, now takes on a new form of one-on-one sessions with participants that have responded to an open call. These sessions are based on physical techniques that use breath as an active agent, movement and voice training.
The sessions, two or three times a week over a period of two months, are private. Intensely so. They take place on a specially designed soft stage, an art object but also a welcoming place, a shell of sorts. This “stage of recovery” is based on Georgia Sagri’s premise that, “we all live our lives on stage, endlessly performing. The “stage of recovery” is a place where the participants can, for a while, be freed from the necessity of performing to others and for themselves. It gives them the time to be safe and free from an audience.” Whatever shifts, releases or movements occur in these private interchanges remains undisclosed. Unrepresented; still, they are.
New forms however demand new languages, and with IASI, Sagri sets the terms of the game. At the crossroads between activism, performance and self-recovery, this new phase in her practice is also a quest for an appropriate wording. Bodies in IASI birth their own cosmologies, circumventing scientific and empirical terminologies and allowing for intuited responses. Following each session Sagri summarizes written reports whose origin lies in the liminal moments of a body in treatment. Language, terminologies, rules, time-lapse as new forms of existing appear as fragile intermediaries between the then and the now. IASI is nothing less then, than a search for a new vocabulary, an original script for a new way of being and a movement for caring of oneself and others. IASI is also a search for new formats, where time is given and taken for reflection and research, where what is visible and what isn’t, is to be seen.
Following the sessions, Sagri, using all her tactile forces, colors out primal imprints, like memory skins. This series of visual impressions of the accumulated bodily experiences (chronic pains and releases) form, alongside the reports and performances, the formal backbone of the resulting exhibition. Throughout the duration of the exhibition there will be sense of perennial impermanence with works by Georgia Sagri appearing or shifting, hinting at constantly fluctuating temporalities, with each work re-contextualized each time in dialogue with each other. The exhibition will itself be a living form, dilating and compressing, even holding its breath in between.
This new chapter of her research will develop in overlapping phases in three art institutions and three cities – Mimosa House (London), TAVROS (Athens), De Appel (Amsterdam) and at her studio ‘Υλη[matter]HYLE – knowledge accrued from one location will be carried to the next, enriching the process. Sagri’s presence in these concurrent spaces will mirror the constant disembodiment in the multiplicity of images (our split screen personalities) with which we diffuse and ‘read’ ourselves. Georgia Sagri, adept at loops, here includes this circularity as part of the very form of her research. Instead of performing in large concentric circles, connectivity in all three locations will be personal. One step at a time. One breath at a time, reaching out.
It is this prescient demand for human contact and for a new social contract that brings IASI here to TAVROS. Reflecting our belief that art might no longer concern purely material exchange but will return to other value systems that use action to counter worldly and somatic alienation and that our bodies still have the capacity to rewire, release and be receptive to care and love. IASI provides the basis for a discussion on bodies (as celestial as they are mundane), stillness (through abstention) and voice (as the precondition for political beings). Our pain and subjectivity is removed from the world of things but as it surfaces collectively we have the chance to start on a process of recovery and perhaps a new chapter of living.
Breath, after all is urgent. Bodies, after all are beautiful.
Georgia Sagri has exhibited internationally in various solo and group exhibitions: Portikus, Frankfurt/ Main, Germany (2018); Kunstverein Braunschweig, Germany (2017, 2018); Cycladic Museum, Athens Greece (2017); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland (2016); Sculpture Center, New York, USA (2016); KW Institute for Contemporary Art, Berlin, Germany (2016, 2015); Forde, Geneva, Switzerland (2015); Kunsthalle Basel Switzerland (2014); MoMA PS1, New York, USA (2013); Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland (2013); Guggenheim Bilbao, Spain (2011); MoMA, New York, USA (2011); Macedonian Museum, Thessaloniki, Greece (2011); The Dakis Joannou Collection, DESTE Foundation, Athens, Greece (2006). Sagri has also participated in documenta 14 (2017), Manifesta 11 (2016), Istanbul; Biennial (2015), Lyon Biennial (2013), Whitney Biennial (2012), Thessaloniki Biennial (2011), and Athens Biennial (2007). In 2014 Sagri initiated Ύλη[matter]HYLE (hyle.gr) a semipublic/semiprivate space in the center of Athens, Greece. Her first monograph catalogue was published by Sternberg Press, following her solo exhibitions Georgia Sagri Georgia Sagri at Kunstverein Braunschweig, and Georgia Sagri and I at Portikus. In the summer of 2019 she was offered the Tenure Position in the School of Fine Arts in Athens in order to organise and run the first Performance Art studio.