Com- as in Compost

Online discussion
Saturday 24 July 2021

‘So when I say ‘compost’, it’s more than a joke, though it is also a joke. It’s a refusal to be quite so serious about categories, and to let categories sit a bit lightly with the complexities of the world.’
Donna Haraway, in an Interview with Sarah Franklin, Sage Journal, 2017

On Saturday 24 July 2021 this collaborative online event, Com- as in Compost, took place as a public conversation and knowledge-sharing session to reflect on relative modes of composting and, in the words of Donna Haraway, ‘letting categories sit lightly’ between interdependent artistic, curatorial and institutional perspectives, held in the context of Compost. Kathrin Böhm: Turning the Heap.

With refections between Ana Kovačić, Lea Vene, Ana Kuzmanić, Kathrin Böhm, Lily Hall and Elvira Dyangani Ose on relative modes of composting between artistic, curatorial and institutional perspectives,
The talk recognises a growing number of cultural practitioners referring to ‘composting’ as a possible and necessary process, and emphasises a ubiquitous and trans-local commitment to resisting a return to ‘business as usual’.

Throughout April-May 2021 curators Ana Kovačić and Lea Vene convened a collaborative programme of performances, screenings and workshops at Galerija Nova, Zagreb titled We are the compost. Invited artist Ana Kuzmanić’s research started from the meaning of the word ‘compost’. The prefix ‘com-’ means ‘with’, while the prefix ‘post-’ has a dual connotation of ‘what is coming to an end’ and ‘what is yet to come’. Ana, Lea and Ana will discuss the praxis informing their exhibition-making as-process; reflecting on new work and conversations that unfolded in Zagreb in May.

Galerija Nova is a non-profit city gallery founded in 1975 by artists Ljerka Šibenik and Mladen Galić. Since 2003 it has been programmed by curatorial collective What, How and for Whom/WHW, with an emphasis on researching, documenting, and producing knowledge of modern and contemporary visual art practice and its expanded field.

Reciprocally Kathrin Böhm, Lily Hall and Elvira Dyangani Ose consider intersecting instances from the previous six weeks of composting at The Showroom, where turning the heap has been used as a method for hybrid, serendipitous, invited and chance encounters that have been unfolding around Compost daily, both in the space and online.

Compost is a unique collaborative exhibition that explores over twenty years of artist Kathrin Böhm’s practice. For six weeks throughout June and July 2021, a cumulation of objects and methodologies has filled the gallery space at The Showroom, opening up an invitation to contribute to a process of fertiliser-making: to sieve through, to assess, to archive, and to reformulate Böhm’s practice by making use of her methods of production, working one-to-one, collaboratively, and in public.

This was the final event in phase one of Compost, which is now closed to the public throughout August, and will be reopening for a second phase between Wednesday 15 September – Saturday 16 October; opening up a space to start drawing out fertiliser for future use, whilst dissolving the materiality of the work through swapping, buying, giving, taking and trading; enacting possibilities of queering economies discussed in Icebergian Economies of Contemporary Art (The Centre for Plausible Economics).

Ana Kuzmanić, We are the compost, installation view, Galerija Nova, May 2021. Photo: Marina Paulenka


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