Monthly Archives: July 2019

Artist spotlight: Sabrina Jolicoeur

In today’s society people are exposed to dozens or even hundreds of commercials every day. We are nearly drowning in those images. They are everywhere: in stores, outside on the street or in our news feeds on social media. How does it influence our perception of the world? Which role does it play in contemporary art? Sabrina Jolicoeur is a good person to ask those questions. Sabrina, a multidisciplinary artist and a freelance photographer based in Montreal, can see the commercial image from both sides. This allows her to create a new perspective.

(During her BFA in photography at Concordia University) “I was mainly focused on the commodification of image forms”

Surveillance was the main topic for her Bachelor thesis. This referenced her childhood spent on the military base and addressed one of the most discussed public issues. To get a full picture she interviewed a relative who worked in the military as a drone operator. She then conducted research on the companies that make jets, cameras and weaponry for the military. She paid special attention to how they use language as a way of propaganda.

all photos by PILOTENKUECHE International Art Program

Since coming to the residency at Pilotenkueche, Sabrina has been elaborating on new ideas. Currently she is focusing on commodification of the wellness economy and its offshoots. This led to researching how wellness has been commercialized and shared throughout history. What is particularly interesting about this topic is the fact that it can be accessed on a microscopic level in a connection to a human body, as well as, on an environmental level, and as a space of a wellness.

In her work, We share our blood, she deliberated on wellness in a sense of the community.  She made an installation with different kinds of hooks and wires and all points of connection painted in red as a reference to the blood oxidation. On each end there was an avocado seed as a reminder of growth.

It is very typical of Sabrina to pay special attention to the materials she is working with in terms of their microscopic importance. For example, carbon fiber is used in the tech industry, but at the same time it is one of the essential elements for a human body. She tries to collect all kinds of materials and arrange them so that they interact with each other. Salt and rocks, massage tools and seasonal depression lamp or sea weed and wires- the seemingly random join in connection.

Sabrina usually works on more than one piece at the same time.I am trying to let the process guide the work. I don’t like to have a finished idea about what my art piece is going to be. I let it grow naturally without limiting it to a final stage. So here in the studio things are in a constant flux, things move around, things get discarded…”. After her residency comes to an end, she wants to continue working on the topic of wellness in a larger scale back in Montreal.  We are all thrilled to see the fruitful results of her work.  

written by Kristina Nizamova

feature photo: Richmond Lam

Goodbye PK RD39, Hello PK RD40

Three months goes by so fast! It feels like just when you are getting to know each other, it’s time to go. Round 39, we will miss your passion and laughter. Happily, a few of you have stayed behind.

Here are some RD39 moments to treasure.

We want to extend a warm welcome to Round 40. It’s good to see the studio buzzing again. We look forward to a great summer spent making memories and exploding in creativity.


International residents
Anabel Najera-Lopez(ceramics, painting: El Paso,Texas, USA)
Coffee Kang(visual art, mixed media installation: Shanghai, China/Los Angeles, USA)
Cristina Prudente(multidisciplinary: IT/UK)
Daniel Long (painting, projection mapping: Saigon, Vietnam)
Eliana Jacobs(etching, objects, collage, conceptual: Vancouver, BC, Canada)
Izdehar Afyouni (painting, scultpture: Palestine)
Jana Moser (drawing: Melbourne, VIC, Australia)
Karine Frechette(painting: Montreal, Canada)
Kate Jones (Montreal, Canada)
Louis Bouvier(drawing sculpture, installation: Montreal, Canada)
Maria Dominga Vergara(painting: Santiago, Chile)
Marjin Roos Lindgreen (architecture, installation: Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Sabrina Jolicoeur (photography, fibre art, installation, video, performance: Montreal, Canada)

Local Participants
Elisabeth Kraus(interdisciplinary; Leipzig, Germany)
Jos Diegel(painting, film, performance: Leipzig, Germany)

Clementine Butler-Galle(London, UK)

AssistantsAdrian Klaus Rotzscher(drawing, illustration, book making: San Francisco, CA, USA)
Ellisha Walkden-Williams (art history: London, UK)
Kristina Nizamova (arts management: Hostivica, Czech Republic)


International residents
Adam Tuch (sound, digital art, installation, US)
Agathe Barre (film, FR)
Antonia Wetzel (performance, painting, DE)
Ariel Taylor (painting, US)
Clément Bedel (painting,FR)
Christopher Sperandio (comics, US)
Darien Crossley (performance, painting, US)
Helene Planquelle (painting, drawing; Paris, France)
Isaac Magner (sound design, video, UK) 
Michella Perera (sculpture, UK)
Tom Alexander Austin (video, UK)
Vernon O´Meally (painting, US)
Zara June Williams (painting, AU)
Zheng Wenxin (painting, CH)

Local ParticipantsMatthias Geisler (painting, printmaking, DE)
Simon Schäfer (digital art, DE)

Colette Patterson(UK)

AssistantsFiona Irene Graf (UK)
Huai-ya Lin (TW) 
Silvia Zandomeneghi (IT)
milkafterfish (instagram)
Stanley Louis (HA)
iam_stanlouis (instagram)

Artist Spotlight: Izdihar Afyouni

There is no such thing as passive spectatorship in the work of Palestinian artist Izdihar Afyouni. She explores dualities such as subjugation and agency, violence and eroticism, abjection and subjectivity. Complex narratives emerge. They present disenfranchised subjects; women, prisoners, migrants and refugees. But her viewers are not any more confronted with these narratives as they subjected to them. At times, she will employ processes of unconscious identification in order to provoke a psychological response. Others, she will creative immersive participatory performances which facilitate feelings of (consensual) discomfort. Through these means, alienation and biologically sanctioned injustice is literally enacted upon the bodies of the viewers themselves.

Izdihar was classically trained in academic figural drawing and recently completed her MA in Art and Politics at Goldsmiths, University of London. Although primarily working on large-scale paintings, she operates as a multi-disciplinary artist and independent curator. Both politically and psychologically engaged with understanding the body, Izehar is specifically interested in individuals who have been subjugated and experienced abjection.

Abjection was popularised by Julia Kristeva in her work Powers of Horror. Building upon the psychoanalytic theories of Sigmund Freud and Jaques Lacan, the term refers to the separation between the self and ‘other’. This is derived from cultural narratives of horror or discrimination, it is the state of being ‘cast off’. Izdihar is fascinated in intense forms of abjection, manifested in decades of trauma. She says that this occurs when horror becomes the only language you know how to speak, when war becomes your ‘psychological currency’.

Describing her practice as research-led, she will begin with a concept and develop it theoretically. However, at times the concept will develop with the work itself. This is especially true for her paintings.  For they speak a pictorial language which transcends what the written word can express alone.

Stylistically, she considers herself a figeral painter, an abstract expressionist and a contemporary Surrealist. But we’re not talking about the dream imagery of Salvador Dali. It’s a Surrealism for a more contemporary age; one which is imbued with a so called ‘horror aesthetic’. Much of her paintings induce nightmarish qualities, only amplified by the grandiose scale which is intended to dwarf the spectator. Izehar will at times use her own blood, ground into the paint.

Blood has particular symbolic pertinence to her practice, not only for it’s festishistic properties, but in its connection to real people. In her on-going series and curatorial project Thicker Than Blood,Izdihar looks at the impact of state policies and bio-surveillance measures which regulate free movement, bodies and individual agency. In the initial instalment, which took place in a London Dungeon, viewers gained entry into the space upon providing a small sample of their blood. Their experience of the piece was then contingent on the amount of white blood cells shown in their results. While some viewers were treated to a performance, others were subjected to an interrogation. But there was a method to the cruelty. The oeuvre is intended to draw attention to the ethical and psychological ramifications of racial and genetic profiling.

During her time at PILOTENKUECHE residency, Izdihar has returned to painting. For the group’s first show at Kunstkraftwerk, she created a triptych entitled ‘She’s A Cult’. The piece is inspired by the early Italian Baroque painter Artemisia and art-historical interpretations of female violence. Artemesia is today considered one of the foremost progressive painters of her generation. In an era when women were largely excluded from the male-dominated community of artists and patrons, she has been hailed by art critics as representing the rhetoric of the  ‘power of women’. Through a direct re-imagining of Artemisia’s ‘Judith slaying Holofernes’, Izdihar sought to highlight similar contemporary paradigms of displacement with regard to the continued exclusion of women from artistic discourse.

For the group’s final exhibition ‘Wrestling with Impermanence’, She completed another large scale painting exploring a sustained pre-occupation with the figure of the abject.

Written by: Ellisha Walkden


Elsewhere a Blue Line and the Absurdity of a Ghost on a Stone 

Open: Sun 19 – Sun 2 June 2019, 10AM – 6PM (closed Mondays)
Location: Kunstkraftwerk, Saalfelder Str. 8, 04179 Leipzig

Wrestling with Impermanence 

Vernissage: Fri 21 June 2019, 7PM
Open: Sat 22 – Wed 26 June 2019 1PM-5PM
Location: PILOTENKUECHE, 2nd Floor, Franz-Flemming-Str. 9, 04179 Leipzig, Germany