Elia Nurvista 2018/19
Elia Nurvista (born 1983 in Jogjakarta, Indonesia, where she lives and works) works at the interface of fine arts and research-based community projects. Most of her projects revolve around the topic of food as the entry point to political, cultural, social and gender-specific issues. In her events, performances and installations she not only focuses on the physical appearance of food and its representation, but also on the act of cooking as a form of social interaction. For her work “Hunger Inc.” (2015), Nurvista set up a tent, similar to NGO tents. It was equipped with a kitchen, a dining table and a TV, which broadcasted news of riots related to the distribution of rice. The room installation was accompanied by a series of events including people, who witnessed similar situations. With this participative project Nurvista aimed to investigate the relationship between poverty and aids, respectively staple food. The problematic handling of food is also addressed in her work “Sucker Zucker” (2016). Shaped like crystals or diamonds and installed on white pedestals, the colourful sugar sculptures refer both to the attraction of the product and to its exploitative and violent acquirement since colonial times. In this manner, Nurvista raises awareness of the complex relations between biomaterials and their historic and social contexts.
Elia Nurvista graduated from Indonesia Institute of Fine-Art in Yogyakarta. She is the founder of BAKUDAPAN, a study group focusing on critical aspects of food. Her work has been exhibited in numerous international and national exhibitions. Nurvista participated in several residency programmes such as „Choreographer’s LAB“ at Künstlerhaus Mousonturm in Frankfurt am Main in 2015 and „Politics of Food“ at Delfina Foundation in London in 2014.
Exhibition at Künstlerhaus Bethanien:
18 January to 10 February 2019
Opening 17 January 2019, 7pm
Elia Nurvista’s Früchtlinge exhibition project at Künstlerhaus Bethanien showcases her reflections on migrants and refugees. She visited a range of initiatives for refugees in Berlin to learn about how they see our society, which is foreign from their perspective. The works resulting from this experience address our frequently ambiguous attitude to what is foreign to us: whereas “exotic” luxury items and food such as tropical fruit are regarded as positive and precious, people who come to us as refugees from the same countries are often rejected as being “foreign”, and their “exotic” nature is sometimes even perceived as a threat. Elia Nurvista portrays this ambiguity with subtle irony, for instance by affixing contemporary official quality seals and brand labels to Old Masters still life paintings or historical pictures of the “noble savage”, thus adding a humorous and critical layer of meaning and turning them into new, independent pieces of work. In addition to the collages, Elia Nurvista’s show includes a number of small sculptures made from a rough dough of flour, water and salt and modelled on the grand archways and portals portrayed on euro banknotes that symbolise Europe’s outward-looking character and readiness to cooperate with the international community. She is also working on an animated film that reveals the uncanny effects of automated rules and selection procedures.
Image: Elia Nurvista, Untitled, 2018 (using the Caravaggio painting Still Life with Fruit, ca. 1610)
The exhibition will be accompanied by a catalogue (english).