About Aliona’s and Yachi’s June residencies

June was the second month of residency as part of the “Whose voices are being heard?” project. Another two participating artists, Aliona Pazdniakova and Yachi Shian-Yuan Yang spend four weeks in Wrocław.

This time, it was time that was their guiding theme. Unexpectedly, it turned out that both artists felt a profound need to reclaim time for their artistic work, which they lacked in their everyday lives in Oslo. The residencies encouraged them to slow down, as they got out of the rhythm of their usual commitments. It became a unique opportunity that allowed them to dedicate themselves to their artistic practice. It has paid off in an effortless emergence of ideas and the courage to reach for projects that seemed impossible before arrival.

Besides a series of watercolours addressing the problem of rising electricity prices, Yachi created an unplanned series of drawings inspired by everyday life in Wrocław. The artist also had the opportunity (and time) to return to copperplate engraving, a printmaking technique she had learned while studying in Taiwan. For her part, Aliona continued to explore the subject of collective identity and the factors that shape it. She unexpectedly found inspiration for her work during casual wanderings around the city, including a visit to the local market “Na Młynie”. This place turned out to be particularly visually inspiring for her. She began experimenting with creating an object and thereby ventured beyond the media she usually works with, i.e. video & photography.

A relationship with time also implies patience, awaiting the right moment or impulse.

Yachi never parted with her sketchbook, which meant that she was always ready for its arrival, which happened, for example, when she visited the sauna or the swimming pool. When looking for the perfect location to film a scene she had in her mind, Aliona abandoned the original idea for something else. One of her projects involved drilling several hundred holes, a methodical but somehow meditative activity. Yachi was equally assiduous in repainting the Norwegian flag, covering it with white and red paint to make it resemble the Polish flag. In this seemingly trivial activity, she asks a question about her status as an immigrant woman.

For a moment, the two artists found themselves in a reality far removed from where they live, not just in a geographical sense, where it was possible to act free of schemes and the results surprised us all.

Agata Ciastoń – “Whose voices are being heard?” Residency Program Curator

Residency project: Whose voices are being heard?

Residents: Aliona Pazdniakova and Yachi Shian-Yuan Yang

Place of residency: Wrocław Institute of Culture (Wrocław, Poland)

Practice: visual arts, documentary areas

Local partners: The City Gallery, Wyspa Tamka Art Hub

Organisers: Wrocław Institute of Culture, Hvitsten Salong private art institution in Hvitsten (a small town with difficult access to culture), and NGO Safemuse from Oslo.

‘Whose voices are being heard? An exchange programme for artists from Poland and Norway’ is a project co-funded by Iceland, Liechtenstein, and Norway from the EEA Financial Mechanism 2014-2021 as part of the “Culture” programme.

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