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Report from a Residency in Warsaw

Foto von Lou Masduraud und Antoine Bellini

A-I-R Laboratory is a curatorial program of artistic residencies in Warsaw. At the Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski Castle, the visiting artists and curators have the opportunity to realize artistic projects and experiment in selected fields.

Pro Helvetia supports specialized artist-in-residence programmes, offering young artists mentoring schemes, excellent networks and initial opportunities to show their work.

Parallel to their individual practices, Lou Masduraud and Antoine Bellini have worked together since 2012 on several projects in the field of sound, music and performance. They turn the exhibition space into a place of enhanced vitality by creating vibrating and singing pieces in which they actively take part as performers.

Website of the artists

Lou Masduraud & Antoine Bellini spent a residency in A-I-R Laboratory in Warsaw, Poland, from 1 February 2016 to 30 July 2016. They share their experiences and explain how the Polish art scene impacted their practice.

Were you able to reach the goals you had set for the residency period?

L. M. & A. B.: We decided to embrace our residency time without a specific field of research because we wanted to understand the Polish cultural context first. We had to understand and think about our pratice from its historical, political and cultural situation. We focused on the blurring of art and life relating to different spaces (home, studio, artist run spaces) and the effect of those spaces on art production. We decided to work on our own social life as young artists, often fed by both private and professional relations.

Were you able to realize your planned projects?

L. M. & A. B.: Yes. We realized an experimental project called « living room». We decided to create a specific situation, so we rented a place outside the institution for one month and installes a living room inside this space where we invited several Polish, Swiss, French and Italian artists, choreographers, musicians, curators and filmmakers to respond creatively to this situation. The project refers to the idea of art in practice that stands in opposition to the exhibition as a medium of presentation and reception. The main objective is to experience a semi-private and open situation, and to study the potential of artistic practices created without the intention of public presentation.

Did you have the opportunity to meet people from the art scene in Warsaw? Did those contacts have any impact on your work?

L. M. & A. B.: We met a lot of people from the Polish art scene, most of them where curators, dancers and choreographers. We finally invited several of them to take part in our living room project. It was the best way to understand their practice and to know them in a working and private context at the same time. The young contemporary dance scene in Warsaw has a strong presence in the city and in our residency. I think it will impact our practice.

Are there any follow-up projects based on the residency? If yes, which one?

L. M. & A. B.: Yes, we will work on an exhibition directly related to our research time in Warsaw, in a solo show at Hard Hat gallery in Geneva early 2017. We are also thinking about creating a second part of the living room project in Switzerland.

How satisfied are you with the practical support given by the residency? Any suggestions for improvement?

L. M. & A. B.: We are very satisfied by the support we had there. The most important thing is that we really felt free to work in our own way and to create a deep experimental situation.

What do you think about the work of your tutors?

L. M. & A. B.: Agnieszka Sosnowska was our curator, we had a really good relation with her. She has a deep knowledge of the european performance scene, and she did a great job putting us in contact with Polish artists and performers. She was also really present and helped in many ways in our living room project.

How do you assess the quality of your residency in general (duration, material and financial support provided to you, accommodation, studio etc.)?

L. M. & A. B.: The duration is the key, especially for a research residency, we are glad that we could experience that. Financial support is well adapted to the living cost in Poland.

Accommodation was great, brand new appartment, bikes, free cinema, access to the museum and to all performances that took place in the C.C.A. The only thing we regret is that, even it’s a research residency, we are use to combine our research with production and the studio of AIR is small and bit inconvenient (not a lot of tools and not well organized). Maybe more video/audio gears in the studio could improve AIR residencies.