11 August 2017

Liza Buzytsky and Kawita Vatanajyankur
Curated by Alexandra Fanning
OPENING RECEPTION: Sunday, September 10, 7-9pm
September 10 – October 22, 2017

SECRET DUNGEON is pleased to announce STAMINA, a two-person exhibition of new work by Brooklyn-based artist Liza Buzytsky and Thai-Australian artist Kawita Vatanajyankur.

STAMINA brings together two female artists from very different backgrounds exploring psychological, social and cultural ways of viewing and valuing the labor of women’s work. Both performative in their work, Buzytsky and Vatanajyankur strain their bodies, urging an examination of women’s roles in the domestic sphere. By highlighting the often overlooked and undervalued manual labor that women have endured throughout history, the pair emphasizes domestic rituals and craft, redressing how women’s work has been considered a lesser form of creativity than the ‘fine arts’. While Vatanajyankur uses the relatively new medium of video to showcase modes of creativity with extreme physical endurance, Buzytsky performs her delicate sewing and weaving in the gallery space as she interacts with visitors.

Buzytsky considers her work to be a “visual ethnography”. The majority of her practice is rooted in family history and lineage, especially her personal experience of leaving the Soviet Union with her family. From a young age, the artist witnessed her mother proudly designing and sewing non-utilitarian clothing, using her skills to fight against the uniformity of her surroundings. Fibers, embedded with narrative, are layered, stretched and manipulated to reveal the complexities of cultural exchange and encourage conversation. Buzytsky tasks herself with unpacking, observing and integrating these fragmented, visceral details into a new form, giving the materials new life.

Vatanajyankur plays into the extreme, undertaking physical experiments that playfully (but often painfully) test her body’s limits in staged performances. Presented in the form of digital “paintings”, the happy, day-glow colors eventually unveil a  dark humor with undercurrents of violence. Particularly telling of her Thai homeland, the artist points to the time-consuming and physically exhausting daily tasks usually delegated to women. She describes her performances as “meditation postures”, transforming these acts of extreme physical endurance into ways to free herself from her mind: a mechanism to lose her sense of being. This deliberate objectification then transforms her body into sculpture.

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Liza Buzytsky (b. 1982, Moscow, Russia) is based in Brooklyn, New York. She received her BFA from Pratt Institute and an MFA from Tyler School of Art. Buzytsky attended Sotheby’s Institute of Art, and was a resident during 2012 at the San Francisco Art Institute (SFAI). She has recently exhibited in NYC at P.P.O.W, Artists & Fleas, The Loom (Bushwick Open Studios), and has exhibited in Philadelphia at Temple Contemporary, Stella Elkins Gallery, ICEBOX Project Space, Howard Art Space (Boston) and has shown internationally in Denmark & France. She describes her work as being situated intentionally between art and ethnography, re-contextualizing, re-appropriating art-making as ethnography and ethnography as art-making. She is the co-founder of Brooklyn handicraft collective SNAG.

Kawita Vatanajyankur (b.1987, Thailand) graduated from RMIT University (BA, Fine Art) in 2011. In 2015 she was a Finalist in the Jaguar Asia Pacific Tech Art Prize and curated into the prestigious Thailand Eye exhibition at Saatchi Gallery, London. In 2017, her work was featured in the ALAMAK! Pavillon during the 57th Venice Biennale. Vatanajyankur has exhibited widely across Australia, as well as Asia and Europe. Vatanajyankur’s work is held in private collections in Australia, Asia, Europe and America. She is currently represented by Nova Contemporary, Bangkok / Alamak! Project / Clear Edition & Gallery, Tokyo