The opening evening began with a virtual exhibition designed as a colourful 3D valley. The expo allowed the viewers to fly and walk around, sharing impressions and opinions in the chat function. Once transported into the valley, you saw a welcoming sign, just like in a proper exhibition. There you could read the introduction of the event accompanied by a floorplan of the expo valley. Also, very much like a real expo, there was an opening speech in the form of a slightly cringy video of the curators welcoming you to the space.
This world became home to two exhibitions.
KONTRA put together Transcending, which focused on looking towards a future where transcending social constructions of identities are seen as the key to equal coexistence.
All the works presented were outstanding but, I was struck by Maxime Lucia‘s “Reclaimed Male Suits”. In the piece, we see women from different countries wearing re-tailored male suits previously owned by male politicians from the same countries. As Maxime puts it, “the project shows the exploration of what it means to be a woman in a world led by men. It is about reclaiming our position in society, regaining strength, ownership and decision making over our own bodies. About what it means to be a woman in all of our diversity.”
Nested in the valley was also Silkworm, the exhibition curated by Squish‘s Aubane Martinez. The expo was dedicated to the diverse ways in which queer artists escaped reality and create a safer and dreamy bubble around themselves.
One could already sense the theme of the exhibition just by gazing at the expo room from a distance. Formed as a bubble the space invited you to zig-zag through a pixelated tunnel to view the art pieces in a spacious dome. You could fly around to the artworks with friends or solo.
I was instantly drawn to the work of Linda Kocher, illustrator and yoga instructor. Her visuals are a contemporary female gaze of Matisse’s appreciation for colours and natural shapes. The people captured in her artworks are an idyllic vision of all sizes, colours and gender identities. These works provoked a gentle feeling of pleasure, warmth and unapologetic happiness of the naked body. One thing I loved about the exhibition was that the gallery viewing conventions and standard museum behaviours were thrown out the window. The chat was quirky and people were casually messing around and complementing each other and engaging in a conversation.
Due to the uncetainty of the pandemic it was though for the organisation to make the final decision to move the exhibtions online. Because of that a lot of last minute chnages had be made to pull off the exhibtions. Having said that, Nikki Georgiou from KONTRA was the brains behind the expos who heroically managed to bring the whole platform together. In her team were digital artists Louisa Teichmann and Noémi Biró who brought the exhibtion to life by using the structure of Mozilla Hubs.
It is an understatement to say that our jaws dropped when we saw the exhibition gallery. It is a space that brings a lot of possibilities and makes our creative juices flow! We can’t wait to continue expanding this space in the future!
Digital exhibtions such as this one is something we should all be excited about. They are a proper alternative to having a physical event and can have many benefits for smaller creators who can’t afford lavish exhibition spaces. The limit of this space is your imagination. With digital art booming at this very moment, I am confident that we will see a lot of new developments soon.
I didn’t expect to have a new experience when visiting the exhibition but I was very surprised by the excitement and curiosity it brought me as a creative.
Story by Nia Konstantinova