April 7, 2017 - Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art - Maja Bekan: 23 Assemblies
April 7, 2017

Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art

Maja Bekan and Gunndís Ýr Finnbogadóttir, Essential Environment no 5: What If, 2017. Site-specific installation with text performed by gallery visitors. Photo: Bartosz Górka. © Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art.

Maja Bekan
23 Assemblies
March 3–May 3, 2017

Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art
2 Jazdów Street
00-467 Warsaw
Hours: Tuesday–Sunday 12–7pm,
Thursday 12–9pm

T +48 22 628 12 71

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Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art is delighted to present visual and performance artist Maja Bekan’s first exhibition in Poland and the final stage of the work commissioned in Warsaw in 2014.

23 Assemblies is a performative exhibition/live installation by Maja Bekan that sheds light on the ties between art and everyday life and politics. The point of departure of 23 Assemblies is acts of getting together and organizing. They are performed by small assemblies gathered with and through an artistic intervention: two collaborating artists, a neighborhood association, groups of women tied through family and running a small business, art institution employees. Their social status is filled with uncertainty, particularly in terms of work and major changes experienced at the intersection between personal biography and geopolitics. The exhibition speaks of reconstructing stories from everyday life, striving toward self-establishment, a vague promise of a brighter future held in joint projects.

The collective performances involve both subtle parody and a hijacking of the emancipation schemes presented as available to women. Bekan herself believes that her model for involving others in cooperation comes from her mother and from women whose ideal of business is carried out in direct sales networks, or gaining skills in performing various services. She speaks of this in the Essential Environment No 3: Golden Party, a work created as a video piece and continued as performances in art places since 2012 with artist’s family members. The performances consist also of various “technologies” to assemble the collaborations: from Skype conversations and the bond between mother and daughter to shared living and working environments. In the exhibition she activates functions inherent in institutionalized art practice: control and care in Essential Environment No 4: The Social Room, learning and becoming in Essential Environment No 1: Performance Class.

The exhibition and Warsaw project by Maja Bekan have been created in the framework of the residency program at the Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art and fall in line with institutional work tied to experimentation and research on the format, production, and presentation of art. 23 Assemblies is also an attempt to work through the theme of the exhibition in the context of performative activities, going beyond the archive, spectacle, or manipulation of the viewer toward a synthesis of critical, cognitive, and choreographic operations.

Maja Bekan
Maja Bekan is a visual and performance artist. Her artworks consist of different forms of collaboration, social relations, changing roles of an individual within groups, and processes of knowledge production. She works in cycles and on long-term research-based projects that are presented to the public in the form of performances and constructed situations, environments, video/audio/text based installations and public conversations. In 2008, she initiated two long-term research projects: Secret Powers for Identity, Security and Self- Respect in Troubling Times and P for Performance, to investigate performance art in the context of social exchange and learning. She comes from the former Yugoslavia, and lives and works in the Hague and Rotterdam. Her works have been shown by the Stedelijk Museum Bureau in Amsterdam, Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Tent oraz Witte de With in Rotterdam, the Culture Centre in Belgrade, the Museum of Contemporary Art in Rijeka, The Nunnery in London and in the Institute for Provocation in Beijing. She is a co-founder of the ADA (area for debate and art) collective, based in Rotterdam.


The exhibition under honorary patronage of The Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Warsaw, is financially supported by Mondriaan Funds and The Capital City of Warsaw.

Ujazdowski Castle Centre for Contemporary Art
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