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Jerwood/FVU present Soojin Chang's BXBY and Michael.’s cleave to the Black in new exhibition. - FAD Magazine

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Jerwood/FVU present Soojin Chang’s BXBY and Michael.’s cleave to the Black in new exhibition.

As part of their 10th-year programme, Jerwood/FVU Awards present new work from Soojin Chang and Michael. Both artists have been commissioned by the Jerwood/FVU Awards to develop and showcase two ambitious, large-scale projects. 

The 2022 Jerwood/FVU Awards recipient artists Soojin Chang and Michael. have taken an exciting and challenging approach to ideas of difference and inclusion. In Soojin Chang’s case, BXBY is a radical, semi-fictional work which explores the fusion of interspecies life and Michael.’s installation cleave to the Black depicts through a moving-image triptych, the continuing legacy of Black male experience.

“The Jerwood/FVU Awards have always aspired to be bold – in the platform they create for new, emerging talents and in the licence they give for artists to respond to contemporary subjects and themes. This year’s commissions by Soojin Chang and Michael. are no exception: works that are powerfully of the moment, and which draw upon the past to urge us to think ahead and imagine a different future. It has been a pleasure to collaborate once again with Jerwood Arts and our new partner Leeds Art Gallery on this key initiative, which now marks its tenth year.”

Steven Bode, Director of FVU
BXBY close up image Copyright: Soojin Chang

Soojin Chang – BXBY is a year-long performance project that merges forms of semi-fictional documentary and ritual practice, following Chang as a hybrid, shape-shifting being trying to learn to reproduce. Drawing from chimeric figures within creation stories of the British Isles and the diasporic cultures of Chang and her collaborators (Choulay Mech, Jade O’belle, Anika Ahuja, and Aditya Surya Taruna a.k.a Kasimyn), Chang positions her own hybrid body – part animal, part woman, part alien – as a site of technological interaction and as a locus of ongoing experiment. Sampling diverse scientific methods such as IVF, biohacking, and voluntary self-touch, BXBY addresses the legacy of colonial science to open out into wider affirmation of queer, interspecies kinship and reliance. From this position, BXBY aims to spur a purposeful discussion on notions of sacrifice, animality, objecthood and in/visibility; looking in particular to animist techniques of embodying and remembering.

Soojin Chang, BXBY, 2022 (still). Courtesy of the artist.
Michael., cleave to the BLACK, 2022 (still). Courtesy of the artist.

Michael.- cleave to the Black – echoes the art-historical tradition of the painter triptych in a three-screen video projection that offers a panoramic perspective on the legacies of the past that continue to leave an indelible mark on contemporary Black male experience. Alluding to episodes from the Bible and stories from African folklore and cosmology, the piece brings a subtle overtone of parable and myth to its carefully composed and quietly haunting scenes. Looping sequences of a procession of figures slowly climbing an outdoor staircase in a regulation council block are contrasted with a tableau of those figures sleeping (at nightly peace or at final rest). In between is a third screen depicting an arcadian landscape – a memory of a time long gone or a glimmer of better things to come? Far from a vision of utopia or a fantasy of paradise, it feels more like a space that is being reimagined and remade, from the bottom up. Moving through a series of gradually unfolding transitions, in its deliberate, meditative pace, the piece celebrates slowness as a precondition of recovery and care and also as a lens through which the movements of the Black body attain a distinctive state of poise and grace. Made in close dialogue with a group of Black men from different London communities, cleave to the Black is a work of authentic, personal expression and evocative, atmospheric poetry.  

Michael., cleave to the BLACK, 2022 (still). Courtesy of the artist.

These projects coincide with the launch of an exciting new partnership with Leeds Art Gallery during the 10th anniversary year of the prestigious awards. There is a planned second presentation in Leeds in Autumn 2022 in partnership with Leeds Art Gallery.

Michael., cleave to the BLACK, 2022. Commissioned for the Jerwood/FVU Awards 2022. Installation view at Jerwood Space. Photo: Anna Arca

We are delighted to announce Soojin Chang and Michael. as recipients of the Jerwood/FVU Awards 2022. The awards support exceptional artistic voices to create new works using moving-image, often exploring challenging and timely subjects. Through the awards, we are committed to enabling new artistic voices to create ambitious works on their terms, with substantial curatorial and production support. We are excited to premiere Soojin and Michael.’s films at Jerwood Space in Southwark and to work with our new partners at Leeds Art Gallery to share them with audiences in Yorkshire in Autumn 2022, deepening our engagement with artist filmmakers across the UK.

Lilli Geissendorfer, Director of Jerwood Arts

Jerwood Space: Jerwood/FVU Awards 2022 7 May – 23 July 2022 Jerwood Space, 171 Union Street, London SE1 0LN FREE jerwoodarts.org, fvu.co.uk 

The Jerwood/FVU Awards is a prestigious commissioning scheme that has supported early-career moving-image artists since 2012. The awards have established an esteemed role in the contemporary visual arts, by awarding £25,000 for exceptional artists to develop significant new artworks at a pivotal moment in their practice. Selection of the awards is made by a panel of experts, including award-winning visual artists Hetain Patel and Rehana Zaman. Past winners have included contemporary artists Ed Atkins (awarded 2012), who has since shown internationally and at Tate Britain and Serpentine Gallery, Marianna Simnett (awarded 2014), who has been selected at this year’s Venice Biennale, and Lawrence Lek (awarded 2017), named Grand Prix Winner of Hyundai’s 4th VH Award in 2021. 

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