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How Long Can They Stay? – Nefeli Asariotaki

Jul 9, 2021 | Artscape, Front And Center | 0 comments

Artist's Note

Through my work, I seek to isolate and highlight the absurdity of this world, with the aim to accept its existence and create space for new connections. My work is concerned with the limits of humanity and cruelty. It hopes to inspire a dialogue about war, conflict, and the existence of borders in a time that violence and dogmatism are placed in the foreground. Why do we need to be separated in order to coexist? Can we escape violence and injustice if we eliminate the construct of the Other as the enemy?A large body of my work, takes as a starting point the humanitarian crisis in Europe and the war in Syria, to discuss the idea of borders as physical and existential barriers. We tend to understand the concept of a border as a concrete and definite idea, almost as an archetype that precedes its essence. But is it really that way, or is it more of a human construct created to serve particular interests? To discuss this, I create multi-layered installations with simultaneous meanings, that encourage the viewer to unpack them and create new connections. By including contradictory information, I put absurdity in the spotlight.

How long can they stay on water boundaries?

Materials: Ceramic Clay, Water, Chalk Pastel
Date:2018
iDmensions: each figure 4x 7.87”

Refugee sculpture
if they stay for too long.
but how long can they stay?
they are going to melt.
but how long is too long?
they are going to melt.
but how long can they stay?
they are going to melt.
and where can they go?
Refugee sculpture
Hope Boulevard

Materials: Ceramic Clay, Wood
Date:2018
Dimensions: 4.72x 9.44×43”

Documenting hope boulevard talks about a story of displacement. The small clay figures are the protagonists of the sculpture, who take the role of displaced individuals (including internally displaced people). They are walking on a piece of wood, which balances between the ground and the air. If they keep walking they do not know what they will find. All they can see is emptiness, the unknown. They are shaped in such a way that their facial characteristics are not there. It is a comment on how the media is treating people. By presenting them only as numbers they automatically create a distance between the viewer or the reader, who becomes unable to empathize.

Born in Athens, Greece, Nefeli Asariotaki is an artist and educator based between Athens and Brooklyn. She completed her BFA at Pratt Institute and her MFA at SVA. Nefeli works in a variety of media, including but not limited to sculpture, video, performance, and multimedia installation. Nefeli’s work revolves around issues of displacement, borders, racism, and state power. She aims to create works that spark constructive discussions, push conceptual and institutional boundaries by creating spaces where questioning constructs becomes the sole purpose.

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