Calvert 22, London
8 December 2010 – 20 February 2011

Participating Artists: Rasheed Araeen, Ranko Bon, Dumitru Budrala, Navroze Contractor, Yiannos Ekonomou, Marina Gržinić and Aina Šmid, Isa Rosenberger, Sašo Sedlaček, Vlad Nancă, Zbyněk Baladrán

Curated by Richard Appignanesi, writer, theorist and editor Raising Dust is a provocative multi-media exhibition which explores contemporary notions of identity and relativity by inviting a group of predominantly Eastern European artists to respond to the poetry and politics of place.

Arguably, the very idea of Europe is in itself a dislocation, a 'nomadic horizon' which responds differently to the shifting perspectives and desires of its inhabitants. Each artist in Raising Dust has contributed work which addresses this proposition and foregrounds the urgency of creating an autonomous 'space for life' that overrides dominant mainstream distinctions. Three of the artists (of Indian, Cypriot and British-Pakistani descent) have extended the encounter with Europe even further east so as to question our ideas of what comprises this continent.

A central symbol and point of departure for Raising Dust is the broom. Appignanesi was invited to write a text on this simple household object in response to a collection of locally handmade brooms exhibited at the Arna-Jharna Museum in Rajasthan, India. The broom, by its very nature, positions its user in a constant routine battle against chaos and entropy, and at the same time represents human endeavour and ingenuity. 

These conflicting forces of creation and destruction can be shown to have shaped human destiny and brought us to our current crisis of natural resources. Appignanesi also drew parallels between such confrontations with the ambiguous condition of art. This set in motion the genesis of an exhibition idea aimed to develop these thoughts further in the wider configurations of relational geography. The first version of this show, titled Dust, Ashes, Residua featuring seven Eastern European artists, was presented at Open Space, Zentrum für Kunstprojekte, Vienna, earlier in 2010.

For Raising Dust at Calvert 22, additional artists have joined the original participants. The broom remains as an emblem of basic human endurance in these artists' reflections on waste and the geopolitical irregularities of Europe. The exhibition features video-work, photography and installation including excerpts from Dumitru Budrala's documentary film The Curse of the Hedgehog which depicts the Băieşi Roma people in the uplands of Romania who survive precariously as traditional broom-makers, contextualised by striking images of broom-making and street sweeping in Jodhpur by the Bangalore-based photographer and filmmaker Navroze Contractor. 

Naked Freedom, a video film work by Marina Gržinić and Aina Šmid, artists resident in Ljubljana, Slovenia, foregrounds seven young activists exchanging ideas on local community and the possibilities of a radical life under a regime of global capitalism. Other presentations include an installation from a Romanian artist, Vlad Nancă, which wryly comments on post-Socialist consumerism by reworking the DIY 'ready-mades' - in this exhibition, a stand-up birch broom commonly used to secure parking spaces in congested Bucharest. 

Sašo Sedlaček, a Ljubljana-based artist, presents AcDcWc, an installation piece, which fuses the prosaic with the glamorous whilst demonstrating how we can generate electricity from the recycling of human excrement. Austrian artist Isa Rosenberger, presents a poetic film work, Espiral: A Dance of Death in 8 Scenes, utilising the political ballet of choreographer Kurt Jooss. Zbyněk Baladrăn, a Prague-based artist, offers us an ironic meditation on the complicity of our desires in his video essay, 40,000,000. 

Yiannos Economou, a Cypriot video artist, in his work Pyrkos, takes us to a remote corner of Cyprus, where village communities of charcoal-burners face the extinction of their traditional way of life and finally, Croation artist, Ranko Bon presents, Residua (1976-2010), an interactive stream-of-consciousness archive begun in 1976.

Raising Dust is a timely exhibition that reflects contemporary cross-cultural and aesthetic developments whilst interrogating the ways in which we map our geopolitical landscapes, but also our artistic and cultural territories.

For details of accompanying talks and screenings, please visit www.Calvert22.org

Venue Information:

About Calvert 22: CALVERT 22 is the UK's only not for profit foundation dedicated to the presentation of contemporary Art and Culture from Russian and Eastern Europe. With five exhibitions a year from both emergent and more established contemporary artists as well as a range of contextual events, performances and activities, Calvert 22 aims to interrogate existing preconceptions about the art and culture of these regions and propose new possibilities for cross-cultural understanding and exchange.

• Visitor Information

Calvert 22
22 Calvert Avenue
London E2 7JP

Opening Hours: Wednesday – Saturday: 10am – 6pm; Sunday: 11am – 5pm
Admission: Free
Contact: +44 (0) 20 7613 2141| info@calvert22.org, www.calvert22.org
Nearest Tube: Shoreditch High St/ Old St / Liverpool St

Image Credits: Navroze Contractor, "Street sweeper in Jodhpur," 2009. Photograph, dimensions variable.*

Graphic Design by Ishmael Annobil /  Web Development by Ruzanna Hovasapyan