Political Toasts

  • Date:
    16 May–30 June 2013

Art Laboratory, Flávia Müller Medeiros, Kristina Norman

Political Toasts features new and existing work by Art Laboratory, Flávia Müller Medeiros and Kristina Norman. From photography and film to installation, graffiti and documentation, the artists in this exhibition aim to consider, celebrate, challenge and protest political contexts in Armenia, Estonia, Belarus and Finland.

The title of the show is from a series of videos by Art Laboratory; they sit around a table in Yerevan making ever more political toasts. The group is made up of artists from across several generations who are united with their frustration with the Armenian government. In an environment where exhibitions are shut down if deemed too radical, they take their work into the streets with graffiti work, performance and action, all with the aim to educate and stimulate questioning from the public about the status quo. Art Laboratory is making a new site-specific graffiti work for Northampton on the gallery wall in the window of Number Nine Guildhall Road.

European Belarus is a project by Brazilian artist Flávia Müller Medeiros made during a residency in Vilnius where she met a young Belarusian student, Irka. Irka studied at the European Humanities University (EHU), a university originally in Minsk that was shut down for being too politically dangerous for the Belarusian government. EHU was relocated by the European Commission who found a home for the university within the EU, in Lithuania. To pursue their studies students and teachers leave their home country and often return indirectly via Russia, as they are less likely to be stopped at the borders. Flávia’s project includes a group photograph of the students and staff of EHU, a defiant celebration of the solidarity and pursuit of freedom, as well as a book and film capturing Irka’s travel through bureaucracy and communication.

Kristina Norman is a visual artist and documentary filmmaker from Tallinn, Estonia. She links history with the social phenomena of the present through her work. Political Toasts shows two of her films, 0.8 Square Metres (showing in the closing weekend) and After War (screened throughout the exhibition). Both have elements of complex history – The Finnish Civil War and the Soviet Union’s occupation of Estonia – and their legacies as their subjects. The Finnish Civil War has been relegated to a footnote of the country’s history, an issue that prompted 0.8 Square Metres, which was filmed in the former prison now art gallery Augusta. After Warfeatures the 1947 bronze statue commemorating the Red Army soldiers’ grave and the riots that broke out during its relocation in 2007. The artist built a golden soldier to take the position left vacant by the Bronze and the film documents the varying reactions to this action.


Artist talk: Art Laboratory
18 May 2013, 2pm
Art Laboratory will be talking about their practice and working in contemporary Armenia.

Crit Group
21 May 2013, approximately 7pm

NN hosts the Crit Group for artists at all stages of their career to come together to discuss their work in progress, run by Kate Harrison & Peter Slack.

Saturday Family Workshop with Flávia Müller Medeiros
22 June 2013, 2pm

Join artist Flávia Müller Medeiros for an alternative way to explore the exhibition through making.
All children under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult.
Price £1 per child.

Pecha Kucha Night
27 June 2013, 7pm

20 slides, 20 seconds per slide, come and show everyone what you do! Whether you are an artist, writer, designer, musician, collector, curator, fanatic, whatever you are come and share it in 20 slides. We are collaborating with MK Gallery to host PKNs so come along and find out more about what people are doing or book in and join in presenting your practices and passions.
To book in email [email protected] with PKN in the subject of your email.




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