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Elizabeth A.Sackler Center for Feminist Art

Silvia Russell

New York City,
USA

Silvia Russel (b. 1969 in Nijmegen, NL) lives and works in Amsterdam, the Netherlands and New York City. Her work has been shown at Gallery MC and White Box in New York and internationally at the Architectural Biennale in Venice, and Cell Project Space in London, UK, amongst others. She has had numerous solo and group shows in the Netherlands at venues such as Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, NAI, Rotterdam, Museum van Bommel van Dam, Venlo, and Sanquin and Upstream Gallery, Amsterdam. Russel has received commissions for permanent art installations in public and private spaces in the Netherlands. She has also received numerous grants and awards from the Amsterdam Foundation for the Arts, and The Netherlands Foundation for Visual Arts, Design and Architecture to name a few. Together with LMAKprojects, Silvia Russel published “Borough(ed) Stories” in 2009. Her work has been reviewed in major Dutch newspapers and art magazines.

Feminist Artist Statement

My work is founded in the correspondence and contact with people and their reaction to and engagement with cultural rules within society. I usually work with women as I feel I can better relate to their dilemmas. I base my drawings upon the relationship that develops as women relay their life stories to me. My approach to my subjects varies; it may be as direct as engaging in a conversation on the street or through workshops at community centers. These conversations usually begin with a questions about their household and their stance within the world. As they relay their position in life and the psychological effect it has on their sense of being, I frequently ask them to draw their experiences, as to get a more rounded picture of who they are and get a better understanding of their background. Using this information as well as my experience in the encounter, I begin my drawings. I look for points that stood out to me during our exchange, as I assemble their experience into small drawings and then, as I make the experience my own, I commence to work on the large drawings. I usually show my drawings along side the drawings of the woman I have encountered, and within a public setting in the neighborhood, as I feel that it brings a context to the work, as well as an understanding of the subject. Usually after showing in this setting, I show my work separately at a gallery or museum, which in turn allows me to review the value of the image without the original context, revealing the layers within my work.

<p>Installation view of “Do you See Me?” In Centrum Beeldende Kunst Zuidoost, Amsterdam</p>

Installation view of “Do you See Me?” In Centrum Beeldende Kunst Zuidoost, Amsterdam

During her residency at Centrum Beeldende Kunst Zuidoost in the Bijlmer, Amsterdam, Russel conducted interviews with residents that participated in the educational programs offered at the Center. The residential area was developed in the 70’s and at that time was presented as a suburban neighborhood, a utopia. However, it became known as the ghetto of Amsterdam. In recent years the neighborhood has seen drastic changes and celebrates its diversity within the community. The interviews led to portraits of hope, integration and the balance between two cultures that were exhibited in the center. Permanent installation in the educational center of CBKZ in the Bijlmer, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Installation view of “Do you See Me?” In Centrum Beeldende Kunst Zuidoost, Amsterdam

During her residency at Centrum Beeldende Kunst Zuidoost in the Bijlmer, Amsterdam, Russel conducted interviews with residents that participated in the educational programs offered at the Center. The residential area was developed in the 70’s and at that time was presented as a suburban neighborhood, a utopia. However, it became known as the ghetto of Amsterdam. In recent years the neighborhood has seen drastic changes and celebrates its diversity within the community. The interviews led to portraits of hope, integration and the balance between two cultures that were exhibited in the center. Permanent installation in the educational center of CBKZ in the Bijlmer, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

Untitled (Girl with Red Hair)

Part of the series made during “Do you see me?” and exhibited at the solo exhibit “In between time” at LMAKprojects. In this work I tried to capture the interviewee’s sense of community that she used to have back home, centered around cooking her family and community. Now, as an immigrant in Holland, she tries to find her own sense of being in a society that is foreign to her; she still used cooking to bond with her new surroundings. Collection of the Centrum Beeldende Kunst Zuidoost, Amsterdam.

Untitled (Older woman with glasses)

This drawing was created during the residency project “Do you see me?” in Amsterdam, and later shown at LMAKprojects during the solo exhibit “In between time.” This elderly woman was attending classes on becoming a children’s pre-school educator. She would tell stories of giving the instructor tips on how to manage large groups of children as she was the unofficial caretaker of kids in the immigrant neighborhood, and she frequently managed large groups of small children from different backgrounds and languages. (Collection of A. Schaffer)

Betty

This drawing was shown at “Tow the Line” in White Box, curated by Louky Keijsers Koning.

Installation view of “Keep Moving!” in the stairwell at St. Annaziekenhuis, Geldrop

During Russel’s residency at the CEC Psychiatric Institute, Russel was commissioned to create a mural for the new living quarters.

Mural at the GGZ Psychiatrische Institution in Bennebroek

A mural that was created for the new building of GGZ Psychiatrische Institution in Bennebroek. After intensive workshops with the patients of the psychiatric institute, I strived to create an environment in which the patients would feel at ease and safe. Through the workshop I was able to understand their feelings of safety, and translated them through making a black and white outline mural that emphasized calm and and soothing shapes and was absent of colors to avoid rash reactions.

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c/o LMAKprojects 139 Eldridge street
New York City, 10002
USA

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