Kupala Festival 2019: Lunar Edition

22 Jun 2019

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5-8 pm

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England, United Kingdom


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Kupala is an annual festival of contemporary art that celebrates nature, participation and creativity. This year’s festival will feature performative works by artists responding to the theme of the moon.


Since 2016, the Kupala Festival has shown performative and participatory works by a range of international artists, all examining the relationship between the nature, science and art. The festival’s origins date back to pagan traditions of marking the summer solstice in Eastern Europe and Scandinavia.

Commemorating the 50th anniversary of the first human landing on the moon, this years Kupala Festival will featrue a collection of artists responding to this seminal moment in history, will draw inspiration from Kupala folk rituals, lunar cycle and the moon landing.

Participating artists: Rosanna Dean, Sarah Fortais, Vanessa von Heydebreck, Yva Jung, Jin Han Lee, Inês Neto dos Santos, Sean Roy Parker and Olha Pryymak. 

Rosanna Dean

Rosanna’s practice explores a relationship with discarded materials around us, remnants of actions and things we have consumed, traces of the past that are never really left behind us. Rosanna uses materials such as broken glass, shells, hair, bones, twigs, sand, fragments, things which were once attached to a living entity and brings them to our attention through new configurations. Alongside these reconfigurations she places sculptures that are at an intersection with technology, magic and myth-making, objects she imagines as future relics, what icons of a future spiritual practice may be.

At the Kupala, Rosanna will explore the importance we imbue in things as connected to experiencing with them; in rhythm with natures cycles, through movement, breath and attention. Her work will engage with rituals and ancient practices as a way of re-forging intimate relationships with 'inanimate matter' and reframing how we consider liveliness.

Dean is currently completing her Masters in Painting at the Royal College of Art. She was selected for the East Wing Biennial at The Courtauld Institute of Art (2018), Space London Creative Network (2017), The Florence Trust (2016) TedX ‘Society Beyond borders’ Oval Space (2014). www.rosannadean.com

Sarah Fortais

Sarah Fortais' fine art practice is bricolage: disassembling, repurposing, and modifying objects or ideas to generate new wholes and understanding. Fortais has created a copy of an Apollo A5-L pressure suit out of materials scoured from the streets in London and on June 21st will set off on her most recent mission, to explore areas of geological interest in Northumbria. Like previous performances in London and in Paris she will document her activities and look for new experiences as a tourist-explorer. Just like the Apollo missions, the amount of rocks that she can examine and pick will be dictated by the size of her suitcase and the strict weight allowance of her return vehicle. The mission will be broadcast live for 3 hours to Phytology in a self-contained vessel that could either be an explorer's space capsule or a tourist's phone booth.

Fortais received a PhD in Fine Art from the Slade School of Fine Art (2018), where she built spacesuits for animals, borrowed NASA moon rocks, and created strategies to observe and define what it means to call a person or thing ‘cool’. She recently exhibited/performed in "Hors Pistes: La lune: Zone Imaginaire à Défendre", in the Centre Pompidou, Paris, France. She received the Kenneth Armitage Sculpture Prize and the Westbury Arts Centre Graduate Residency, Milton Keynes, in 2016. In 2018, Fortais, along with artist Dawn Gaietto put together an interdisciplinary conference focussing on the nonhuman (titled:"Rendering the Invisible Visible") at University College London, and was awarded an Octagon Grant. www.sarahfortais.com

Vanessa von Heydebreck

In the spirit of cyclic phases and transformation, German-Canadian visual artist Vanessa von Heydebreck is returning to Phytology with a repurposed tent that was originally on site. In collaboration with Olha Pryymak, this tent will transform into an interactive moonscape photo booth. Pulling lunar energy to earth, visitors are invited to sit under the moons mantle and photograph themselves in the core of the illuminated biodome.

Vanessa von Heydebreck studied Fine Arts at Emily Carr University of Art and Design (Canada), the University of Tartu (Estonia) and Kunsthochschule Berlin-Weissensee (Germany), where she received her MFA in 2006. She has had exhibitions across Europe and in North America, such as in group shows at das weisse haus, Vienna / Austria; Alexander Ochs Galleries, Berlin; Ostrale-Center for Contemporary Art, Dresden; and SCION space, in Los Angeles. In 2015, she relocated from Berlin to London for a studio residency at the Florence Trust. She is also currently the Creative Programme Manager of South East Creatives, a business development programme delivered by SPACE.

Yva Jung

Yva Jung’s art practice is temporal, site-specific, performative and interdisciplinary. The main art forms Jung works with are moving images, digital prints, drawings, installations, and improvised encounters. At the Kupala 2019, Jung will invite the audiences to exchange stories for sculptures inspired by the journey of the moon. Engaging with each audience, Jung will create poetic and collective narratives about the lunar cycle.

Yva Jung was awarded a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Fine Art from the Slade School of Fine Art, (London, 2016), MA Fine Arts from the School of Visual Arts (New York, 2008) and BA Fine Arts from the Ewha Womans University (Seoul, 2016). She has received arts grants from various institutions including Arts Council England (2019), Arts Council Korea (2018, 2011, 2008), Jerome Foundation (2011) and Canada Council for the Arts (2010). Her work has been shown in various exhibitions including Art Night (London, 2017), KCCUK (London, 2016), CAFAM Biennale (Beijing, 2014) Berwick Film & Media Arts Festival (Berwick-upon-Tweed, 2013), Taipei Contemporary Art Center (Taipei, 2013),) and Soho20 Gallery (New York, 2009). www.yvajung.com

Jim Han Lee

Lee’s practice attempts to give shape to difficult feelings and experiences – for example, the anxiety of ageing, experience of falling in and out of love and cultural differences. Using the three parts her practice – drawing, painting, and writing – individually or collectively, Lee tries to bring back all the incongruities of lived experience that she thinks are required to convey such complexities. In doing this, her paintings explore the relationship between image and language, visualising a notion of ‘nuance’ in painting and writing. For the Kupala 2019, Lee will perform a story about her recent painting, which attempts to visualise the relationship between day and night through an exploration of foreground and background.

Lee is currently a PhD candidate at the Slade School of Art, UCL (2014 - ) and previously studied at Goldsmiths (2010-2012). Selected exhibitions include: The Day in the Evening, Space K, Gwacheon, 2018; Missing You, Gallery EM, Seoul, 2018; The Intercontinental Breakfast, the Roaming Room, London, 2017; Running to You, Sophie’s Tree, New York, 2017; Bloomberg New Contemporaries, ICA, London, 2016; Tradition, Pump House Gallery, London, 2013; Saatchi Gallery and Channel 4 New Sensations 2012, B1 Space, 2012; Guasch Coranty Painting Prize, Center of Art Tecla Sala, Barcelona, 2010. She was nominated for an Elephant lab residency in partnership with New Contemporaries in February 2019. www.leejinhan.com

Inês Neto dos Santos

For the Kupala Festival, artist Inês Neto dos Santos will present her piece Mother, mother: a continuous brewing system of kombucha as a sculptural piece, using this fermentation process as a metaphor for site-specificity, collaborative practice and personal growth. Considering ferments as archives of local information, this piece sees the never ending exchange of bacteria and yeasts that occurs during fermentation as a gateway to understand our relationships with ourselves, others and the outside world.

Inês Neto dos Santos is a multi-disciplinary artist (b. Lisbon 1992) currently based in London. There, she completed an MA in Visual Communication at Royal College of Art (2016) and a BA in Graphics and Illustration at London College of Communication (2013). Her practice stands between performance and installation, using food, people and spaces as metaphors and prompts for discussion and conversation. Her work focuses on ideas around sustainability, narrative, collaboration and togetherness. Recent group shows and projects include Darlings of the Underground (2019, Subsidiary Projects, London), Matérias Primas (2018, PADA Studios, Barreiro), Should I Stay or Should I Go (2018, Barbecho, Madrid), Art Night Party (2018, Phillips, London), A Toolkit for the Future (2018, V&A Museum and Arcade East, London), Bored but secured (2018, WOZEN, Lisbon), Adventitious Encounters (2018, Whiteleys, London). Residencies include ZUT 2017, 2018 and Illustration School 2018, upcoming Villa Lena October 2019.

Sean Roy Parker

During the event, artist and environmentalist Sean Roy Parker will present a meal from surplus food by Brixton Pound Café and wild salad grown at Phytology. He has recently exhibited in 'The romance of flowers'; at Kingsgate Project Space, London, ‘Permission Slip’ at Good Press, Glasgow, ‘SURPLUS’ at Peak Art, London (all 2018) and has an upcoming commission with Fungus Press, Croydon. Parker runs Brixton Pound Café, London’s only radical pay-what-you-can community café recognised as an Urban Food Hero by Mayor of London, and is a Lead Artist on Get The Message, Camden Arts Centre’s Special Educational Needs (SEN) schools programme.www.seanroyparker.com

Olha Pryymak

During her performance Pryymak will be offering tea from the herbs freshly harvested from the medicinal meadow on site, specifically those that impact internal health cycles. The participants are invited to bring along their stories and cultural experiences. In the process recipes of favourite blends of herbal remedies will shared, photos snapped. This format aims at opening up a dialogue about personal rituals, emotional geographies, and perceptions of wellbeing.

Olha’s background of long lineage of women-herbalists in her family give her the agency to activate these exchanges. The paintings, informed by the performances, have exhibited at Florence Trust (2015), Alice Herrick Gallery (2016), The Royal Academy of Arts (2017), Lewisham Art House, Tripp Gallery, Old Sessions House (2018) and Arthouse1 (2019). The conversations during performances may be recorded for use in the future writing and painting works. www.opryymak.com


Yva Jung

Olha Pryymak

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Ines Neto dos Santos

Olha Pryymak

Yva Jung

Vanessa von Heydebreck

Sean Roy Parker

Rosanna Dean


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