7 Artists Hit the High Seas for a Shipping Container Artist Residency

The express mission of the Container Artist Residency is "to see what happens when you take a group of artists who are all very accomplished and put them on a shipping vessel.”

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Feb 24 2016, 4:40pm

All images courtesy of  Container Artist Residency

Today's residency programs facilitate artmaking in some of the world's most unusual places. Container Artist Residency, in collaboration with ZIM integrated Shipping Services, is one such program, bringing seven artists, including Mari Bastashevski, Tyler Coburn, Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen to the high seas, on seven different nautical art journeys this spring.

The idea of the residency came about after artist Maayan Strauss, the program’s founder and director, traveled by shipping container from Israel to New Haven where she received her MFA at Yale University. Strauss hopes that the completely isolating residency routes of Container Artist Residency 01 will inspire artists to make work that reflect the unique experience of traveling at sea for weeks at a time. The voyages include lines from New York to Israel and Hong Kong to Sri Lanka that will result in seven international exhibitions of the artworks created on the ships.

Tyler Coburn, Waste Management, 2013-15, Print takeaway, found artworks, made of CRT monitor glass, epoxy and fiber powder from printed circuit boards. Installation view: Organic Situation, Koenig & Clinton, New York, 2015 / Courtesy of the artist

“I think about the mission in experimental terms,” explains residency curator Prem Krishnamurthy. “There’s a myth of the artist as an autonomous agent. Artists work in commercial ways and they work in the world not apart from it,” he says. “So we are trying to see what happens when you take a group of artists who are all very accomplished and put them on a shipping vessel.”

Ferenc Gróf, Everyone’s No Man’s Land (Franz Josef Land-- Terra communis), 2015, A5 postcard to Vladimir Putin, in the frame of the OFF-Biennale Budapest. Edition of 2000.

Artists work will explore the intersections of art and industry. Like artist Barbara Steveni’s Artist Placement Group of the 1960s, the Container Artist Residency is interested in how artists are impacted in environments that present new challenges to the ways in which they create works away from their studio spaces. “Many of the artists have a research-based methodology that is interested in looking at how to critically insert themselves into institutions, structures, and supply chains,” explains Krishnamurthy to The Creators Project.

“Many of the artists that applied wanted to look into larger questions of globalisation in a critical way. We also wanted to make sure that the final selection of artists in this first round went beyond that.” The program’s first set of artists also includes Erin Diebboll and Christopher Page, who work in more traditional mediums such as sculpture and painting.

Control Room, Maayan Strauss

“In my work as a curator more generally, I am invested in looking critically at the accepted formats of creative production and trying to look at and break down the boundaries between different kinds of disciplinary practices,” explains Krishnamurthy, who helped plan the residency routes and structure the individual programs of each artist while they are at sea, and who will curate each of the resulting exhibitions. “It’s impossible in 2016 to not think about the artist's role in the market.” He says, “by doing this project one of the goals I have is that we can actually look in a productive way at how an engagement with industry and the underlying hidden processes can inform an artist work and make something potentially more relevant for now and for the future.”

Christopher Page, Aventine, 2015, Oil on canvas, 60 x 90 cm

Revital Cohen and Tuur Van Balen, 75 Watt, 2013, C-type print, 66 x 100 cm

Greek Crane, Maayan Strauss

For more information on the Container Artist Residency, click here.

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