Oreet Ashery

The first introduction to Oreet Ashery was an introduction to her ways of presenting. In a short announcement, she exclaimed that she normally creates an individual presentation for each show and school she visits. This time, due to the amount of work that she has been doing and the time she had, we had a culmination of all the previous works.

Ashery identifies herself as a writer and an artist with many ideas, including that of ‘where does the artwork begin and end?’, that often makes appearances in her works. Themes that also underlie Ashery’s work includes; communities, interduration, motivation, future, gender-materiality, and bio political fiction including identity and sexuality.

Within one of Ashery’s pieces, knitting needles are used with microphones to create a chorus of metal rain, mixed with the acoustics of an electric guitar and drum set. There were 80 of the knitting needles in total, each creating an individual sound that was mixed live during the performances. It is not obvious within photographs, however a false sloping floor was created which created both the sensations of doom and death. Within this piece, the audience, knitters and metal band shared the same floor space, creating a mixture of confusion at some points, as it was not known who was part of the performance.

This piece was a juxtaposition as it is not every day that you see a metal band surrounded by knitters. Knitting by hand was a symbol of a labour of love, and also a labour of help. Ashery explained that some of the performers knitted their way out of depression, which is somewhat shown in their knitting and expression for the duration of the performance. The knitters were not specifically told what to think, but they did have to keep focus with no smiling and expression as part of this. Some of the knitters were also transgender, highlighting one of the aforementioned themes. This was also very different for Ashery as she had never come across this group of people before (transgender knitters). All in all, the performance is around 20 minutes of knitting, with only one small song performed by the band.

Ashery also wanted to explore the amplification of the knitting needles through this piece before looking more into gender. By looking further into this theme of her work, Ashery created 12 episodes of short films, ‘Revisiting Genesis’. This runs for a total of one hour and thirty minutes. Through this, it was also explored how artists represent themselves in a digital world and a digital afterlife. There is also the interest of online distribution and targeting towards audiences. A whole exhibition was built around ‘Revisiting Genesis’, exploring the sets and characters within each episode. Music was also bought into this project.

In 2014, Ashery completed a performance in the Tate Modern, looking at the delicacy of Jade cloth with collages. She has always collected materials and designed ponchos and headgear. This lead into a fashion show element, which like ‘Revisiting Genesis’, went on to be exhibited. This set of work once again had the elements of labour in her work.

Moving further away from this, Ashery found herself dressed as a man, along with 3000 other men, protesting as an immigrant in Berlin. This protest looked at gender materiality and gender intervention with dressing like a man, and the ideologies that lie behind this.

Throughout her work, Ashery also engaged in somewhat recurring history. This included a knitter from the above performance had her portrait tattooed onto her chest, and the use of technology [a sound man was using an iPad to mix the sounds in the performance while one of the children was playing a princess game next to him]. Through her work, a potential community was unintentionally formed. As people began talking more and more, they soon added each other on Facebook after coming from all around Sweden just for this performance.

1 thought on “Oreet Ashery

  1. Pingback: Pole Performance Preparation | Charlotte Abraham Art

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