Irini Miga

I believe in the importance of the art as a universal language. In an era where hard-won rights are being eroded, where the fear of the “other” has prompted the advent of censorship, bans and hate speech art depends on our ability to perceive things beyond boundaries. In that way, it becomes a device for thinking about our world in perpetual fluidity, where information can be read in different ways, raising new questions and allowing unexpected discoveries.

I grew up in Greece, a country on the line between the perceived East and West, where the distant past, present and desired future coexist; so seeing things through a prism of constant symbiosis became a norm early on. As an immigrant, female artist living and working in the United States, I find myself at times caught in the dichotomy that is created by opposing values. I find humble, anti-monumental gestures and giving value to the minor and otherwise neglected of immense importance.

In my practice I create constellations of humble gestures that call for close examination. I ascribe value to the neglected, which becomes of great significance. Marks of performative actions and leftover traces become part of my spatial vocabulary, in which the marking of time is revealed. In that way my works function as “moments in time.” For example, in my work Tracing Moments, (2017_ image 03) a handmade ceramic recreation of a matchstick that has lost its use value, stands alone on the wall as a fragile moment. The sun that hits it from the window at different times of the day turns it into a solar clock. The marked shadows indicate the install times of my other pieces in the show and my breaks that day during the install.

I am interested in the way that we navigate and perceive our environments; today and in the past. Thus my work engages with the memory of place from the point of origin to the present. This manifests as reconstructions of sites and objects of personal significance. For example, in the installation A Place From a Different Timeline (2016, image_011 and image_012 ) I tried to recreate my apartment in Athens, Greece by memory, calling upon the limitations and imaginings inherent to the process of reconstruction. A recent installation, Reflections (2018, image_016) at Atlanta Contemporary is a site-responsive work and contemplation on the passage of time. There, I aim to evoke the history of the Chute Space, as a former storage room for coal. The term, reflection refers to both imagery and perception. These themes also evoke Plato’s Allegory of the Cave, where people turn their backs on reality to see the world as its shadows. This installation stages a illusionary space to sensitize viewers to the reality of their built environment and environmental challenges in the contemporary moment.

I am always looking for the things that we discover after our eyes adjust to the subversion of expectations. I am constantly challenging the potential of my materials in order to create a variation of frequencies and movement within physical and mental space. I look at the point where sculpture touches painterly nuances as an unfolding sketchbook of our everyday reality in physical space. To me, the concept, the materials, along with the color that will activate the works and their surroundings are of equal importance. By examining intersections and the transitory moments of perception my performative piece Untitled (2017, image_01) aims to translate a musical score into a visual “landscape.” There I invited a pianist to play from memory the piece “Visionary Landscapes” by the American composer Alan Hovhaness on the wall with his fingers dipped in ink. As if the music could become an image, I created a visualization of the skyline and the soil on the wall.

My practice employs sculpture, performative elements, text and film. I use basic sculptural materials like clay, wood, plaster, found and custom-made objects juxtaposed with everyday ephemera like paper, dust, and metal rods. I am particularly fascinated with clay as a natural malleable material that carries time in its essence and one that connects me with the history of my country.

My references abound: they range from greek archeological excavation sites, construction sites, google photos, personal places, DIY YouTube videos, and literature, in particular the magical realism of Mikhail Bulgakov, Jorge Luis Borges, and Nikos Kazantzakis.

b. in Greece

Lives and works in New York

EDUCATION

 

2012

MFA in Visual Arts, Columbia University, New York, US

2005

BFA, Athens School of Fine Arts, Athens, GR

2003

Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design, London, UK

 

ONE PERSON EXHIBITIONS

2018

Reflections, Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta

2016

The . beneath white – Wiener Art Foundation / fAN Kunstverein, artfoundation.at Vienna, Austria

2011

Conceptual Romantic, CONDUITS (IT), ReMap3, Athens, Greece

2007

Echoes Prelude, Side 2, Tokyo

 

SELECTED GROUP EXHIBITIONS

(* denotes a catalogue publication)

 

2018

Tomorrow’s Dreams, curated by Daily Lazy, Neuer Essener Kunstverein, Essen, Germany

Selections by Larry Ossei-Mensah, Elizabeth Dee Gallery, New York

 

2017

.connecting., Practice, New York    (two person show with Joao Vasco Paiva)

Scraggly Beard Grandpa, curated by Cici Wu, Capsule Shanghai, Shanghai *

Imperceptible, curated by Xavier Acarín, Abrons Art Center, NYC

Good Weather presents: The Best Is The Least We Can Do, Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta

Where Do We Stand? Two Years of Drawing with Open Sessions, curated by Lisa Sigal and Nova Benway, The Drawing Center, New York *

Car Service II, curated by Danai Giannoglou and Vasilis Papageorgiou, Enterprise Projects, Athens

Marginalia, curated by Lisa Sigal and Nova Benway, The Drawing Center, New York

*bang! Daily Lazy Projects, Athens

 

2016

The Equilibrists, curated by Gary Carrion-Murayari and Helga Christoffersen with Massimiliano Gioni, organized by the New Museum, New York and the DESTE Foundation, Athens in collaboration with the Benaki Museum, Athens*

BiBeLot, curated by Dimitrios Antonitsis, Hydra School Projects, Hydra, Greece*

Leisure as a Mechanism for Resistance,curated by Daily Lazy, Wiener Art Foundation / fAN Kunstverein, Parallel, Vienna

Frida Smoked. Invisible Exports, New York

The Others, curated by Baseera Khan, 56 Bogart, pop-up show, Brooklyn, NY

Strategies in the Geometry of Homecoming, Torrance Shipman Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (curatorial)

 

2015

Table/Chair/Bananas, Bannerette, Brooklyn, NY

Immediate Female, Judith Charles Gallery, New York

Made In New York,curated by Robert Dimin, Blueshift Project, Miami, FL*

What You Want to See, curated by Laura Linda Miller, pop-up show, Bronx Studios

 

2014

Pre-Text, curated by Dimitrios Antonitsis, and Katerina Nikou, Ileana Tounta Contemporary Art Center, with the support of NEON.org.gr Athens

DAS-Zwischen Raum Zeit, Pitch Projects, Milwaukee, WI

HappyLand, Skowhegan Performs, Socrates Sculpture Park, Long Island City, NY

November,curated by mAgdalen Wong, Xinyi Cheng, and Skye Gilkerson, 437A, Brooklyn, NY

No Rules Can Rule When the Doors are Closed, Torrance Shipman, Brooklyn   (curatorial)

 

2013

DAS and Irini Miga: Stage for a Journey, ReMap4, Athens   (collaborative project)

Now and Then, European Central Bank Collection, Frankfurt am Main, Germany *

Group Mountain, curated by Andreas Angelidakis, Athens

In Praise of Chance and Failure, Family Business, New York

(co-curated with Nadja Argyropoulou)

 

2012

Columbia MFA Thesis Show, curated by Fionn Meade, Fisher Landau Center for Art, Long Island City, New York *

Outside Mediation, Green Hall Gallery, Yale University, New Haven *

Contemporary Ceramics, curated by JJ Peet, LeRoy Neiman Gallery, Columbia University, New York

 

2011

DESTE Prize 2011, Museum of Cycladic Art, Athens*

3rd Thessaloniki Biennale of Contemporary Art, curated by Paolo Colombo, Mahita El Bacha Urieta, and Marina Fokidis, Museum of Contemporary Art, Thessaloniki *

Noor: Death in Jaipur, ReMap3, Athens

First Year MFA Exhibition, Wallach Gallery, New York*

Winter Lounge, curated by Emma Balazs, LeRoy Neiman Gallery, New York

Contemporary Woman in Greece, curated by Marina Fokidis, The Hub, Athens *

The Location of Culture, Pulchri Studio, The Hague*

 

AWARDS

2018 /17 /14

Rema Hort Mann Foundation Grant Nominee, New York

2014

HYAM-Young Mediterranean Artistic Scene Prize, Paris (shortlisted)

2011

The DESTE Prize  (shortlisted)

2010-11

The Fulbright Grant

2010-12

Joan Sovern Sculpture Award, Columbia University

2010-12

The Emily Fisher Landau Fellowship Fund, Columbia University, New York, NY

 

RESIDENCIES

 

2018

The Fountainhead Residency, Miami

2016&17

Open Sessions, The Drawing Center, New York

2015-16

Workspace Program, Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, New York

2015

International Summer Academy of Fine Arts, Salzburg, Austria

(course with Raimundas Malaŝauskas)

2014

Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan ME

2012

The Watermill Center, New York;

and Norwegian Theater Academy, Fredrikstad, Norway

2009

AZB Sculpture Guest-atelier, Zurich, Switzerland

 

SELECTED COLLECTIONS

 

DESTE Foundation for Contemporary Art / Dakis Joannou Collection, Athens, Greece

European Central Bank Collection, Frankfurt am Main, Germany

Luciano Benetton Collection, Italy

Soho House, Istanbul, Turkey

 

RECENT PRESS MENTIONS 

2018

BLOUIN ARTINFO, Larry Ossei-Mensah’s ‘Selections’ at Elizabeth Dee, New York

2017

Artforum, Critics’ pick, Shanghai, “Scraggly Beard Grandpa” CAPSULE SHANGHAI, by Todd Meyers

Flash Art, Outside ART021 and West Bund / Shanghai Art Week, by Alvin Jiahuan Li

The Huffington Post: Your Guide to Navigating Athens’ Art Scene, Beyond documenta 14 by Natalie Hegert 

2016

Ocula: The Equilibrists: A report from Greece by Stephanie Bailey 

Artforum Diary: Crab Walk by Linda Yablonsky

Blouin ARTinfo: In Athens, a Debt Crisis Edition of the New Museum’s Triennial by Rachel Corbett

Daily Lazy: The Equilibrists organized by the New Museum, New York and the DESTE Foundation, Athens in collaboration with the Benaki Museum, Athens / Athens

Daily Lazy: Irini Miga at Wiener Art Foundation / Vienna 

Huffington Post: Six Women Artists Celebrate The Power Of The Cigarette by Priscilla Frank

Time Out New York: Frida Smoked by Howard Halle

The Creators Project: Six Female Artists Consider the Cigarette by Ysabelle Cheung

ARTnews: Opening: “Frida Smoked” at Invisible-Exports by the editors of ARTnews

Milk: Can smoking be a feminist act? by Jocelyn Silver

Daily Lazy: Frida Smoked. at Invisible-Exports / New York

Art F City: Smoke ‘Em if You Got ‘Em: “Frida Smoked” at Invisible-Exports by Emily Colucci

 

2015

Huffington Post, Ten Badass Emerging Female artist you should know, by Priscilla Frank

 

SELECTED CURATORIAL

 

2018

Tomorrow’s Dreams, co-curated / Daily Lazy, Neuer Essener Kunstverein, Essen, Germany

2017

*bang! co-curated / Daily Lazy, Daily Lazy Projects, Athens, Greece

2016

Strategies in the Geometry of Homecoming, Torrance Shipman Gallery, Brooklyn, NY, USA

Leisure as a Mechanism for Resistance, co-curated / Daily Lazy, Wiener Art Foundation / fAN Kunstverein, Parallel, Vienna, Austria

2014

No Rules Can Rule When the Doors are Closed, Torrance Shipman, Brooklyn, USA

2013

In Praise of Chance and Failure, co-curated with Nadja Argyropoulou, Family Business, New York, USA