Ghostly Exhibition-Performance by Krëlex Zentre (Ruthie Jenrbekova and Maria Vilkovisky)
Vzletnaya Art Space, Almaty
27-29 July, 2018
Krëlex Zentre is an imaginary art para-institution. One of its goals concerns cultural exchange between people and the spectral, the otherworldly, and the non-existent. Oscillating between real and unreal, Krëlex Zentre occupies ruptures and discontinuities between what is and what is not. Once in a while, usually for a short period of time, Krëlex Zentre’s office opens its doors into the so-called reality. During these periods, anyone can come and meet the two permanent employees of this ghostly institution – Maria Vilkovisky and Ruthie Jenrbekova.
Phantom Office is a total installation composed of lights, art objects, and improvised materials. Inside, Maria and Ruthie are at two desks meeting visitors within the framework of their continuous talking performances entitled Information Desk and Feminine Consulting. In Almaty, the Phantom Office took place in a cult techno club Vzletnaya occupying a dark space on its main dance-floor on the last weekend of July, 2018. Kazakhstan’s emerging techno scene, with its under-recognized underground nightlife, is very similar to the obscure self-organized artistic practices that are of particular interest to Krëlex Zentre. This is why an interference into a nightclub and its dim dancing area was ultimate for Phantom Office.
The second appearance of Phantom Office took place in Armenia the following September. Similarly, it was originally planned to be held in a nightclub, but in the end occurred in the garden of the Institute of Contemporary Art Yerevan and lasted for five hours on Sunday, September 9, 2018.
Statement: For anything to be real in full sense, official and public recognition is required. In other words, reality is always institutionalized, while everything that lives beyond the boundaries of socially approved spheres is considered invalid: imaginary, fictitious, non-existent. The access to the real is not granted to everyone. The ghosts expelled from the world by the spotlights of Power-knowledge, Colonialism, and Capital still continue to appear at dusk, reminding that the non-existent still somehow exists in its own strange ways, and sometimes it has the ability to act in a reality whose legitimacy is confirmed by social institutions. Everything marked as abnormal or undesirable, inferior or superfluous – all that is subject to abjection, denial or repression – continues, nevertheless, to seek opportunities for communication (“sometimes it returns”). As an imaginary institution, Krëlex Zentre explores conditions of social exclusion that are producing ghostly creatures, and reflects on practices of silencing that are creating phantoms.