press release

Georgia Sagri. IASI, Stage of Recovery

October 23–December 12, 2020

Breathing (7-1-7) with embryac position / Windface: October 24, 6:25pm, a performance by Georgia Sagri at Sunset, streamed live via de Appel's website

"While taking care of the breath, the voice starts to sound as it is formed and the whole world starts to vibrate differently. By breathing, singing or talking, the voice travels inside the body, touches the interior organs and colors them through vibration. Some voices, which means some bodies, are under shock; by altering the resonance of the voice, the body starts to vibrate differently, so some of the organs that are in pain will start to recuperate." –Georgia Sagri, IASI

De Appel is honored to present Georgia Sagri: IASI, Stage of Recovery, the first solo presentation of the artist in the Netherlands. Monika Szewczyk, director of de Appel, notes the following about the exhibition she chose as the Fall Focus of 2020: “For the past decade, Georgia Sagri has developed the research practice she came to call IASI as preparation for and recovery from endurance performances that signaled her courage and that encouraged us to feel a new and ancient sense of citizenship. Her deep understanding of breath has physical and political impact—especially as so many find it harder to breathe due to environmental hazards, but also due to sick social systems in need of transformation. Georgia’s presence at de Appel is a breath of fresh air and a great source of wisdom. It occasioned a recovery of key parts of our lively performance history that makes a new kind of sense today. How IASI is witnessed, who it brings together, will hopefully shape how we imagine a future when we can breathe better.”

IASI (which means recovery in Sagri’s native Greek) began at de Appel with an open call to participate in one-on-one sessions, as it did earlier this year at sister institutions allied with the artist in evolving her process (Mimosa House in London and Tavros in Athens). Each participant in IASI works with the artist towards the recovery of health in multiple senses of the term. Sagri brings her studies of anatomy, her classical music training, her practice of martial arts and years of experience in performance at the edge of political activism. The participants, who were asked to specify physical discomforts they wish to treat, explore their pain as what Sagri’s calls “a bell, an invitation to a dialogue with your system.” Together they gain strength and insight.

The sessions, which are underway since September 28, take place on a functional modular sculpture—Stage of Recovery—a soft stage approximately the scale of a large bed. At de Appel, this stage-sculpture rests atop the stage of the iconic Aula where the institution presents its programming. Gradually the IASI stage becomes the first element of Georgia Sagri’s exhibition, which opens to the public on October 23.

There are two more key elements to IASI, Stage of Recovery at de Appel. Hanging high in the spacious Aula are Sagri’s full-bodied drawings. The charcoal and chalk pastels applied by the artist’s hands record the exchange of information and energy from the one-on-one sessions in Amsterdam. Together with those created from past sessions in London and in Athens, these drawings function as practical memory traces, as “sensorial references,” and as scores for the continuing treatments. They can be apprehended as individual images and as a collective.

There are also flat files on the main floor of the Aula; inside each drawer, the visitor will find Archive materials tracing the particular history of artists’ engagement with performance, contextualizing Georgia Sagri’s IASI practice within a polis of different voices that has unfolded at de Appel since its very beginnings in 1974. As Sagri’s presence comes into dialogue with the presence of Ulay and Marina Abramovic, Laurie Anderson, Tiong Ang, Janine Antoni, Ben d'Armagnac, Christine Borland, Waldo Bien & Velimir Abramovic, Gerrit Dekker, Pepe Espaliú, Pedro Cabrita Reis, Willie Doherty, Simone Forti, Dan Graham, Andreas Gursky, Julia Hayward, Toine Horvers, Jana Haimsohn, Pieter Laurens Mol, James Lee Byars, Otto Muehl, Gina Pane, Sef Peeters, Carolee Schneemann, Doris Salcedo, Thomas Schutte, Sarah Cameron Sunde, and Huang Yong Ping a.o., one might ask how these artists treat the very anatomy of the institution.

Curated by de Appel’s director Monika Szewczyk with the assistance of scenographer Ariadne Sergoulopoulou, IASI, Stage of Recovery also gains strength from de Appel’s archive curator Nell Donkers and education curator David Smeulders.

In collaboration with Mimosa House (London) and Tavros (Athens) and Georgia Sagri's foundation ΥΛΗ[matter]HYLE (Athens)

Georgia Sagri’s book IASI, Stage of Recovery with the artist’s writings will be published in the spring by Divided Publishing