ExDress is a series of internationally located (Berlin, Sarajevo, Mostar, Jerusalem and more) interactive performances and public interventions. The artists, Sanjia Kulenovic and Adi Liraz, are commemorating their personal and collective memories and heritage by connecting themselves through two dresses that are changing, dissolving and (re) attaching during the course of the performance. The surroundings and the participants are tied together by a re-weaved structure and are part of a new embodied common thread.
Both artists are in relation to divided societies:
Photos by: Mari Poller, Bareket Minuskin, Paula G. Vidal, Jarno kotiranta, Karina Villavicencio, Yakov Tolstoy, Nofar Sela, Teena Lange, Dino kulenovic, Alphanova & galerie futura, Yuval Zalk, Miss Moon Fotografie, Nili Raz Almog, Sanija Kulenovic and Adi Liraz
They both live and work in Berlin, the formerly divided city, where they are experiencing exclusion in different private and professional ways: based on their Jewish and Muslim background and based on their gender and their decision to becoming mothers. The female experience of pain and overcoming it plays a main role in this performance. Being trapped in a costume that does not allow a woman to be who she is, while playing the role that is expected from her in the society.
Both artists were displaced from their homelands due to war:
Liraz is a descendant of Jewish survivors of World War II. She left her homeland in the Middle East voluntarily in order to escape the local injustice which this time made her part of the hegemonic structure. She expresses her experience of exile and the memories of her home(s) by weaving in a never ending process of taking apart and weaving again. This is Liraz´s red yarn hand-made knitted dress.
The white dress of the Bosnian Kulenovic consists of traditional Bosnian women’s headscarves and white armbands. These substances symbolize the events of 31 May 1992 in the Bosnian town of Prijedor, when the ruling ethnic group ordered all the others (mostly Muslims), to mark themselves with white armbands to facilitate the ethnical cleansing of the area.
In ExDress, Kulenovic and Liraz, moving like spiders, pull the red and white threads out of their dresses and connect the audience and/or the surroundings to each other. Together they are creating a new organism, a new-born composition of a web.
When the fabric is being dissolved, we experience both liberation and detachment of a past that adheres to us, always accompanied by a painful process. Contrary to the experience of exclusion, the participants and viewers are experiencing a ritual of community building, while the thread spans not only between the participants but also between the location of the performance.
As a result, new roots and veins are connecting us all and a new personal and collective her/history is being born.
ExDress has took place in the following locations, festivals and frames:
TIME is Love at Plateau gallery, the Greenhouse Berlin; Alpha Nova & Galerie Futura, Berlin; Ehemaliges Stummfilmkino Delphi, Berlin; Musrara Mix Festival, Jerusalem; Month of Performance Art- Berlin at the Meinblau Projektraum, Berlin; Bornholmer Bridge, Berlin; Mostar old Bridge; Mostar synagogue; Sarajevo Jewish cemetery; Naunyn Straße, Berlin; Galerie des Westens, Bremen.