Artist collective Tehnica Schweiz & Katarina Ševic (Berlin/Budapest) spent some summer weeks at the IGOR METROPOL STUDIO to prepare their participation in Les ateliers de Rennes – Biennale d’art contemporain (September 27 – November 30, 2014). Alfred Palestra is a site-specific performative exhibition taking place at the Lycée Emile Zola in Rennes. The project is based on the coincidence of two important histories, whose paths cross at the site of the Lycée: the birth of the avant-garde – through the presence of Alfred Jarry as a pupil – and the crisis of the Republic – through the second trial of Alfred Dreyfus that took place there.  The performance, developed together with the pupils of the school, utilizes portable structures inspired by the artists’ research in the Dreyfus affair.

Katarina Ševic & Tehnica Schweiz: Alfred Palestra - installation view at Frac Bretagne. Photo by Aurélien Mole for PLAY TIME, Les Ateliers de Rennes - Contemporary art biennale.

Katarina Sevic & Tehnica Schweiz: Alfred Palestra – installation view at Frac Bretagne © Aurélien Mole for PLAY TIME, Les Ateliers de Rennes – Contemporary art biennale

Tehnica Schweiz was formed in 2004 by Gergely László and Péter Rákosi. Since the start of their collaboration all projects and artworks they have been involved in – together or separately – are signed to this label. Since 2010 Tehnica Schweiz has been and still is working in continuous collaboration with Katarina Šević on a variety of projects.

Their projects are process-based and regularly rely on extensive research. While using archival references and sources in many of their works, they continuously intend to question and discuss the political significance of archives and musea, and their roles in the formation of canons, the perception of the past and normative historical narratives. While doing this, they attempt to reflect on their own problematic position as the artist in scientist’s robe.

In accordance to the nature of the actual project, Tehnica Schweiz work with a variety of media. Their projects frequently combine simple performative genres such as the Purim Spiel or the Tableaux Vivants, and basic tools of documentation, photography and video.

They regularly work around the theme of community and collaboration, alternative models in communal existence. In recent works, like The Garage Project (2007-2009), The Collective Man (2008-2010), The Heroes of the Shaft (2011), and Gasium et Circenses (2012-2013), they have been relying on the participation of a large group of volunteers and friends. The communal is both the instrument and the object of these projects. In every instance they engage in community-based processes, they seek for solutions concerning the ethical trap that is inherent in such practices.

In their projects Tehnica Schweiz try to challenge their background and how they perceive the recent history’s problematic mixture of socialism and post-socialist conditions that come with in the process of democratization. The legacy of socialism gives an unavoidable framework to every socially-aware action and the position of the artist in our society today.

Tehnica Schweiz: The Collective Man

On a side note:  In November 2014, “The Collective Man” will be shown at the MAI, Montréal, arts interculturels in Montreal, Canada, curated by Igor Metropol member Katja Melzer. More info here.