ABOUT THE ARTIST:
Visual artist Aimée Zito Lema (Amsterdam, 1982) engages in her practice with questions around social memory and the body as an agent of resistance. Zito Lema studied at the University of the Arts (UNA), Buenos Aires, the Gerrit Rietveld Academy, Amsterdam and holds a Master degree in Artistic Research from the Royal Academy of Art, The Hague. Recent solo exhibitions include: 13 Shots, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon (2018), Imprinted Mater, Looeirsgracht 60, Amsterdam (2017) A Series of Gestures, Kunsthall Trondheim (2017). Group exhibitions include: 2 Unlimited, De Apple, Amsterdam (2018), Idiorritmias and Muestreo #1, MACBA, Barcelona (2017), the 11th Gwangju Biennial (2016), Dorothea von Stetten Art Award, Kunst Museum Bonn (2016), Horse Pistes, L’art de la Revolte at the Centre Pompidou, Paris and the the Centre Pompidou Malaga (2016), and New Habits, at Casco, Utrecht (2014).
She was artist in residence at the Rijksacademie voor Beeldende Kunsten in Amsterdam (2015-16), a long-term collaborator with Casco Art Institute, Utrecht (2013-18) as well as artist in residency at Het Vijfde Seizoen, Den Dolder (2011), Castrum Peregrini, Amsterdam (2017), and Rua das Gaivotas 6, Lisbon, in the context of the European cooperation project 4Cs – From Conflict to Conviviality through Creativity and Culture.
Zito Lema's work has been supported in the last years with grants and scholarships from the Mondrian Found, the Amsterdams Fonds voor de Kunst and the Prins Bernhard Cultuurfonds.
ABOUT THE WORK:
"Aimée Zito Lema investigates the way events are remembered, recorded, and how they influence the future (...) For human beings this concerns experiences and memories; for materials physical actions also have an afterlife with permanent repercussions (...) Zito Lema unites human skin and material history in works that deal with memories and traumas in a poetic manner. Here, history quite literally interacts with the body." (Fragment of catalogue text by Vincent van Velsen, Rijksakademie Open, 2016).
“Zito Lema engages with design and architecture as well as the people who produce, use or clean it. Rather than pitting a narrow conception of ‘use value’ against exchange or symbolic value, Zito Lema explores the aesthetic as well as social potential of fabrics and furniture, of acts of production, of appropriation or maintenance.” (Art critic Sven Lütticken for long-list nomination MK Award, 2015).
"The constellation of memory, body and archive has long been at the core of Aimée Zito Lema’s territory of experimentation. Drawing both directly and indirectly on archives, the artist reflects on images, events and their genealogy within economies of the visible and the invisible, invoking recollections that are always percolated by acts of forgetting, or the reinscription of an earlier visuality into the contemporary realm of the sensible. This reflection upon images is always reinforced by expanding the field of memory beyond the visual and the archival, thus giving new forms to the bodily and material substance of historical experience. (...) Aimée Zito Lema’s process is often performative, though not necessarily in the sense of an artistic medium or genre, but rather as a methodology that draws on the physical, gestural and vocal involvement of different individuals in the form of a collective exploration of a theme or object." (Fragment of exhibition text 'Body-Archive' by Daniela Agostinho, Ana Cristina Cachola, Luisa Santos - 13 Shots, Calouste Gulbenkian Museum, Lisbon, 2018)
"Expanding an insignificant event, isolating a sudden movement, choosing an affective gesture and zeroing in on it until we lose ourselves in the sounds it emits, the grain of the photo or the word that names it, furnishes us with a chance to reinterpret the events as they are presented to us, and of understanding history from new perspectives (...) Aimée Zito Lema grounds her practice in this premise. Based on a process of selection and appropriation, Zito Lema zooms in on the detail of gestures, often by using archive images taken of working class demonstrations or counter-cultural movements (...) Her artistic practice structures the narrative around the process, triggering a dynamic that, taken together, lends meaning to the work. The idea leads to an expression, act or performance. This work in turn gives rise to the object that, inasmuch as a metaphor, returns us to the expression from which it came, only to be recycled and give birth to new possibilities." (Fragment of exhibition text by Violeta Janeiro Alfageme, for 'Several Forms of Friendship, The Goma, Madrid, 2016)
"In her work people are most often at the center, people are often the subject of the works (...) And they are seen with such warmth and care. Simultaneously I also come to ask like, does she do so in a manner that an accelerationist would feel allergic to, namely by doing what he calls “folks aesthetics” that is blindly benevolent to people and believe in horizontal (or ever flat) local, grassroots movement? Or that a post-humanist finds uncritically anthro-centric, having no clue of the state of the planet we live today? By entering a constellation of Zito Lema’s practice made of a loose and open ensemble of things that she has been making with her families, friends, children, (former) factory workers, domestic workers, cleaners, patients or other fragile audiences, or the living ghosts in recent pasts, however, one may find that such questions are irrelevant, not to say right or wrong or good or bad. The irrelevance is not because a political urgency does not matter, desire to hasten not exists, the need for strategizing is not recognized. Instead there’s such an unyielding position, as if never questioned or as if inherited, that a way to move forwards is always with others." (Fragment of catalogue text by Binna Choi "A body of works or bodies that scatter in concert - On the production of “vulner-ability” in the works of Aimée Zito Lema" - Dorothea von Stetten Award, Kunstmuseum Bonn, 2016)
“(…) Het zijn deze poëtische momenten waarin de kracht van Aimée Zito Lema’s werk schuilt. Ze lijkt steeds te zoeken naar een metaniveau: de geschiedenissen als uitgangspunt voor het ontleden van bepaalde tijdloze mechanismen. Dit doet echter niets af aan hun originele impact: ze weet de bestaande verhalen van een nieuwe laag te voorzien. Opgegroeid in een zeer politieke context heeft ze een eigen vorm moeten vinden voor iets wat altijd als vanzelfsprekend in haar leven aanwezig was. Tegelijkertijd heeft ze de Argentijnse dictatuur of Amsterdamse krakersrellen zelf niet bewust meegemaakt, wat het onmogelijk maakt deze situaties volledig te begrijpen. Om toch een ingang te vinden, zijn afstand en transformatie misschien wel noodzakelijk. In haar doorlopende onderzoek naar geheugen en nalatenschap blijkt Zito Lema in staat om geschiedenis opnieuw tot leven te wekken en in leven te houden.” Fragment uit Metropolis M - Features - Aimée Zito Lema - 'Aangeraakt door de Tijd' - door Yasmijn Jarram - October 2017