I-Sanctuary, 2016
solo show at Kabinet T., Zlin, Czech Republic
curator: Lucie Smardova
3D animation: Anya Shapira
installation photos: Petr Willert
supported by Mondriaan Fund


Practice of Silence, 2016, 3D animation projection on charcoal wall drawing

Text by Lucie Smardova

Individual spirituality is a widespread phenomenon in Western society today. Over the course of its history, shifts in human population and geography have decreased traditional religion’s influence on thought and action, introducing new mythologies and rituals focusing more on the individual. Artists bring these shifts to the foreground, exploring them, celebrating them, and sometimes even creating them.

Irina Birger’s solo project I-Sanctuary in Galerie Kabinet T. offers such a spiritual experience through the sharing of the artist’s personal experience and space to the public. On the opening day, Birger presented her visitors with an I-necklace made especially for the occasion, similar to Apple’s iMac, iPhone and iPod, the I referring to the letter I in Irina, as well as to the pronoun I. A red carpet then guided them through the exhibition, displaying Birger’s personal journey, while at the same time offering a possible direction to head for. The exhibition I-Sanctuary evokes personal feelings (Lonely; Lightness; Self Sufficient), and challenges its visitor to join Birger’s personal experience and space (My Own Ritual Club). A wall of small drawings of key words and simple mottos (Faith; Love Yourself) are shown alongside of monumental charcoal drawings (Transition; Purgation I and II; Sphere), demanding the full attention and an almost meditative state of its viewer. The animation Practice of Silence, the closing piece of the exhibition, summarizes the total experience of I-Sanctuary, arousing transcendental and slightly psychedelic perceptions.

Birger occasionally experiments with this connection between performance and ceremony. For example, the project Between Grey & Gold in the MeetFactory in Prague: an interactive event during which Birger bonded with her public by presenting them her drawing diaries, a lifelong habit of drawing on a daily basis. Leafing through these very personal pages, an intimate space emerged, inviting the visitor to interact. It is within this space - this new ritual - that society is celebrated and perhaps can be changed.

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 exhibition poster   photo: Marcel van der Vlugt 
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 Transition, 2016   charcoal on paper, 150x510 cm 
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 Purgation I and Transition, 2016     
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 installation view     
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 Purgation I, 2016   charcoal&ink on paper, 150x200cm 
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 Purgation II, 2016   charcoal&ink on paper, 150x365  
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 Purgation II, 2016   charcoal&ink on paper, 150x365 cm 
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 Sphere, 2016   charcoal on paper, 150x200 cm 
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 Sphere, 2016   charcoal on paper, 150x200 cm 
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 installation view     
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 Love yourself, 2014   acrylic&marker on paper, 205x295 mm 
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 I, 2014   acrylic on canvas, 210x39 cm 
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 twenty four drawings, 2014-16   mixed media on paper, 205x295 mm 
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 installation view     
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 Practice of Silence, 2016   3d animation, wall charcoal drawing 
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 Practice of silence, 2016   3d animation, wall charcoal drawing 
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 I-ego-I, 2016   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 Faith, 2016   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 Focus, 2016   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 1 Time, 2 Times, 3 times, 2016   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 Happy, 2014   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 I Donno How Smart Is This, 2016   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 Trustful, 2016   acrylic&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 Individuality, 2016   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 Attention Junky   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 Lightness, 2014   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 Lonely, 2014   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 Relationships, 2016   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 Mentally Unbalanced, 2016   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 Us, Then, You, Him, Her, 2016   acrylic&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 Personal Totems, 2016   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 Past, 2016   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 No Matter What, 2014   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 Not So Smart, 2016   acryic&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 My Own Ritual Club, 2016   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 Her, Him, She, Me, You, 2016   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4 
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 Self Sufficient, 2016   ink&acrylic marker on paper, A4