Tamy Ben-Tor at 1646 | More than institutional discourse

Video stills Tolerance Tamy Ben Tor
At the POPPOSITIONS fair in Brussels, running from April 25 to April 28, the 26 participants – galleries, artist initiatives, project spaces, etc. – are invited to work on the theme of “acknowledging one’s privileges towards understanding the struggles of others, and giving space to social bodies that have been silenced, unacknowledged and underrepresented”.



Amongst them, Tamy Ben-Tor... In the same lane as Claude Cahun, Eleanor Antin, Martha Wilson and Cindy Sherman, Tamy Ben-Tor uses absurdity and humour to "confront political issues, cultural clichés and racial stereotypes" through performance, video and photography.


Her work Michael Taussig (2013) caricatures the "rock star" of anthropology. Taussig, having written about "slavery, hunger, colonialisms, and poor communities in Colombia", is here "being humourously portrayed as a self- centered figure who profits from exploiting people's vulnerable realities in order to gain recognition and financial support".



Is there any chance contemporary art can have enough power to endorse the message of the fair?


Contemporary art suffers from the same political corruption it supposedly attacks. Artists who try to assume the positions of activists, journalists, anthropologists etc are blind to the fact that they are simply newspaper readers, or tourists at best, like every other supposedly informed person around them. As an artist it’s better to invest oneself in one’s practice (assuming one has one) and hope to create something meaningful instead of trying to be on the right side of the political tracks, and merely playing into the institutional discourse, with a self-congratulatory satisfaction.



Are the provocative, unique format of your artistic proposal and the subjects you’re working on linked to contemporary art’s specific audience?


I don't know at this point that my work has any audience at all. They are linked to whoever takes the time to watch them.



Tamy Ben Tor, video stills Tolerance 



Is there a difference for you between working for a "traditional commercial gallery" and with a project space such as 1646?


Yes. Artist-run spaces such as 1646 are the best and most satisfying to work with since they are run by artists and so the collaboration is a creative one, rather than a mere technical production of a show.



1646 is run by four artists: Nico Feragnoli (IT), Johan Gustavsson (SE), Floris Kruidenberg (NL) and Clara Pallí (ES), and it is located in the center of The Hague (NL).