Basket Case II – Artists Biographies

(b. 1981, Benin City, Nigeria; lives and works in Benin City)
Ifeoma Ugonnwa Anyaeji gained her undergraduate training from the University of Benin, Benin City, where she received a B.A in Painting, with a First class honors degree. However, growing up in a society fueled by the dualities of excess and repression and where art was yet to be accepted as a career, she decided to continue in this direction and explore her boundaries, as a female artist, beyond her undergraduate training in painting. In 2009, she was awarded a Ford Foundation Fellowship to pursue a Master’s in Fine Arts degree at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, USA. While there, she pursued her initial interest in sculpture exploring further her idea of repurposing discarded materials into art mediums and forms, especially her new found medium, plastic bags and bottles, which she had started working with in Nigeria. Ifeoma had always wanted to sculpt but found traditional materials sometimes both strenuous and unwieldy. She transferred her crocheting skills, her experience of traditional hair plaiting techniques, fabric weaving and passion for up-cycling into her new medium, and developed a form/style of art she calls Plasto-art. While her sculptures are bold and assertive, in contrast her paintings are delicate, and sometimes spontaneous, observing the fragility of humanity and beauty of the human race. Ifeoma has had several solo exhibitions and participated in group shows both in Nigeria and internationally. Her works are in several collections in Africa, Europe and the US. She currently teaches at the University of Benin, Benin City.

Alexandra BIRCKEN
(b. 1967, Cologne, Germany; lives and works in Cologne)
Alexandra Bircken studied Fashion design at Central Saint Martins College of Art and Design in London. After founding her own fashion label in 1995, her work evolved into visual arts and she presented her first solo exhibition in 2004.
She has exhibited across Germany and had solo shows at the Kunstverein Hamburg, the Bonner Kunstverein, Bonn and at Koelnischer Kunstverein, Cologne. Her work was featured internationally in solo shows at the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam, and is currently on view at the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Netherlands. A solo show of her work will be held at The Hepworth Wakefield, United Kingdom in October this year. Other group exhibitions include, the Deutsches Hygiene-Museum, Dresden, Germany and The Institute of Contemporary Art, Boston, USA among others. In the past, her work was included in exhibitions at the Sprengel Museum in Hanover, Germany, Haus der Kunst, Munich, Germany and the Sculpture Center, New York, USA.

matali crasset
(b. 1965, Châlons-en-Champage, France; lives and works in Paris, France)
matali crasset graduated as an industrial designer from Ateliers – E.N.S.C.I. (Workshops – National Higher School of Industrial Design). Early 2000, after a first experience with Denis Santachiara, Italy and Philippe Starck, France, she set up her own studio in Paris called matali crasset productions.
matali crasset considers design as research and works from an off-centred position allowing her to address daily routines and map out future scenarios. With both a knowledgeable and naive outlook on the world, her practice questions and challenges the obviousness of codes as shown in her symbolic piece Quand Jim monte à Paris (When Jim goes up to Paris) (2000) focusing on hospitality and reinventing our relationship to everyday space and objects. Her proposals are never geared toward a mere improvement of what already exists, rather they develop typologies structured around principles such as modularity or interlacing networks. Her work revolves around searching for new coordination processes and formulating new logics to life.
Always looking for new territories to explore, she has collaborated with eclectic worlds—from crafts to electronic music, from the textile industry to fair trade—realizing projects in set design, furniture, architecture, graphic design. She has also worked with artists, including Peter Halley, as well as with local and municipal authorities.
The experience acquired over the years has led her to become involved in participative projects, on a local and global scale, both in rural and urban settings. Whether encounters, creative workshops, discussions or addressing common desires, matali crasset has worked with numerous project leaders who all share the same conviction that these collective processes result in plausible social bonding. Ultimately, it is the core question of living together that defines crasset’s imaginative designs, writings and overall work.

Tapfuma GUTSA
(b. 1956, Harare (formerly Salisbury), Zimbabwe, lives and works in Harare)
Tapfuma Gutsa began his career as a sculptor at Drienfontein Mission. He is a former BAT art school student and he was the first Zimbabwean to be awarded a British Council Scholarship to study at the City and Guilds of London Art School from 1982-1985. During his studies in London Gutsa graduated with a Diploma in Sculpture. His return to Zimbabwe changed the practice of sculpture in the country. Gutsa has won several awards that include the presidential award of honour in 1995. Major exhibitions include Uncomfortable Truth, Victoria & Albert Museum, 2007; Visions of Zimbabwe, Manchester Art Gallery and Dakar Biennale, Senegal, 2004. He has exhibited widely in Africa and in Europe and his work has been exhibited in a group show at the Venice Biennale in 1991. Gutsa worked as the Deputy Director of the National Gallery of Zimbabwe for almost a year before returning to his studio work. Together with three other artists, Tapfuma Gutsa represented his country at the inaugural Zimbabwe Pavilion at the 54th Venice Biennale in 2011 entitled “Seeing Ourselves: Questioning our Geographical Landscape and the Space we occupy from Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow”.

Sebastian HERKNER
(b. 1981, Bad Mergentheim, Germany; lives and works in Offenbach am Main, Germany)
Sebastian Herkner studied product design at the HfG Offenbach am Main, already focusing during his studies on designing objects and furniture merging various cultural contexts, combining new technologies with traditional craftsmanship in order to highlight the multifaceted beauty of the materials and draw renewed attention to small details. Whilst still a student, Herkner did an internship with Stella McCartney in London, which helped to hone his feeling for materials, colours, structures and textures. Since founding his own design studio in Offenbach am Main in 2006, he has designed products for manufacturers such as ClassiCon, Very Wood by Gervasoni, Moroso, Sancal, La Chance and Rosenthal, as well as working on interior design projects and for exhibitions and museums. Since 2007 he has taught several courses at HfG Offenbach am Main as visiting lecturer. His designs have received multiple prizes, for example the 2011 German Design Award in the Newcomer category.

Delaine LE BAS
(b. 1965, United Kingdom, lives and works in the UK)
Delaine Le Bas is a part of large family of English Romani Gypsies based in the South of England. As an artist, she lives and works in various locations across the UK and Europe. Her artistic practice consists of various sized installations that combine mixed media and include the use of sound and performance. Her work deals with issues of exclusion and stereotypes that are far-reaching and ingrained into the human consciousness. Untold histories, exclusion based on difference and misrepresentation loom large in her pieces. So do bilingual texts produced with her son Damian James Le Bas. Her work also explores cultural symbols that make reference to ‘others’ whoever ‘they’ may be, and how forms of ‘inclusion’ of difference have resulted in destroying the culture of ‘others’.
Delaine also collaborates with her husband the artist Damian Le Bas on the ongoing project Safe European Home?
Delaine’s works were included in Paradise Lost, The First Roma Pavilion, 52nd Venice Biennale, 2007; Refusing Exclusion, Prague Biennale, 2007; Foreigners Everywhere with Claire Fontaine, Damian Le Bas and Karl Holmqvist; Safe European Home? an installation and project created with Damian Le Bas outside the parliament building in Vienna May-June 2011. She has also collaborated with curator Barby Asante on To Gypsyland, 2013, a studio practice and archive project. Her work has been recently on show at Phoenix, Brighton.

(b. 1955, Bouzonville, France; lives and works in Paris, France)
Michel Paysant is an experimental artist whose work brings together art, science and technology. A skilled sculptor, artist, participant and specialist in nanoscopic works, Paysant places an emphasis on the fusion of crafts, arts and science. He believes that the “world of science and the arts never cross” and works towards “building bridges between these worlds”. Passionnate about classical and experimental drawing, he is currently developing research projects with scientific teams specializing in cognitive sciences notably through the DALY project (drawing with the eyes), and nanotechnologies, OnLab project.
Paysant has been exhibiting his work for thirty years in various venues including Centre Pompidou, Paris; Musée du Louvre, Paris; Musée d’Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris; Centraal Museum, Utrecht; MUDAM, Luxembourg, Galleria d’Arte Moderna, Bologne; Museo Nacional de Artes Visuales, Montevideo, as well as art centres such as Brooklyn Bridge Space/Creative Time, New York; Mercer Union, Toronto; Bétonsalon, Paris. He recently featured in ‘Monacopolis’ at Nouveau Musée National de Monaco, Villa Paloma, Monaco (2013).

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