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Bio - Iri Berkleid started her career in 2017 with Flesh and Stones, during her residency in Madrid. This immersive, collaborative and multidisciplinary artwork bears the mark of her past, as a producer in contemporary opera in London. With dancers and performers, she created a scenography on the themes that would later drive her artistic exploration: the link between psyche and matter.


Iri then trained in different practices, among which sculpture, video & installation. It was during her MFA at the School of Visual Arts in New York in 2018 that she started her experimentation with cellulose, in the school’s biolab.


Before starting her artistic career, Iri graduated in law and studied diplomatic conflict resolution – she researched the impact of collective emotions in inter-ethnic conflicts on politics - in Israël and Palestine. She then trained as a mediator in international organizations. This work experience made her aware of power relations, social structures, and conflict dynamics. Her art depicts these themes by creating experiences of communion, which transcend cultural, psychological and physical barriers.

Artist Statement - « My practice is based on three pillars : a material research with bacterial   cellulose (technic), a formal investigation (representation) and artistic collaborations for the creation of performance (systemic proposition). These three aspects are driven by an experimental mindset. Shaking our notion of abject and sublime, they are feeding each other in a mutative corporality and suggest a displaced relation to art, to our bodies and to our environment. »


« I first took an interest in bacterial cellulose because I was curious about the links between the psyche and matter, what the biological and chemical materiality of our bodies tells us, and the political and social realities these bodies produce. While studying at the School of Visual Arts in New York, I was immersed in the influences of the feminist avant-garde of the 1970s and their subversive techniques to regain control of the body and its representations. The Korean artist’s performance work Cravings, inspired by this movement that sought to portray the body from the inside to emphasize its monstrosity, is an epitome of this idea. »


« While musing about identity, memory, psychology and politics like in the video It's Supposed To Be A Loop, I spent countless hours in the school’s biological laboratory exploring underwater creatures or experimenting with the culture vats that produce cellulose, which would become the essence of my art. It took me years of research and experimentation to come close to mastering the process of microcellular development and to fashion it, thereby becoming a co-creator alongside micro-organisms. »


« I think I have found a fledgling answer to all the questions around the link between ‘psyche’ and ‘matter’ in the idea of ‘communion’: when several bodies coexist in the same spacetime. By constructing these new materialities and confronting them with an audience (and myself), I’m trying to recreate the communion between bodies on different scales (micro/macro) and in the immanent multiplicity of each individual. »

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