Witte de With Contemporary Art
Grace Ellen Barkey
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Grace Ellen Barkey

Artist, choreographer and performer Grace Ellen Barkey was born in Surabaya (Indonesia). She lives and works in Brussels and is a co-founder of Needcompany (1986), a house of artists. Since 1992 she has been steadily and successfully building an international career with her own stage creations, which position themselves at the intersection of theatre, dance, live art and visual art. Musical dramaturgy is central to her work, and includes works by Gustav Mahler as well as Sonic Youth. In 2013 the iconic avant-garde American performance art collective The Residents has written music for her creation MUSH-ROOM. In her latest production FOREVER (2016), Grace Ellen Barkey raises the same questions as Mahler: "No one can sustain constant praise of life. Death or, rather, the finiteness of human life deserves a song or a dance too."

Grace Ellen Barkey is steadily building up a visual oeuvre of her own. Her most recent installations form a study of the transposition from a space to a narrowness in which the viewer is invited to become part of a sensory work. She has been collecting, photographing and filming flowers, leaves and other flora for many years in her own town garden in Brussels and her immediate surroundings. “A claustrophobic look at the notion that people are mortal while nature is eternal. Beauty is only appealing when it is transient. Only then does it acquire a history.”

Grace Ellen Barkey is also one half of the artistic duo Lemm&Barkey, together with Lot Lemm. Their work has been exhibited at several museums including BOZAR (Brussels), Benaki Museum (Athens), Musée des Arts décoratifs (Paris), CC Strombeek, Dr. Guislain museum (Gent), Triënnale Hasselt / Superbodies i.a.