Dafna Maimon (FI/ IL b. 1982 in Borgå, Finland) lives and works in Berlin
Maimon has shown her work in institutions and art spaces such as Kunst-Werke (Berlin), PS1 Moma (New York), Mahj Jewish Museum (Paris), Kim Center Contemproary Art, (Riga), SPACE Gallery, (Portland Maine), Gallery Wedding (Berlin), Kunstverein Braunschweig, Centre for Contemporary Arts Uzajdowski (Warsaw), Lilith Performance Studio (Malmö), Based in Berlin, Crikoteka, Tadeusz Kantor Center (Krakau), HAU 2 (Berlin), Moscow Museum of Modern Art, W139 (Amsterdam), 1646 (The Hague), Project Native Informant (London) New Orleans Film Society with Deltaworkers (New Orleans) and Le Magasin (Grenoble). Maimon holds a BFA from the Gerrit Rietveld Academy and an MFA from the Sandberg Institute Amsterdam. She has been artist in resident at Künstlerhaus Bethanien (Berlin 2015), IASPIS (Stockholm 2014), Lower Manhattan Cultural Council (NYC 2012) and at Skowhegan School of Sculpture and Painting, (Maine 2008). Maimon is a founding member of the artist collective Conglomerate. Since 2016 she teaches video art at Bard College Berlin.
The synthesis behind my artistic practice is aimed toward the reordering of social codes under capitalist consumption in order to re-channel the agency of the individual toward autonomy and to demand a space for closure. My work, in particular, deconstructs patriarchal structures and plays with them through exaggeration, substitution, re-contextualization and détournement, allowing individuals to find new ways to make the most of their lives and sense of self. This can manifest in the creation of anything from performative mini-institutions of their own, in which audiences can participate for several days, or “directed-experiences” lasting a few hours, to immersive performances, films or installations that generate space for reflection, stillness and catharsis. Ultimately, these primarily performative and cinematic works tell illogical and at times absurd human stories.
Closure, emotional labor, and internal processing stand as additional focal points to achieve more meaningful living; the lack of closure, and the inability to separate one’s history from one’s agency results in history coming back to haunt us. Hence, frequent themes in my work include trauma, memory, play, empathy, self-maximalization, and self-awareness in the digital age.
My work further addresses the absurdity of the contemporary demand for individuals to be happy, while they are simultaneous sold a never ending need for self-improvement, which, on its own, is already incongruent to happiness; if we were able to achieve happiness as we are, we no longer have a need to consume. Humor is often used as a device to rupture and re-route the ways we are made to desire in consumer societies. My work tries to define this conflict while simultaneously offering open-source alternatives to deal with this fragmented contemporary condition. As such, these alternatives require making works that engage with small-scale communities, and entails an immersive, anthropological and psychological research into expressions of both individual and communal sensibilities of belonging. Finally, my work can be described as a series of rebellious emotional landscapes; something they depict, but also something that they are.