Pan European Breakfast

Post Grad 2017: Sandra Collee

“Throughout my two years at The University of Brighton, my art practice developed in a more solid thinking and reflecting upon my social environment and the influences of the recent developments of a changing political landscape.

Can you tell us about your work?

Before I moved to England, I lived in Dresden, Germany which influenced my work in living in the surroundings of the aftermath of the GDR. In this political climate, social activities and thinking within a community was more prominent than the actual work that was presented in exhibitions. My work reflected on these communities; on the way that authorities use their power, how conformism in a censored society, even in the developments as a small trend or fashion, can lead to populism followed by misuse of state control. In my art practice this was shown in installations, often in combination with paintings including the surroundings of a location.

In the UK I was looking for a translation of the dark militant figures that often appeared in my work. The mural-installation “It wasn’t me”, is a reflection on a cultural transformation of my life as an immigrant. The deportation of Asylum seekers and their deprived rights, made me aware of my new position as an EU migrant within the Brexit negotiations. Last year my work Shoeyouright for which I collected proxy shoes from participants communicated the denied human right: the Freedom of Expression: as authorities’ worldwide censored protestors in name of protection. This work intends to show ways that opinions are heard within the power of anonymous protest. I am interested in artists creating awareness and change with their art, such as Goshka Macuga, Tania Bruguera and Thomas Hirschorn, in which direct communication is a main basis.

It wasn't me

With my recent work I am linking several situations. The Pan European Picnic that started off as a peace demonstration opened the Hungarian borders to the West in 1989 and extended the EU. Another work links to this in the destruction for the search to freedom by escaping borders. The Pan European Breakfast which talks about recent political developments connects to the past. I believe in the strength of communal thinking and of memorials. As an artist I can create hope. I try to do this by interconnecting worlds that are all realistic factors of history and future, and make people aware of these connections by trying to create an open area for their own thinking.

Act Now

What can we look forward to seeing in the MA Fine Art Show? 

The invitation poster of the Pan-European Picnic together with the Pan- European Breakfast is the starting point of my art practice. The poster is a memorial of the Referendum and the decisions and emotions it involves. My recent work contains correspondences via e-mails. I tried to show communication that reflects on the new interpretations of internationality.

The outcome of the referendum has influenced the experience of internationally. My work shows how. EU citizens massively applied for permanent residence in the UK, because of the realistic threat of being deported with the entrance of Brexit in 2019. This is linked to the intention of the UK government to change the human right law, making a separate law with the intention to reduce the amount of EU-citizens. My work shows several strategies to receive permanent residence status, as well as the threats of old-fashioned laws leading to sexist, racist and inhuman laws to deport mass groups of people. A letter explains the uncertain situation that EU-citizens are in, as well as it makes UK citizens aware of British bureaucracy in the filling in of piles of forms and having to provide unlimited personal information.

In one of the works “The Prime Ministers Pan European Breakfast, I ask the Prime Ministers within the EU to send me a photograph of them having breakfast, showing tolerance for internationality. This is an attempt to reach the people that are in control, who are responsible for peace in their own countries. With this work I show that there is hope with determination and persistence. Although most of the letters are rejections and automatic replies, I did receive one photograph.

How have you found your course?

The MA Fine art course has been an excellent training in deepening research in art practice. Several expertise lecturers have been available supporting the thinking process within the student’s individual needs in their field of art practice. The critical feedback of students and colleague-artists is very essential and useful. People treat each other with mutual respect for the individual process in the creation of art, as well as support each other in mutual group discussions and shows. These regular shows are focused on curating, exhibiting and managing a show professionally which provided me with experience for future exhibitions. The MA Fine art course taught me that I would be interested in doing further research in art practice in the nearby future.

What are your plans after graduating?

My intention is to set up an art collective with some of my colleague-students and to look for minded-like artists to work with. I hope to further do research as a PhD-student. My interests are in further researching the links connecting several political worlds, within the field of practicing art.


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