Anastasia Leonova – Glocal Artists in a Heterotopic Berlin

Ukrainian curator Anastasia Leonova SomoS' project.

from: 03.01.2018

SomoS is pleased to welcome Anastasia Leonova for a 6-month curatorial residency, culminating in a themed group exhibition entitled “Berlin Heterotopias.”

Leonova comes to Berlin from Ukraine for six months of intensive networking and research leading towards her final exhibition project that will explore what it means to be a local artist operating in a globalized and interconnected culture, especially in Berlin, a city renowned for the international scope and texture of its creative community.

Explaining this concept further, Leonova states:

The issues of artistic identity are associated not only with individuality and locality but also with the global context at large. In the era of globalization, artists respond to it not by defending the local nature of their creativity, but by creating some kind of alloy of both. ‘Local’ turned into ‘global’ which led to the aforementioned heterotopia, which Roland Robertson called ‘glocal’ — a language exported and marked by some accent of place.

Anastasia Leonova, Curatorial Statement


Leonova also engages with the concept of heterotopias – an idea originally developed by Michel Foucault to describe how the components that signify two distinct places can be combined and hybridized to form a new visual and symbolic language that transcends physical definitions of space or natural geography – to ground her inquiry and to define the artistic practices of international artists living and working in Berlin today.

As Leonova puts it, her plan is to “use the concept of ‘heterotopia’ introduced by Michel Foucault, by which he understood ‘other places’ combining other cultural inclusions: spatial, temporal, and symbolic. “Heterotopia can put several spaces into one real place, several locations that themselves are incompatible.” Thus, the Berlin art scene, woven from different localities and cultural contexts, can be regarded as one of the varieties of modern heterotopia.”

“Thus, as the object of my curatorial research, I will use photo and video works by Berlin artists of different nationalities: Germans, Jews, Russians, Ukrainians, Americans, Chinese and other artists whose art reflects the relationship between their native culture and the foreign one. This study will also consider the issue of how artists respond to complex boundaries between local, national, and global culture (for example, where does the local end and the international begin, how do these cultures get along together and what is the level of tension between them?)”

Leonova’s final exhibition will involve a select group of artists with photo and video works that in some way point to their identity in flux and between places, at once global and local, familiar and foreign. The exhibition opens on Tuesday, June 12th, 2018 in SomoS exhibition space.