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nathalie pasqualina viruly

Nathalie Viruly is an exhibition maker, writer, editor, and publisher from Cape Town, South Africa. She is particularly interested in the boundaries of fiction and memory, the maternal and migration. Her writing has been published by the Sunday Times, Oath Magazine, and online for the Centre for Curating the Archive. Beyond this, she is the co-owner of Via Wax, a sculptural candle studio, as well as a copy-editor for various academic and art publications. Both books and exhibitions are critical forms in her work.


Intuition at Hand (2023)

Naming a River Mud ( Cape Town International Art Fair 

Within and Against ( 2023)
Co-curated with SU Curating MA Class

The Waiting Room ( 2023) 
Co-curated with Jeanette Gunnarson 

Slipstream (2022)

Toll Gate (2021)

Premise (2020)
Co-curated with Kerry-Lee Chambers

Via Wax ( 2020 - present)

La "la" significa la linguia (2019)

An oologist's note on grief (2019)

Underbelly (2019) 

Intuition at Hand introduces artistic works into the collection of the Silvermuseet Arjeplog through a collaboration with Stockholm University's curatorial fellows and Konstfrämjandet Norrbotten. Artists Jordana Loeb, Hedvig Bergman and Tomas Sjögren temporarily exhibit a variety of mediums or technologies within this historical context, and in doing so, complicate our understanding of time and tools. The works, selected by Ester d'Avossa, Jeanette Gunnarsson and Nathalie Viruly from Stockholm University’s curatorial programme, interact with the anthropological collection and historic display through a similarity of material and storytelling. Bergman exhibits taxidermy and ceramic, Loeb, carved sonic woodworks, and Sjögren, a virtual reality that is both folklore and sci-fi. Seemingly familiar yet contemporary, this dialogue between objects offers a new perspective on the collection that is both celebratory and challenging. Intuition at Hand focuses on the act of making. It asks what a tool is, who makes it and whether it can be inherently beautiful. Technology is in part an answer to these questions given the centrality of innovation in its definition. While some would argue that a computer is exemplary, we suggest that the very fibre of the objects housed here and their function to meditate in a harsh world render them equal. Thus, these objects in relation, celebrate a variety of knowledge systems and practices; the feminine, natural and supernatural hand. And in doing so, partially dismember hierarchies of science and culture or art and craft, beauty and function, for their linear histories in this context and beyond. Thus the axe and the artwork are perhaps the same. What matters is the intuition of the hand and a sense of perspective.

A bottlenose whale moved up the River Seine in August 2022 and died there. The old bull ran out of depth, fish, time, and salt. A year before, the Ever Given container ship lay aground in the Suez Canal for six days and seven hours. The world waited – with the ear of a drip needing a drop – for the supply chain to realign; for the rush to resume, and for perishables to defy the rot of time. These two slow beasts are monuments of buoyancy. To be buoyant is to float; the way things are suspended, caught between submerged and sunbathing. Have you ever gasped for air and got a mouth full of water? And watched sand in active erosion? The simultaneous feeling of calm and flurry. Naming a River Mud is Gallery-De-Move-On’s fourth exhibition and its first at an art fair. It places the work of Michael Tymbios, Selwyn Steyn and Láura Viruly in dialogue. Tymbios paints beyond the modern and with a sense of estrangement. His compositions feel reminiscent of postage stamps, sent from uncertain times, on unnamed envelopes. There is no return to sender here and so they remain as reflections or foreshadows from the outside, of things once familiar and newly forgotten. Viruly adds roadkill to the equation. Or perhaps what one would call the roadkill of a river. The wet and shiny belly-up forms. Viruly’s sculptures make use of actual drains, fishing weights, wax and concrete in their many cool iterations. Her tapestries are of swollen creatures and form signposts or totems. There is something of an abandoned circus, of props left after our entertainment, of crockery left on the table in the rain. This sense of abandonment punctuates the exhibition. Steyn paints the relationship between people and place with an understanding of concrete – its inflexibility but also weakness under changing times. There is rubble and ribbon cuttings. He paints corners and unobtrusive scenes in detail, in ochre and sienna. Scenes of Cape Town feel both robust and particulate. A dust town, with rain, becomes the same mud. Together, these works gesture toward the man-made aliens in the Anthropocene through domestication, rewilding, and restless tossing in dried beds. A river is meant to move and mud is meant to stick. What happens in our suspension and anchored relationships to land? Nathalie Viruly, Stockholm, February 2023

"Within and Against" is a collaboration between lighting designers from KTH, curators from Stockholm University and artists from Konstfack. Join the project Within and Against during Nobel Week Lights, the yearly energy-efficient light festival illuminating science, art and the city. Between the 3 and 11 December a number of works of art, inspired by Nobel Prize-winning discoveries illuminates Stockholm's darkness. On Saturday the opening takes place at 4 to 6 pm with a meet-up outside Index (Kungsbro strand 19) at 4 for a walk together to Serafimerstranden between Stadshusbron and Klarabergsviadukten. Within and Against is a collaboration between ten artists, seven curators and six lighting designers. By intervening in public space and exploring the contrasts of the brutal and the soft, the industrial and the organic, they transform the known into the unknown through the power of light, reflection and darkness. When the sun has gone down, audiences are invited to walk along Kungsbro strand, past Klarabergsviadukten towards Serafimerstranden to experience this exhibition through ten completely new artworks. The Nobel Prize is awarded to figures who took a leap into the unknown – challenging the status quo to create a dynamic meeting point for the established and the new. The exhibiting artists mimic this experimental nature by using some of the existing light fixtures in Kungsholmen and by adding new ones to discuss how old and new structures work together to create an innovative future. What does it mean to create something new, within and against old, entrenched structures? How does an invention travel through time like a ray of light penetrating the existing world, while also becoming a part of it? This exhibition explores these questions through the entwinement of oppositions in diverse mediums, materials, spaces and with the use of light. Some of the artists have taken inspiration from previous Nobel Prize winners, such as Samuel Beckett who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1969 for embracing experimentation and absurdity in his writing. Under the bridge, artists radically alter an urban space using means like poetry and photography, and by contrasting the brutal with the soft. Walking further, a recognizable moment of a water splash surrounded by concrete, is captured and floating in time and space. And then, there is light. What is the power of light and what is the power of darkness? In one work, the observer is met with a large reflection. The reflection itself is merely a projection of its surroundings. However, it can invoke self-criticism from its observer. In much the same way, science is an attempt to observe the facts of the external world - one we will never fully grasp. In the park, other artists reflect on the fragility of political systems that can break in times of war and on the efforts of the Nobel Peace Prize to counter this. But also on the limitations of the Nobel system itself. Who are the people that were excluded from the prize due to a lack of opportunities? By using residual products such as slag, the people who fall outside the system will be represented as well. ARTISTS FROM KONSTFACK (Fine Art bachelor's and master's students) André Córdova Rudstedt Caroline Nord Charlotte Hedberg Constance Michnik Fredriksson Hedvig Bergman Isabelle Sahba Johan Pihlanen Karin Askling Livia Prawitz Ting Yu Shin CURATORS FROM STOCKHOLM UNIVERSITY Charlotte Keegan Clara Donadoni Ester d'Avossa Hannah Ingvoldstad Jonas van Kappel Linnea Wästfelt Nathalie Viruly LIGHTNING DESIGNERS FROM KTH Carolina Borgia David Santiago Pulla Alvarado Diana Andrea Niño Bogoya Evdoxia Iro Gkolompia Ishita Madan Maria Eleni Zapounidi

Coulisse Gallery proudly presents ‘The Waiting Room’, a group show featuring the artists Lisa Liljeström (SE), Marcus Bergman (SE), Ebba Birkflo (SE) and Eva Marie Nelson (USA), curated with Nathalie Viruly. Waiting is a game and a room. It “holds those who have come to go”[1] before moving on to uncertain futures and worlds. Some argue that to be human is to be sentient, but transitory feel more adept here; for it’s unclear whether things are passing through and passing by or how long they might stay and in what state. Within this uncertain passage, ‘The Waiting Room’ takes its roots, drawing on the fragile state of life and creation with its requirements for momentum and pause – the ambivalence of the in-between and the incoming. Lisa Liljeström’s air-brushed, monochromatic paintings exemplify this with a restless, post-internet telling of waiting. She paints boots and paws, car seats and working hands and entitles them “once in a lifetime”, “can’t relate”, “grip”, and “routines”. The materiality and texture of her works are fleeting and particulate, partly due to technique and the fragmentation of her subject matter. Liljeström digitally distorts an archive of found images, imbuing new meanings and emotions attached to them. In doing so, she captures a sense of interiorities on the move or something reminiscent of waking up mid-dream, breathless, and trying to fall back into a self-constructed world. Thus, hyper-focused frames straddle the lines of familiarity and momentarily invite a gaze towards strange details of the everyday. Birkflo and Nelson draw, each with differing permeance related to their medium and subject matter. Birkflo works in blue ballpoint pen in a thrashing and trance-like mark-making flow. She depicts the chthonic and romantic, often in reference to Baroque works such as Ruben’s Fall of the Damned. In ‘Nature’, she presents the exchange between heaven and hell as a forest extension and an expression of ephemeral limits. In some way, this telling of death is an ode to the routines on her father’s pig farm and an agrarian life intimately connected with cycles of death, birth, and necessity. There is purgatory within her lines and an urgency to render saints and slaughter in the wait. Eva Marie Nelson, with two pencil works, also draws on the personal. They explore the afterlife and the unknown futures they represent. Nelson works closely with the body as a garment designer and an artist. As such, there is an acute awareness of revealing and concealing, the importance of negative space and the body. Her work is soft, almost faint, building and erasing simultaneously to create marks of lives lived and lost. There are stories of death, addiction and illness, a transformation of the body over time and a reliance on those not present. Marcus Bergman punctuates the waiting room with bone-like sculptures of unknown species, futuristic and archaeological carnal creatures built over time in layered wax. His forms, both painterly and sculptural, are trapped. They are between the living and dead, perhaps extinct or yet to be born. Exoskeletons and endoskeletons, sinews mottled pink indicate the flesh once connected at the bone. His poetics for fragility and transition is evident as the sculptures stall assumed decomposition and give sensuality to a finite sense of mortality. No bacteria are here to eat away, but the dead are caught in a pause, still somewhere between air and absence. Parasitism, exploitation, and perversity. It’s a drawn-out wait for unknown, troubling futures. And so, together, these artists bring a softness to the notion of endurance. They ask us to stay at the edge and a moment longer within the present and our bodies. What’s the rush after all? The afterlife might be a replica of this waiting room.

What did it cost? The coins and sense of arrival. Strokes of discord of the here and now; movements made of will and uncertain lanes. And where does it all land? Is ‘through’ enough of an emotion despite the closures up ahead? Toll Gate is an exhibition for artists. As the title suggests, it comments on the threshold and taxation of making. The barriers of visibility and the notion of ‘showing up’. It’s brief and uncomplicated. Thematically there are roads, carriers, travellers, and retreat. Landscapes of people and unknown places. Grids and rows. Bridges, bypasses, and birds. It suggests a restlessness inhabited by cities or ideas but also the fleeting nature of a passer-by. On the return, there is something to be said of scale and proximity; to the shadows of silos and perhaps the freedom of doing it yourself. To the creations with unknown destinations and maintenance paid upfront in material and making. Mate’s rates; not toll gates. Cape Town November 2021 © Nathalie Viruly & Paul Wallington

‘Bright lights’, they say. What draws us to the urban grunge and defunct, the throngs of people pouring in on the promise of endless possibility, the hypnotic glimmer and untouchable shine on everything that the city might offer? In many ways we find ourselves in a space that holds this restless gap – a city caught on a knife’s edge. Its presence embraces the palpable emptiness of decay and echoes of fragmentary lives; an urban cavity filled with wishful speculation and possible futures. Steadfast in this somewhat paradoxical state therein lies the inextricable separation between people and place. This exhibition posits itself on the premise of the city environment not in all its glory, but in its cyclical and inevitable ambivalence. To put it another way, it seeks to illuminate a transitory disposition of the inner-city space: one that is robust and yet entangled by moments of fragmentation, dislocation and the uncertainties of being. This state of existence, often overlooked, extends beyond the CBD through the inner nodes and ventricles of the city – the fills, desires, digitized spaces, familiar longings and dystopic tempers that reveal certain manifold and equivocal expressions of the urbanscape. © Nathalie Viruly & Kerry-Lee Chambers

The underbelly is the weakest or most unpleasant part.It’s the stuff we do not want to see but feel up against our skin. It’s the days post-partum and the birthdays that still hurt. It is made of matter and material. It is the stuff of this exhibition and its title. Obstetric violence has been studied from various academic perspectives. Multidisciplinary studies have grappled with the foundations of this concealed and perhaps episodic form of gender-based violence while feminists, policymakers and bio-medical academics have worked to mitigate its real manifestation. What I offer is a curatorial project from the perspective of a birth-doula in a South African maternity ward. As an outsider, working within, this exhibition focuses on the living paradoxes within practices of medical care through the stories of objects. By looking at a cardiotocography belt, particularly its material qualities, this project focuses on acts of kindness and structural cruelty. It seeks to expose intersectional obstetric violence, microaggressions, the unruly feminine and acts of compassion. It visualises the impact of modernity on women’s experiences of birth in some state facilities and questions whether women give birth or are delivered, and how violence permeates either possible answer. The UnderBelly, therefore, inhibits its own space, with curtains of institutional and personal cloth.Within are objects that are resonant for me with birth. This exhibition invites you to walk the uncertain path to motherhood that many women take. It is unstable and soft – among the home, the hospital and her. ©Nathalie Viruly

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