Meet the campaign team of the Graduation Show 2023

15 mei 2023

Opposite me (Evita, copywriter KABK) are Daniele Formica (Fine Arts, 2019) and Kexin Hao (Graphic Design, 2021). Daniele and Kexin are working on the campaign for the Graduation Show (30 June – 4 July) and Open Day 2023 (25 November). Every year, alums can apply for an open call to design the campaign for these two events. They have just presented the latest version of the campaign to the KABK project team.

In this first of the two-part series of articles, they talk about life after KABK and earning money with making art.

Evita: How are you?

Daniele: I'm really happy and excited about how the campaign is going!

Evita: What other projects are you working on next to this campaign?

Daniele: I am also working on a performance taking place during Antwerp Art Weekend and I have a few exhibitions coming up.

Kexin: Next to this campaign, I have other graphic design assignments such as a book project from a Rijksakademie resident. I also have my autonomous practice going on based on my performance projects.

Evita: That sounds busy! How would you describe your practice?

Kexin: Mine is a combination of design and performance. I like to think beyond the disciplines of design, performance, game, and fitness. I view my practice as a hybrid form of design and art.

Daniele: Yeah, I would definitely not describe your work as only graphic design! From how we worked in this period I realised that your approach to graphic design resembles the way autonomous artists work.

Daniele: Practising art means cultivating my feelings, emotions, thoughts and ideas by feeding them with new experiences and encounters I look for in the world to the ones the world brings to myself. My practice encompasses drawing, painting, sculpture, video, and performance.

Evita: How is life for you after KABK? Is it what you would expect it to be?

Kexin: Post KABK life is quite exciting. The graduation work “Total Body Workout” and the work I developed at iii residency following my graduation, “Future Dance of Nostalgia”, have travelled to many local art spaces but also cities in different countries such as Hamburg, Madrid, Copenhagen, Tokyo and Chengdu. And my current projects, where I investigate the non-human species with a focus on unwanted creatures, are very much surrounding the central theme of the body and embodiment. This is a nice fruit I get from graduation.

'Total body workout', graduation project of Kexin Hao.

Evita: What is it about?

Kexin: ‘Total body workout’ investigates the authoritarian image of the healthy body and the individual embodiment of hegemonic historical narratives through the subject matter–mass gymnastic workout in mostly communist regimes, and presents a reconfiguration of the past in the present with a very tangible and modern experience, public participatory workout sessions. “Future Dance of Nostalgia” invites the audience to perform choreography based on repetitive body movements extracted in pre-industrial, heavy physical labour by taking the form of dancing video games like ‘Just Dance’. These two works have been a good start of my career.

Evita: How is that for you Daniele?

Daniele: With my graduation work I participated in the exhibition ‘Ernstig Geschikt! 2019, at Omstand’ in Arnhem. I was invited to perform the same piece also at the S.M.A.K. in Gent in 2020. I have been hesitant about showing my graduation work recurrently, because I don’t want people to associate me with only my graduation work. To be honest, this counts for everything I make. I don’t want to become some kind of branding which I am earning money with by selling the same piece again and again. That it disrupts me from curiosities I must follow with my process-based practice.

'The death of the death of the death of bill', graduation project of Daniele Formica.

Kexin: I get it that you don’t want that. I am not worried about that, since I see my artistic practice as the main source of my general income, and I need to accept the hassle of gigs after gigs.

Daniele: I agree with you that that’s very exciting! In my case I have been working as a chef to support my practice and preserve a certain degree of independence.

Evita: Sounds like a difficult choice – using to sort of brand your art to earn money, making it possible to make enough money with your practice or to choose to let art be the first and only goal and not money. But then you still have to work next to your practice.

Daniele: For me it is not a choice. I was once asked to produce new works similar to ones I had exhibited previously (the works were not available because they were sold), and I decided to refuse. I did not want to exploit my creativity and imprison myself by repeatedly producing the same work, it felt natural for me to move on.

Kexin: Yes, I just like doing gigs. Soon I'll do a rap in a bat costume, it's a project where I make unwanted creatures like bats seen as the villains, the heroes of the story.

Evita: You two sound like two persons that are different but at the same time you are not. I am curious about your campaign concept for the Graduation Show and Open Day 2023!

In the next article, Kexin and Daniele will talk more about the concept of the campaign for the Graduation Show and Open Day 2023.