Ana Matey

Ana Matey, CHARCO Exchange, 2015. Photo Isabel León.


Ana Matey is an artist, photographer, and independent manager. She studied photography, Communications, Technical Image, and Butoh dance (with Masaki Iwana, Wendell Wells, Yuko Kaseki, among others). Currently she lives 25km from Madrid, in a property called MATSU, which is a home and studio, and since January 2012 has functioned as a space for contemporary creation, where she often invites other artists and hosts workshops.

Matey’s first solo exhibition was in 2001 and since 2006 she has been deeply dedicated to action art. She works with performance, photo, video, drawing and installation. Her work has been presented in museums, galleries and alternative spaces, both at national and international level in Europe, Mexico and Japan. Recent work has been presented at Ateneo Teather (Madrid), Mothers Tongue Festival (Helsinki), Casa de Vacas (Salamanca), ANX (Oslo) and Catalyst Art (N. Ireland). She has participated in round tables, panels and presentations of her work, most recently at Casa de las Conchas at Salamanca, Faculty of Fine Arts and Espacio b (Madrid) and at MACA Museum (Alicante).

Matey co­founded ELCARROMATO, the collective and a multidisciplinary space that existed for five years in the Barrio de la Letras of Madrid. During this time, she shaped ARTÓN, a monthly event dedicated to the practice, dissemination, investigation and documentation of action art. Currently, she collaborates with the Isabel León, and together they organize EXCHANGE Live Art.

Isabel León

Isabel León, CHARCO Exchange, 2015. Photo Soufia Bensaïd.

b. 1974, Spain

Isabel León lives in Granada. She is an artist, independent cultural manager and teacher. She holds a Bachelor in Fine Arts from the Polytechnic University (Valencia), European Erasmus Scholarship in Athens (Greece) and Valencia Polytechnic University Scholarship in La Habana (Cuba), and a Master in Art Production and Research from the Granada University (Spain).

Her work has evolved from photography and video to performance art, a practice that she has been almost exclusively dedicated to since 2007, taking part in numerous performance festivals, events and residences, including Exchange Suomi (Finland, 2014), Exchange España-Norge (Oslo, 2014), Abierto de Acción (Cartagena, 2014, Jaén, 2013, Murcia 2011), Artón (2012/11), PoesiAcción! (Instituto Cervantes de Berlín, 2011), Festival Cabezabajo (Granada, 2011), NauEstruch (Barcelona, 2010), Art d ́acció (Valencia, 2010), Acción!MAD (Madrid, 2011/09), La Muga Caula (Girona, 2008/09), Sinergia (Girona, 2008).

Her passion for performance art pushes her to promote the practice of performance through organizing meetings and events both locally and internationally. She combines her artistic and management activity through teaching, giving workshops in different contexts, such as art centres, universities and independent spaces. Currently she is an active member of Enclave Contemporary Creation in Granada, and she is co-founder of the project EXCHANGE Live Art with artist Ana Matey, a series of residences, laboratories and art meetings, which use action art as a research tool to investigate communication.

Soufïa Bensaïd

Soufïa Bensaïd, CHARCO Exchange, 2015. Photo Isabel León.

Tunisia / Canada

At 5 years old I am an artist. At 10 years old I am a detective. At 15 years old I am a searcher. At 20 years old I am a student of mathematics and physics. At 25 years old I am a hydraulic engineer. At 30 years old I am an immigrant in Canada. At 35 years old I am free. At 40 years old I am an artist.

I was lucky enough to cross and live in multiple cultures, societies and professional environments between Tunisia where I was born, France where I studied and Canada where I live now. This path allowed me to live a transformational identity, and question the perception gaps and the foundation of oneness and existence. My art practice is interdisciplinary. It uses what comes to it to achieve a research, face a question, encounter what is here. To receive the present. It is at the intersection of performance art, site specific action, installation, writing, drawing, movement, relational esthetic, participatory projects. Being in relation/in relationship to, attentive to, present with, is at the foundation of my work. The relationship between oneself and one other offers a field of presence, a field of consciousness that facilitates transmissions. As such, I am interested in the way relationships reflect our perception of the world while offering opportunities for transformation. Influenced by a scientific background, my work points links between art, philosophy and science. Through the performance, installation and art pieces I offer experiences that question the subjectivity of each one perception, beliefs and reference systems.

Shannon Cochrane

b. 1972, Canada

Shannon Cochrane is a Toronto-based performance artist. Her work has been presented in museums, galleries and festivals across Canada and in twenty countries around the world. Shannon’s practice is mainly concerned with performing the tension between process and strategy, and context and perception. Kinks include problematizing authorship and just about anything that leans on repetition. She’s also a Form Queen who is deeply committed to humour.

Over the last 25 years, Shannon has contributed to the development of a national performance art ecology through curating, programming, producing, fundraising, advocating and supporting performance artists and their work for a variety of artist-run organizations and independent platforms. Shannon is a founding member, co-organizer and co-curator of the 7a*11d International Festival of Performance Art (established in 1997 in Toronto). She has been the Artistic + Administrative Director of FADO Performance Art Centre since 2007.

Serge Olivier Fokoua

b. 1976, Cameroon

Serge Olivier Fokoua lives and works between Cameroon and Gatineau, Canada. He received his artistic training at the University of Yaounde, and through workshops organized by Renc’art studio of the Yaounde Spanish Embassy. He also attended advanced training on cultural management in Institut für Kultur Konzept in Hamburg, Germany.

Working mainly in installation and performance, Serge Olivier Fokoua’s work has been presented in numerous art exhibitions, performance events, and projects in Cameroon, Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, France, Germany, Japan, Poland, Canada and Finland. In 2011, he presented his work at le Lieu Centre en art actuel (Québec City), and le Grave (Victoriaville). In 2013, he was awarded a residency fellowship at the Vermont Studio Center (USA).

Fokoua is a co-founding member of Les Palettes du Kamer collective and since 2008 he has been the Artistic Director of the Biennale RAVY: Yaoundé Visual Art Encounters. Since 2006 he has been a member of IC Zone, an international network of festivals and art centres and has invited over 20 artists and international curators to Cameroon. Currently, he is actively working on multiple platforms for artistic exchange between Cameroon and several countries.

Notes on CHARCO Exchange

If one were asked to define the value of art in our contemporary society, you might say that art’s greatest virtue is its ability to communicate across language, culture, and context. But, communicate what? And, who (or what) does the communicating? 

For the artists engaged in an EXCHANGE Live Art “meeting laboratory”, the key ingredient in an experimental recipe for collective creation is communication across languages (spoken, body), cultures (Spanish, African, Tunisian) and contexts (urban, rural, native country, the diaspora and more). Communication is mediated through performance art actions, exercises, and proposals initiated and responded to, looped and fed back, from artist to artist over time and space (before the project actually begins in situ) and in person directly one day and one moment at a time during the working period. Communication is the precursor and the catalyst for collaboration, and collaboration is only made possible (or improbable) between the artists who are working at communicating.

The definition of collaboration is, “the action of working with someone to produce or create something.” Though the word ‘collaboration’ here is a noun, even in this modest state of simply naming, it refuses to be passive. The energy of collaboration is not waiting, or hoping or wishing, it is action. (Though sometimes this action can be or can include waiting, hoping and wishing.) Collaboration is intrinsic to the discipline of performance art where artists and audiences are locked together in a perpetual exchange of doing and witnessing, seeing and being seen. The active investment of both artists and audiences in this exchange is what makes a performance possible, is what makes a work an actual thing. 

The EXCHANGE Live Art project risks failure with each iteration, because it is impossible to predict what will happen or not happen between strangers who have been asked to create something together, to merge working styles, approaches, and most of all, intentions. There is no guarantee of ease or comfort, or even of empathy. The first tendency is to normalize, to try and make it work. But what if it doesn’t? When communication breaks down, does this provide a more rich territory to work from? 

Asked to employ performance art as a strategy for the research of communication across language, culture, and context, the outcome of the project changes each time, with each new pairing. Each group finds their rhythm, pace, and manages to present something functioning as a conclusion. But, what is the conclusion? Is it a picture of a resolved way of working between strangers, now friends? Or is it a reflection of something more messy and undefined? The truth is probably found somewhere in the middle of these two options, hovering between truth and fiction, harmony and conflict, understanding and misunderstanding. Not friends, but no longer strangers either.

CHARCO Exchange

FADO is pleased to be facilitating the LIVE ART EXCHANGE’s Canadian edition: CHARCO EXCHANGE. Presented in partnership with DARE-DARE, Link&Pin, and Rats9 in Montréal; and VideoFag in Toronto, CHARCO EXCHANGE happens between two cities from May 11–30, 2015.

The first phase takes place in Montréal from May 11–23, and will culminate in a public sharing in where works in progress/creation will be presented. The duos working together (who have already started the process before meeting in person through email, writing, Skype etc.) are Sofia and Ana; and Isabel and Olivier. In the last week of the project, the four artists move to Toronto where they continue their research, with a final sharing of the work produced will take place on Saturday May 30, in an event that will include live specimens, lectures and exhibition of the process carried out.

Ana Matey (Spain)
Isabel León (Spain)
Serge Olivier Fokoua (Cameroon/Canada)
Soufïa Bensaïd (Tunisia/Canada)

LIVE ART EXCHANGE is a process-based research and creation project initiated by Ana Matey and Isabel Leon in 2012, and has realized projects with dozens of artists in Spain, Finland and Norway. 

LIVE ART EXCHANGE is an on-going research project on communication and interpretation of messages between individuals, using performance and action art as the basis for this research. LIVE ART EXCHANGE is interested in collective creation and believes that artistic creation is a live act, without boundaries or limits. The project manifests in a variety of proposals including meetings, residencies, workshops, talks and other outcomes including photography, video, and performance working with artists and creative people from different disciplines, backgrounds and origins. LIVE ART EXCHANGE proposes focusing on artistic process and the artists themselves, rather than the outcome or production of specific works. In this project, the research around ideas of ​​communication-interpretation and the process of creation itself goes beyond the outcome of the play itself.

DARE-DARE supports research and valorises emerging practices. Its members are interested in the context of creation and answer the need of exchange and collaboration. DARE-DARE is a flexible, open space devoted to research, experimentation, risk and critical inquiry. The artist-run centre manifests a sustained interest in exploration and in the diversity in the modes of presentation.

LINK&PIN is an international performance art series based in Montréal, Canada. It is organized and curated by Adriana Disman along with a huge amount of support from the local performance art community. It holds a constantly changing mission in an effort to stay relevant. Currently, L&P strives to support artists who are in some way marginalized and engages with thinking through anti-disciplinarity and the politics of arts funding.

RATS9 est un espace positif et inclusif où il est possible, à travers l’art, d’engager une conversation à propos des enjeux féministes, post/dé-coloniaux et queer. Notre mission est d’offrir un support à la création et à la diffusion d’artistes dont le travail aborde les problématiques liées à l’identité sexuelle, ainsi qu’aux pratiques anti-oppressive. Rats9 strives to be a positive and inclusive space where it’s possible, be through art, to engage in conversations about feminism, post-/de-coloniality, and queerness. Our mission is to offer support for the creation and diffusion of artists whose work addresses issues related to sexual identity, as well as anti-oppressive practice.

VIDEOFAG is a storefront cinema and performance lab in Toronto’s Kensington Market, dedicated to the creation and exhibition of video, film, new media, and live art. The space is run by Jordan Tannahil and William Ellis, who converted the space from an old barbershop in October 2012.

Performance Yellow

This fragrance opens us to the question, has the show started? It's winter, the theatre is colder than the street and the room is filled with people and all their winter smells: wet faux leather, down, too much shampoo, and beer breath. The atmosphere is a trickster. Am I late, am I early?

Top Notes

yellow mandarin, mimosa

Middle Notes

honey, chamomile, salt

Base Notes

narcissus, guaiac wood, piss, beer