Dr Dana Ariel
I am an artist, researcher and lecturer based in London. In my work I use photography, printmaking, video, sound and text. I joined the Photography department at the University of Portsmouth in 2017 and completed my AHRC funded PhD at the Slade School of Fine Art, University College London in 2018. Outcomes of this research project include exhibitions in Israel and various venues in the UK, public talks, a peer-reviewed journal article, online interviews and conference presentations.
I received my MFA with distinction from the media department at the Slade School of Fine Art in 2013 and BFA with distinction from the photography department at Bezalel Academy of Art and Design, Jerusalem in 2009. My work has been exhibited internationally in various venues and events including the recent solo exhibitions To Cross the Border with a Pomegranate at Maya Gallery, Tel Aviv, Encountering Perforated Ground, Brighton Photo Fringe 2016 and Broken Ground at Neo Gallery 22, Bolton. Group exhibitions of my work include: Rencontres d'Arles (forthcoming), France, The International Print Biennial, Newcastle, 12 Star Gallery, Roaming Room and UCL art Museum in London, Florentin 45, Tel-Aviv and Gallery 61, Bielefeld, Germany.
I am also a member of the Printers’ Symphony, a collaborative women’s print group formed in 2013 to explore performative printmaking in and beyond the print-room. Together we have worked with museums, galleries and institutions to reveal the hidden marks of printmaking through exhibitions and public workshops.
In my practice-led research I experiment with methods of unlearning through the use of photography printmaking, video, sound and text. Through visits to 'sites of conflict' I search for traces that could enable a process of unlearning; a process that seeks to suspend and complicate the initial reading of an image or a word, a reading often tainted by preconceptions and informed by prior knowledge. Through these experiments I explore the political implications resulting from acts of erasure and forgetting, and their effect on ways of seeing. I am particularly interested in how established cultural and historical narratives inform our collective and personal memory, and consequently how this informs the way we see others and otherness. These concerns and interests lead to the exploration of different modes of delivery and the examination of our individual and collective engagement with the past, with conflict and with modes of representation.
In my recent practice-led research project entitled ‘Sites of Unlearning: Encountering Perforated Ground’ I visited sites in the UK, Germany, Israel and Palestine. These sites include the delisting (revoking of heritage status) of architectural elements in the urban environment, the burial site of a crashed plane, a crater formed by a violent explosion, remnants of refugees’ absorption camp and two places bearing the same name, one in Arabic and the other in Hebrew. Throughout the project the search for historical, cultural and political narratives and gaps is interweaved with narratives from my own biography. This search leads to encounters in the landscape that make visible all those who participate in acts of surveillance and force the confrontation with issues of gender and national identity.
In my practice, I experimented with methods of ‘verlernen,’ the German word which translates as the process of unlearning in English, or forgetting in Hebrew. This verb puts forward an action that is both passive and active; it suggests an act of undoing, a form of return, and even erasure or remaking. For me this emphasises a process of unlearning that must be constantly at work – a transformative process that navigates through different disciplines and languages. My works explore the conceptual, political, material and poetic interpretations, as well as implications of the process on the landscape and ways of seeing and knowing. This is done through experimentation with analogue printing processes of photographs and hybrid printmaking techniques, video, sound, text and abstract notions of drawing. Landscape and language form the basis of my search for moments of misidentification and misreading that could offer generative ways to challenge the single reading of images and words.