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Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Eric Gottesman show opens as part of Creative Cocktail Hour at Real Art Ways tomorrow evening

Real Art Ways
56 Arbor St., Hartford, (860) 232-1006
Eric Gottesman: Tinsae
Opening July 21, 2011.
Opening reception; Thurs., July 21, 6—8 p.m. as part of Creative Cocktail Hour. Admission is $10/$5 Real Art Ways members.

Real Art Ways presents an exhibition by Eric Gottesman that explores the life of a teenager in Ethiopia, Tinsae Muluneh, who the artist has known since 2004. The exhibition, which contains photos and videos created by both Eric Gottesman and Tinsae Muluneh, is a portrait of Tinsae and an examination of the artist-subject relationship.

An opening reception on Thurs., July 21 from 6—8 p.m. will be held as part of Creative Cocktail Hour, Real Art Ways' monthly third Thursday gathering. Creative Cocktail Hour is from 6—10 p.m. Admission is $10/$5 Real Art Ways members.

In 1999, Eric Gottesman began working with a group of children whose parents died of AIDS in one neighborhood in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The group, which now identifies as an art collective under the name Sudden Flowers, produces photographs, videos, local installations and performances that they display around their Addis Ababa neighborhood and throughout Ethiopia in a series of portable exhibits.

Tinsae Muluneh, the subject of the exhibition, is a member of Sudden Flowers. The projects he and Gottesman created together address the trauma he endured after his parents died and the stigma of being an orphan. A voracious student, Tinsae Muluneh consistently ranks first in his class and will likely study at university next year.

The exhibition room, which contains a circular wall, displays some of the multiple layers of Tinsae's life. The outer walls are explorations of Tinsae as an individual - his fears, desires, dreams and experiences. Inside the circular wall, which represents both a lens and an Ethiopian coffee ceremony, viewers learn more about Tinsae's community.

This is the third in a series of biographical/autobiographical exhibitions that profile individual members of Sudden Flowers with whom Eric Gottesman has collaborated.

Gottesman says that the exhibition raises questions about representation, collaboration, difference and transgression. "When images are made with another person in another place, how can my installation of the work retrieve the context in which the work was originally made? Put another way by American artist and AIDS activist Gregg Bordowitz, is intimacy 'the reconciliation of foreignness and habit?'"

In July Real Art Ways is also featuring two musical events highlighting Ethiopia. Ethiopian-American singer and songwriter Meklit Hadero performed on Wed., July 13. On Fri., July 29 Real Art Ways presents a concert of unique interpretations of classic Ethiopian pop music from Debo Band with special guests Fendika.

About Eric Gottesman

Eric Gottesman studied law and politics and worked for a time in the office of the Chief Justice of the United States of America. He is now a collaborative artist and teacher working with photography, video, installation and performance. For the last ten years, he has been working with Sudden Flowers, an art collective in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia that he co-founded.

Gottesman has upcoming solo shows at TPW Gallery in Toronto (part of the 2011 Contact Photo Festival) and the Addison Gallery of American Art in Andover, Mass (September 2012, with Wendy Ewald). His work is in the collections of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, Johnson & Johnson Collection and various universities. His work has been supported by the Open Society Institute, the Opportunity Fund, and the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke.

He is the winner of the 2011 Apex Art Franchise Award, a 2009-2010 Fulbright Fellow in Art, a 2009 Massachusetts Cultural Council Artist Fellow, a 2008-2009 Aaron Siskind Foundation Fellow, and a recipient of the 2009 Artadia Award. His first book May the Finest in the World Always Accompany You! will be published in 2011. He is invited to be the Artist-in-Residence at Amherst College in Spring 2012.

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