A Post-Covid Interview with Caz Egelie

Reflecting on COVID-19, artistic practices, and new initiatives

Sophia Boosalis | 31st July 2020

I caught up with the Dutch artist Caz Egelie on the development of his artistic practice since our last conversation in February. The artist was featured in Open Space’s exhibition Forum: Bread and Games at the Ugly Duck in Bermondsey. He is known for breaking the boundaries between the spectator and space through his sculptures, performances, and animations. I had a conversation with the artist about the effects COVID-19 has had on his artistic practice and his new initiative FOULPLAYSTALEBREAD which supports contemporary artists in Utrecht, Netherlands.

SOPHIA BOOSALIS: What kind of a response did you receive from your debut performance at the Open Space exhibition Forum: Bread and Games in London? CAZ EGELIE: I met some curators who are interested in the possibility of doing a digital show. I am currently talking to two people about starting projects or participating in digital projects. It was inspiring for me to see my two performances activate the gallery in different ways compared to other performances. Over several days, the gallery space was activated and altered by each artist participating in the exhibition. Most of the time, I am the only performance artist in an exhibition space. It was exciting for me to experiment and see the shift in the performance space through my work. Also, members of the audience recognised the change in the space over the period of the exhibition. I felt that the audience was eager to participate and follow the performance. I didn’t feel the need to persuade or convince the spectator. SOPHIA: The global eruption of COVID-19 has dramatically affected the traditional mode of consuming art in physical spaces; galleries and museums closed their doors to the public in response to strict public health regulations. How has the Netherland’s approach in tackling COVID-19 affected your approach in your artistic practice? Tell me about your new work being shown at Achtung! Spielplatz! at De Vishal in Harlem, Netherlands. CAZ: Several of my shows have been cancelled or postponed since the start of COVID. It has been nice to not produce work for a show because it has given me space to reflect on my practice. Since graduating two years ago, I felt a need to produce the types of works that curators and institutions demanded from me under a time constraint; this often consisted of visually colourful works and performances that engaged with the audience. Over the last couple of months, nobody has been asking me for anything. I have been able to reflect on the concerns of my practice instead of defining it through the demands of others. I want to return to my more conceptual roots of institutional critique. I want to respond to the art world in a more direct way through copying, critiquing, and playing with the works of others. I recently showed two sculptures and a performance piece as part of a new exhibition Achtung! Spielplatz! at De Vishal in Harlem. Constant In - Maiastra (after Brancusi) is a 3D printed sculpture of a work by Brancusi. My installation functions as critique of the original object by transforming the monumental piece into a functional object. The Brancusi sculpture is displayed amongst the other sculptures by the artist at MOMA while my sculpture is an object to leave clothes from the performance piece. The Critic - More Than You Wanted to Know About Caz Egelie is a bookcase with rows of books consisting of volumes 1-220 and separate additions that confirm gossip, love life, and essays by other people about the books. The piece is based off John Baldessari’s two