Residency: 02.03 - 20.03 Opening: 20.03 Expo: 21.03 - 05.04
KOP Artspace // Amerikalei 128 // 2000 Antwerpen

Kevin Kotahunyi – one of KOPs residents and artist himself – curates our upcoming KOPLABO. He pushes Adel Setta and Absa Sissoko forward, two young artists who will experiment with different types of media during their residency at KOP. You can see the result of their collaboration in our KOP Artspace from March 20th till April 5th.

Kevin, why did you choose to have Adel and Absa work together?
Kevin: I found it interesting to bring a photographer and a visual artist together. Adel has recently expanded his work and is experimenting with new art carriers. Absa, on the other hand, mainly paints, but now she’s also making very explicit and challenging ceramics.

Absa: Recently I learned to do screen printing, because I also wanted to expand my creative carriers. My artwork has a therapeutic value. It has a clear, definite meaning for myself, but perhaps not so much for the one who observes.


Have you already seen each other’s work?
Adel: We follow each other on Instagram. Maybe that will be our first medium to experiment with.


“I find a conversation about art much more valuable than scrolling on social media and clicking ‘likes’.”


What are your opinions on social media?
Adel: Instagram is very much like a fast food culture. You scroll, see a picture and it’s done. It’s always a 2D display. So as an artist, you only have five seconds to get the attention of the viewer. And all you can do is wait for a ‘heart’. I much more like it when people actually see my work hanging or standing somewhere, where they can discuss about it with each other. I myself want to sit and hide in a corner somewhere and listen to what people say about my work. They don’t have to like it, I’m already happy when they at least thought about it.

Absa: All too often, we forget there are museums we can go to. It’s a totally different thing to actually stand in front of an artwork. A picture on Instagram is, like Adel explains, always 2D. Therefore, the work itself looks quite different in reality. The experience in real life is also simply better. Besides that, with a medium like Instagram, you’re more likely to put yourself under pressure, because it’s a medium where you try to impress others.


Kevin, you have been curating more often lately. What do you take into account when you let two artists work together?
Kevin: First of all, I look at the things that inspire me. The artworks I make very often handle topics like racism or discrimination. I want to work with artists who also experience such things. I find it important we can come together and create art in an organic way.


Adel and Absa, what does success mean to you?
Absa: Success means being happy with the work I make. Having an idea in your head, and being able to visualize it in the right way. That’s what I want to achieve.

Adel: For me, success has something to do with the process of creating. I have to be able to create something. What happens after that, is not that important to me. Success is having the space to do my own thing.

Absa: I completely understand what Adel is saying. For me also, the process of creating is much more important than the result. Because of the process and by experimenting, you learn something.


“As a contemporary artist, you can no longer limit yourself to only one medium.”


How do you try to grow as an artist?
Adel: I try to look at things with an open mind and try to have conversations with other artists. I can’t pin myself on one thing for too long. I have to be able to switch once and a while. I often get comments on that. ‘You can only be a disciplined artist if you focus on one thing.’ But I think that is a bullshit from an earlier generation of artists.

Absa: I think there is still too much focus on the traditional combinations of artforms. Nowadays, we are beyond that stage. We must be able to let go of those conventions. As a contemporary artist, you can no longer limit yourself to only one medium.

Adel: I think it’s time for ‘new art’. We’re living in a time where you can no longer place things in boxes. Everything is available, so everything can work together. We have entered such a hybrid art world, so I find it very strange that some people say art used to be more beautiful in the past.

Absa: It’s a comparison you can’t make any longer.

Adel: We have to stop placing things in boxes and start appreciating the work artists are making now, because that’s what matters now.