What the swans are twittering about in the riverbed

We invite you to What the swans are twittering about in the riverbed, a group show curated by Elena Apostolovski with works by Katayoon Barzegar, Valerio Conti, Cristina Lavosi, Eilit Marom,  Sidney Mullis, Valentino Russo, Julia Sterre Schmitz.

Exhibition opening  — Friday 10 February at 18:00
19:00 – 21:00 performance by Eilit Marom “slowly letting go”

Artist talks — Sunday 19 at 18:00
at Trixie, The Hague or online — Central European Time (The Netherlands) 18:00
Tune in here This is the streaming link: https://youtube.com/live/0wFAEeXJEcY

The exhibition will be running until the 20th of February.
Gallery hours: Fri. to Sun. 13:00 – 19:00h or by appointment.


To move closer or to zoom in, to move the body or to move the image inside the object? Cruising through digital spaces every day in search of sense, we exchange data like affection or money. Inside we form expectations, establish and maintain work and intimate relationships, fall in love or have sex. What kind of bodies has that environment modeled its inhabitants into and what is their ability for compassion?

These environmental currents are conditioned by the socio-political and economic systems we live in, suggesting their logic and morals. When have we agreed upon those? How are they treating us – gentle, violent? What kind of touch do they suggest  –  impulsive, restricted? Who is authorised to lose control and when?

The exhibition explores touch mediated by the digital and how life and work conditions in late capitalism affect the capacity to love. It considers the systems of power that disciplined the body and constructed a common perception of sexuality. Gathered artists dive into the influences on the perception of corporeality that imply interhuman contact and direct the rituals of intimacy.


Valerio Conti (1991, San Marino) is a visual artist, architect and performer who lives and works in Den Haag (NL). By adopting a polyphony of media, Valerio studies the body and its representation outside the normative canon. His works investigate the boundaries between proximity and distance in the contact between bodies, through processes of subtraction and reformulation. In his works, the public and private spheres often dissolve to give life to a shared intimacy. His research approach is material and tactile, conceiving images as bodies from know, dissect, magnify, touch and hurt.

Katayoon Barzegar (1990, Tehran, Iran) is a visual artist currently based in Utrecht, Netherlands. She obtained a BA in Sculpture, and an MA in (Artistic) Research in Tehran. Recently, she graduated with an MA in Fine Arts, from HKU, Utrecht. Barzegar has participated in a variety of group exhibitions in Iran as well as Europe and has had two solo exhibitions in Tehran. Barzegar’s artistic practice consists of in-situ spatial interventions and installations made up of sculptural pieces and videos. In these videos, human bodies not only interact with each other but are also put in dialogues with the artist’s sculptures. Through these bodily interactions with objects and spaces, she investigates the effects of power regimes on individual humans. Notions of body, and space make up the core of Barzegar’s artistic practice. Whereas systems of power dictate spatial orders as a means to surveil and reinforce sociopolitical norms onto individual bodies, the body senses these sometimes brutally tangible, and at other times, subtle yet restricting limits, and revolts. Through visual and sculptural spatial interventions, Barzegar not only researches but also challenges the politics of space in relation to the body, seeking and constructing instances in which bodies revolt and transgress the limits imposed by various power regimes.

Cristina Lavosi (1993, Sassari, Italy) is a visual artist and practice-based researcher living in The Hague (NL). Her work is concerned with investigating institutional violence and challenging power structures. Her practice looks at how visual and verbal language is constructed and performed by Western political and cultural institutions to shape dominant narratives and impose norms of living. Being directed at dismantling hegemonic narratives to effectively propose alternative social imaginaries, her work is based on the deconstruction and re-contextualisation of visual and textual materials, resulting in time-based media and audio-visual installations. Her artistic language encompasses digital and analogue video (16 mm and Super 8), archival footage, sound, photography, and prints.

Julia Schmitz (1993, Amsterdam, The Netherlands) is a  filmmaker who studied at the Royal Academy of Art (The Hague) where she experimented with film installations. Pursuing her fascination for the construction of reality and representation in film, she enrolled on the master of Visual Anthropology at Goldsmiths University (London). She is fascinated by the power of the image and how people construct stories. In her essayistic approach, she often uses a mix of media such as archive footage, photography and self-shot material. By making associative connections between image and sound, she questions dominant representations and investigates ways of seeing.

Sidney Mullis (1992, Virginia, US) is a sculptor living and working in Pittsburgh, PA. She creates performance-based video projections of invented animals. From her training as a dancer, she dresses up and performs as these animals to build a kingdom of alternative biology and culture. By playing dress-up, an activity engaged by children, Mullis portrays imagined sexes and genders to help understand existing constructions of how woman is culturally dictated, and furthermore, performed. By combining adult content with materials suitable for children’s crafts, she explores unabashedly what it means to be woman. Her work has been exhibited in a number of locations including Berlin, Tokyo, England, and Croatia. Solo shows include the Leslie Lohman Museum (NYC), Wick Gallery(NYC), Bunker Projects (PA), Neon Heater Gallery (OH), Bucknell University (PA), University of Mary Washington (VA), and more. She has been an artist-in-residence at The Children’s Museum of Pittsburgh, The Wassaic Project, Women’s Studio Workshop, Ox-Bow School of Art, MASS MoCA, among others. Her work has been featured in publications such as Hyperallergic, Young Space, Maake Magazine, De:Formal, and Sculpture Magazine. Mullis is currently a tutor for children with dyslexia, as well as a teaching artist at a high school.

Eilit Marom (1986, Haifa, Israel) is a choreographer and performance artist based in Israel and The Netherlands. Her work is driven by pronounced, crystal clear physical action or interaction. She aims to intensify experiences and highlight the embodiment of pleasure within the social domain. Since 2020 she has been collecting tasks as ‘Unforbidden Pleasures’ adapting the book by psychoanalyst Adam Phillips on the pleasure we take for granted into an embodied practice of performing simple delights. Her work has been presented in both dance and visual art contexts, in venues such as Helmhaus Museum (CH), Unfair Amsterdam (NL), Haifa Theater (IL), Supercell Brisbane (AU) and Korzo (NL). With a BA in Dance from ArtEZ university of the arts (NL) Eilit developed an international career as a performer and maker. She is a recipient of the ‘Artist in Community’ grant from the Israeli Ministry of Culture and founder of ‘Karov Meod’ movement in the public space festival in downtown Haifa. Eilit has extended her practice into regularly teaching and guiding groups, making her approach to embodiment available to others, she has been sharing it with professionals and communities in art centers and universities around the world.

Valentino Russo (1994, Rome, Italy) lives and works in The Hague. Together with artist Arthur Cordier, curates the artist-run space The Balcony. The work of Valentino is rooted in the reuse and re-contextualisation of images from online sources—sometimes mixed with original material. This process mirrors the endless recycling of culture that takes place in our social media-based society, a landscape characterised by the impossibility to distinguish between real and fake, true and false, right and wrong.


Elena Apostolovski (1994, Pula, Croatia) is an independent curator in the field of contemporary art, with experience in directing galleries; teaching artists and designers, and conducting innovative programs for young people and the general public in artistic contexts. Curatorial and critical research projects she develops focus on overlapping areas of contemporary art, cultural criticism and education. Curiosity leads her to frequent collaborations with individuals and associations from the social and technical sciences, performance art and body practices. The programs she has implemented in recent years are created in cooperation with the STIFF Student Film Festival, the Other Sea Association in Rijeka, 1646 Experimental Art Space in The Hague, Rijeka 2020 European Capital of Culture, the Student Cultural Center of the University of Rijeka, the Croatian Association of Interdisciplinary Artists in Pula, KNAP Centre of Culture, Zagreb. As a mediator, she seeks to question the relationship between social reality, artwork and the audience, and to affirm experiencing art as the physical experience of the body in space shared with other people. Her practice is focused on the exploration of interpersonal relationships in physical and digital reality shaped by dominant ideologies. Her work aims to find strategies that contribute to strengthening the connection within the community and disrupting conventions.


Design by Clara Lezla & Selina Landis
Thanks to Stefan Bandalac Audio-Visual Expertise www.sbae.nl
With generous support by Stroom den Haag




Katayoon Barzegar, Valerio Conti, Cristina Lavosi, Eilit Marom, Sidney Mullis, Valentino Russo, Julia Sterre Schmitz

Curated by

Elena Apostolovski


Ariane Toussaint