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POWER (from the series Assholes of Ambition), live performance at the opening of NOMUS, New Art Museum in Gdansk, Poland, 2021. Photo: Bogna Kociumbas; the archives of the National Museum in Gdańsk

Live Performance at NOMUS New Art Museum, Gdansk

Assholes of Ambition is Groobey’s fifth performance series. Taking, for the second time, her partner, the writer Jina Khayyer, as the sole protagonist of the series, Groobey portrays a personal narrative from the life of her partner in a series of costumed dances, to self-made music, in front of painted backdrops. The Assholes of Ambition unravels a story of betrayal, disappointment and resistance. What happens if those in whom you expect to find support and comradeship instead betray you in pursuit of their own ambitions? In the Assholes of Ambition series, Groobey turns Khayyer into a goddess who, in the footsteps of the Japanese goddess Kannon (Groobey and Khayyer discovered Kannon during their 2018 visit to Japan), takes up weapons to protect herself against two symbolic villains, "Asshole" and "Stink". Khayyers weapons do not take the classical form of male-weaponry, instead they are hearts, pens, lightening strikes and wise owls.

 

When Groobey was invited to perform live in Poland, at the opening of NOMUS New Art Museum, a new contemporary art department of the National Museum in Gdansk, the ideas that play out in Assholes of Ambition seemed well-adapted to Poland’s current political struggles. In 2021 Groobey brings two of her Assholes of Ambition performances, POWER and NEVER HAD AN ENEMY BEFORE, to Gdansk in support of the women and the LGBTQ community in Poland.

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POWER (from the series Assholes of Ambition), live performance at the opening of NOMUS, New Art Museum in Gdansk, Poland, 2021. Photo: Bogna Kociumbas; the archives of the National Museum in Gdańsk

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POWER (from the series Assholes of Ambition), live performance at the opening of NOMUS, New Art Museum in Gdansk, Poland, 2021. Image: Sebastian Juszczyk Juzz Media; the archives of the National Museum in Gdańsk

POWER (from the series Assholes of Ambition), live performance at the opening of NOMUS, New Art Museum in Gdansk, Poland, 2021.

POWER  (lyrics)

She wants power 
Youʼd better allow her 
This is her hour.

Persist without fear

My rocketeer

Grow power here.

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POWER (from the series Assholes of Ambition), live performance at the opening of NOMUS, New Art Museum in Gdansk, Poland, 2021. photo: Bogna Kociumbas; the archives of the National Museum in Gdańsk

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POWER (from the series Assholes of Ambition), live performance at the opening of NOMUS, New Art Museum in Gdansk, Poland, 2021. Image: Sebastian Juszczyk Juzz Media; the archives of the National Museum in Gdańsk

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POWER (from the series Assholes of Ambition), live performance at the opening of NOMUS, New Art Museum in Gdansk, Poland, 2021. Image: Sebastian Juszczyk Juzz Media; the archives of the National Museum in Gdańsk

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POWER (from the series Assholes of Ambition), live performance at the opening of NOMUS, New Art Museum in Gdansk, Poland, 2021. Photo: Bogna Kociumbas; the archives of the National Museum in Gdańsk

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NEVER HAD AN ENEMY BEFORE (from the series Assholes of Ambition), live performance at the opening of NOMUS, New Art Museum in Gdansk, Poland, 2021. Photo: Bogna Kociumbas; the archives of the National Museum in Gdańsk

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NEVER HAD AN ENEMY BEFORE (from the series Assholes of Ambition), live performance at the opening of NOMUS, New Art Museum in Gdansk, Poland, 2021. Image: Sebastian Juszczyk Juzz Media; the archives of the National Museum in Gdańsk

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NEVER HAD AN ENEMY BEFORE (from the series Assholes of Ambition), live performance at the opening of NOMUS, New Art Museum in Gdansk, Poland, 2021. Photo: Bogna Kociumbas; the archives of the National Museum in Gdańsk

NEVER HAD AN ENEMY BEFORE (from the series Assholes of Ambition), live performance at the opening of NOMUS, New Art Museum in Gdansk, Poland, 2021.

NEVER HAD AN ENEMY BEFORE (lyrics Poland version)

Never had an enemy before 
But it seems like you, actioned a war.

For a vote or two 
You sold me out
Through and through.
But who are you
 

To your doom and your gloom my heart’s immune

I wear it on my sleeve

Like you wouldnʼt believe

You chew me right up

With your lies that disrupt

But careful now

My heart’s so big

You’re gonna hurt yourself on its nib.

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NEVER HAD AN ENEMY BEFORE (from the series Assholes of Ambition), live performance at the opening of NOMUS, New Art Museum in Gdansk, Poland, 2021. Photo: Bogna Kociumbas; the archives of the National Museum in Gdańsk

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NEVER HAD AN ENEMY BEFORE (from the series Assholes of Ambition), live performance at the opening of NOMUS, New Art Museum in Gdansk, Poland, 2021. Image: Sebastian Juszczyk Juzz Media; the archives of the National Museum in Gdańsk

NEVER HAD AN ENEMY BEFORE (from the series Assholes of Ambition), rehearsal for the opening of NOMUS, New Art Museum in Gdansk, Poland, 2021.

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ALL MY ENEMIES WILL DIE (from the series Assholes of Ambition), live performance at the opening of Assholes of Ambition, RIBOT gallery, Milan , 2019

ALL MY ENEMIES WILL DIE (from the series Assholes of Ambition), live performance at the opening of Assholes of Ambition, RIBOT gallery, Milan , 2019

ALL MY ENEMIES WILL DIE (lyrics)

Lightening strikes across my thighs


And all my enemies will die.

I give birth to a thousand hearts

They will lead you from the dark.

NO POTATOES ( from the series Perfect Potatoes), final dress rehearsal at Silencio, Paris, 2015

 

Perfect Potatoes is Groobey’s first performance series, made in 2015 and performed live at Silencio, in Paris the same year. Groobey performs a series of dances in painted costumes, to the music of French composer and artist Jackson and His Computer band, in front of painted backdrops. A narrative response to her fathers cancer diagnosis, Perfect Potato makes visible feelings of confusion, hope, anger and despair. The title was taken from a song, called Perfect Potatoes, that Groobey’s father made up: There’s nothing quite as perfect as potatoes, there’s nothing quite as perfect as potatoes, there’s nothing quite as perfect as potatoes. Potatoes, perfect potatoes potatoes potatoes. As the series developed, potatoes became synonymous with cancer tumours and the reoccurring spade motif with efforts to remove the cancer.

Gold gold gold ( from the series Perfect Potatoes), final dress rehearsal at Silencio, Paris, 2015

Nice nasty ( from the series Perfect Potatoes), final dress rehearsal at Silencio, Paris, 2015

Special thanks to:

NOMUS (New Museum of Art)

RIBOT gallery

Jackson And His Computer Band