INSTALLATION

Colorfull True

Exhibition place Stari Rotovž, UGM Art Galleriy Maribor, Slovenija, 2001

The set up was created after the “epochal cataclysm” of the New World, the collapse of the Twin Towers. A lot of writing has been done on this subject, but few reasons found or explained. The event has been highlighted by various sources of knowledge, for example social, political and economic, as well as interpretations that Hollywood produced a critical moment through fiction and thus created  a “fusion” of reality and fiction. As media was constantly repeating the shot of the fascinatingly tragic event, I grew interest in the post­audio dimension of the event which acted as a shock wave after an explosion. I started to tape the speeches of president Bush, as well as the statements of various political representatives and random individuals, all closely integrated into this constellation. Although I  understood the national pathos of Bush’s speeches , I got surprised by the structure of them. They reminded me of the fascist discourse where a speaker uses a spectacle to create a state of massive ecstasy, though his speech does not contain or transmit any meaning. The fact that  this terroristic act immediately turned into a war act and consequently an activation of a complete army mechanism has brought back to me the TV pictures from Vietnam. As the original sound image has slipped my mind, I have inserted a metaphorical sound image presented by  Jimmy Hendricks playing the American national anthem. His version of it won the affection of American soldiers in Vietnam while it was being undervalued in their home country. This diversity of perception clearly shows how social changes get deeply rooted and what means they use to “announce their own arrival”. On the other hand, there is an ontological frame that  is not willing to change: women giving birth, men being fascinated about the origin of life* (Courbet: The Origin of the World) and finally women lamenting and anointing a male corpse.

No Memory – No Distance

Exhibition place Krško, Slovenija, 2002

I am standing on the Bebelplatz paved with granite cubes, Berlin. I am gazing through the “ground opening” into the deep hollow “furnished” with empty bookshelves of the library belonging to the Department of Philology, the Free University of Berlin. A memorial and commemoration  of “Buchverbrennung” that took place on 10th May, 1933. There is an information board with a quotation from Heinrich Heine: ” Dort, wo man Buecher verbrennt, verbrennt man am Ende auch Menschen.” (Where books get burned, people will eventually get burned as well.) World War II reached me as an echo, while my father was an active part of its constellation . He rarely spoke about it, though, and said this was his story which was not supposed to burden the post­war generations. Again, a silence and a gap. 25th August, 1992, Sarajevo University Library gets burned after a heavy bombing. The Balkan storm of war grazes Slovenia but devastates Balkan. The post­war generation loses its innocence and is not spared to learn a lesson and find solutions their fathers could not. There is a saying that the horrors of World War II will never be forgotten and should never happen again, and I wonder what is wrong with our memory, as well as with the “universal memory”?! Who and what  ceremonies and protocols is this saying for if Heine’s thought has been followed by Srebrenica , Grozny and Ruanda? 25th August, the birthday of my father, the figure who did not want to talk about his war. Is that a coincidence?! Why did some remain silent while for example Primo Levi talked excessively but never really managed to convey the truth of Auschwitz?

Light, Silence & Happy Intractability

Municipal Gallery Ljubljana, Slovenija, 2003

1st September, the beginning of a new school year.  I take my daughter to school. The second level of “initiation”, probably for both of us. We pass by the international department and run into a very radical slogan in English above one of the entrances “When teacher speaks, Pupils must be silent!” Babyborn doll,  the flattery  corporations use to tempt children and sell them reality with a flaw. The instructions for parents explicitly say that children should not be present when the doll is cleaned to avoid the same procedure to be performed on live newborns. What I remember is that the schooling I received was merely a routine. I cannot recall a single argument explaining why and how to connect a certain topic, in maths for example, with the real world and therefore find a correlation between subjects and reality. To put it simply, I was not really made aware of what purpose a certain subject served and never wondered when the topics were applicable and when they were supposed to remain theoretical “visions”. The same structure managed the learning of foreign languages often using parrot­fashion,

e.g. Q: How do you do (?!)

A: How do you do (?!)1

Voruebergehend & Izgubljanje spominov

Exhibition place Media Nox, Maribor, Slovenija, 2005

Due to the fact that art is no longer a neutral field dealing with its own impulses which are to explain its existence, one would think that exhibition galleries no longer serve their purpose. However, the authors of this project do not share this opinion. We somehow believe an exhibition gallery is a living area introducing communication and symbol challenges and not a room of contemplative fetishism. Therefore, the displayed exhibits are not alienated from the viewer but serve as a bridge between the viewers and the authors. The title »Vorubergehend & Izgubljanje spominov« makes clear that the attention is focused on flowers . The artist Salome Haettenschweiller’s idea is to create a circular arrangement of various sorts of flowers whose coloration generates a rich palette of colours and sensuous impulses, which surpass the sensations stirred by typical floriculture arrangements and decorations. The central motive for this installation hides in the care flowers need to maintain and prolong their transitory nature. It can therefore be used as a metaphor opposing the indifference of  today’s consumer society, which is stirred from its state of apathy only when awakened by a global,«apocalyptic« catastrophe, which reveals the delusive, self­satisfied security. The exhibition is subjected to time limitations, i.e. intervals standing for the life of a flower in a vase as  the last pulse of a living organism, which uses the »aesthetic move« to transform its own being back into the common starting point and extinction. This structure serves as a frame for the symbol rhetoric structure­ the installation of the transparencies labelled »talk to yourself area«. This area set bounds to the invisible field of monologue which exists in every human being, but manifests itself clearly when one faces extreme life experience that cannot be comprehended at the first grasp of perception. Even though Salome and me belong to different cultural environments of the two different countries , the project we are sharing is trying to expose the fact that art is not merely an »autistic dimension of aesthetic pleasure«. The viewers are directly involved in a continuous care for flowers with a defined time interval (e.g.changing water as the simplest task). That way we want to arouse the »humane« dimension in every individual,  at least for a short moment of time. Therefore, the exhibition is not exclusively a gallery sensation but an active substance  offering visitors an insight into a wide range of visual activities.

Poem_Balada.Info

Exhibition place Gallery of fine arts Slovenj Gradec Slovenija, 2009

At the time of initial arrangements I was trying to make with the staff of the gallery in Slovenj Gradec, I was not fully aware of the final image of the exhibition. That is why it was, at that stage,  perceived to be a direct dedication to the Slovenian Modernist poet Josip Murn Aleksandrov. Although it somehow turned out to be a dedication and I actually did not oppose this idea, my aim had not been to expose the memorial dimension. What actually intrigued me more was Murn’s desire to “implant” his body into his poetry and its language and consequently outlive his earthly life. The personal level of body absence coincides with another body absence which happened when the Working Time Regulations of the University of Maribor were enforced. The working time and each second of it has therefore been defined very precisely as a law. And the lawyers, the first person plural (we) that do not exist have enforced the regulations ­i.e. law which is supposed to be adhered to by a few thousands of people who do not agree with the system and whose comments and suggestions have not been included in the regulations. When I converted the symbolic discourse into a sound dimension, it actually sounded like a Stalinist address. The set up “Colourfully True” surprised me with the detection of the fascist nature of Bush’s spectacle, while the visualization of the written discourse was not merely a transfer from a written into an audio form, but also served as a detector of a colour of totalitarian discourse. I have always wanted to know how the Catholic Church have found the mechanism to play rock music reversely to be able to decipher the diabolic dimension instead of looking for it in various combinations of words that might stand for secret codes. Does that mean that the Catholic Church has the knowledge about the existence of  a parallel world which is believed to be realized through the reverse movement? Is that the reason why the sound image in the “No Memory ­No Distance” installation, namely the reversely played key part of the Easter speech the Slovenian cardinal Rode had had a few months before Pope John Paul II died, actually sounded very Polish?: “Le glej… Le glej… ne shvatili bi vam ne jasni… o smrću… ”   ( “Look…  Look…, you have failed to comprehend the death”).

Marking the Territory

signifying-the-terithoty

VII. International Art­meeting “Old Bridge”, Bistrica, Montenegro, 2011

When reading the newspapers I was surprised to learn how the Stock Market activities are emphasized and highlighted. They are described with the expressions that fit into the psychiatric manual. Fear, panic, euphoria… I have always considered trading dull and a matter of rational relationship: selling and buying, with some oriental exotica of bargaining in between. But recently stock business has become more crucial and influential than products for sale. When I was setting up the installation, Joseph Kosuth sneaked in as a reference point with his chair,  his idea of chair and the image of it. I wondered what would happen if there was a field of corn instead of chair, an impression of a corn leaf on the paper instead of the image of chair and a code with the stock market value of corn instead of the idea of chair. A diversity of realities has been revealed in all its variations and influence. The installation has become “a viewpoint” onto the structure and the question ” What is more real? The field itself or its value determined by a symbolic agreement?”

Red Zone

UGM Maribor ArtGallery, Slovenija, 2011

To what extent is the body of a politician a private matter (res privata), and to what extent it is a public matter (res publica)? Is, therefore, a politician a symbolic figure that cannot completely freely decide about her/his activities and behavior without the awareness that each of her/his public appearances with every single detail of her/his gestures and movements is of representative nature? What is the role of the bodily distance on the political floor, and how can we understand noncompliance to the set rules? The above issues are exposed in the inter­media project entitled “Red Zone”and opens up a multi­layered reflection on the role of the body as a symbol in the media and political sphere. The title of the exhibition leads to the question of bodily­ness, bodily contact, erotic, and the question of permitted and forbidden love. The author takes meetings of politicians as his initial point and exposes the question of bodily distance. The later one is ­ at such events – set quite precisely with protocol rules, prescribing to take into account the line of the intimate space of 45 centimeters between two persons that should not be crossed. Exceptions are only permitted in the cases when there is no other way, when the intimate space decreases to the mere 15 cm. Any more intensive bodily contacts like hugs and kisses are not allowed. However, breaching or non­observance of the set rules, or even exceeding the allowed can be noticed with some politicians. Negation of rules degrades an important segment in the structure of the state apparatus, as the body of a politician, supposed to represent a symbolic category ­ out of its own will ­ transgresses into the field of bodily­ness, thus establishing an autonomous space, following its own rules, unpredictable drives, while losing its dignified symbolic value. Simultaneously, the analysis of body language reveals the possibility of an insight into subconscious impulses of an individual which may disclose quite the opposite of what the politician intended to show with his/her behaviour. The photographs of the meetings of the Croatian Prime Minister and her colleague from Kosova as well as the Presidents of Serbia and Montenegro show a problem of non­observance of the prescribed bodily distance where the border of the intimate space is gone, as we can see the politicians kissing on the cheeks or insinuating a kiss. At the level of the form the content is complemented by the use of enlargement. The overrated pixelation changes the entire image and establishes a realm of indefinable, where the borders are blurred and there is no clear orientation. We get a feeling that we are witnessing an intimate, sensually accentuated scene, and not a greeting of two high representatives of authorities. The erotic connotation is additionally stressed by coded inscriptions of a smaller format, attached to the margin of the prints and details of the installation. The signs converted into abstract form are taken from the marketing campaign of some French dating agency. By slogans like “Choose No­Risk Love”, “Over the Moon In Love, Yet Pain­Free“ and “We Can Be In Love, But Not In Love To Death“ an instant form of happiness in love is promised. The author uses an identical coded inscription also for the board facing the street, concealing the names of popular politicians who have taken the understanding of the bodily distance to a completely different level. The red­coloured codes represent male politicians like Silvio Berlusconi and Bill Clinton, and the violet ones the women who got involved with them in sexual affairs. The exhibition includes a sound recording analyzing the body language at the meeting of Jadranka Kosor with Borut Pahor, showing the noncompliance to the protocol by Ms Kosor (e.g. the scene where she is grabbing her colleague by his hand and touching his jacket) as a gesture of encroachment. The spatial placement/installation is additionally complemented by details of two hearts, connected by a pipe. They represent parts of the same entirety, symbolically divided into two bodies and this is how the author points to a duality in the perception of political personality that we observe through the prism of the public as a politician, and the prism of the private as a Man. On the one hand the body of a politician is symbolic, res publica, and on the other hand it is physical, res privata. The equilibrium of both poles is essential for the public activities of politicians, who should be aware of the fact that they are representatives of the citizens. Their functioning through the category of the physical or bodily arises the distancing rather than identification within the more critical citizens. Hence we can conclude that non­compliance to the bodily distance affects the mental distance in the opposite direction.

Game Over

 

The Association of Fine Artists of Montenegro, Podgorica, 2011

is an expression that appears at the end of computer games. It brings players back to earth and makes them acknowledge their inability to cope with every motor and mental challenges computer games offer. However, a computer game enables you to recover your virtual life, to rise from “the dead” and repeat the lesson over and over again. The same expression is often used as a motto of protests and an appeal to the tyrants to leave as they are not able to learn the games’ lessons. The Arab Spring in Egypt started in digital social network, hidden in the backstage of  “fooling around”. The logic of language always keeps a dominating relationship and that is why “a dialogue” is never a conversation between two equal speakers. The Egyptians realized that Game over was not the end of the game but its re­beginning. My existence might be recognized as an immoral salon position, from which I watch TV broadcasts of demonstrations, take sides with the protesters or get impressed by the creativity of people defending themselves against the police violence.

Levitations

Rectorate of the University of Maribor, Slovenia, 2012

While preparing this text I was overtaken by the reality in the form of brutal reaction to my installation. The idea of the installation called Levitations, which I fixed on the three windows above the lifts in the building of the University of Maribor, was to reflect illegal trade in human organs and its alarming rise in the Balkan countries as well as in China. White protective clothes are often shown as modern icons in unusual, or better said, unpleasant situations, and are worn by forensic experts, rescuers, convicts and prisoners. I see them as bodies in absence set into specifically coded  symbolic records. Levitations of souls belonging to the Chinese workers in Spain featured in the A. G. Inarritu’s film “Biutiful” as well as the unwilling organ donations from the Chinese prisoners sentenced to death are both the images of global reality, which makes us reconsider the ethical aspect of the physical against the economy. The wall drawings of internal organs installed between the levitating clothes and the people coming into the lift establish a “metaphorical” dramaturgy between our objective world and the “underground” world. After being exhibited for two months, the installation was removed according to the instruction given by the Secretary of the University, who took the law into her own hands without a notice and an explanation either to the author or the organizer of the exhibition. After the first shock, I tried to comprehend that tricky job was no more than a reaction to my piece, though the nature of it could easily be attributed to the Chinese Communist Party leaders. But the fact that the act was tolerated by the highest authority of the University of Maribor deserves the strongest condemnation. I truly believe that the University can no longer be an autonomous field of seeking visions, engaging in constructive arguments and reflecting creative discourses once it tolerates such brutal despotism.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Evil’s Gold Monetary Reserves, 2017

cardboard panelling tubes, digital print on canvas, scythe, gold reflective heat foil, black polyvinyl, 2017–2018, 320 × 180× 30 cm