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
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 (?!)
Voruebergehend & Izgubljanje spominov
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…
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
VII. International Art-meeting “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 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?”
Exhibition place UGM Maribor – Novi Rotovž, 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.
Exhibition in The Association of Fine Artists of Montenegro, Podgorica, Montenegro; 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.
Exhibition at 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
Exibition in The Municipal Gallery of Ljubljana; 2017
The Municipal Gallery of Ljubljana was hosted a group exhibition titled “Densifying”. The idea was conceived by the curator Sarival Sosić after a reflection that densifying is not only the physical process of sculpting, but also a mental reflection which grants the materiality of the sculpture a symbolic meaning in the form of a story, statement, presentation, iconography etc. My exhibited work “Evil’s Gold Monetary Reserves” tries to sharpen the general topic of the shared exhibition title into a complex matrix of current antagonisms. It is framed by two images: a tree of life being cut down (adapted from a medieval fresco seen in a church in Salamanca) and a rubber dinghy. The merging of both images develops the sublime nature of an altar. Especially, since the meaning of the central part of my piece is extended into the image of the night sky, acting either as the sky or the sea surface, and the poetic script “Why does Evil get an extra bonus for its action?” written in ASCII code. And there is another ASCII code message on the backside of the central piece (the bottom of the dinghy) “Who is the artist responsible to for a failed aestheticization of a victim?” West European humanism and art of the 20th century collided with epochal dimension of evil in both World Wars, and the eventual disclosure of the Nazi concentration camps’ horrors shook their ethical foundations. The severity of the shock is shown in the inefficiency of the oath that such things should never happen again. Both ASCII code messages reflect the helpless phenomenon of repetition, which remains one of the primary ethical dilemmas nowadays. For this reason, I see the context of ethics as a metaphor for today’s social antagonisms that happen when tectonic plates of global financial markets move. The refugees are the consequence, the final link of this crashing wave chain. In other words, global finance transformations immediately reveal refugee epochal crisis on one hand, as well as camouflage its origin on the other. Even S. Freud’s theory Death Drive failed to notice the fact that his interpretation of evil maintains the creationist dimension claiming that the existence of evil depends on some other being in the universe. With the exhibited piece I did not intend to mime, or worse, illustrate the stunning images of refugees and their suffering. I have no authorization for it, and strongly believe this is something they can only do themselves. With that reason in mind, I organized a performance at the opening of the exhibition in which two asylum seekers crocheted children’s cardigans to demonstrate their presence, loss of their homes and humanity . They broke their silence a few days later at the guided tour where their reflections and appeals “became flesh”.
Dorian - Dorian Gray
The title of the exhibition implies a play of complex metaphors, constantly interwining with one another on two-dimensional images that are embedded in the composition of exhibited spacial installation. The installation consists of three layers. The frontal – digital images of insects on windows, the central – the hanging composition of three both-sided watercolors combined with digital prints and insect drawings images on Japanese Washi paper, and the last one – digital prints combined with watercolor techniques covering the gallery wall. Triple layering invites the audience to realize that the structure of reality is not linear and depicts the artist’s hypothesizing and flirting with the quantum structure of the world. A three-layered display no longer offers a safe phenomenological distance of the empty space behind the painting/mirror/wall to provide the contents’ transcendence. The viewer is challenged with the idea that the image of reality can be a continuous flow of events converted from one form to another without being logically connected in terms of cause and consequence concept. The first layer exhibiting the insects on windows provides the border between the park and the gallery interior, as well as introduces the audience to the concept of the installation. Being highly annoying, especially on hot summer days and evenings, insects can be constant and … unbearable blood-feeding nuisance. Particularly the invasive species are a reminder that our environment has been changing drastically and thus enabling the development of the species we are unfamiliar to. Now we are learning how adaptable and resistant they are, especially when they feed on us. The reason why the images of insects on the windows are not life-size is that the author is manifesting the fact that human is no longer a biological dominance. The central layer is engaged in a dialogue with the weather visualization. Dramatic weather phenomena have moved from dry weather forecasts and reports to sensational reports showing tragic consequences left behind. Video footages are collaged with weather chart images using expressive color contrasts and human names of hurricanes. Ironically, the humanization of natural phenomena, which science observes in weather models, turn into tragedies, namely animistic beasts, at the site of a particular disaster. The last layer, a paravan consisting of three digital prints with watercolor interventions, is the author’s personal reflection from a set of visual poems titled » Matrices of Requestioning«. Clouds have long served to »a gravitational human« as a borderline between earthly life and the wish to learn about the depths of »afterlife«. The knowledge that »afterlife« shows with a time lapse is what I feel as a unique civilization shift in comprehending the abstract nature of space and time. These are the most basic wonderings about clear facts, and at the same time a mysterious pursuit driving humanity to the unknown. Pictorial lyricism of the paravan flirts with the Chinese poetry and its intricacy at the act of writing down characters in Chinese calligraphy. Each stroke is a poet’s transfer and immersion into his or her own intuition, which additionally closes all doors to a translation and obstructs its ways to the charms of lyricism expressed in the original.This is why pictorial poetics of Matrices vacillate between the digital images of clouds and visual matrix ascii code with an defiant insertion of the watercolour intervention ( number 32 on keyboard is a command for spacing). The structure of the pictorial space, through watercolour figurality, indicates the gravitational body consisting mainly of water and ascii code when referring to its own immaterial dimension. If Alfred Hitchcock’s film North by Northwest used suspense by mapping the landscapes with psychological libidal strategies of the modern subject, the exhibition Dorian-Dorian Gray hints at suspense by mapping false pretences of contemporary subject who indulges the Planet Earth unblushingly.