11.11.2011. - 18.12.2011.

Plexus

Maddalena Mauri, Kata Mijatović, Nika Radić, Davor Sanvincenti

In one of his numerous diary notes, James Boswell, English lawyer and writer, wrote that he fears his soul will lose its recognizable shape in the crisis he has found himself in. In other words, he feared he would psychically lose his shape. Today, thanks to philology, psychology, as well as psychoanalysis, it is known that Boswell suffered from hypochondria and that his fear from losing his shape is just a metaphor for what we prefer to call losing control over one’s life. Brian Dillon points that the root of Boswell’s problems lies solely n the belief that there exists a perfect unity of body and mind, that the body is actually a machine, like a hardware being controlled by the mind, i.e. software. When Boswell wrote his diary, the term subconsciousness is unknown in Western culture, so we can only guess whether the anxiety Boswell felt would have been easier if he knew – like we today know, thanks to the psychoanalytical theory – that there are areas of human life that are impossible to control(...)

However, the loss of recognizable characteristics of a being, the loss of control over a life process, is still a taboo in Western culture. If the loss refers to the body, biometric protocols for determining identity (face photo, fingerprints, eye cornea, etc.) become unusable. Not only is it desirable that the body is beautiful and well shaped, but also whole. As such, it can be measured, identified, classified and integrated into the community. If the loss refers to the psyche, terms such as character, nurture, intelligence or spirituality become irrelevant in the intersubjective communication. Building psychiatric hospitals at the edge of the city symbolically underlies that. Even in cases where it is located within the city itself, its symbolic displacement from the currents of everyday life is usually emphasized by the architecture (historicist buildings which, for example, imitate medieval castles). That which cannot be understood, which cannot be communicated with, is excluded from the community.

From applied arts characteristic of the industrial culture, design has evolved into a cultural practice whose influence on contemporary society can no longer be measured only with the amount of produced goods (commodification), but also with the possibility of governing social processes (governmentality). However, despite the development of medicine and information science, it seems that the human psyche is still strongly opposing governance. If I paraphrased Žižek’s favorite rhetorical figure, I could say that today it is possible to imagine green energy, life on Mars and the end of the world, but that it is not possible to imagine the human psyche without one or more “flaws”. Moreover, it seems that the human imagination cannot deny free will to any humanoid creature: in one of the most famous examples from the history of Western culture, in Ridley Scott’s movie “Blade Runner”, the human qualities of the humanoid robot, replicant Roy Batty, are confirmed by his unexpected behavior and a taboo – the killing of his own father, i.e. his designer.

Although aesthetically formed, in fact commodified, we hope that the works in this exhibition point to the occurrences and processes which in some way, more than others, resist shaping. Whether it is the silent existence of electromagnetic fields of ionosphere, sounds so delicate that a technically perfect recorder alone is not enough to register then, but can be record only in spaces unsaturated in sound, as in the work of Davor Sanvincenti; whether it is the often redundant retelling of dreams, maybe one of the most complex translations in our culture – subconscious into conscious, nature into culture and back again – which often fails our expectations, as in the work of Kata Mijatović – it seems that we are always dealing with something unreal, almost eerie. The works of Maddalena Mauri and Nika Radić show the same amount of distrust if not towards form in the sense of architecture and interior design, but surely towards control. In dystopian projections, the biggest shock is caused by the fact that the citizens are stalked in their apartments and houses. In Orwell’s “1948”, the horror of totalitarianism is depicted not so much with the misery of social life, more with the intrusion of the state into the intimacy of the protagonists, Julie and Winston. Namely, the idea of private space meant for living is inseparable from the idea of human freedom, and both can be found intertwined in the Universal declaration of human rights (1948).

The alteration between private living spaces with the inner spaces of the soul imposes itself like the appropriate representation of this exhibition. However, instead of the image of Russian Matrjosckas which within themselves hide nothing but another identical Matrjoscka, this alliteration would be perhaps better presented by the paraphrase of Camus’ famous paradox: a man who sits alone in his room must be conceived as free. (K. Štefančić)

 

Maddalena Mauri was born in Rome and lives and works in Viterbo. In 2008 Turan & Thesan editor published 'Maddalena Mauri Drawings And Cards ' written by Roberto Savi. She worked for years with trade unions for which has produced posters and installations. Her paintings are in the  permanent collection of the CGL (Confederazione Generale del Lavoro). She was a finalist at the Morlotti award, Celest Art Prize and Suzzara Award . More on http://www.futuraproject.cz/en/karlin-studios/exhibitions/2009/maddalena-mauri-a-strictly-personal-story-68-3082009/

Kata Mijatović was born in 1956 in Branjina, Croatia. She works in the field of performance and video art. She was a member of the informal art group Močvara (1988–1991) together with Zoran Pavelić, Ružica Zajec, Aleksandar Čalović and Zdenka Kner. From 1998 she and Zoran Pavelić were among the most active members of the team which formed the Baranja Art Colony. More on: http://katamijatovic.mi2.hr/kata.htm

Nika Radić was born in Zagreb in 1968. She studied sculpture at the Zagreb Art Academy and art history at the University of Vienna. She made a couple of video works, some of which she exhibited as parts of gallery installations. She has shown her work on a few film festivals but she mainly works as a visual artist and lives between Zagreb and Berlin. More on http://www.nikaradic.com/

Davor Sanvincenti / b.1979 / is an international multimedia artist from Croatia, also known by monikers such as Messmatik and Gurtjo Ningmor. He is specifically interested in a field of audiovisual research and anthropology of visual culture, particularly focused on the conditions and forms of human senses and perceptions. Notices, observations and research that pervade scientific and artistic spheres constitute the structure for his work. His artistic practice takes shape in the variety of media - film and video, photography, physical light and sound installations and live media performances. More on http://www.messmatik.net/