activism

  • 31.03.2010. - 25.04.2010.

    Beyond Image and Action


    Tihomir Matijević, Sofija Popović, Livio Rajh, Sandra Sterle, Iva Supić Janković

    There are two dominant ideas which bring together the works presented at the group exhibition Beyond Image and Action. One of them can be read through the stress on the institutional critique which resonates as a distant echo of the destructive avant-garde rebellion of the 20th century. It seems that the presence of the immeasurable burden of the 20th century, under which, as Badiou claims, every aspect of our contemporariness is being bent, is responsible for the fact that the works still appeal to the spirit of Duchamp, either through directly referring to the “Nude Descending a Staircase” in Sandra Sterle’s performance, or through the Dadaistic sarcasm of Sofija Popović or, from a broader point of view, through the omnipresent hovering question of the sustainability and the meaning of the art practice itself, which is most directly addressed in the performance of Iva Supić Janković. This first idea is connected with the thesis that the heritage of both avant-garde and neo-avant-garde prevailed as the only distinguished rebel which still fights the absurdity of anti-art within something which continues to carry the title of art gallery.

    The other idea is connected with the fact that Livio Rajh’s “ready re-made” and Tihomir Matijević’s public sculpture, despite their avant-garde rhetoric, have not grown out of the same protest-like context of the 20th century. Namely, the artists presented at this exhibition do not take a destructive and nihilistic stance towards their institutional opposition – they embrace it as an objective context of one’s activity within which criticality and rebellion, as in the representational democracy of the West, have become a legitimate artistic expression. Such concurrent managing in the field of until recently opposing self-referential art on the one hand and socially engaged art practice on the other, can indicate the possibility of a new modus operandi which offers the reconciliation of tensions and an eventual synthesis. An interesting analogy can be found in the logics of the alien and intuitively incomprehensible logic of quantum mechanics: “I will go this way or that way” is replaced with “I can go both this and that way at the same time”, as one electron does when simultaneously passing through numerous gaps, thus existing at multiple places at the same time. (S.Horvatinčić)

    Artists’ talk – which we hereby kindly invite you to attend – will be held at the gallery on the day of the exhibition, March 31, starting at 5 pm. The talk will be recorded and shorlty available in audio form at http://galzenica.posterous.com.

    Tihomir Matijević was born in Našice. In 2000 he graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb from the department of sculpture. As a part of the student exchange programme, he attended the Indiana University of Pennsylvania. He also participated in the Summer School of Sculpture in Brač. He exhibited in Zagreb and Osijek and participated in a number of group exhibitions (Budapest, Indiana, Vukovar, Osijek, Vinkovci). He lives and works in Osijek as an assistant at the Art Academy.
    <tihomir_matijevic@yahoo.com>  

    Sofija Popović was born in Belgrade. She graduated from the department of painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade in 2005, and at the same year enrolled into postgraduate studies at the same Academy. She won the award for personal creative innovation from the fund "Miloš Bajić, painter and professor" in 2004. She exhibited in several solo and numerous group exhibitions in Serbia and abroad.
    http://www.myartspace.com/artistInfo.do?populatinglist=home&subscriberid=y3s9ltc489rwto11, http://www.wooloo.org/sofija

    Livio Rajh was born in Zagreb. He graduated at the department for animated film and new media at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 2009. He won the Rector’s Award of the University of Zagreb in 2008 and the ESSL award for young artists in 2009. He participated in a number of student competitions, projects, workshops and exhibitions.
    http://www.essl-award.org/award09/nomineeview.php?user=120

    Sandra Sterle was born in Zadar. She graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 1989 and continued her education at the Kunstakademie in Düsseldorf. She lived and worked in Holland, the USA and Croatia. She has been participating in international exhibitions, residencies and festivals since 1995. At the moment, she is living and working in Split, where she is a lecturer of New Media at the Art Academy of the University of Split.
    <sterle@myself.com>

    Iva Supić Janković was born in Zagreb. She graduated in visual arts at the Gerit Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam in 2007. She participated in solo and group exhibitions in Croatia and abroad (Holland, China, the Czech Republic, South Korea). She lives and works in Belgrade.
    http://www.arte.rs/sr/umetnici/iva_supic_jankovic-5248/ukratko/



    Curators: Sanja Horvatinčić, Nina Pisk, Klaudio Štefančić

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  • 10.11.2010. - 10.12.2010.

    The More I Look, the More I See



    Artists: Giuseppe di Bella, Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei & Jonas Staal, Les Liens Invisibles, David Smithson, Tea Tupajić


    It certainly seems that, seen from the dominant contemporary perspective(s), Brecht's Marxism and his belief in utopia, utopian potential and open political engagement of art all look a bit dated, historically irrelevant, in dissonance with this time of the crumbling of institutional Left and the rise of neoliberal hegemony. But the real question is, isn't this in fact symptomatic? Doesn't the way in which Brecht is now 'forgotten' and 'unfashionable'-after his immense popularity in the 1960s and 70s and a smooth transformation into 'a classic'-precisely the indicate that something has gone wrong with contemporary society, along with the role of art within it? [1]


    If the 20th century is over, along with all the political and avant-garde projects' imagined utopias and realized dystopias, how do we today struggle the consequences it has left behind? At the same time – carried by new technologies which no Orwellian nor popular SF projection of the 20th century could have predicted – how we are entering the new era and what is the new constellation of the political and the artistic?

    The 11th International Istanbul Biennale, conceived by the Zagreb-based curatorial collective WHW, affirmed a critical, socially and politically engaged art practice. On the other hand, a left-oriented activist group Resistanbul Commissariat of Culture issued an open protest letter which, in form of an avant-garde manifest, called for the boycott of the whole autonomous art system and invited for active political engagement, not through galleries, but in the streets.[2] By making the analysis such left-wing art conflict, Martha Rosler concludes that it is not necessary any more to choose between the two fronts since they are not mutually exclusive.[3]

    It seems, therefore, that the 20th century dialectical opposition of the engaged and the self-referential art practice, which Aland Badiou mentions in his book Century, has continued to exist in form of various parallel (not necessarily reconcilable) strategies of socially engaged art practice.

    Art strategies and tools used by the artists at this exhibition also differ. The work of the artist duo Les Liens Invisibles [4] ironizes popular web 2.0 services owned by powerful corporations (Facebook, Tweeter, Google Earth etc).

    On the other hand, artists like Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei [5], Jonas Staal [6] and Tea Tupajić [7] deal with a specific political and personal trauma: the genocide in Srebrenica. Vincent W.J. van Gerven Oei and Jonas Staal question the validity of court decisions in the case of the controversial Dutch battalion affaire, as well as the messages that – justified by the notion of the democratic legal state and the independent judicial system – have thus been conveyed, while Tea Tupajić's sound installation, more poetically than analytically, faced the Srebrenica tragedy as one of the more significant tragedies in modern Europe.

    Brecht’s question What keeps mankind alive? was the central motif of the Istanbul Biennale. How does mankind survive? is the central question of the installation by David Smithson, whose improvised tent structure tragicomically reflects the instability and paradox of contemporary economy which constantly re-cycles from its own ruins.

    In a sterile museological manner, Giuseppe di Bella [8] exhibits self-made series of postal stamps which, instead of a classical affirmative national iconography, depict scenes from the anti-terrorist camps in Abu Ghraib. Regardless of their visual content, the copies of real stamps had gone through postal administration offices with no difficulty and thus became a vivid metaphor for contemporary political myopia. (Sanja Horvatinčić)

    Links:

    [1] What, How and for Whom/WHW. „What Keeps Mankind Alive?“. 11th International Istanbul Biennial, Istanbul, 2009 http://www.iksv.org/bienal11/icsayfa_en.asp?cid=6&k1=content&k2=conceptual

    [2] Resistanbul Commissariat of Culture. „Conceptual Framework of Direnal-Istanbul Resistance Days: What Keeps Us Not-Alive?“, Istanbul, 2009
    http://resistanbul.wordpress.com/2009/09/04/conceptual-framework-of-direnal-istanbul-resistance-days-what-keeps-us-not-alive/

    [3] Rosler,M. “Take the Money and Run? Can Political and Socio-critical Art “Survive”? e-flux journal # 12, 01/2010. http://www.e-flux.com/journal/view/107

    [4] http://www.lesliensinvisibles.org/

    [5] http://www.vincentwj.nl/

    [6] http://www.jonasstaal.nl/

    [7] http://www.rhiz.eu/person-36662-en.html

    [8] http://www.giuseppedibella.net/


    Supported by City of Velika Gorica and Ministry of Culture of Republica Croatia. Sponsored by Combis [http://www.combis.hr/] and Museum of Turopolje in Velika Gorica.

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  • 05.05.2010. - 30.05.2010.

    Recycle The Future!


    Aleksandrija Ajduković, Paul Matosic, Tonka Maleković, Tanja Perišić

    When in a recent interview Umberto Eco was asked about the size of his private library, he said that he throws away most of the books he receives as a gift or those he doesn't need any more. However, for the post-war welfare state generation this behaviour of the noted Italian writer would have seemed quite outrageous. Up until recently, to treat items of high culture as nondurable goods meant that you were either totally economically irresponsible or that you obviously had utter contempt for humanist culture in general. Merging of economic and cultural capital – a practice that began in the second half of the 20th century – is still very productive, especially in the field of museum institutions and the associated idea of the original work of art, or the concept of master-piece.

    But it is clear that the flow of contemporary cultural capital is different today. Without analysing the reasons for this change, the present situation can be shortly explained in this way: the humanist culture – until recently being a privileged working field that served as a symbolic capital of a certain society – became yet another economic sector, next to tourism, entertainment industry and sport. In another words, there is more writing, reading and publishing today than ever before; more painting, performing and exhibitions; more music and theatre performances. When this is supplemented by further so called primary sector production growth, it isn’t hard to conclude that that the majority of our everyday activities are aimed at managing abundance of goods.
     
    Ecological aspect of that management is the subject of the joint work by Paul Matosic and Tonka Maleković. Similar to their previous art practice, they work with discarded materials and items. This time Matošić and Maleković are using obsolete and disposed computer equipment. The artists will treat the distribution seting up of the objects in the gallery space as a site-specific installation. In a direct physical/tactile contact with a large amount of waste, the public is invited to comprehend the ratio of contemporary production of goods.

    Aleksandrija Ajduković, on the other hand, is interested in commodity market. Citizens of the Republic of Serbia – or, more precisely, Chinese immigrants on the one hand, and the domicile population on the other – were asked to advertise a nonexistent Chinese detergent in a specific commercial manner. By juxtaposing national stereotypes and advertising strategies the artist points to the ridiculous aspect of the global market. Tanja Perišić’s photo montages deal with the problem of the future social development based on unlimited production and consumption of topics. Nowadays the awareness of unsustainability of this kind social development is manifested in different ways: from the economical - or political - critique of neoliberal capitalism, through discovery of new, green sources of energy, to alternative ways of living . It seems to us that this very atmosphere of the immanent end of one phase of social development, i.e. one civilization focused on appropriation of human labour and nature, is best presented in the dystopian landscapes of Tanja Perišić. (K.Štefančić)


    Artists’ talk – which we hereby kindly invite you to attend – will be held at the gallery on the day of the exhibition, May 5, starting at 6 pm. The talk will be recorded and shorlty available in audio form at http://galzenica.posterous.com.


    Aleksandrija Ajduković was born in Osijek in 1975. She graduated from the Braća Karić Academy of Fine Arts, Department of Photography. She is currently attending a post-graduate interdisciplinary study at the University of Fine Arts in Belgrade. She has received the Photography Award at the 2004 October Salon in Belgrade and the 2005 Young Talents Henkel Award.  <ajdukovic.aleksandrija@gmail.com> 

    Tonka Maleković was born in Zagreb. In 2006 she graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. Since 2003 she has been exhibiting at solo and group shows in Croatia and abroad. She has received several artist scholarships and residencies, as well as the 2007 ESSL Award and the 2009 Zagreb Salon Award. This year she has been elected as finalist of the Radoslav Putar Award. She lives and works in Zagreb. <tonkapalonka@gmail.com>

    Paul Matosic has been present on the art scene of the United Kingdom, continental Europe and North America over three decades. He has been active in many artistic fields (performance, film, sculpture, site-specific installations, curating, etc), and was a lecturer at many art academies for a number of years. He received five art awards for his work. <http://www.matosic.org.uk/artist.htm>
     
    Tanja Perišić graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 2006. She is currently attending a post-graduate study at the Piet Zwart Institute in Rotterdam. She has received a number of awards for her work and attended several artist residencies in Austria, Belgium, Germany. She mostly exhibited in Croatia, Hungary, Italy and the Netherlands. Her work has mainly been focused on the correlation between technology, the body and its surrounding space.
    <http://www.tanja-perisic.com>

    Curators: Sanja Horvatinčić, Nina Pisk, Klaudio Štefančić
     

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  • 04.02.2009. - 15.03.2009.

    Interzone : City


    Belgium is the world’s most globalized country for the fourth year running according to the KOF Index of Globalization, and Croatia is 25th. The result was announced January 27, 2009 by the KOF Swiss Economic Institute, which traditionally measures the annual index of globalization in more than 120 countries. (...) The index measures the economic, social and political dimensions of globalization. The economic dimension measures trade and investment flows. The social dimension measures the spread of ideas, information and people from other countries. The political dimension captures the involvement in international politics. Croatia has high scores in social globalization, and low scores for political globalization. (HINA, 29.1. 2009.) [1]

    Interzone: City is the first in the series of exhibitions in 2009 dedicated to the phenomenon of globalization. It deals with the city and urbanity, whose multi­layered aspects rapidly change due to new economic and political relations. Boris Cvjetanović [2] is one of the most persistent and studious chroniclers of the urbanity of Zagreb and other cities. He will exhibit photographs made in the so-called period of transition, a term often used, but not so often questioned. On the other hand, Sophio Medoidze [3], an artist from Georgia temporarily living in London, will exhibit photographs of a different, Georgian transition. Considering the fact that Croatia shared the same social framework with Georgia, her photographs do not seem alien. The joint work of Željka Blakšić [4] and Lena Kramarić [5] deals with the different lives of cities, as well as our experiences of living in them; their mirroring of Dubrovnik in New York and New York in Dubrovnik unfolds like a documentary movie, direct and open. The only painter in the exhibition, Dino Zrnec [6], will show his view of the city; his paintings are not traditional vedutas, but depictions of signs which differently, but undoubtedly, indicate the city. Richard Reynolds, on the other hand, is the founder of the Guerrilla Gardening movement (http://www.guerrillagardening.org), which is spreading through Europe with great popularity. Guerrilla Gardening [7] is a movement that promotes planting flowers and other plants in neglected urban areas. The documentation of the movement's activity will be presented on the exhibition, while Richard Reynolds will give a talk
    the next day at the net-club Mama in Zagreb about this urban phenomenon. The Pula group [8] will deal with somewhat different urban problems. The group consists of architects who have in the past few years been active in protecting the public space of the city of Pula, more and more endangered by private capital and its ruthless methods of gaining wealth, among which the current law on golf terrains is the latest example.

    Curators: Ivana Hanaček, Klaudio Štefančić
    Curators assistants: Sanja Horvatinčić, Nina Pisk

    Links:

    [1] http://globalization.kof.ethz.ch/map/#
    [2] http://www.photography-now.com/artists/K19565.html
    [3] http://www.medoidze.com/
    [4] http://mfaphoto.schoolofvisualarts.edu/?page_id=27
    [5] http://www.cunterview.net/index.php/Likovna-umjetnost/Lena-Kramaric.html
    [6] http://www.rolandberger.hr/office/initiatives/art_and_artists/Dino_Zrnec_en.html
    [7] http://www.guerrillagardening.org/
    [8] http://pulska.grupa.googlepages.com/

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  • 15.11.2006. - 10.12.2006.

    Sanja Iveković, "Roadworks"

    The exhibition “Road Works” is a retrospective, critical overview of Sanja Iveković’s (2) opus which during the last three decades took place in the public space of a city, politics, culture, art or history.Whether we are talking about her project “Lady Rosa of Luxembourg” performed in Luxembourg in 2001 (3), or a project at the biennale in Liverpool in 2004 in which the public space of the city was used to face its citizens with touchy political issues, or the “Women’s house” project which in 2002 culminated with the publishing of a book and an intervention at the Ban Jelačić Square in Zagreb, the work of Sanja Iveković always analyzes and criticizes dominant political and cultural practices. From a perspective, which we can freely call feminist, Sanja Iveković has from the start pointed out at stereotypical, paradox and hegemonic representations of gender, art, nation, history… (1)

    “Road Works” originated in a close relationship with the context in which they appear i.e. in which they are exhibited: “Women’s house” deals with the issue of violence towards women and the lack of
    support they receive from the non-governmental organization of the same name which is dedicated to the protection of women; “Lady Rosa of Luxembourg” analyzes the representation of women whichis specific for European and Western culture. In this project Sanja Iveković replicated the statue of Gelle Fra, Luxembourg’s national symbol, but she made the new figure visibly pregnant. This was a reference to one of the most famous social-democratic, workers’ and women rights fighters – RosaLuxembourg.

    In the Austrian town of Rohrbach, during a conference “Creating the change” dedicated to Roma women, Sanja Iveković realized a living memorial (Rohrbachs lebendes denkmal) which was dedicated to the Roma Holocaust victims. She used an archive photo of Rohrbach Roma beingexecuted in Nazi camps to gather the conference participants in the same place and order as in the picture, thus simulating a tragic part of history of the small Austrian town. (Klaudio Štefančić)

    Curators: Urša Jurman and Klaudio Štefančić

    The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue/book in English with the text of Bojana Pejić, curator and art historian.

    The exhibition was realized in cooperation with the P74 Centre and Gallery from Ljubljana (4) and the international festival City of Women/Mesto žensk (5). The exhibition was funded by the city of VelikaGorica, the Atman Company and the Institute for Contemporary Art in Zagreb.

    Links:

    1.[http://www.womenngo.org.yu/sajt/sajt/saopstenja/razgovori/sanja_ivekovic.htm]
    2.[http://kunstaspekte.de/index.php?action=webpages&k=662]
    3.[http://lb.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lady_Rosa_of_Luxembourg]
    4.[http://www.zavod-parasite.si/first.htm]
    5.[http://www.cityofwomen.org/2006/slg]

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