Predrag Todorović, Field, Matrix 1.-20.8.2013, black ink, galvanized iron-sheet, etching needle, 80 x 100 cm
Curated by Sabina Salamon, curator at the MMSU Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka and Slaven Tolj, artist & director MMSU Rijeka
Opening: Thursday, 10th October 2013, 6-9 pm
WHERE: Galerie Michaela Stock / NEXT DOOR galerie michaela stock & UNTERER STOCK,
Schleifmühlgasse 18, 1040 Vienna
By introducing silent work as a title we are not pointing to silence which calls for abolition of art or permanent silence of artists as an act of reluctance to communicate with the audience, but rather to styles in which silence may be advocated: loud and soft . Thus, it is about speaking silently, contrary to persuasive speech. For art is forced to perform the duty of pursuing higher aims, social awareness and possible changes within society, that become instrumentalised by politics through cultural policies and cultural elites who determine the importance of art as part of cultural work. Art engaged in social and political issues today seems to be embraced by the politics (unlike their predecessors in avant-garde movements at the beginning of the 20th century). Our intention is to weaken the excises of important and non-important, which burden art and impoverish the spectator's attention.
To make no mistake about it, by the term silent work we never intend to advocate the private, but to support a variety of experiences, liberate the making of art of rules which are not inherent to it. It seems that there is certain hegemony of the cultural rhetoric of public in art, an unspoken rule of being relevant when speaking about social matters in a manner of striving for political changes, aiming to prove social awareness that goes hand in hand with political correctness. The side effect is a subtle abolishment of the topics usually considered irrelevant, detached from the public life and from the sphere of art. Contrary to that, the works exhibited here make it possible for us to hear/see beyond the everyday bustle. To the extent that they refuse it, they fit the idea of filling up the periphery of the art-space, leaving the central area of use blank ,
Different in their formal expressions, six contemporary Croatian artists presented in the Galerie Michaela Stock share these traits. None of these works tries to convince of something, or present themselves as important for the human issues. They communicate through subtle threads of unconscious.
The Perimeter Test of the Field of Vision (1970) by Goran Trbuljak (*1948 in Varazdin) opened up a few ongoing topics of his work until this day. His work considers the hierarchy established by the art system, which dictates working methods and determines values. Presenting himself as a person stripped to the bone, weak and suspicious, he is dismantling the work of an artist. Since the beginning in the early seventies, Trbuljak maintains the position of distrust against cultural rhetoric, without bitterness, but with encouraging humour regarding the conventions, challenging the codes of conduct.
Testing the spectators vigilance, Igor Ekinja (*1975 in Rijeka) develops a surprisingly consistent work that seems to communicate through mundane objects. The exhibited series represents a graphic technique made by UV rays on paper. The spontaneity of the natural process of sunshine is partly controlled by the author who shapes the desired pattern gaining forms that sometimes resemble things we might have once seen or not. We encounter a body of work entirely devoted to the viewer's gaze, perception as an important issue in visual art. Disguised in formally reductive visual games, it underlines the same old controversy: is the spectator responsible for the vision, or is it the other way around, does the object create it?
When staring at Fields, Matrixes by Predrag Todorović (*1966), we become aware of the immediate sensitivity of the human eye to visible world, proving the impossibility to see anything. As a result of a multitude of linear strokes, the metal-drawings become a breathing surface consisting of swirling heaps that endure endless scratching. The result is a dense grid of energy charge that evokes movement which changes depending on the position we take observing them.
Still requiring the sensory reception of visual art, Aleksandar Garbin (*1955 in Rovinj) goes straight to a more abstract level, dealing with gravity. Using a globe and a wooden stick, or a little pole and a plank, bringing them close to each other or even sticking them together, he creates a spatial resonance that causes impacts on the viewer's experience of space. Considering space as the most multilayered notion brought him to something more tangible, to the discovery of interspace, or as he calls it a neutral zone, a space where two similar or opposite objects meet, a corridor where things are in relation to one another, either as incompatible or related items.
Silvo arić (*1965 in Pula) is one of the most interesting Croatian artists when it comes to the notion of space. Making objects and installations that purposely correspond to a space he happened to find in the gallery, his works are fragile structures, resembling some inexistent objects, peculiar ephemeral forms that evoke series of associations drawn from the unconscious, so immediate but so indefinable. The Cooking of the Stomach provides us with reduced visual evidence of what it is about. The ready-made of his mother's recipe for healing the stomach-ache according to the old Istrian folk medicine transcends the physical space of the gallery, not because of its minimal presence, but rather due to its unusual, purposeless appearance. It makes sense to quote Sontag's differentiation of looking and staring where the latter advocates the renunciation of thought, transcendence of the physical presence.
One may ask again, why silent? Does silence imply a withdrawal into anonymity? Can silent work therefore have political implications? Video of Antun Maračić (*1950 in Nova Gradiska) gives an affirmative answer, commenting on a political situation that was not publicly condemned, or judged. His work is a sort of silent record-taking in a subjective, personal way that repeatedly demonstrates its ambiguous nature and is different than it looks. (Sabina Salamon)
1 Cf. Sontag, Susan: The Aesthetics of Silence, Source: http://www.scribd.com/doc/14536809, p.1.
2 Ibid, p. 10.
3 Ibid, p.4: Sontag mentioned Andre Breton's statement as an act of being silent.
4 Cf. Sontag, cit.: Traditional art invites a look. Art that's silent engenders a stare. In silent art, there is (at least in principle) no release from attention, because there has never, in principle, been any soliciting of it. A stare is perhaps as far from history, as close to eternity, as contemporary art can get.