Darko Fritz on Sun, 27 Aug 2006 19:51:34 +0200 (CEST)

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<nettime-ann> Croatian Pavilion at the Eastern Neighbours exhibition


Variable Amnesia . Contemporary art from Croatia

Croatian Pavilion at the Eastern Neighbours exhibition
Cultural center Babel, Utrecht, Netherlands, 8th September - 29th October 2006

opening Thursday 7th September 20 h
[it is 'invitations only', please feel free to contact Darko Fritz to list you at the guest list]


Variable Amnesia . Contemporary art from Croatia

Artists: Darko Fritz, Andreja Kuluncic, Dalibor Martinis, Ivan Marusic Klif, Magdalena Pederin, Slaven Tolj, Goran Trbuljak

Curator: Darko Fritz

In 'Western civilisation' (North America and Europe) there is a tendency of rapidly forgetting both social and cultural values. Such a process is omnipresent in so-called East / Central Europe probably because of often changes of political systems and power-construct that are constantly re-writing the history / histories. That phenomena extends to field of contemporary art as well. Around the world as well as in Croatia the art education system has just started to shape in contemporary way over last decade or so. It is little written and published on truly international histories of contemporary art as for example histories of both conceptual and media art. The academic establishment seems to ignore unstable media of an oral tradition that is dominant in many places where some forms of contemporary art were not institutionaly recognized or there were just other reasons not to publish. The new generations of artists both consciously and unconsciously tend to repeat over and over same or very similar works and processes and as well mistakes that are done by other artists long ago. In the same way it seems that respective institutions do not recognize achievements from the past what makes any new initiative to start form the scretch. In other hand, 'western' art history seems to refuse taking into account any histories and canons except the 'western' ones, and are ignoring with consistency achievements made in Other places. Usually a well intendend presenting of the art of the Other ends, in repeating the process of 'discovery', clearly states the power-position who 'discovers' whom. For example, over the last six years there were three big / high-budget exhibitions organized and exhibited in 'Western Europe' that 'discovered' the art of the Balkans to their next-doors neighbour. Worldwide, there is a same phenomena of forgetting histories of digital media art which is often percieved it began in late1980's in the 'west', but not early 1960's internationally. I dare to call all those processes Amnesia International.

In the term of institutional critique the artworks of Goran Trbuljak (1948) are done in continuum of four decades expressing both the geo-political and individual stages of the artistâs position in society and cultural industry. He made series of exhibitions with posters and text only as sole exhibits. In 1971 the exhibition consisted of the poster that read:'I don't want to show anything new or originalâand in 1973: âThe fact that somebody is given the opportunity to stage an exhibition is more important than what is shown at that exhibitionâ. In âtransition timesâ in Croatia of the 1990âs, he made another one: âOld and bald I search for the galleryâ. For this exhibition a new poster was produced that reads: âOld & depressive anonymous is looking for a permanent display place in some nice new art museum spaceâ.

Dalibor Martinis (1947) was developing a project 'Variable Risk Landscape'during a whole year of 2004. Heput 37. 310 euros into the ZB Trend Investment Fund with an investment term of one year. While the project was in progress, the artist / climber / investor went once a month up into the hills to hike the amplitudes that were shown by the value of the ZB Trend share for the current month. The appropriate altitudes were measured with an altimeter. A Web site at www.variablerisklandscape.com has been opened up to follow the course of the project in the hybrid landscape with constantly updated information about the current value of the investment and other financial indicators, exchange rates etc. In Dec. 31, 2004 the difference in the value of the investment after 365 days was determined and the whole annual dividend of the project was paid to all the spectators present at the closing event. VRL 2004 Annual Report was published in 2005.The selling price of the work âVariable Risk Landscapeâcorresponds to the value in euros of 365 shares in the ZB Trend investment fund on the day of the sale.

Project âAustrians Onlyâby Andreja KulunÄiÄ (1968) consists of advertisements, posters and direct-mail items. In the focus of the project there are latent prejudices and the creeping discrimination against foreign workers in Austria. With top-quality, well-designed job advertisements, the 'inferior' jobs for Austrians are extolled, including all the restrictions and disadvantages with which otherwise mostly migrants see themselves confronted. In the words by artist: âThe idea of the project is to make job advertisement for only Austrian citizens, with jobs and labour conditions they would never accept for themselves but see as perfect for the âothersâ (non Austrian).âIn the work âSIGHT.SEEINGâshedelegates the photo recordings of city sights to asylum-seekers in Graz, Austria. At the chosen sights they wish to do something, but the social situation doesnât allow them, for instance the sight of the University that one could not apply for.

Project âMigrant Navigatorâby Darko Fritz (1966) develops to question notions of home and displacement as well as issues of migration, identity and nostalgia. The âHomeâ button of the Internet browser is re-designed as 9 x 9 meters flower bad in the city park in the work âThe Future of Nostalgiaâ. In the work âHomeâredesigned silver-black Home icon is displayed at the commercial billboards placed close to the national borders. The poster does not contain any further information except the pictorial one, inducing the series of associations in those ones crossing the border and at very best it could inspire them on rethinking the identity -a national one (as a socio-cultural construct) and a personal one.

In artworks by Magdalena Pederin (1968) 16 characters from authorâs name are displayed in thousands of anagrams making the new (often absurd) meanings. Those words are shown in video medium as animated written ASCII texts in the work âName is an anagramâand presented as machine-spoken text from multiplied robotic-alike video self-portraits in work âLogoreaâ.

Another artist who uses the (new) media and expressespersonal matters is Ivan MaruÅiÄ Klif(1969). Interactive DVD âSynchronicityâshows a registration of the sound performance performed by author in form of several simultaneous video screens which user can manipulate alongside several layers of subtitles. In performance he uses low-tech sound equipment producing semi-improvised flux of noise, feedback and various sound sensations.

Slaven Tolj (1964) explores an extreme of juxtaposition of private and social issues. The performance âFood for survivalâthat he performed with his (of that time) wife Marija took place in war time of 1993. From each others naked bodies they were eating a food supplied to war zones by the international humanitarian aid. The original food-can (âready-madeâ),as the âlogoâreads in three languages âFood for survivalâ, consists of a shapeless and colourless protein-rich gel. In âNature and Societyâperformance from 2002 Slaven crashes the horns against the wall which he holds on his head. In the words by artist: âThese horns are the only thing that I have inherited from my grandfather â The horns are 58 years old and were intended to be a present from the Italian governor of Dalmatia to the Fascist Italian leader Benito Mussolini. My grandfather, who was working in 1944 at the railway post office decided to exchange the gift; he sent a smaller pair of horns to Mussolini and kept these to himself. By crashing the horns I deliberate myself from all these connotations â to crash them, to destroy them is an attempt to fight or to come up against all the correlations of nature and society, desire and rules, implicit in the symbolism of the horns within society, within family, within expectations of oneâs own, within projections of oneâs own. To crash them against the wall is an attempt, a need, a wish, a plea to leave behind male ideology of the society and family â to leave behind, to stop, to finish, defining one male history (misfortune) that transfers from one generation to another.â

Darko Fritz

Exhibition is supported by: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Croatia,ÂEmbassy of the Republic of Croatia in the Netherlands



Darko Fritz . http://darkofritz.net . darko@darkofritz.net


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