20 May 2016 > 23 May 2016 Kindly invited to the opening of group exhibition " A Man at the Border" On Friday, 20th May, at 7 pm, at flat1 gallery, U-Bahn/Stadtbahnbogen 6-7, Vienna, Austria.
Participating artists:Tomaž Furlan, Beli sladoled, Ana Čigon, Primož Novak & Nika Oblak, Gino Alberti, Kati Bruder, Sula Zimmerberger, Karin Maria Pfeifer.
Curators: Jadranka Plut & Vasja Nagy.
The exhibition is a part of cooperation between Akatraz Gallery and flat1 gallery.
We would like to thank for the suport of SKICA (Slovenian Cultural and Information Center in Austria).
Der Mensch an der Grenze
The inquiring about the concept of border seems to be a never-ending quest for identity and understanding of relations with the other. It should suffice to look at the art of the previous centuries where human being is placed on this side and interpreted as visible, definite, and mortal and still unsteady even in the most schematic perception. In renaissance he is someone who peeps behind the mystical curtain while trying to grasp essence of God, in romanticism on the other hand gazes in to distance, across the hazy horizon above the globe, and behind which expects unimaginably great power of Nature to reside. Modern age change perspective on time and everything seems to be absent and present at the same time. The future, the past and the present seem to influence each other by laws of physics, not mythical/mystical principles. The identities of persons are not simply given, but everyone chooses or creates them in every moment of their life. The position on the chess-board can be changed by sliding the cursor on slider of size relations. It is possible to choose between being a pawn or rule over the kingdom in all sides like queen. Similarly it is possible to play roles which are projected from histories of past, future and present. A modern human understands the difference between a metropolis based on newest technologies with robots and 3-dimensional simulations and a prehistoric village, where one can rely only onto own hands and spiritual connection with other beings. The limit of the known is constantly present and it is one’s own decision on which side of the edge to put the foot. A border is always of the one who marks it on the map of life and it is not about what lays behind.
Selected artists from Slovenia and Austria are active in different fields of art and create in a various techniques. Specific to all is crossing borders or in some cases walking on the edge, which doesn’t occur in a formal way, this is today hardly possible, but in the sense of content. The artists constantly examine the known and walk a step further. They widen their own personal story through which, the culture that is common in a civilization is widen as well. And especially it is the examined the question how much can a human be human, before is dehumanised. Be it in body or spirit.
The exhibition Der Mensch an der Grenze (A Man on the Border) is conceived as an open, observant and pondering platform about borders that we are setting nowadays in a symbolic as well as physical sense and in this way reflects wider contemporary artistic and social phenomena. The artworks are addressing the issues of the quotidian; of artistic research and the system we are integrated in, modes and conditions of production as well as a wider social reality that the artists render by the means of various media and contents.
The latest works of Gino Alberti evolve from postcards and other photographs of seascapes. He draws in charcoal the surface of water and the atmosphere of sky. The two elements are sometimes calm, sometimes turbulent and not always in the same emotion. The works are like a repetitive contemplation on life and confrontations between various thoughts and emotions. Under the image the artist writes sentences that accentuate the state of that particular fleeting moment of creation through sadness, fantasising, reproach, daring questions and demands, and other thoughts that seem trivial and unusual at the same time.
Kati Bruder’s series Wir anderen offers almost a private view into small communities in our society. The photographer stands in front of open door and people are returning their look while being aware of exposing a bit of their privacy. The doorway is the most public space of a home but it still shows the individuality and personality of the inhabitants who are posing for the photograph in the way they want to present themselves to the others.
The documentary of Ana Čigon, entitled Heroinat / Herojke discloses the borders of a social status and the role of women through the narrative of setting up a monument to all women in Prishtina, Kosovo, in 2015. The artist is posing herself a question of who monuments are raised for and what identity they communicate, as »I have found realized that they are honouring a very narrow strip of history, from which women and numerous other social groups are being excluded«.
Tomaž Furlan with his interactive device Wear XV, one of the twenty-four artworks of the decade-long Wear 2005-2015 project, composed of video performances and objects, sets a border between the today’s notion of the body and an interface. With the works of Tomaž we find this interface to be a physical object operating without any technological devices, dictating simplicity and recycling of waste materials from which the so-called machine/object is put together and functions as a device facilitating human daily work/chores. “The Wear project is an attempt to fight against banality with silliness. Of course it is a failure, however, at the same time also absolutely necessary for us, in order to remain as human as we possibly can,” says the author.
Nika Oblak and Primož Novak explore the border of the integration of an artist or every individual into the wheels of social and personal powerlessness. The video entitled The Scream, alluding to the modernist Munch’s painting of the same title from 1908, sets into the fore – no longer the image of a suffering human backed with the red sky – but the subject and its incapability to be quiet and the need to express the confines of one’s own position into the social machinery.
In the work Bedwars Karin Maria Pfeifer digs into the virtual world of Minecraft computer game. She takes out a block, the form of the basic graphic and building item and reproduces it on drawings and physical objects. This building block in Minecraft has its origin in physical world and it represents a simple 3-dimensional object in an imaginary space. By using it to build abstract forms in the gallery space the artist switches between the virtual and the real and puts to test perception of space and various realities.
For Beli sladoled/White Ice-Cream as a world-famous artistic group, the outset is directed into development of the drawing as an autonomous artistic medium. The drawing functions like an open space, opening the borders of creating and offers endless modes and possibilities to upgrade the artistic form. By simple means such as lines, by the technique of collaging the images on unconventional surfaces, the two artists assemble and design their narratives. It is here that they have found themselves, as the medium of drawing enables them the liveliness, incompleteness, openness, and upgrading of artistic form that they – in their own world of creation – do not perceive as a confined space, but as a space of infinite modalities and possibilities.
In her video collage Mankind Dreams Sula Zimmerberger dreams are treated as a vision of a possible reality. Visualisation in any form brings the vision closer to realisation and it is constantly pushing the border between imagination and reality further. Many fantasies from fiction novels or artworks of the past are today taken for granted as simple tasks or facts like flying or communication in great distances. They are consequences of development of technologies but on the other hand is their origin in the impulse to reach for the unreachable.
Jadranka Plut & Vasja Nagy