You are cordially invited to the exhibition opening on Tuesday, 10th of May, at 8pm.
You are also cordially invited to the guided tour through the exhibition on Thursday, 19th of May at 1pm and also on Monday, 23rd of May at 6pm in the Gallery Alkatraz.
Curator: Jadranka Ljubičič
The artworks at the exhibition Moments of Chance round up the relations between the personal and social; history, present and future. Daily, every individual makes many decisions; some of them are crucial only for her or him, while the influence of others spreads on. Sometimes one single choice between being active or staying inactive can be of vital importance. It can change the course of the day, month or a decade.
People can be distinguished between those who inhabit their lives as if they were replacement spaces, and those who equalize their lives with themselves, stated Susan Sontag¹. Reality can be experienced in many ways, as even in time we exist at different levels. The process of perception of the world is shown as a fluid space where an apparent reality, hidden future and virtual future meet as a kind of a D.I.Y cube. This is the very thing the exhibition of Tina Smrekar touches. She wishes to bring to awareness the existence of the chances leading to different realizations of the future at the time of decision-making to the observer. She is interested in the momentum hidden in the entanglement of the past, present and possible futures as well as the urge that triggers something to happen or not.
The saucers and cups from the Cracks In the Story series of photographs, though damaged still in household use especially for its sentimental value, allowing the past memories to be present in the daily life, like in one of the eleven stories with a common title 11’09”01² of Sean Penn’s short film where it seems that the main character, a lonely aged widower is talking to his wife. In reality, he is talking to her dresses. The emotional potential of the past memories is the drive for his present; the power of a love relationship between him and his wife enables him to confront with life after her death. The saucers and cups of Tina Smrekar picture an equal process. Memories as an invisible yet omnipresent field that surrounds us, anchor themselves in objects thus becoming bearers of the past. The pictures of the past represent an integral part of the construction of the present, moulded by every individual.
The notion of the future affects the individual’s images of reality. The idea of the future is often dynamic, oriented negatively or positively. When it is irrevocably and hopelessly pre-determined a destructive view on life is developed. Fatalism and grief that emerge as a natural reaction to the pre-determination are less emphasized in a series of twelve photographs entitled A Dozen Futures. The twelve close-ups of the artist’s coffee sediments, prepared according to a prescribed routine for divination give a dozen of possibilities for interpretation and offer choice among the futures. With this project the author tackles the question of (pre)determination and free will as well as the faith in the one or the other. Should we be able to really decipher the future from one of the coffee sediments, then there is no space for hope and any attempt for change is doomed. Tina Smrekar emphases the importance of hope, the positive, constructive, element of presence, that – consequently – enable the future in the present, being the arrow above the vector showing the path, direction and sense.
The actions and deeds of an individual often depend on the balance sheet of the past, evaluation of the present and the estimation for the future. The video Are We Ever Going to Be Brave, Too? represents photographs of the activities on Tahrir Square in Kairo; an attempt to see the Egyptian protests as a correlation of the three elements. The details of their mutual interrelations that enable the mass eruption of the energy remain secretive to the viewer. In the artwork entitled Moments of Chance the artist still tries to test various decisions on the viewer, for she is interested in the very drive leading into activity or passivity. The observer sees plaster cast glasses on a shelf, filled with a coloured liquid that a programmed lever is pushing forward, until they fall down and break, splashing the paint on the floor. The viewer is faced with a decision: she or he can remain a passive observer of the activity, or she or he can stop the process. There is less than one second to decide. The author is interested in what is the drive that makes the person to decide whether react or remain passive.
The artist is thrilled by the fact that the protests on Tahrir Square in Kairo have - all over the world - ignited a spark of hope that collective physical presence has the capacity to generate changes, and that mass protests here and now are not necessarily a thing of the past. Perhaps she is even more interested in the very crucial moment when inactivity turns into action. These are the moments packed with numerous different meanings, made up of dissatisfaction with the present and past, as well as the fear of uncertain future. The question of what are the drives urging the decision of an individual to participate or not to participate, however, remains open.
Sebastian Krawczyk and Ana Grobler
Sebastian Krawczyk is a volunteer at the European voluntary service project. The execution of this project is cofinanced by the European Commission. The content of the project is at sole liability of the author and by no means it represents the stands of the European Commision.