Igor Eškinja: The Day After
Kindly invited to the opening of the exhibition The Day Before, by Igor Eškinja, curated by Petja Grafenauer, on Wednesday 27th November, at 8pm, at Alkatraz Gallery, ACC Metelkova.
We may fool ourselves about art being autonomous, but I suppose it is important what we do afterwards.
This exhibition was planned to take place in 2010. Then, it would have been drastically different.
The Day After is a project taking place after a project that was swept away by an intrusion of the real into an exhibition. That’s why The Day After belongs into the Alkatraz Gallery, a gallery operating within the ACC Metelkova City, where intrusions of reality are a constant.
The exhibition the artist was setting up at the Fondazione Arnaldo Pomodoro project space in Milan in 2011 was never opened. Instead, the Milan exhibition space closed its door forever. The artist could not manipulate the exhibition space. The exhibition space manipulated him.
Eškinja’s concept for the original project was an installation and a series of photographs linked to the former Milan factory that was housing the exhibition space of the Arnaldo Pomodoro Foundation. On the grey gallery floor, the artist created a drawing of a rolling sea using the black dust, left over there from the former industry. The closing of the exhibition space stopped the exhibition. The project - with its intrusion of the real life from the story about the once existing factory - has become a trifling stone in the mosaic of the building’s history.
Everything is quiet the day after. The media have published the news, the events have been cancelled, and the angry voices have silenced. It is the day when the artist – with meditative gestures – sweeps away the artwork that has found no spectators.
The artist could have stopped here, and let the artwork be relinquished to a cloak of new meanings, woven by others, but instead he has decided to take the project that has never been to The Day After. From the remnants of the exhibition Eškinja has created The Day After, a testimony of a decay of the original project. In the video installation, the model of the Milan exhibition space erases the images of the process in which the black industrial dust becomes the sea. Once more, it is the space that defines the visibility, but the artwork is now the one who has the last word.
The day after has not brought any mourning after what had been, but retained art on the grey ruins. The Day After is a project about persistence and surmounting, about the keeping of an artistic statement even when somebody else would have led the battle in another way. The intrusions of the real make the artist fight in the battlefield of art and, in an artistic manner.
Igor Eškinja (1975, Rijeka) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice in 2002. The metaphor, sign, and altered compositions are characteristic for his practice. He exploits exhibition spaces in a critical and subversive manner. He has exhibited at Camera Austria, Graz, Austria (2013); MAC/VAL, Paris; France (2012); 2nd Industrial Biennial , Ekaterinburg, Russia (2012); Museum of Arts and Design, New York, U.S.A. (2012); Power Plant gallery, Toronto, Canada (2011); Kuntsforum Bank of Austria, Vienna, Austria (2011); MSU Zagreb, Croatia (2011); Kuntlerhaus Bremen, Germany (2010); Forum d’art contemporain, Luxembourg, Luxembourg (2009); Wellcome Collection, London, U.K. (2011); Kunstforum, Vienna, Austria (2009), and the 7th Manifesta, Trentino, Italy (2008).
His works are part of public collections : MAXXI Rome, Italy, MSU, Zagreb, Croatia; FRAC Carquefou, Nantes, France; MMSU, Rijeka, Croatia; MAC/VAL, Paris, France; CAB-Caja de Arte, Burgos, Spain, as well as of private collections.
Photos from the opening: Sunčan P. Stone