08 December 2007 > 10 January 2008
The Galapagos is one of those archipelagos that stimulate specific associations. The first one relates to Darwin, who developed his theory of evolution precisely on the basis of animal species from these islands. The second association relates to the indigenous species with their remarkable adaptations, which frequently seem to be rather bizarre. This is also evident in a certain grotesque character of the animal world created by the artists in their Galapagos island.
The artists have added new dimensions to Darwin's theory. Darwin tried to confirm his theory by comparing the past and the present, while the artists have used their vision of evolution – which does not end with homo sapiens – to point to an obscure derivation of Darwin's theory and thus to question the absolutist and domineering relationship of humans towards animals.
Galapagos is a multi-media project, a complete work of art presenting an invented world. The artists have planned their imaginary world and its biosphere on the basis of democratic agreement. They have
created it spontaneously and according to aesthetic resolutions. Galapagos is a place of freedom, a world in perpetual creation, one reserved for present and future animal species. No one can indisputably foresee the evolution of animals, and therefore it offers a vast space to the human imagination. In the world to come, in which the inhospitable environment will leave no room for the human species, evolution will give free reign to the development of sophisticated animal species.
Damijan Kracina and Vladimir Leben have changed the gallery space into a zoo, and they endeavour in an unassertive and humorous way to make the visitor aware of the fact that the world is endangered. Art – just like most issues in the quickly changing present world – has become distanced from man. People no longer have time for reflection on "great stories". Nowadays, we are witnesses to a development that can lead us with the speed of light into new dimensions. The institution of art – no less than science and technology – has been captured in a logic of perpetual improvement. Today it is allowed, therefore, that artists move like nomads and search for their ways in the pluralism of expression. Damijan Kracina and Vladimir Leben are well aware of the needs of the contemporary viewer, which do not include becoming engrossed in deep reflection.
A profoundly deliberated message has been mediated through play and humour, which are immanent elements of art and which nowadays are increasingly vanishing. The artists endeavour to make us laugh and, at the same time, to awaken in us a sense of guilt and unease at the view of animals turned into mere tools in human hands. Besides, in their reflections about the future they place us in the position of weak and helpless beings.
The Galapagos exhibition is both simple and complex. It opens a playground for everyone, enabling us to enter into the artists' imaginary world, as well as into our own.