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Goran Despotovski / To Float

08 April 2009 > 10 May 2009

Goran Despotovski : The rhetoric of alienation : Ghostly traces of existence : Figure lost in accelerating images : Motion or stillness : The dramaturgy of emptiness : The logic of boundary : There is no secret : Human bodies are traces of figures : The construction of coding and of decoding of life : Bare life : The dissolution of bare life : The human body which becomes a figure which becomes a doll which becomes a marionette which is the absence of life itself amidst the human world which is living here and now ... forth ...

Goran Despotovski has established a specific model of non-conceptual research, determining the relationship between object and figure and, accordingly, effects of the body/figure between poor art, the performativity of action art, the affectivity of new media and the analysis of everyday modern life conducted in the context of cultural studies. Despotovski began his explorations in a domain of locating the paradoxical border between figurative and primary painting in the late 1990s, doing later his research in the field of complex object-related figurative, corporal and representative installations. Instead of aesthetic-artistic, respectively, cultural or politically explicit statements there are only consumed pale notions in his work, or in the true sense of Jacques Derrida: the erased traces of existence, in other words, of the human body in its existence.

A series of new works, prearranged for this exhibition, focuses on two related existential moments on “a figure among figures” that allegorizes a man in the crowd and on a growing sense of alienation that becomes visible by the appearance of the work. Despotovski works with figures that are not sculptural or pictorial mimesis of the human body but “marionettes” that are simulacrums of ghostliness and absence of human life amidst human life, i.e. amidst human sociability, hence, amidst the politics of everyday life. The artist inscribed once on a piece of work “Human beings – figures - dolls are being stopped in a confused and dement state within their interrupted action and act, transmitting collective warning from the past. These works, allegorical and symbolic, impel their spectator to identify with them and to reexamine one’s own position in the society, which has been placed into a situation of permanent crisis at the global level and which values have been very often perverse.”

Despotovski places emphasis on the role of appearance, in the first place on a sensual tangible-visible demonstration of alienation representing a social state of human being in which one’s own wishes, fantasies, behavioral models, ideologies, religious convictions and the products made out by one’s own effort, as well as one’s own everyday life, have become alien and incomprehensible. Schematically speaking it can be said that (1) the cause of alienation is not anymore the human labor or the separation of subject from the object which he produces; (2) this kind of alienation is prevailed by imposing the object as a piece of information on the subject and on the subjects in relation to each other. A human being is the separate “object” itself who produces an ecstatic – virtual, figure-oriented, screen-like, marionette-like – system of effects emerging from the object and/or from the information about human life presented by senses. Literally, a man is not anymore a biological organism only. Human being – figure – marionette in Despotovski’s works is a system of fragmentary relationships of objects linked into a regulatory system of control, supervision, exhibitionism, disappearance, hiding and the impossibility of a real lively communication.

The latest accomplishments of Goran Despotovski enter the field of critical analysis, raising issues of “relational aesthetics” and provocative confrontation with the “ghostly” and “perverse” effects of growing alienation of humanity:

The installation Insult (2008) is assembled by a great number of – a crowd of – thrown “naked” dolls, i.e. by 150 thrown away pieces-figures. These dolls form a crowd, suggesting an effect of theatricality of thrown human beings, of dead bodies, of the rests of the human bodies after mass crime etc. They are – erased or pale figures “made of” human beings, having no identity, a particular countenance or singular character anymore. As if the biopolitical idea of loss of life “itself” or “bare” life is allegorized here. The dolls are in natural size of a human, made of a white silicone substance, producing thereby an effect of the rests of human bodies.

The installation Mumbled (2007-2008) is composed of ten dolls without faces, made in natural size, which are wearing everyday male clothes. The dolls are placed in a regular line. One doll is standing in front of or behind the other. The line is set up as “a line” of a mass or group of people waiting to enter a bus, a museum, a consulting room, court interrogation, a bank, a post office etc. On the other hand, the line is slightly chaotic. Set up of figures, it is, indeed, abstract - it might have been set on every place at every time, being, nevertheless, very concrete – it is set here, placed in front of the spectator in all its presence. The figures emit an indistinguishable speech, a kind of mumbling or a murmur. This sound creates a confusing situation being very familiar and very unclear at the same time, which is hardly part of everyday experience even though resembling it.

The installation Plasma (2008) is set up as a sort of a stylized plane vehicle, a particularly designed stage barrier which divides the space into two parts. The vehicle/barrier is made of the bed lined that became dirty by its past uses. On the both sides of the “vehicle/barrier” there are two figures wearing a black male suit. They are gazing into the white cloth of which the vehicle/barrier is made. The traces of everyday life, dirty whiteness, emptiness and absence.

The wall installation Civil (2008) is made of five or fifty white flags on which plane figures and black flaws, referring to the clothes without the body, are shown. They are silhouettes in motion. Phantomlike bodies are “caught” and placed on the flag in order to symbolize absent, lost, what is deficient, almost tragic. In the majority of his works Despotovski develops visual and spatial dramaturgy of “tragic alienation”, which is rhetorically enhanced by the non-presence of life in the field of visible, corporal and human. If the life is present, like in the installation Boiling (2007-2008), it is brought to a mechanical spasm emphasizing the “cursed” life itself, reduced to elementary and trivial actions, situations, events or relationships. In Boiling, two bodies, worn underwear, are set in the lying position on a big bed where they “boil” – the sounds of urinating and passing gas are emitted by the dolls. The video work To Float (2008) shows a piece of drowned fabric, tied by the strings that move it. This process has a dramatic flow of floating strengthened by the sound of splashing water. The shape of the fabric, similar to the jacket, represents a man as a non-corporal appearance being in the stage in-between, neither up nor down; neither live nor dead; neither drowned nor rescued; nothing but being in the stage of floating. That is the “life” that moves on in a marionette-like manner of being and not being here. To move on and to imitate moving on. It seems that there is no difference, no distance, between presence and the illusion of presence.

Goran Despotovski focuses in his work on perverting the human boundary of “life”. Life is not a nucleus of existence but minimal resistance to alienation. If there’s no resistance, the world of dolls/marionettes shows up. The dolls/marionettes are here, as ghosts they are not here.

Miško Šuvaković

Goran Despotovski : Retorika otuđenja : Sablasni tragovi egzistencije : Figura izgubljena u ubrzanju slika : Kretanje ili mirovanje : Dramaturgija praznine : Logika granice : Nema tajne : Tela su tragovi figura : Konstrukcija kodiranja i dekodiranja života : Goli život : Poništavanje golog života : Telo koje postaje figura koja postaje lutka koja postaje marioneta koja jeste odsutnost samog života usred ljudskog sveta koji živi tu i sada ... dalje ...

Goran Despotovski je uspostavio specifičan model neokonceptualnog istraživanja odnosa objekta i figure, te efekata tela/figure između siromašne umetnosti, performativnosti akcione umetnosti, afektivnosti novih medija i analitike svakodnevice savremenog ljudskog života u kulturalnim studijama. Despotovski je započeo istraživanja kasnih devedesetih godina dvadesetog veka u domenu lociranja paradoksalne granice između figurativnog i primarnog slikarstva te, zatim, u području složenih objektnih, figurativnih, telesnih i reprezentativnih instalacija. Umesto estetsko-umetničkih, odnosno, kulturalnih ili političkih eksplicitnih iskaza u njegovom delu postoje samo potrošene izbledele predstave, ili u smislu Žaka Deride: brisani tragovi egzistencije, odnosno, ljudskog tela u egzistenciji.

Serija novih radova pripremljenih za ovu izložbu je usredsređena na dva povezana egzistencijalna momenta na "figuru među figurama" koja alegorizuje čoveka u masi i na ubrzanje otuđenja koje postaje vidljivo pojavnošću dela. Despotovski radi sa figurama koje nisu skulptorski ili slikarski mimezis ljudskog tela, već sa "marionetama" koje su simulakrumi sablasnosti i odsutnosti ljudskog života usred ljudskog života, tj. usred ljudske društvenosti i time usred politike svakodnevice. Umetnik na jednom mestu zapisuje "Ljudi - figure - lutke su zaustavjene u konfuznom i dementnom stanju u prekinutoj radnji i činu koji iz prošlosti emituje kolektivno upozorenje. Ovi radovi alegorijski i simbolični nagone gledaoca da se sa njima identifikuje i preispita sopstveno mesto u društvu, koje je u permanentnoj krizi na globalnom planu, i čije vrednosti su često izopačene."

Despotovski potencira ulogu, pojavnosti i pre svega čulni haptičko-vidljivu pokaznost otuđenja kao društvenog stanja čoveka u kojem su mu vlastite želje, fantazije, oblici ponašanja, ideologije, religiozna uvjerenja i proizvodi njegovog rada, te sama njegova svakodnevica postali strani i nedokučivi. Može se sasvim šematizirano reći da (1) uzrok otuđenja više nije ljudski rad i odvajanje subjekta od objekta koji proizvodi, (2) takva alijenacija je prevladana delovanjem objekta kao informacije na subjekta i subjekte u odnosu. Čovek je taj odvojeni "objekt" koji proizvodi ekstatički - virtualni, figurabilni, ekranski, marionetski - sistem efekata koji dolaze od objekta i/ili čulima predočenih informacija o ljudskom životu.

Doslovno, čovek više nije samo biološki organizam. Čovek-figura-marioneta u radovima Despotovskog je sistem fragmentarnih odnosa objekata povezanih u regulacijski sistem kontrole, nadzora, egzibicionizma, nestajanja, skrivanja i nemoguće stvarne žive komunikacije.

Novije realizacije Gorana Despotovskog sasvim ulaze u područje kritičke analitike "relacijske estetike" i provokativnog suočenja sa "sablasnim" i "perverznim" efektima ubrzanog otuđenja ljudskosti:

Instalacija Insult (Uvreda - instalacija, 2008) je realizovana sa velikim brojem - gomilom - bačenih "nagih" lutaka, tj. sa 150 komada-figura na hrpi. Lutke, čine gomilu koja sugeriše teatralizovani efekat odbačenih ljudskih tela, gomilu leševa, ostatke nakon masovnog zločina itd. To su - brisane ili izbeljene figure "od" ljudi koji više nemaju identitet, specifični lik i singularni karakter. Kao da se alegorizuje biopolitička zamisao o gubitku i "samog" ili "golog" života. Lutke su u prirodnoj ljudskoj veličini, sačinjene su od bele silikonske mase, te se ukazuju kao dejstvo ostatka ljudskog tela.

Instalacija Mumbled (Mumlanje, 2007-2008) je izvedena tako što je deset lutaka bez lica, u prirodnoj ljudskoj veličini, obučen u svakodnevnu mušku odeću. Lutke su postavljene u pravilan red. Jedna lutka stoji iza ili ispred druge. Izveden je red kao "red" za ulazak u autobus, muzej, medicinski pregled, saslušanje, banku, poštu itd. Red je u nijansi ipak haotičan. Postavljeni red figura je, svakako, i sasvim apstraktan - mogao bi biti bilo gde i kada, mada je, istovremeno, i konkretan - tu je tačno ispred gledaoca u svojoj prisutnosti. Figure emituju nerazgovetni govor, neku vrstu mumlanja ili žagora. Taj zvuk stvara konfuznu situaciju sasvim blisku i sasvim neodređenu koja izmiče svakodnevnom iskustvu mada podseća na njega.

Instalacija Plasma (Plazma, 2008) je postavljena kao neka vrsta stilizovanog plošnog vozila, scenografska barijera koja deli prostor na dva dela. Vozilo/barijera je napravljena korišćenjem zaprljane posteljine. Sa obe strane "vozila/barijere" su postavljene dve figure obučene u crno muško odelo. One zure u belo platno od koga je vozilo/barijera načinjena. Tragovi svakodnevice, nečisto belilo, praznina i odsutnost.

Zidna instalacija Civil (Civil, 2008) je izvedena sa pet ili pedeset belih zastava na kojima su prikazane plošne figure, crne mrlje koje referiraju ka odelu bez tela. Reč je o siluetama u pokretu. Fantomska tela su "uhvaćena" i postavljena na zastavu kao simbol odsutnog, izgubljenog, onoga što je manjkavo, gotovo, tragično. Despotovski u većini svojih radova razvija vizuelnu i prostornu dramaturgiju "tragične otuđenosti" koja se retorički pojačava neprisutnošću života u polju vidljivog, telesnog i ljudskog. Kada je "život prisutan" kao u instalaciji Boiling (Varenje, 2007-2008) on je doveden do nekakvog mehaničkog grča koji ističe taj "sam ukleti život" koji je sveden na elementarne i trivijalne radnje, situacije, događaje ili odnose. U Varenju su dva tela u donjem vešu postavljena da leže na velikom krevetu, gde "vare" - emituju se iz lutaka zvuci mokrenja i ispuštanja gasova ili u video radu To Float (Plutati, 2008) prikazan je utopljeni komad tkanine, za koji su vezane končaste uzice koje pomeraju ovu platnenu formu. Ovaj proces ima dramatičan tok plutanja koji je pojačan zvukom zapljuskivanja vode. Platnena forma nalik sakou je čovek kao bez-telesna pojava koja je u stadijumu između, niti gore niti dole, ni živo ni mrtvo, niti utopljeno niti spaseno, ono je samo u stadijumu plutanja. Reč je o "životu" koji je doveden do događanja marionetskog kretanja biti tu i ne biti tu. Kretati se i oponašati kretanje. Između iluzije prisutnosti i prisutnosti kao da nema razlike, odmaka.

Goran Despotovski radi sa pervertiranjem ljudske granice "života". Život nije neko jezgro postojanja, već minimalni otpor otuđenju. Kada tog otpora nema tada se ukazuje sam svet lutaka/marioneta koje su tu i kao sablasti nisu tu.

Miško Šuvaković

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