December 2nd - 15th, 2013
Aesthetics of ruins
It is not my intention to decide value about the aesthetics of any kind, and especially the aesthetics of ruins. Nor do I intend to analyze today’s state of the art or to build tension between (verbal) text and (visual) works shown in this exhibition. But all that I have said does not mean that I am guided by the desire to create integrity as a more favorable state in art and society.
I want to avoid every discourse that brings “ruins” in connection with negativity, to try to define “my terms,” as Robert Ginzberg1 said about the ruins, and to avoid showing the “ruin” as an unwanted inheritance that we find only when it’s too late to give up. I prefer to show ruins in such a way that we do not see them as a place for the remains, as the parts of something that once pretended to be a state of integrity. Instead, I’d rather show debris as a soil rich in memories and new possibilities. Metaphorically speaking, I want to compare the ruins with a heat that is ready to light up as soon as someone brings the material that can produce energy…
James Joyce said that history is the nightmare from which he is trying to wake up. This does not mean that the strength of the past in its continuity can not undermine any new effort to move in a new direction. Are we obliged to follow the past? Or we can stand on the ground of “ruins” and see all the possibilities of our creative spirit…
It is therefore clear that I will not try to evaluate any phenomenon by researching how it functions so that we can understand its purpose and significance, even as we begin, in all of our daily affairs, anesthetized to our uniqueness. We are overly concerned about preserving the value of the same group that prevents us from building self-control and finding the true meaning of life. Instead, we deal with issues like blocks of value structured within society such as “box in a box”. We keep the values that are based on promises that we are part of something much bigger and we are reckoning with the mind that this council can be mischievously closed.
Since this statement on the aesthetics of ruins can be interpreted on so many levels. To explore ruins’ wealth, I invited six plus one artist to join me in the creation of this exhibition at the O3ONE Gallery in Belgrade. They are all part of the London contemporary art scene, which is very diverse and rich. In the works of these artists, there is always a tendency to reach the historical goals and to connect with our present to create new visions and discover the rights meaning of our lives.
Sian Mooney carries his material around the world as his vocabulary from which he builds sculptures on the spot. Occasionally elusive, with a continuous stream of material distributed in layered piles, it creates a litter of feelings – a tangible body. Her sculptures are made of furniture, tailor dolls and animals encapsulated in various materials such as “skin” in several layers that evoke memories. In this way, she introduces the past into the present boldly and provocatively that is emotionally filled with the indication of human relationships and the instinctive nature of sexuality.
Vanya Balogh with his photography and short films explores various points of nostalgia and the state of “functionality”. He examines the void and sense of lost identity. His archive of iconography has become a puzzle made up of humor, sex, violence, popular culture, art history, and politics, which continuously appropriates and rearranges images for a new critical view. The context becomes a situation in which he defines himself as a creator or collector to explore apparent truths about his own identity and his place in a fragile world that is constantly changing…
Garry Doherty in his multidisciplinary practice combines a wide array of objects, sculptural and video installations and “performative” ranks derived from their spiritual practice. In his work, he constructs transcendent content by breaking, decompressing the form. These “decomposed” forms now appear as a series of independent layers that do not stand for themselves, they are not self-sufficient but serve a higher purpose – creating an image. They are often present in such a way that they change the media and platforms, thus creating their own space and their own time, leaving us to take a picture of them in our spirit…
Cedric Christie shows the emotionally packed tracks of ropes waxed in coal and graphite and then strongly printed on paper. The asceticism of these images reminds us of zip paintings Barnett Newman3, but the way the line is drawn, the mechanics of imprinting the sign into space (by wiping the surface with the ropes) somehow change the “purpose” and the dignity of the sign. The visual intensity of the individual line creates not only the unity of the space in which that sign already exists, but also the indication of the tragedy, and it seems to us to observe the scene of the crime as the line becomes a scar or wound.
August Ogilvy and Martin Sexton lead us in many directions with their work “Hand Broom and Candle”. The domestic presence of brooms and burnt candles are associations on the Jerusalem syndrome or at the Blessing –or maybe it’s spelled? The fire reminds us of the connection between waiting and doing business. Light is burning so there is no artifact. We see this work as an imminent event that is just happening, which has not yet ended. That thought follows one question: in whose territory we are located while deciding what to think about that part?
Mark Woods is presenting himself with a subversive part. It seduces the observer, it plays with our senses, and it prevents us from attaining certainty about what we see. It can deceive us that these objects are something known but forgotten… And then they bring us their playfulness and suggestiveness, so we think that we understand the secret and meaning of the work so that we then see that the “traditional sense” opposes the understanding of the craft and turn of this part.
Slobodan Trajković, in two parts of this exhibition, “Young Bosnia” and “Kitchen”, introduces the idea of time and historical events of the twentieth century, focusing on the political unity of Yugoslavia as the context of its work. In the “Kitchen” work through the existence of folk cuisines, the thought of the present state of the society in Serbia is being examined. The artist uses hunger to show the failure of the social apparatus and demonstrates that dysfunctionality using empty bowls. Bowls are open forms that contain content or mass symbols of need for solution and change.
The author is a multimedia artist, writer of essays on contemporary art and visiting professor – mentor for doctoral studies at the Academy of Fine Arts in Belgrade. He also lectures the multimedia subject at the Faculty.