Belgrade with Budapest
Exhibition Belgrade with Budapest and sojourn of Hungarian artists in Belgrade, correspond to continuation of collaboration between Serbian and Hungarian art scene that is significant not just for the establishing of the new contacts and relations between artists and curators of these two scenes, but because of strengthening and deepening of contacts already made. Namely, in November 2006, after five-day visiting program in Budapest, in cooperation with Remont Gallery from Belgrade, organized by Agency for Contemporary Art Exchange from Budapest, curators Maida Gruden and Mara Prohaska have organized an Exhibition Hungarian Plays in YUBIN Gallery in Belgrade, where they have presented works by four Hungarian artists: Marcell Esterházy, Szabolcs Kisspál, András Ravasz and Andrea Schneemeier (as part of the Festival of Hungarian Culture in Belgrade). A year later, this curators’ duo from Belgrade manages to carry out the stay of six artists from Serbia: Aleksandar Jestrović Jemesdin, Maja Josifović, Goran Micevski, Maja Obradović, Milica Ružičić and Dimitrije Tadić in Budapest for the exhibition Belgrade in Budapest: Net of Choices in IMPEX – Contemporary Art Provider (also in Budapest). As part of the new project Belgrade with Budapest, this group of artists and curators was joined by curator Áron Fenyvesi and artists Zsolt Keserue, Ágnes Verebics, Csaba Kis Róka, Uglár Csaba, Tibor Horváth from Hungary, who have spent several days in Belgrade getting to know local institutions, off spaces, artists, art organizations and initiatives. This effectuated communication suggests the idea on intensified, profound relation towards people, things and phenomena, but at the same time it affirms relations that oblige, deepen, drive to knowledge and overcome ordinary initial and only contacts, as well as the indifferent connections in the world-map net of individuals.
In Plato’s Feast, relating to Diotima of Mantinea speech, Socrates speaks of origin, nature and actions of Eros, who, as the son of abundance and poverty stands in-between longing/need and its fulfillment, mediates between life and death, being born again and again, he becomes aware of the fact that in each fulfilled desire lays a sparkle of a new yearning that again forms its shape, whilst releasing it in its altered nature through a cyclic process of existing that inherits yet another new transformation. Searching for cognitive elements in love, this ancient philosopher perceives erotic dimension in cognition, that inspire and open an abundance of possibilities, meanings and aspects of living. Exactly this idea on eroticism, as the mean of perception and relation towards life, that implies specific kind of connection, binding and passionate affection towards someone or something, not just in relation to sexuality, but longing to discover what is hidden and desire to enrich everyday perception in relation towards people, things and phenomena, is the framework round which the production of Serbian art scene evolves.
Ohhhne Titel, work by Milica Ružičić, suggests almost tactile approach to comprehension of erotic, where the perspective aloofness inserted into the organic, bodily structure of the painting is fading away. By means of minucious, manual treatment, the artist manages to bring about the effect of the vivid surface, out of which the hairs are growing, suggesting the existence of the potential curvature or even a crack, i.e. access into the covered organ, where the dense compound is directed in some sort of symmetry, colliding naturally in the center of the painting. That however twists the original notion of the work into its opposite, hidden completely from the views of the place of desire, a place that arouses a yarning for returning to sheltered and worm corporal lurking place. Eroticism is being drawn into relation with the vital power of growth and cyclic renewal, but with previous share in something that could be defined as mystery of conception and birth. However, by means of interception between natural and artificial, by stressing on the aesthetic work mode, the artist indicates imaginative, seductive structure of the erotic aspect. Ambivalence of the view, versatility of availability, secrecy of hidden where the viewer’s eye is not allowed in, rehabilitates intuitive powers of command, swathing us with non-verbal, ineffable logic of sensation, where the erotic is defined exactly as perpetually unexplored territory.
The attention of Dimitrije Tadić focuses on body parts, or to be more accurate, human organs, segregated and enlarged in the subtle net of damascene red lines and nuances of the body inside. These, almost anatomic drawings immerge into the powerful visceral world, whilst releasing the mystery of carnality. Boundless to mind accomplishments, these internal volitions intrude their own rules, instincts and needs, while descending on the surface of seductive lamina into the reality of bodily depths and inner-relations fineness of each and every one of its processes. Body and soul joined together in the intention to overcome the limits of own-being, in permanent lookout for the outer impost that comprehends them entirely, and under which the experience of closeness originates and is engraved perpetually in each segment of subjectivity. Recognition of those processes and their letting evolve in full intensity also imply ulimative surrender and complete drifting to another person, which is something that the artist wants to stress out in the title “Oh, once I almost died of love”. Works by Tadić deal with the power of body that impeccably understands, swiftly comprehends, gives and receives, and before we are even aware and before we register the effects of this profound communication, it has by far self-initiatively submerged into the world of erotic games.
The work by Maja Josifović, In Search of the Unique, comprises of seven ceramic tiles with the imprinted photographs so that those two medias merge together: a photograph completely fills out the borders and function of the ceramic tile, the material for wall-surface covering and certain private space defining. This media support goes beyond the anticipated ornamentally of the imprinted motive and leads to deeper correlation level between the means of work realization and visual description, i.e. the levels of the applied pictures’ meanings. In other words, each tile/photograph gives an outlook towards the fragment of the interior of the paved bathroom where the woman is holding a big red heart, embraces it gently and takes care of it. The vitality of the organ that symbolizes love is intensified through the contrast between its bright red color and black and white tonality of the rest of the photograph. Eroticism in this work is defined as an intimate identification spot of the viewer, recognition of the transformative power of its relation towards love, and also the need to maintain the purity of feelings, bearing in mind that the bathroom is the place of intimate care and absolute bareness. Span of sensations displayed in this work implies self-eroticism as the starting point of growth and forming of relations where consequently inclusion of other person is being allowed. In that sense, in Search of the Unique, we can discover innocent eroticism that as such embraces in a subtle game of partial revealing, keeping the secret of the corporal, bodily contact, but also the need of giving oneself to another being, a need embodied in magnified bright symbol that points to boundary violation in the average, ordinary relations.
Eroticism in drawings by Maja Obradović is written in directly into relation between man and woman and linked with pain of creation and destruction. This is contributed by manner of work execution where refined and strong drawing of fluid lines are being combined at the same time with pieces of photographs and written sentences that are in function of speech, memories or direct lesson/message, executed from the personal experience of the author. These drawings address the role of eroticism that Camille Paglia thoroughly analyzes in the book Sexual Personas, revealing, on the track of Freudian researches, that erotica is a theatre that swarms with characters and also a place where we can never embrace (in sexual or other sense) one person without holding in our arms hers or his entire family romance, alike there is no perfectly pure sexual act freed from anxiety. Eroticism, which at the first glance, seams equal to solely sexual, physical act, in fact includes the need for coming to reason with relations to the range of the key figures in an own formative personality process. That circular and deep confrontation is one of the conditions to start looking and loving another person from the new perspective, freed from own obsessive projection that always stood for unconscious problem interned inside us.
In the photograph Untitled, Goran Micevski is determined to portray naked, white and uncircumcised mail immediately after taking a shower/bath in the bathroom. While observing his face in the mirror, this young male wipes his head with the towel in the manner that associates to oriental custom of hiding under the veil, as the rest of the body that remains completely exposed alludes and tempts the eye of the viewer structured on western culture suppositions. This staged game of the contemporaneous “exaggerated” hiding and revealing of the body only evoke the art practice that use disguising, changing of clothes and travesty as a technique of the art (re)presentation, disclosing preoccupation of the artist with the phenomenon of identity constructing that is being reflected in the view of another person. Refectivness in Micevski’s work is highly emphasized, or to be more precise, it is paradoxically tripled to unlimited usage of photography in everyday life (which is evident regarding the presence of mirrors, glass and cameras as the constitutive element of work). Occurrence of the photography media contributed development of investigative thought regarding identity and revived the idea “in front of the lens, I am at the same time: the one I think I am, the one I want others to think I am, the one the photographer thinks I am, and the one he makes use of to exhibit his art” (Roland Barthes). Multiplication of these identification models points to media strengthened potential of introduction where the subject is being exhausted in excessive exposure expectations from the viewer, that have already been saturated and impotent for sensual feeling. However, the exact insisting on the game of mystification and demystification, keeping and revealing of the secret, east and west, originating of closeness in permanent mutual process of familiarization, the artist identifies the impact of erotic outlook to the world.
Aleksandar Jestrović Jamesdin presents the installation Chose life that comprises of two oil paintings, smaller in dimension, that are accompanied by the inscription WOTE!, ballot-box and papers that offer two options that refer to mentioned paintings: punctured with the motive of the anus and the other one slashed with the motive of vagina. Political context that the artist alludes to through explicitness of paintings and position of the viewer, reveals pornographic character of political system, where the symbolic penetration through slots, that remind of works by Lucia Fontana, enable him to get projected into the system of art. In addition, aside from the installation, the author decided to introduce his correspondence with curators whom he gave an option to choose between several offered suggestions that would be produced for the exhibition that deals with erotic. That pornographic act of the absolute transparency of correspondence puts the artist in analogy with the voting system and points to systematically produced positions of the contemporary artist, who in his subjection recognizes the road to success. In his desire to be seen and present, but limited in defined place, the artist looses his capability of recognition of erotic potential in the process of emergence and reception of own artwork. Work title, i.e. slogan Chose Life ironically fiddles with possibilities of choice and yet again expands to the context of life intersected by different discourse systems that are being brought down to one option in its transparency and resemblance. The point of erotic approach to life is to perceive another option besides the one that has already been served!