Koncepcija | Concept
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Rene Blok i Barbara Hajnrih
Iz predgovora kataloga 47. Oktobarskog salona

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René Block and Barbara Heinrich
From the Foreword text in 47th October Salon catalogue
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Umetnost, život i pometnja
Odavde do šezdesetih i nazad
Barbara Hajnrih
[Ceo tekst]

 

Art, Life & Confusion
From Here to the 1960s and Back Again
Barbara Heinrich
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Umetnost na raskršću
Aleksandra Estela Bjelica Mladenović
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Art at a Crossroads
Aleksandra Estela Bjelica Mladenović
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If one conceives of the three words in the title of the exhibition Art, Life & Confusion as a triangle, they evoke a multitude of associations and questions. Is art in any way related to life, and if so, how? Does life need art and art life? What confusions does art generate in life and vice versa? Does art reflect the confusions which prevail in life? Could art be serving as a system of reference, and if so, what is it referencing?

This exhibition sets out to explore these issues and presents artists of various generations and nationalities whose work focuses on the relationship between art and life, and on the conditions of human existence. The “dialogue principle” of the exhibition is continued in the artists’ section of the catalogue which is arranged chronologically, according to the artists‘ year of birth. This has spawned some fascinating constellations and not a few surprises. For example, the oldest artist featured is almost 100 years old while the youngest just turned 15.

The decision to extend the exhibition across the entire city of Belgrade is predicated on this dialogue principle. We are fortunate enough to have various premises, each with its own distinct character and located in different neighborhoods, placed at our disposal. This affords visitors with the opportunity of getting to know the city of Belgrade and the life within during their tour of the exhibition. At the same time, viewers can also draw links between the art on show in the exhibition rooms and real life, and examine the works for their relevance to humankind’s quotidian existence. Consequently, the rather abstract manner in which art thematicizes personal and social changes is placed in juxtaposition to the changes undergone by the city of Belgrade itself.

By inviting an international dialog to Serbia in the form of art, the October Salon is transforming Belgrade into a beacon, which will (alongside the Istanbul Biennial) transmit cultural impulses across South-Eastern Europe. Intending these signals to find resonance at another venue, we have consequently conceived of the exhibition as a cooperative venture between the Belgrade Cultural Center and the Kunsthalle Fridericianum Kassel – where in November of this year works from this year’s October Salon will be exhibited in the show Fremd bin ich eingezogen… (I came as a stranger).

René Block and Barbara Heinrich
From the Foreword text in 47th October Salon catalogue

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Ako se tri pojma iz naslova izložbe – umetnost, život i pometnja – zamisle kao trougao, onda iskrsavaju raznovrsni problemi i pitanja: da li umetnost ima veze sa životom i, ako ima, kakve? Da li je životu potrebna umetnost i umetnosti život? Kakvu konfuziju izaziva umetnost u životu, i obratno? Da li je umetnost odraz svekolike pometnje koja vlada u životu? Da li je umetnost možda princip klasifikacije i, ako jeste, šta klasifikuje?

Izložba tretira ova pitanja predstavljajući umetnike različitih generacija i nacionalnosti čiji se radovi bave uslovima ljudske egzistencije. Dijaloški princip na kojem je zasnovana izložba nastavlja se na stranama umetnika u katalogu koji je složen hronološki, prema godinama njihovog rođenja. Tako nastaju interesantne konstelacije i poneko iznenađenje: najstariji umetnik koji učestvuje na izložbi ima skoro sto godina, a najmlađa umetnica tek što je napunila petnaest godina.

U duhu dijaloga je i prostiranje izložbe po čitavom području grada Beograda. Imali smo sreću da smo na raspolaganju imali različite zgrade osobenog karaktera, i to u raznim delovima grada. Time se posetiocima omogućuje da, obilazeći izložbu, upoznaju grad Beograd i život u gradu. Ono što je viđeno u izložbenim prostorima se, pri tom, može, zauzvrat, povezati sa životom, uz proveru relevantnosti svega toga u ljudskoj svakodnevici. Uspostavlja se, prilično apstraktno, veza između načina na koji umetnost tematizuje lične i društvene promene i promena kojima je izložen i sâm grad Beograd.

Pošto Oktobarski salon Srbiji pruža internacionalni dijalog u formi umetnosti, Beograd će (pored Istanbulskog bijenala) postati važan izvor impulsa za celu jugoistočnu Evropu. Na ove znakove se treba nadovezati i na nekom drugom mestu, te je izložba zamišljena kao kooperacija između Kulturnog centra Beograda i Kunsthalle Fridericianum Kassel, gde će dela sa ovogodišnjeg Oktobarskog salona moći da se vide u novembru ove godine, u okviru izložbe Tuđ sam se uselio … (Fremd bin ich eingezogen …).

Rene Blok i Barbara Hajnrih
Iz predgovora kataloga 47. Oktobarskog salona

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Umetnost, život i pometnja
Odavde do šezdesetih i nazad

Nema komande za premotavanje na BETAMAX-u života.
Nam June Paik

Tehnološki napredak, raspad političkih sistema i propratno rastakanje postojećih sistema vrednosti, kao i ogromne društvene i ekonomske promene tokom odvijanja procesa globalizacije, dovode do sve većeg osećanja nesigurnosti. Tradicionalne strukture se dovode u pitanje dok se umnožavaju nedoumice oko toga koje vrednosti i društveni poreci treba da upravljaju našim suživotom. Primetna je snažna potreba za orijentacijom i preusmeravanjem (i iz nje proistekla želja za utopijama). A traganje za perspektivama i pogledima na svet više ne može ostati ograničeno unutar nacionalnih granica, umesto toga traži se međunarodni dijalog.

Kako su duboke političke i društvene promene našeg vremena odražene u umetnosti? Kako se umetnici odnose prema rastućem osećanju nesigurnosti do koga te promene dovode? U kojoj su formi one prisutne u umetnosti?

Kada se trudimo da odgovorimo na ova pitanja, i kada se osvrnemo na istoriju umetnosti u drugoj polovini dvadesetog veka, uočavamo veliki broj različitih tokova koji se svi mogu podvesti pod pojam ''proširenog poimanja umetnosti''. Napetost u odnosu između tradicije i avangarde, kao i izražavanje protesta u likovnoj umetnosti, poprimali su različite oblike tokom prethodnog stoleća. Međutim, krajem pedesetih godina prošlog veka, a naročito početkom šezdesetih, ova su pitanja kulminirala u vidu obilja novih umetničkih pristupa, koji su uključivali i radikalne političke, društvene i feminističke zahteve. S jedne strane, kritika je bila uperena protiv vizuelne kulture usmeravane od strane institucija i određenim (uglavnom muškim) pristupom stvarima. Pored toga, radilo se o tome da se iznova promisli – i odbaci – modernističko formalističko viđenje stvari, ili da se negiraju stare forme izražavanja u kulturi uopšte koje su sada lišene smisla, dok se istražuju novo poimanje slike i novi vidovi recepcije. Paralelno sa proširivanjem poimanja umetnosti širio se i raspon njenih tema, što je sada podrazumevalo ne samo preispitivanje uslova za stvaranje ili izlaganje i proširivanje estetičkog iskustva, već i kritičko vrednovanje društvenih prilika. Među ključne činioce spadali su napori da se ostvari spoj umetničke prakse i političkog angažmana, eksperimentisanje različitim životnim stilovima i društvenim normama, kao i stvaranje utopija. Cilj svega toga bio je da se pikturalna stvarnost umetnosti ponovo spoji sa životnom stvarnošću.

Ovo je dovelo do stalnog pojavljivanja novih vidova umetnosti, što je svaki pokušaj njihovog kategorizovanja u okviru istorije stilova ili žanrova učinilo zastarelim. Ti novi vidovi umetnosti isprva su uključivali formalne inovacije u domenu materijala, procesa i tehnologije. Činioci koji su tome doprineli bili su francuski predstavnici novog realizma (Nouveaux Réalistes) oko 1960. godine (a u Americi pokret novog realizma [New Realism]); oni ne samo da su integrisali materijale iz svakodnevnog života u svoja dela već su i uvodili inovativne strategije u stvaranju umetničkih dela (na primer, pokrivanje zgrada, događanja koja su uključivala nanošenje boje na ljudska tela, kao i sečenje slikarskih platna na komade). Kao posledica toga, veliki broj različitih novih materijala (kako veštačkih tako i prirodnih), predmeti iz svakodnevnog života, nađeni predmeti i bačene stvari našli su mesta u umetnosti. Ovaj povratak svakidašnjici (proistekao iz kolaža) doveo je do onog što je postalo poznato kao asemblaž, gde se predmeti priključuju medijumu u stanju u kojem su zatečeni, čime postaju deo prostorne i skulpturalne materijalne slike. Spoj asemblaža i slikarstva doveo je do ''kombinovanih slika''. U ovim umetničkim delima, upotreba citata iz stvarnosti i kombinovanje nekoliko predmeta među kojima zapravo ne postoji nikakva međusobna povezanost u stvarnosti otvorili su širok spektar aluzija i asocijacija. Pop art otkrio je svet zabave i industriju proizvoda široke potrošnje, uz masovne medije i reklamu kao samostalnu estetičku stvarnost, i koristio je ''umetnički potencijal kolaža sa drskom i često ironičnom oštrinom kako bi uhvatio sliku života savremene civilizacije, određenu potrošnom robom kao društveim fetišom, banalnim idolima i trivijalnom potrebom za zabavom''.1 S druge strane, umetnici koji su stvarali u maniru siromašne umetnosti (Arte Povera) koristili su u radu do tada nepoznate materijale kao što su olovo, zemlja, drvo i ugalj kako bi stvaralačku harizmu jednostavnih predmeta učinili što vidljivijom i da bi ih predstavili kao simbole bioloških procesa koji mogu predstavljati alternativu industrijski proizvedenoj potrošnoj robi.

Korišćenje novih tehnologija bilo je usredsređeno na rad sa svetlošću, zvukom, pokretom (kinetička skulptura), videom, a kasnije i kompjuterom.

Ekspanzija umetnosti takođe je uključivala preuzimanje novih prostora. To je značilo ne samo napuštanje institucionalnih izložbenih prostora i ulaženje u javne prostore (ulice, skladišta, prazne zgrade), već i proširivanje klasičnog skulpturalnog prostora. Umetnički predmeti bili su povezivani sa već zauzetim prostorom (okolinom), a nova dela su stvarana kao reakcija na postojeći prostor koji često nije imao nikakve veze sa umetnošću, i koji je potom u potpunosti preuziman u formalnom pogledu (instalacija).

Otkrivanje vremena kao sastavnog elementa umetnosti takođe je blisko povezano sa ovim novim tokovima. Pričanje priča, što je bila praksa tradicionalnog slikarstva, izgubilo je značaj i zamenjeno je istraživanjem linearnog i cikličnog vremena, apstraktnog merljivog (fizičkog) vremena i biografskog životnog vremena. U umetnosti, ta istraživanja ispoljila su se kao tragovi onoga što je bilo, kao procesi preobražaja i kao dokumentovani životi. Posredstvom medija filma, realno vreme, beskrajne trake i ritmički montirane sekvence uvedeni su kao novi materijal umetnosti. Jozef Bojs je o ovome rekao: ''U običnom, metričkom vremenu, koje karakteriše doba dana ili merljivi prostor, dešava se akcija koja je vezana za drugačije osećanje vremena... to je životno vreme, biografsko vreme, vreme sudbine, ili vreme pre nego što je neko rođen ili pošto je umro... Stoga ovo sadrži pojmove života, a ne mehaničkog vremena.''2

Doživljaj vremena, bilo iz perspektive izvođača ili iz perspektive publike, postao je ključni element akcione umetnosti (Action Art), u kojoj su se gubile do tada postojeće definicije žanrova i čija je namera bila da prevaziđe granice između umetnosti i svakodnevnog života posredstvom inovativnih vidova izvođenja. Akciona umetnost zamenila je umetnički predmet umetničkom akcijom, pristupom koji je bio u tradiciji italijanskih futurista i dadaista, a koji su, u okviru hepeninga održavanih krajem pedesetih godina, obnovili umetnici kao što su Džon Kejdž, Alan Kaprou, Volf Fostel i gupa Gutai iz Osake. Termin hepening (happening, engl. = dešavanje) upotrebljen je prvi put 1958. godine u delu Alana Kaproua 18 hepeninga u 6 delova. U eseju naslovljenom ‘’Nasleđe Džeksona Poloka’’, objavljenom u časopisu ArtNews, Kaprou je 1958. napisao o potrebi da čovek ''postane zaokupljen, čak i zasenjen prostorom i predmetima iz našeg svakodnevnog života, bilo da se radi o našim telima, odeći, sobama ili, ako je potrebno, i ogromnošću 42. Ulice''.3 Kaprou je želeo da umetnost otkrije potpuno nepoznata zbivanja, koja se dešavaju u kantama za đubre, policijskim dosijeima i na ulici. Hepening je teatarsko dešavanje4 bez kontinuiranog zapleta, u kome se od publike očekuje da učestvuje, da aktivno razmišlja o onome što vidi i unosi se u to – da bude neposredno uključena. Tokom tih ranih godina, hepeninzi se nisu dešavali na ulici već u ateljeima, galerijama i manjim pozorištima.

Imena mnogih umetnika koji su bili uključeni u hepeninge takođe su povezana sa pokretom Fluxus, koji se pojavio 1962. godine, a među čijim članovima su bili Džordž Macijunas, Dik Higins, Džordž Breht i Rober Fiju. ''U glavnim crtama, razlika između hepeninga i  Fluxus-a bila je u sledećem. Hepening pokreće neki proces, razvija se nekakav scenario, ali tok događaja zavisi od reagovanja publike i ishod je neizvestan. Za razliku od prilično 'amorfnog' prizora hepeninga, aktivnost Fluxus-a je jasnije definisana i ostaje pod kontrolom umetnika. I ovde su gledaoci uključeni u zbivanja, ali od njih se očekuje da pasivno prihvataju povremene teške napade ili da, u najgorem slučaju, napuste zbivanja, ali svakako ne da sami nešto preduzimaju.''5 Džordž Macijunas želeo je da ''umetnost-zabava'' bude ''jednostavna, zabavna, nepretenciozna, da se bavi nebitnim stvarima, da ne iziskuje nikakvo umeće niti bezbrojne probe, da nema nikakvu robnu niti institucionalnu vrednost'', te da teži ''monostrukturnim i neteatralnim svojstvima nekakvog jednostavnog prirodnog događanja, igre ili gega''.6 Vredan i jedistven umetnički predmet treba da bude zamenjen jeftinom, svakidašnjom i prolaznom imitacijom, a svekoliko umetničko tržište – čije postojanje zavisi od ograničene dostupnosti umetničkih predmeta – valja ukinuti. Fluxus je blizak hepeninzima, ali u većoj meri koristi eksperimentalnu muziku i karakteriše ga interdisciplinarno jedinstvo koje spaja različite oblasti umetničke produkcije.

Jedan umetnik koji je došao u dodir sa Fluxus-om bio je Jozef Bojs. Nasuprot delovanju Fluxus-a, za čije su pripadnike identitet i ličnost umetnika bili sasvim beznačajni, Bojs je sebe deklarisao kao deo svoga rada. On je umetnika u akciji video kao ''tvorca prostora, tvorca vremena''. Za Bojsa je od izuzetnog značaja bilo postojanje prepoznatljive aure – zasnovane na spoju fizičkog napora i duhovne koncentracije. Primeri za to su akcije pod nazivom Kako objasniti slike mrtvom zecu (Galerie Schmela, Keln, 1965) i Meni se dopada Amerika a Americi se dopadam ja (René Block Gallery, Njujork, 1974). Gledaoci su tu bili puki posmatrači i učestvovali su samo na emotivnom nivou. Bojsove ritualne akcije i njegova harizmatska aura stvorili su mu reputaciju šamana. Međutim, njegov je konceptualni cilj bio da umetnički proizvod preobrazi od predmeta koji ima tržišnu vrednost u niz akcija koje same po sebi čine delo. Pojedinačna akcija nije izolovan događaj već čvorište u okviru jednog kontinuiranog procesa.

Jedan poseban vid akcione umetnosti nastao je u Austriji. U svojim ranim godinama, bečka akciona umetnost bila je svedena na jedan mali broj umetnika, među kojima su bili Ginter Brus, Herman Nič i Oto Mul. Njihovi prenaglašeni rituali sadržali su zaklane životinje ili polivanje nagih žena krvlju, čime su rušili religijske i seksualne tabue. Sve se to dešavalo na izrazito ličnom i fizičkom nivou, i bilo je usmereno na smanjivanje agresije i oslobađanje primalne kreativnosti.

Tokom sedamdesetih godina prošlog veka, telo je sve više postajalo predmet umetničkog istraživanja – naročito na temelju feminizma i potrage za jednom ženskom estetikom. Akciona umetnost dalje je razvijana – što je dovelo do performans arta. Performansi su se razlikovali od hepeninga po tome što su pravili razliku između izvođača i publike i što nisu insistirali na međusobnom prožimanju umetnosti i života. Performans art je naročito usredsredio umetnost na razmišljanja o rodnom identitetu i na kritiku tradicionalne muške kulture.

Među pitanjima kojima se bavio performans art bila su i skulpturalna svojstva tela, njegovi stavovi i poze (oslobođeni od svih psiholoških značenja), kao i proširivanje tela posredstvom konstruisanih predmeta i aparata koji treba da se nose i čija je namena da pobude jedno pojačano osećanje tela i da slede zamisao o telu kao mehaničkom predmetu. Umetnici su svoja tela koristili neposredno kao medijum, proglašavajući sebe za živa umetnička dela. Umetnice su razmatrale pitanje telesnog jezika žena (i toga u kolikoj je meri on prirodan a u kolikoj je meri naučen kao rezultat društvenih uslova) i istraživale su simbole ženstvenosti. Odnosi su istraživani posredstvom performansa u parovima – svaka zamisliva vrsta bipolarnog odnosa. Parametri mentalnog i fizičkog stresa ispitivani su (u okviru bodi arta [body art, engl. = telesna umetnost], posredstvom povređivanja umetnikovog sopstvenog tela, kojim su istraživane granice ljudske sposobnosti trpljenja patnje) kako bi se ukazalo na ranjivost, ograničenja i prolaznu prirodu ljudskog tela. Razvijani su razni vidovi proširenih telesnih rituala, čime su razmatrani konflikti između moći i samostalnosti, kontrole i slobode, potrošačkog mentaliteta i odustajanja od glasanja. Ispitivane su pojave vezane za izdvajanje, izolaciju i propadanje, kao i apsurdni stavovi i modeli ponašanja društva.

Konceptualistička umetnost je sedamdesetih godina takođe zauzimala nove prostore, takoreći: idealne prostore. Odbacivala je materijalno opredmećivanje ideja u umetnilčkim delima i zamenjivala konkretne materijale značenjima. Koncepcije i projekcije zasnovane na idejama imale su za cilj da koriste tekstove, fotografije, uputstva za upotrebu i slične žanrove u svrhu podsticanja kreativnih misaonih procesa publike. Toni Godfri vidi karakteristike konceptualne umetnosti u readymade-u (predmetu koji negira jedinstveni karakter tradicionalnih umetničkih dela, a uzima se iz neke sfere koja je izvan sveta umetnosti i stavlja u kontekst umetnosti), u intervenciji (postavljanju predmeta na neočekivana mesta), kao i u dokumentima i jeziku. Međutim, konceptualna umetnost ne znači krajnje apstrahovanje umetničkog dela, kao se obično pretpostavlja. Tu se više radi o bavljenju pitanjima koje se tiču informacione vrednosti stvarnog predmeta, njegovog vizuelnog predstavljanja i njegovog formulisanja u jeziku, ili napetosti inherentno prisutne u odnosu između stvarnosti i percepcije, a sve to u odnosu na stvarni svet. Predstavljanje kompleksnih sistema referenci i determinanti u društvenim, biološkim i fizičkim sistemima bilo je u rasponu od istraživanja realnog vremena, fenomena proticanja vremena i funkcionalnih definicija mesta, pa sve do razmatranja gramatičkih i jezičkih znakova i njihovih značenja.

Na pokrete individualne mitologije i Spurensicherung (pribavljanje dokaza) gleda se kao na proširivanje pojma umetnosti na mentalne prostore u kojima kulturne, istorijske i simboličke referentne tačke stupaju u dejstvo. Termin individualna mitologija odnosi se na novo iskustvo svesti o indovidualnosti, koje su umetnici postulirali kao apsolutno hermetičke sisteme posredstvom predstavljanja njihovih sopstvenih emocionalnih svetova, snova i utopijskih projekcija. Spurensicherung funkcioniše kao da je to forma arheologije koja razmatra istoriju ljudske kulture. Prikupljajući i dokumentujući relikte prošlosti kao što su fotografije i predmeti za svakodnevnu upotrebu u vidu arhiva i inventara, umetnici su rekonstruisali i subjektivno tumačili sopstveno detinjstvo ili živote i sudbine drugih ljudi. Njihovo traganje za skrivenim vezama dovodilo je do otkrivanja društvenih modela i do otkrivanja soptvenog bića.

Proširenje pojma umetnosti takođe je dovelo do pomaka u predstavi o umetniku i u ulozi umetnika. Romantičarsko viđenje umetnika kao samotnog i nezavisnog genija nije u potpunosti nestalo, ali u svome traganju za inovacijama umetnici su postali u većoj meri nalik aktivnim istraživačima čiji je rad nalik naučnim eksperimentima i bavi se procesima u realnom vremenu, kao i biološkim i fizičkim procesima i kretanjima. Umetnici su postali reditelji koji daju uputstva, nastavnici (koji svoje spoznaje predstavljaju u formi umetničkih dela), društveni radnici (koji su želeli da njihov rad ima političke rezultate), provokatori i još mnogo toga. To je takođe iziskivalo i pomak u modelima recepcije koje koristi posmatrač. Pored kontemplacije i unutarnje empatije, sve je važniji postajao aktivan i participatorski pristup. Dela su iziskivala ne samo prostorno kretanje (kao ono koje je neophodno da bi se prošlo kroz neku instalaciju), već takođe i fleksibilnost u razmišljanju, delovanju, reagovanju i učestvovanju.

Forme koje su razvijane tokom šezdesetih i ranih sedamdesetih godina otvorile su širok raspon umetničkog eksperimentisanja koje će se narednih godina baviti odnosom između umetnosti i života. Tokom osamdesetih godina se dogodila obnova slikarstva (kao i intenzivna rasprava o njegovim mogućnostima), uz povratak figurativnom i ekspresionističkom stvaralaštvu. Kada je reč o sadržini, bio je prisutan povećan interes za nacionalne političke istorije i kritičko razmatranje kulturnih promena. Novo istorijsko slikarstvo imalo je za cilj da se ''napaja istorijskim potencijalom za otpor i konflikte, onakvim kakvim ga ljudi doživljavaju, kako bi dočaralo i dovelo u pitanje lična sećanja, aspiracije i sadašnje teškoće, a da pri tome ne podlegne novom istorizmu''.7

Postmodernizam i transavangarda – to su termini koji su korišćeni da opišu subjektivističke pristupe istorijskim tradicijama i eklektično citiranje raznih stilova i formi iz istorije kulture i umetnosti. Dok su italijanski umetnici pokreta Arte Cifra (umetnost oznaka, šifara) iskazivali svoju sklonost ka klasičnim i hrišćanskim mitologijama i ka formiranju sopstvenih vizuelnih svetova u vidu veoma šifrovanih i kodiranih znakova, američki umetnici razvili su umetnost grafita, adaptirajući uličnu umetnost i subkulturu (i njihove forme protesta), koji su spajani sa jezičkim oblicima preuzetim iz reklama, stripova i crtanih filmova. U Nemačkoj, Heftige Malerei (nasilno slikarstvo) razvilo je stil koji je pribegao klasičnom ekspresionizmu umetnika grupe Brücke. Raspon tema obuhvatao je slikarstvo pejzaža prožeto žudnjom za prirodom, prikazivanje života u urbanim sredinama, figurativna erotska dela, interesovanje za društveno i političko nasilje, strahovanja i opsesije, usamljenost i agresiju, kao i razotkrivanje društvenih sistema vrednosti.

Dok je crno-bela fotografija uglavnom korišćena kao dokumentarni medij u konceptualističkoj umetnosti i pejzažnoj umetnosti (Land Art), a u individualnim mitologijama je preobražena u sredstvo pripovedanja o sopstvenom ja, tokom osamdesetih godina fotografija je stekla novu usredsređenost kao sredstvo istraživanja stvarnosti i društvenih prilika. Fotografska praksa bila je u rasponu od brižljivo uokvirenih kompozicija do režiranih prizora. Rodne uloge kao kulturne konstrukcije i strukture javnog života dovođene su u pitanje, zajedno sa problemima predstavljanja, urbanosti, pamćenja i istorije.

Skulptura je posle minimalističke i konceptualističke umetnosti doživela povratak predmetima i recepcijskim strategijama svakodnevnog života, a takođe i interesovanju za arhitekturu i dizajn. Umetnici su koristili izražajne forme savremenih medija i tehnike zavođenja, iritiranja i gestova nabijenih patosom. Kompozicije koje su odisale samopuzdanjem u pogledu forme podvrgavale su industrijske materijale i odbačene predmete iz svakodnevnog života poetskoj metamorfozi, asemblažu u stvarnim (javnim) prostorima, a takođe su pomerale granice između ''visokog'' i ''niskog'' (između visoke umetnosti i masovne kulture), nudeći radikalno preformulisanje pitanja gde prestaje umetnost a gde počinje život.

Tokom osamdesetih godina, performas art proširio je svoj opseg kako bi obuhvatio nove društvene i geografske kontekste, tako da je u praksu uveden pojam ''proširenog performansa''. Ranija krajnja usredsređenost na umetnikovo sopstveno telo zamenjena je novim okretanjem spoljašnjem svetu. ''Otvaranje prema spoljašnjem svetu dešava se na svakom nivou: kao potraga za novim kontekstima i kao interesovanje za nove sadržaje. U ovom periodu zvuk poprima poseban značaj – zvuk u svim svojim 'prirodnim' i 'civilizovanim' aspektima, a takođe i prostor (u arhitektonskom smislu, a isto tako i kao 'životni prostor'), kako verbalni tako i neverbalni odnosi sa drugim ljudima, i novi kritički pristup materijalu – kako tradicionalnim i prirodnim materijalima tako i novim tehničkim i elektronskim materijalima. Takođe je prisutan i nov stav prema medijima. Generalno uzev, ovaj period karakteriše snažnija potreba za komunikacijom i nova ekološka svest.''8 Uz video, koji je korišćen kao umetnički medij i kao sredstvo predstavljanja, ovaj period takođe karakterišu eksperimenti sa telekomunikacionim tehnologijama, radiom i televizijom. Takođe su korišćeni i mediji svakidašnjice kao što su dnevne novine, telefon i aparat za fotokopiranje. Prevrednovanje značaja prostora dovelo je do toga da umetnici sve više kombinuju svoje performanse sa instalacijama.

Tokom devedesetih godina, pluralitet formi i dalje je prisutan nesmanjenim intenzitetom, ali primetan je i određen povratak narativu, koji se odnosio na različite načine života. Multimedijalne instalacije postale su preferentni oblik predstavljanja. Ilja Kabakov izneo je sledeće zapažanje o potencijalu instalacije: "Po svojoj prirodi, ona može povezivati sve i svašta, sve na jednom nivou, bez ikakve hijerarhije. Ona naročito može dovoditi u vezu pojave i ideje koje su obično međusobno veoma udaljene. Tu se mogu sjediniti politika i kuhinja, svakidašnji predmeti i predmeti naučnih istraživanja, trivijalno i sentimentalnost."

Mnogi umetnici koristili su jezik slika proistekao iz masovne kulture čije su konotacije proširene na oblasti telesnog iskustva i rodnog, etničkog ili geografskog identiteta. Narativna umetnost koristila je varijante jezika kao što su pripovedanje, implikacije i aluzije, i često je bila zasnovana na teatarskim ili asocijativnim iluzijama u kojima je sudelovala publika. Cilj umetnika bio je da skrenu pažnju na kompleksne odnose, i tu je prostor više nego ikada služio kao kontekst a manje kao neutralna pozadina dela.

Za dela koja su bila vezana za doživljaj tela, pojava side u San Francisku, Los Anđelesu i Njujorku predstavljala je odlučujuću prekretnicu. Pojavio se jedan novi aktivistički metod, koji je ne samo uticao na interakciju između umetnosti i politike već je i doveo do toga da se ustanove i jasno naznače pitanja roda. Stvarana su dela koja su se bavila ranjivošću tela i koja su napadala dominantne predrasude. Umetnost je stvarala apokaliptične scenarije fiktivnog nasilja, otuđenja i straha. Jedan drugi narativni trend bavio se tinejdžerskom estetikom i kulturom mladih, preispitujući rituale srednje klase kao što su religija ili porodica i norme društvenog i polnog identiteta. Narativna umetnost često je bila usredsređena na lični i društveni status, stvarni ili izmišljeni. To se dešavalo u vidu razobličavanja društvenih kontradikcija, ženskih pitanja, kritičkog razmatranja hijerarhija civilizovanog tela i rekonstrukcija priča i istorija. Pojam porekla i geografskog identiteta postao je ključno pitanje, naročito za umetnike koji su živeli na marginama belačkih država Zapada, članica NATO pakta. Njihova dela bavila su se marginalizacijom, postkolonijalizmom, migracijama, drugim i tuđim, iskljčivanjem i uključivanjem, oblicima moći, nejednakošću i nepravdom, i problemima multikulturalnih društava.

Kompjuterska umetnost prošla je kroz ključne preobražaje tokom devedesetih godina. Dok je tokom šezdesetih godina glavni cilj bio da se stvore estetske forme na osnovu datih podataka i korišćenjem hardvera, umetnici su se sada okrenuli stvaranju interfejsa (interface, engl. = granična površina, spoj). Stvarani su veštački svetovi (simulacije) koji su zamenjivali stvarnost i omogućavali ulazak u sliku. Peter Vajbel nazvao je ovo postontološkom umetnošću: ''Pojam slike se od prozora preobražava u vrata kroz koja posmatrač može da uđe u svet mnogočulnih oblasti iskustva koje opisuju i konstriušu vremenski i prostorno promenljiv, dinamičan iskustveni prostor.'' Paradigma ''prikazivanja stvarnosti'' zamenjuje se ''proizvodnjom stvarnosti''.9 Stvaranje virutelnih stvarnosti često je praćeno velikim prostornim instalacijama interaktivne prirode ili multimedijalnim umetničkim delima koja koriste kombinatorne tehnologije. Najnoviji trend je internetska umetnost, gde programiranje postaje umetnička praksa i gde su razvijani žanrovi kao što su kibernetički feminizam, Data Body Art (data body, engl. = virtuelno telo, sastavljeno od fajlova vezanih za neku osobu) i tehnički eksperimenti.

Sve ovo sada deluje sasvim uobičajeno, ali kakav je odnos umetnosti prema životu i svekolikoj pometnji današnjice? Tri reči u naslovu naše izložbe, umetnost, život i pometnja, mogu se posmatrati kao trougao koji pokreće veći broj različitih odnosa i pitanja. Ima li umetnost ikakve veze sa životom, a ako ima, kakva je ta veza? Da li je životu potrebna umetnost, da li je umetnosti potreban život? Kakvu pometnju stvara umetnost u životu i obrnuto? Da li umetnost odslikava pometnju koja vlada u životu? Da li je umetnost možda faktor uvođenja reda, i ako je tako, šta ona tačno uređuje?

Ova izložba bavi se tim pitanjima i predstavlja umetnike različitih generacija i nacija čija se dela bave uslovima ljudske egzistencije. Istorijski uzev, predstava počinje ranih šezdesetih godina, koristeći nekoliko egzemplarnih pozicija kako bi pokazala gde su počela nastojanja da se povežu umetnost i život. Taj put vodi do mladih umetnika današnjice čija dela se bave novim temama, a ipak takođe uzimaju u razmatranje i određena pitanja iz prošlosti kako bi ih istraživala pomoću novih i proširenih metoda. Rad na integraciji umetnosti i života još uvek se čini veoma aktuelnim. Valja zapaziti da ključna pokretačka sila ovih proširivanja u domenu umetnosti leži u razaranjima i pometnjama koje podstiču istorijski događaji i promene. Pometnja postaje spona između umetnosti i života. Reč pometnja, konfuzija, vodi poreklo od latinskog oblika cōnfūsus, prošlog participa od cōnfundere, ''mešati, spajati''. Način na koji danas koristimo ovu reč naglašava njene negativne konotacije kao što su mešanja i greške, zbrka i nered, kao i nelagodnost i konsternaciju; ne zapažamo da ''mešanje'' može dovesti do novih ''rešenja''.

Čini se da delo Roja Vare Umetnikova dilema govori upravo to. Jedan čovek u odelu stoji ispred znaka koji pokazuje u dva pravca. Jedna strela pokazuje u pravcu života, a druga u suprotnom pravcu, ka umetnosti. Nema trećeg puta. Ili možda ima?


1 Karin Thomas, Bis Heute: Stilgeschichte der bildenden Kunst im 20. Jahrhundert, Cologne 1986, str. 288.

2 Beuys, citirao Uwe M. Schneede, u Joseph Beuys – Die Aktionen: Kommentiertes Werkverzeichnis mit fotografischen Dokumenten, Ostfildern Ruit 1994, str. 16.

3 Allan Kaprow, “The Legacy of Jackson Pollock,” ArtNews 57 (oktobar 1958).

4 Karin Tomas vidi hepening kao ‘’svojevrsni umetnički kolaž događaja’’. Karin Thomas, Bis Heute, str. 244.

5 Elisabeth Jappe, Performance, Ritual, Prozess: Handbuch der Aktionskunst in Europa, Munich and New York 1993, str. 19.

6 Emmett Williams, My Life in Flux—and Vice Versa, London 1992, str. 41.

7 Karin Thomas, Bis Heute, str. 354.

8 Elisabeth Jappe, Performance, Ritual, Prozess, str. 41.

9 Florian Rötzer, navedeno prema Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (ed.), Der elektronische Raum: 15 Positionen zur Medienkunst, Ostfildern 1998, str. 13.

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Art, Life & Confusion
From Here to the 1960s and Back Again

There is no rewind button on the BETAMAX of life.
Nam June Paik

Technological progress, the collapse of political systems, and the accompanying dissolution of existing value systems, as well as massive social and economic change in the course of globalization, are leading to an ever greater sense of insecurity. Traditional structures are challenged, as confusion mounts over which values and social orders should govern our coexistence. A strong need for orientation and redirection can be observed (along with the resulting desire for utopias). And the quest for perspectives and worldviews can no longer be restricted to within national borders, calling instead for international dialogue.

How are the deep political and social changes of our time reflected in art? How do artists address the growing sense of insecurity caused by these changes? Are utopias still possible? In what form do they feature in art?

When endeavoring to answer these questions, and looking at the history of the art of the second half of the twentieth century, a large number of different developments become apparent, all of which can be subsumed under the idea of the “extended concept of art.” The tense relationship between tradition and avant-garde, as well as the expression of protest in fine art, took on different shapes and forms over the course of the last century. But in the late 1950s and especially in the early 1960s these questions culminated in a plethora of new artistic approaches, which also included radical political, social, and feminist demands. On the one hand, criticism was angled at a visual culture determined by the institutions and a certain (usually male) approach. Beyond that, it was also a matter of rethinking—and rejecting—Modernism’s formalistic ways of seeing, or of negating old and now meaningless forms of expression in culture in general, while exploring a new concept of the image and new forms of reception. The extension of the concept of art was accompanied by an expansion of its range of themes, which now meant not only questioning conditions of production or exhibition and extending aesthetic experience, but also critically assessing social conditions. Key factors included efforts to meld artistic practice and political commitment, experimentation with different ways of life and social norms, and the development of utopias. The aim was to put the pictorial reality of art back in touch with the reality of life.

This led to the development of ever new kinds of art that made any attempt to categorize them in a history of styles or genres obsolete. These new forms initially involved formal innovation in materials, processes, and technologies. Instrumental players here were the French Nouveaux Réalistes around 1960 (and in the USA the New Realism movement), who not only integrated everyday materials into their works of art, but also introduced innovative strategies in the production of art (for example the covering up of buildings, events which involved painting on human bodies, and cutting up canvases). As a consequence a great variety of new materials (both artificial and natural) and also everyday items, found objects, and trash, all found their way into art. This return to the everyday led (as a development moving on from collage) to what became known as assemblage, whereby objects are attached to the medium as they are found and thus become part of a spatial and sculptural material image. A combination of assemblage and painting led to “combine paintings.” In these artworks, the use of quotations from reality and the combination of several objects that in fact have no interconnection in reality opened up a broad range of allusions and associations. Pop Art discovered the world of the entertainment and consumer industries, with mass media and advertising as an independent aesthetic reality, and used “the artistic potential of collage with a bold and often ironic acerbity so as to hold fast an image of the way of life of modern civilization, determined by consumer goods as social fetishes, by banal idols and a trivial need for entertainment.”1 The artists of Arte Povera, on the other hand, worked with hitherto unknown materials such as lead, earth, wood, and coal, so as to make the creative charisma of simple objects all the more visible and to present them as symbols of biological processes that could be an alternative to industrially manufactured consumer goods.

The implementation of new technologies concentrated on work with light, acoustic phenomena, movement (kinetic sculpture), video, and, later, the computer.

The expansion of art also involved taking possession of new spaces. This not only meant abandoning institutional exhibition spaces and entering public spaces (the street, warehouses, empty buildings), but also expanding classical sculptural space. Art objects were related to an already occupied space (environment) and new works were created as a reaction to a preexisting space that often had nothing to do with art, and that was then completely taken over formally (installation).

The discovery of time as a constituting element of art is also closely connected with these new developments. Telling stories, as was the practice in traditional paintings, lost significance and was replaced by investigations of linear and cyclical time, of abstract measurable (physical) time and biographical life-time. In art, these investigations became apparent as traces of what has been, as processes of transformation, and as documented life-times. The medium of film introduced real-time, loops, and rhythmical edited sequences as new material for art. On this subject, Joseph Beuys said: “Within normal, metric time, which is characterized by the time of day or by measurable space, an action takes place that refers to a different sense of time . . .  that is life-time, biographical time, the time of fate, or the time before someone is born or after he has died. . . . Therefore this contains concepts of life and not mechanical time.”2

Experiencing time as a performer or as an audience became a key element of Action Art, which practiced the dissolution of hitherto existent genre definitions, and intended to overcome the borders between art and everyday life by means of innovative forms of performance. Action Art replaced the art object with an artistic action, an approach in the tradition of the Italian Futurists and Dada that was revived in the Happenings of the late 1950s by artists such as John Cage, Allan Kaprow, Wolf Vostell, and the Gutai group in Osaka. The term Happening occurred for the first time in 1958 in Allan Kaprow’s work 18 Happenings in 6 Parts. In an essay entitled “The Legacy of Jackson Pollock,” published in ArtNews, Kaprow wrote in 1958 of the need to “become preoccupied with and even dazzled by the space and objects of our everyday life, either our bodies, clothes, rooms, or if need be, the vastness of 42nd street.”3 Kaprow wanted art to discover totally unknown events, taking place in trashcans, police files, hotel lobbies, and on the street. The Happening is a theatrical event4 lacking a continuous plot, in which the audience is expected to participate, and to actively reflect on and empathize with what it sees—to be directly involved. In these early years, Happenings did not take place on the street but in studios, galleries, and small theaters.

The names of many artists involved with Happenings are also associated with Fluxus, a movement that began in 1962, and whose founders include George Maciunas, Dick Higgins, George Brecht, and Robert Filliou. “A broad distinction between Happening and Fluxus would be as follows. A Happening sets a process in motion, a scenario is evolved, but the course of events is dependent on the audience’s reaction, and the outcome is uncertain. Unlike the rather ‘amorphous’ image of a Happening, a Fluxus action is more clearly defined and remains in the hand of the artist. Here too the members of the audience are involved, but they are expected to passively accept occasional hard forms of attack, or at most leave, but certainly not to take action themselves.”5 George Maciunas wanted “art-amusement” to be “simple, amusing, unpretentious, concerned with insignificances, require no skill or countless rehearsals, have no commodity or institutional value” and to strive for “the monostructural and nontheatrical qualities of simple natural event, a game or a gag.”6 The valuable and unique art object was to be replaced by cheap, everyday, and transitory ersatz, and the entire art market—whose existence is dependent on the limited availability of objects—was to be suspended. Fluxus is close to Happenings, but makes much more use of experimental music and is characterized by an interdisciplinary unity that combines different fields of artistic production.

One artist who came into contact with the Fluxus movement was Joseph Beuys. In contrast to the activities of Fluxus, for which the identity and the persona of the artist were totally insignificant, Beuys declared himself to be part of his work. He saw the artist in action as a “creator of space, creator of time.” For Beuys, an unmistakable aura was of the utmost importance—based on the unity of physical exertion and spiritual concentration. Examples are the Actions How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare (Galerie Schmela, Cologne 1965) and I Like America and America Likes Me (Galerie René Block, New York 1974). The members of the audience here were mere viewers, participating only at the emotional level. Beuys’s ritual actions and his charismatic aura led to his reputation as a shaman. His conceptual aim, however, was to transform the artistic product from an object with exchange value into a series of actions that alone constitute the work. The single action is not an isolated event but one node in a continuous process.

A special form of Action Art came about in Austria. In its early years, Viennese Actionism was restricted to a small number of artists, including Günter Brus, Herrmann Nitsch, and Otto Muehl. Their excessive rituals made use of slaughtered animals or pouring blood over naked women, breaking religious and sexual taboos. This took place on a highly personal and physical level and aimed at reducing aggression and setting free primal creativity.

In the 1970s the body increasingly became the subject of artistic exploration—not least on the basis of feminism and the investigative search for a feminine aesthetic. Action Art was further developed—leading to Performance Art. Performances differed from Happenings in that they distinguished between artist and audience and did not insist on the interpenetration of art and life. Not least, Performance Art also brought reflection on gender identity and a criticism of traditional male culture into the focus of art.

Among the issues considered in Performance Art were the sculptural qualities of the body, its attitudes and poses (free of any psychological meanings), and the extension of the body via constructed objects and apparatuses that are to be worn and aim to trigger off an intensified sense of the body and also to pursue the idea of the body as a mechanical object. Artists used their bodies directly as a medium, declaring themselves to be living artworks. Women artists looked at the question of women’s body language (and the degree to which this might be natural or learned as a result of social conditions) and investigated symbols of femininity. Relationships were explored in pair performances—every conceivable kind of bipolar relationship. The parameters of mental and physical stress were tested (in Body Art through injury and wounds to the artist’s own body that probed the limits of the human ability to suffer), so as to indicate the vulnerability, the limits, and the transitory nature of the human body. Forms of extended body ritual were developed, looking at the conflicts between power and autonomy, control and freedom, consumerism and abstention. Phenomena associated with exclusion, isolation, and decay were investigated, as were the absurd attitudes and behavioral patterns of society.

Conceptual Art in the 1970s also occupied new spaces, as it were: ideal spaces. It discarded the material objectification of ideas in the work of art and replaced concrete materials with meanings. Concepts and idea-based projections aimed to employ texts, photos, instructions for use, and similar genres to stimulate the creative thought processes of the audience. Tony Godfrey sees the characteristics of Conceptual Art in the readymade (an object that negates the unique character of traditional works of art and is taken from a realm outside the world of art and placed within the art context), in intervention (placing objects in unexpected locations), and in documentation and language. Conceptual Art does not mean the ultimate abstraction of the work of art, however, as is commonly assumed. It is more a case of working with questions concerning the information value of the real object, its visual representation, and its formulation in language, or the tension inherent in the relationship between reality and perception, and doing this with reference to the real world. The depiction of complex systems of references and determinants in social, biological, and physical systems ranged from explorations of real time, phenomena of passing time, and functional definitions of place to the consideration of grammatical and linguistic signs and their meanings.

The movements in Individual Mythology and “Spurensicherung” (securing of evidence) are seen as expanding the concept of art into mental spaces in which cultural, historical, and symbolic points of reference come into force. The term Individual Mythology refers to a new experience of the consciousness of individuality, which artists posited as absolute hermetic systems via the representation of their own emotional worlds, their dreams, and utopian projections. “Spurensicherung” works as if it were a form of archeology or ethnology looking at the history of human culture. By collecting and documenting relics of the past, such as photos and objects of everyday use in archives and inventories, the artists reconstructed and subjectively interpreted such matters as their own childhood or the lives and fates of others. Their search for hidden links led to the revelation of social patterns and to the discovery of the self.

The expansion of the concept of art also led to a shift in the image and the role of the artist. The romantic view of the artist as a solitary and autonomous genius was not totally eradicated, but in their quest for innovation artists became more like active researchers, whose works were akin to scientific experiments and dealt with processes in real time, and with biological and physical processes and movements. Artists became directors giving instructions, teachers (who presented their insights in the form of artworks), social workers (who wanted their work to have political effects), provocateurs, philosophers, and much more besides. This also entailed a shift in the patterns of reception employed by the viewer. Alongside contemplation and inward empathy, an active and participatory approach became increasingly important. The works demanded not only spatial movement (such as that required to walk through an installation), but also flexibility in thinking, action, reaction, and participation.

The forms developed in the 1960s and early 1970s opened up a broad range of artistic experiment that was to address the relationship of art and life over the coming years. The 1980s saw a revival of painting (and an intense debate about its potential), with a return to figurative and expressionist work. In terms of content, there was increased interest in national political histories and the critical examination of cultural change. New history painting aimed to “draw on the potential for resistance and conflict of history as it is experienced by people so as to conjure up and question personal memories, aspirations, and current hardships, without falling prey to a new historicism.”7

Postmodernism and Transavantgarde—these were the terms used to describe subjectivist approaches to historical traditions and the eclectic quotation of various styles and forms from cultural and art history. While the Italian artists of Arte Cifra showed their preference for classical and Christian mythologies and the formation of their own visual worlds in highly ciphered and coded signs, American artists developed graffiti art, adapting street art and subculture (and their forms of protest), which were combined with linguistic forms taken from advertising and comics and cartoons. In Germany “Heftige Malerei” (violent painting) developed a style that took recourse to the classical Expressionism of the artists of the Brücke group. The range of themes included landscape painting imbued with a longing for nature, the depiction of urban life, figurative erotic works, an interest in social and political violence, fears and obsessions, loneliness and aggression, and the exposure of social value systems.

Whereas black and white photography had been mainly used as a documentary medium in Conceptual Art and Land Art and was transformed into the medium of a narrative of the self in the Individual Mythologies, in the 1980s photography gained a new focus as a means to investigate reality and social conditions. Photographic practice ranged from carefully framed compositions to snapshots to staged tableaux. Gender roles as cultural constructs and the structures of public life were questioned, along with questions of representation, urbanity, memory, and history.

Sculpture after Minimal Art and Conceptual Art saw a return to the objects and reception strategies of everyday life, and also an interest in architecture and design. The artists employed the forms of expression of modern media and techniques of seduction, irritation, and pathos-laden gesture. Formally confident compositions subjected industrial materials and the discarded objects of everyday life to a poetic metamorphosis, to an assemblage in real (public) spaces, and also shifted the borders between “high” and “low” (between high art and mass culture), offering a radical reformulation of the question as to where art ends and life begins.

In the 1980s, Performance Art was extended to encompass new social and geographical contexts, new contents and aims, so that the concept of “expanded performance” was introduced. Previous extreme fixation on the artist’s own body was replaced by a new turn to the outside world. “An opening up to the outside takes place on every level: as a search for new contexts and as an interest in new contents. In this period, sound gains special importance—sound in all its ‘natural’ and ‘civilized’ aspects, and also space (in the architectonic sense, and also as ‘living space’), both verbal and nonverbal relations with other people, and a new critical approach to material—both to the traditional and natural and the new technical and electronic materials. There is also a new attitude to the media. In general this period is characterized by a stronger need for communication and a new ecological awareness.”8 In addition to video, which was used both as an artistic medium and a means of representation, this period also saw experiments with telecommunications technologies, radio, and television. Everyday media such as the newspaper, telephone, and photocopy were also used. The reevaluation of the significance of space led to artists increasingly combining their performance work with installations.

In the 1990s the plurality of forms and methods continued apace, but there was also a certain return to narrative, which referred to various ways of life. Multimedia installations became a preferred form of representation. On the potential of installation, Ilya Kabakov noted: “By its nature it can connect everything with everything else, all at one level without any hierarchies. It can especially connect phenomena and ideas that are usually far apart from each other. Here politics and the kitchen, everyday objects and scientific objects, trash and sentimentality can all be united.”

Many artists used a pictorial language derived from mass culture that extended its connotations to the realms of bodily experience and gender-specific, ethnic, or geographical identity. Narrative Art used variants of language such as story-telling, implications, and allusions, and was often based on theater-like or associative illusions in which the audience took part. The artists aimed to draw attention to complex relations, whereby space served more than ever as a context and less as a neutral background to the work.

For work with the experience of the body, the advent of AIDS in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York represented a decisive turning point. A new activist mood came about, which not only affected interaction between art and politics but also led to the identification and naming of gender issues. Works were produced that examined the vulnerability of the body and attacked prevailing prejudices. Art drew up apocalyptic scenarios of fictional violence, alienation, and fear. Another narrative trend addressed teenager aesthetics and youth culture, questioning middle-class rituals such as religion or the family and the norms of social and sexual identity. Narrative Art frequently concentrated on personal and social status, real or invented. This took the form of the exposure of social contradiction, of women’s issues, a critical look at the hierarchies of the civilized body, and the reconstruction of stories and histories. The notion of the origin and geographical identity became a key issue, particularly for artists living on the margins of the white Western NATO states. Their works considered marginalization, postcolonialism, migration, the other and the foreign, exclusion and inclusion, forms of power, inequality and injustice, and the problems of multicultural societies.

Computer art underwent key developments in the 1990s. Whereas in the 1960s the main aim had been to produce aesthetic forms on the basis of given data and the use of the hardware, artists now turned to designing the interface. Artificial worlds were made (simulations) that replaced reality and made it possible to enter into the image. Peter Weibel called this postontological art: “The notion of the image is transformed from being a window to being a door, through which the viewer can move within a world of multisensory fields of experience that describe and construct a temporally and spatially alterable, dynamic experiential space.” The paradigm of the “depiction of reality” is replaced by the “production of reality.”9 The creation of virtual realities is often accompanied by large spatial installations of an interactive nature or by multimedia artworks that use combinatory technologies. The newest development is Internet Art, where programming becomes an artistic practice and where genres such as Cyberfeminism, Data Body Art, and technical experiments have been developed.

All of this now seems perfectly matter of course, but what is art’s relationship to life and to all of today’s confusion? The three words in our exhibition title, art, life & confusion can be seen as a triangle that produces a number of different relationships and questions. Does art have anything to do with life, and, if so, what? Does life need art, does art need life? What confusion does art produce in life and vice versa? Does art mirror the confusions that prevail in life? Is art perhaps an ordering factor, and, if so, what exactly does it order?

This exhibition addresses these questions and presents artists of different generations and nationalities whose works look at the conditions of human existence. Historically, the show begins in the early 1960s, using several exemplary positions to show where efforts to link art and life began. The path leads to today’s young artists, whose works consider new themes and yet also take up certain questions of the past so as to explore them by means of new and expanded methods. Work on the integration of art and life still seems to be highly topical.
It should be noted that one key driving force behind expansions in art lies in the devastations and confusions that historical events and changes trigger. Confusion becomes the link between art and life. The word confusion derives from the Latin cōnfūsus, the past participle of cōnfundere, “to mix, to mingle.” Our usage of the word today emphasizes the negative connotations like mix-ups and mistakes, mess-ups and muddles, and also awkwardness and consternation, and we fail to notice that “mixing” can lead to new “solutions.”

Roi Vaara’s work Artist’s Dilemma seems to be saying exactly this. A man in a suit is standing in front of a sign pointing in two directions. One arrow is pointing to life and the other arrow in the opposite direction to art. There is no other way. Or is there?

English: Greg Bond


1 Karin Thomas, Bis Heute: Stilgeschichte der bildenden Kunst im 20. Jahrhundert, Cologne 1986, p. 288.

2 Beuys cited by Uwe M. Schneede, in Joseph Beuys – Die Aktionen: Kommentiertes Werkverzeichnis mit fotografischen Dokumenten, Ostfildern Ruit 1994, p. 16.

3 Allan Kaprow, “The Legacy of Jackson Pollock,” ArtNews 57 (October 1958).

4 Karin Thomas sees a Happening as “a kind of art collage of events.” Karin Thomas, Bis Heute, p. 244.

5 Elisabeth Jappe, Performance, Ritual, Prozess: Handbuch der Aktionskunst in Europa, Munich and New York 1993, p. 19.

6 Emmett Williams, My Life in Flux—and Vice Versa, London 1992, p. 41.

7 Karin Thomas, Bis Heute, p. 354.

8 Elisabeth Jappe, Performance, Ritual, Prozess, p. 41.

9 Florian Rötzer, cited from Kunst- und Ausstellungshalle der Bundesrepublik Deutschland (ed.), Der elektronische Raum: 15 Positionen zur Medienkunst, Ostfildern 1998, p. 13.

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Umetnost na raskršću

Odakle dolazimo, kuda idemo?
Oktobarski salon kao institucija je tokom svoje istorije, duge četrdeset šest godina, ustanovio parametre za reprezentativno predstavljanje aktuelnih umetničkih strujanja na našim prostorima. Granice su se u poslednje tri godine pomerile, i na izložbama Salona se predstavljaju radovi umetnika iz celog sveta. Uspostavljanje dijaloga između domaćih i stranih autora je za izolovanu sredinu, kakva je bila naša tokom poslednje decenije prošlog veka, neophodno za objektivno sagledavanje i ocenjivanje umetničkih ideja, pojava i tokova koji su univerzalni za savremeni svet. Nivo predstavljanja umetničkih dostignuća se pretvorio u nivo dokazivanja individualnih stremljenja, i njihovo kreativno sagledavanje. Strukturalne, karakterne i organizacione promene koje se uočavaju detaljnijim proučavanjem istorije Salona, stišale su se pretvaranjem izložbe od lokalne u međunarodnu. Oktobarski salon je prestao da bude manifestacija-smotra, i postao je autorska izložba na kojoj se izlažu reprezentativna dela umetnika koji obeležavaju osu savremene umetničke produkcije, i predstavljaju verne pokazatelje tendencija u oblasti savremenih vizuelnih umetnosti.

Izložba 47. Oktobarskog salona, naslovljena Umetnost, život i pometnja, predstavlja radove umetnika iz celog sveta. Geografske, etničke, starosne/vremenske granice umetnika i njihovih dela nestale su pred raznovrsnim poetikama i likovnim disciplinama, i uspostavile dijalošku igru koja počinje od početka sedamdesetih godina prošlog veka, i nastavlja se do današnjih dana. Cilj osmišljavanja izložbi kao što je ova pred vama jeste da se predstave reprezentativna dela savremenog umetničkog stvaralaštva, svojevrsni hommage autoru i njegovoj ideji. Konceptualni okvir odabranih radova inspirisan je istorijsko umetničkom činjenicom koja svoje izvore ima u pravcu označenom kao konceptualna umetnost, koji je aktivno trajao tokom sedamdesetih godina prošlog veka, i koji se reflektuje na stvaralaštvo umetnika mlađe generacije, one koja je u kulminirajućoj fazi svog kreativnog zamaha, i one koja stasava u godinama u kojima živimo. Umetnici iz Srbije, Finske, Nemačke, Danske, Turske, SAD, Koreje, ... upisali su se u mapu međunarodnih kretanja, intelektualnih migracija koje se hrane prošlošću, sećanjem, identifikacijom ličnog i javnog konteksta, kao nezaobilaznim kategorijama u definisanju umetničkog stvaranja i delovanja. Umetnička akcija u svom iskazu podrazumeva aktuelnost, preciznost, direktnost, preglednost, sveobuhvatnost. Nadamo se da je ova izložba ispunila ove uslove kako bi ostala zapamćena kao autorski pečat određenog vremena u kome umetnost ne zastareva.

Umetnost, život i pometnja
Umetnost u savremenom društvu, onom u kome postojimo kao aktivni i aktuelni činioci, podrazumeva inventivnost, umešnost, domišljatost, produktivnost, iskustvo... Tematska opredeljenost umetnika varira od socio-političke problematike svakodnevnog života, preko nacionalne identifikacije, do određivanja kulturoloških okvira. Relevantna pitanja na koja umetnici pokušavaju da odgovore u svojim radovima, od klasično tretirane slike, crteža, ili grafike, preko instalacija (video, ili prostornih), do savršeno realizovane fotografije i digitalne slike-printa, inspirisana su istorijskim izvorima kao paralelnim tokovima između fikcije i stvarnosti. Tematska konstanta u radovima savremenih umetnika jeste sećanje i pamćenje, kao nematerijalni izvori koji konstruišu prostor čovekovog/umetnikovog iskustva. Svojevrsni nomadizam u procesu percepcije okoline, mutacije koje oslikavaju prostor i vreme kroz koje čovek/umetnik prolazi, iniciraju njegov odnos prema svetu u nivou granične površine između realnog i irealnog.

Pri rešavanju simbolike svakodnevnog života umetnost preovladava nad mozaičkom slagalicom koju kreira čovek kao manuelni operater i koordinator mentalnih procesa koji se odvijaju na ravni socio-političkih, kulturoloških, nacionalnih/etničkih i drugih promena koje karakterišu savremeni svet. Krajnje uopšteno posmatranje i definisanje pomenutih promena jeste prisutno u onoj meri u kojoj one postepeno gube svoj inicijalni smisao, koji se ogleda u uočavanju i prepoznavanju transformativnih procesa kao jedinih, svevažećih i konačnih postupaka za koje savremeni čovek može da se opredeli.

Interpretacijom celokupnog kompleksa stvarnosti umetnik se suočava sa raznovrsnim nivoima njenog dešifrovanja i tumačenja. Čime smo, kao posmatrači toka svakodnevnog života, inspirisani, zadivljeni ili opterećeni? Pre svega, upotrebljenim i odbačenim predmetima koji se novim prostornim definisanjem identifikuju kao instrumenti mere čovekovog/umetnikovog napora da dešifruje stvaran svet oko sebe (D. Papić). Zatim, reklamom, kao najrasprostranjenijim sredstvom masovne komunikacije, koja je umetničkim jezikom preoblikovana u autentičan iskaz (S. Arsić). Nezaobilazna nova "tehnološka dostignuća" nas opominju i upozoravaju da će brzina pogleda posmatrača promeniti dimenziju njegove percepcije (N. i M. Stanković). Istovremeno, odluke o izboru budućnosti, sudbini i/ili nečem uzvišenijem, davanjem glasa za, ili protiv, kroz umetničko delo (V. Klačar), kao meditativni iskaz o društveno-političkim kretanjima u savremenim okvirima, obrađene su elektronskim pomagalima zastrašujuće umrežene strukture.

Prolazak kroz imaginarne predele (A. Adamović) omogućava posmatraču da se oseća nesigurnim u ono što vidi pred sobom. (Ne)sagledivost lutanja, tumaranja, pronalaženja smisla u ovakvim potragama je beskrajna, a pokušaj sagledavanja je ponekad i uzaludan. Objašnjavanje koji su razlozi zbog kojih su nastale slike koje prikazuju napuštene stvarne predele, ili, kojim povodom su prostori naše mašte postali zatvoreni, ograničeni i pusti, jeste jedan od razloga postojanja izložbe Umetnost, život i pometnja.

Zašto slikovni/predstavni simboli koje umetnik stvara u svojim delima izazivaju nedoumicu kod posmatrača (Milan Nešić), kada te "površine sa značenjem" kako ih označava Vilem Fluser, mnogo više govore o imaginarnom, nego o doživljenom iskustvu? Umetnička dela doživljavamo kao paravane između sveta i ljudi, kao slagalice (A. Dimitrijević) koje umetnik smišlja da bi objasnio svrsishodnost svog postojanja. Višeznačni nivoi njegove (umetnikove) kreativne svesti ispoljavaju se kao promišljeni modeli lavirinta društvenih igara. Sa druge strane, starovremska sintagma panta rei novim tumačenjem (J. Čekić) ohrabruje pojedinca u osvajanju misaonog prostora, i reflektuje se na njegovo tumačenje istorijskih datosti. Reinterpretacija utvrđenih informativnih tokova iziskuje i novo razumevanje a priori prihvaćenih kodeksa tumačenja umetničkih akcija (Klub ljubitelja umetnosti).

Urbana pastorala zabeležena u srušenim i napuštenim skladištima (R. Vujaklija), derutna stanja arhitektonskih spomenika skorije prošlosti, isprepletana sa elementima sadašnjosti, objekti prepoznatljive forme i skrivenog sadržaja (M. Tomić) koji su primereni kritičnim zonama u savremenom svetu, ogleda se u introspektivnom proučavanju, ispitivanju i sagledavanju drugog i drugačijeg (Talent Factory). Sa druge strane, izmeštanje opšteprihvaćenih, tradicionalnih, ustanovljenih, poznatih spomenika daleke prošlosti koji u nama izazivaju uznemirujuća sećanja (Radoš Antonijević) biva neophodna karika u tumačenju sopstvenog bića i njegovih težnji, nadanja, slutnji i strahova.

Simulacija memorisane slike u sistemu transfera ideja opominje i obeshrabruje svojom istinitošću (V. Nedeljković). Podstiče nas, takođe, da se zapitamo da li je tehnička slika, digitalni print, još jedan proizvod misaone tehnologije, ili je samo puki odraz realnog ponašanja? Kao paralelni tok pojavljuje se, sa jedne strane, fotografska slika koja svojim realnim prikazom zbunjuje (A. Martinović), jer ne odgovara novoustanovljenom fotouniverzumu, dok se, istovremeno, u drugom opažajnom polju, odigrava klasičan preplet planova i tehničkih disciplina (V. Večanski), koje su u funkciji umetničke kreacije. Rekonstrukcija mesta, ili događaja, kao primer iskustvenog procesa kroz koji umetnik prolazi u kontinuitetu svog postojanja (Z. Naskovski) materijalizuje njegovu želju za očuvanjem zatečenog stanja u pohodu na čestice memorisanja njegovog iskustva.

Materijalna konfiguracija novih predstava crpi inspiraciju iz tradicionalne simbolike (R. Todosijević), uz upozoravajuće akcentovanje konceptualne dimenzije savremenog okruženja. Osmatranje, osluškivanje i beleženje viđenog (T. Nešović) pomaže u dekodiranju slika i njihovog značenja. Kadrovi koji se ređaju u savršeno postavljenom frizu (N. Kokić) simuliraju netaknut pogled zaustavljen u procesu zumiranja i izdvajanja nečeg bitnog. Odgovor na pitanje šta je to bitno pronalazi se u delima koja umetnici stvaraju radi bolje orijentacije u svetu oko sebe (M. Milunović).

Svet u kome živimo, koji nas okružuje, čiji smo deo, sastavljen je od raznovrsnih procesa, a jedan od njih je i umetnost. Ukrštanje ovih procesa najčešće izaziva pometnju, ili zbrku. Ponekad, to dodirivanje i spajanje jeste sagledivo i opipljivo, nekad samo na nivou čulnog doživljaja, ili skoro imaginarno. Čovekova otuđenost od života se često ispoljava(la) kao njegov beg u nestvarno, u svet mašte, magije, u umetnost. Umetnikovo približavanje životu doživljava se kao farsično ponašanje u vrtlogu nedoumica, tamo gde prestaje granica između željenog/fiktivnog i doživljenog/realnog.

Aleksandra Estela Bjelica Mladenović

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Art at a Crossroads

Where do we come from, where are we going to?
In the course of its history of forty-six years, the October Salon institution has established parameters for a representative presentation of current art trends in these parts. The boundaries have shifted, so that the works of artists all over the world have been presented in the course of the Salon exhibitions over the past three years. For an isolated environment such as ours was during the final decade of the previous century, the establishment of a dialogue between domestic and foreign authors is necessary in order to review and evaluate in an objective manner the artistic ideas, phenomena and trends that are universal for the contemporary world. The level of the presentation of artistic achievements has turned into the level of proving individual aspirations and reviewing them creatively. The changes pertaining to the structure, character and organisation of the Salon that can be perceived through a detailed examination of its history have quietened down since the exhibition was turned from a local into an international one. The October Salon stopped being a review-type event and became an authorial exhibition featuring representative works of artists who make up the axis of contemporary art production and represent true indicators of trends in the sphere of contemporary visual arts.

The exhibition entitled Art, Life & Confusion, held within the framework of the 47th October Salon, presents the works of artists from all over the world. The geographical, ethnic, age/temporal boundaries between artists and their works have retreated before the diverse poetics and fine arts disciplines, establishing a dialogic game that started in the early 1970's and has been going on until the present day. The purpose of devising an exhibition of the kind that is now before you is to present representative works of contemporary art, a kind of homage to the author and his idea. The conceptual framework of the works selected has been inspired by the historical-artistic fact originating from the movement designated as conceptual art, actively present on the scene in the 1970's and reflected on the work of artists belonging to a younger generation, the one which is in the culminating phase of its creative momentum and the one which is coming of age in the current period. Artists from Serbia, Finland, Germany, Denmark, Turkey, the USA, Korea... have inscribed their work on the map of international developments, intellectual migrations that feed on the past, on memory, on identifying the personal context with the public, these being the essential categories when it comes to defining artistic creation and activities. In its expression, artistic action presupposes topicality, precision, directness, clarity, all-inclusiveness. We hope that this exhibition has fulfilled the above requirements, so that it will be remembered as the authorial imprint of a particular period wherein art does not become obsolete.

 

Art, life and confusion
Art in contemporary society, where we exist as active and current factors, presupposes inventiveness, skill, resourcefulness, productivity, experience. The thematic orientation of artists ranges from the socio-political problems of everyday life, through national identification, to the determination of the culturological framework. The relevant questions that artists try to answer in their works, ranging from classically treated paintings, drawings or graphics, through installations (video or ambiental), to perfectly realised photographs and digital-print pictures, are inspired by historical sources as parallel flows between fiction and reality. The thematic constant in the works of contemporary artists are remembrance and memory as intangible sources constituting the sphere of man's/artist's experience. A nomadism of sorts in the process of perceiving the environment, mutations reflecting the space and the time man/artist is going through, initiate his attitude towards the world on the level of the interface between the real and the unreal.   

Dealing with the symbolism of everyday life, art prevails over the mosaic-like puzzle created by man as the manual operator and coordinator of mental processes unfolding on the level of socio-political, culturological, national/ethnic and other changes characterising the contemporary world. The above-mentioned changes are observed and defined in such a general manner that they lose their initial meaning, which is reflected in perceiving and recognising the transformational processes as the only, universally applicable and final actions that a man can opt for.

Interpreting the overall reality complex, the artist is faced with various levels of deciphering and interpreting it. What is it that inspires, amazes or burdens us as watchers of the unfolding of everyday life? First of all, used and rejected objects that are identified, through a new spatial definition, as instruments measuring man's/artist's endeavour to decipher the real world around him (D. Papić). Then advertising, as the most widespread means of mass communication, which gets transformed into an authentic statement by means of the language of art (S. Arsić). The unavoidable new “technological achievements” caution and warn us that the speed of the viewer’s look will change the dimension of his perception (N. and M. Stanković). At the same time, the decisions about choosing one’s future, fate and/or something more sublime by casting one’s vote for or against through a work of art (V. Klačar) as a meditative statement about contemporary socio-political trends are processed by means of electronic devices forming a frightening network structure.

Going through imaginary landscapes (A. Adamović) enables the viewer to feel uncertain about what he sees in front of himself. The (im)measurability of roaming, wandering, finding sense in these searches is infinite, and attempting an overview is sometimes futile as well. To explain the reasons why images showing deserted real landscapes have been created, or why the areas of our imagination have become closed, limited and empty is one of the reasons for the existence of the exhibition Life, Art & Confusion.

Why do pictural/representational symbols that an artist creates in his works leave the viewer perplexed (Milan Nešić), when those “surfaces with a meaning”, as Vilém Flusser designates them, speak much more of imaginary than of real experiences? Works of art are experienced as partitions between the world and people, as puzzles(A. Dimitrijević) thought up by the artist to explain the purposefulness of his existence. The multi-semantic levels of the artist’s creative consciousness are manifested as elaborately thought-out models of the labyrinth of parlour games. On the other hand, the ancient syntagma panta rei, owing to a new interpretation (J. Čekić), encourages one to conquer the mental space of the individual and is reflected on his interpretation of the historical givens. A reinterpretation of the established information flows entails a new understanding of the a prioriaccepted codes of interpreting artistic actions (Art Fun Club).

The urban pastoral recorded in ruined and abandoned warehouses (R. Vujaklija), the dereliction of architectural monuments of the recent past intermingled with elements of the present, objects with a recognisable form and a hidden content (Milica Tomić) that are appropriate to the critical zones of the contemporary world, are reflected in an introspective study, examination and review of the other and different (Talent Factory). On the other hand, the shifting of universally accepted, traditional, established, well-known monuments of the distant past that bring us unpleasant memories (Radoš Antonijević) turns out to be the necessary link in the interpretation of one’s own being and its aspirations, hopes, forebodings and fears.

The simulation of a memorised image in the system of transfer of ideas cautions and discourages one by its truthfulness (V. Nedeljković). Also, it makes us wonder whether a technical picture such as a digital print is yet another product of mental technology or a mere reflection of real behaviour? As a parallel development, there is, on the one hand, a photographic image which confuses by its realistic presentation of things (A. Martinović), for it does not conform to the newly-established photouniverse, while at the same time, in another field of vision, there occurs a classical intermingling of perspectives and technical disciplines (V. Večanski) for the purpose of artistic creation. A reconstruction of a place or event as an example of the experiential process that an artist undergoes in the continuity of his existence (Z. Naskovski) materialises his desire to preserve the situation encountered in the course of advancing towards the memory particles of his experience.

 The material configuration of new notions finds its inspiration in traditional symbolism (R. Todosijević), placing a cautionary emphasis on the conceptual dimension of the contemporary environment. Examining, listening to and recording the perceived (T. Nešović) helps when it comes to decoding pictures and their meaning. The succession of frames in a perfectly set frieze (N. Kokić) simulate a pure look arrested in the process of zooming and singling out something important. The answer to the question of what is essential is found in works that artists create for the purpose of better orientation in the world around them (M. Milunović).

The world we live in, which surrounds us, which we are part of, is made up of various processes, among them art. The intersecting of these processes most often causes confusion or chaos. Sometimes their mutual touching and joining is visible and tangible, sometimes only on the level sensory experience or almost imaginary. Man’s alienation from life has often manifested itself as his escape into the unreal, into the world of imagination, magic, into art. An artist’s approach to life is perceived as farcical behaviour in a whirlpool of doubts where the boundary between the wished for/fictitious and the experienced/real disappears.    

Aleksandra Estela Bjelica Mladenović
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