Thursday, July 30, 2009

Ghost Town Revery




This time I have tried to dig something out of my personal history to use for the work. This has been case in some of my previous works, but it seems that I have been digging thru lives of some of my heros for some time now, I have forgotten what it feels to have my life as a subject matter. As it happened recently some of the most turbulent times I've had so far occurred. I ended and restarted the relationship, and this particular work while being made, happened to catch the most of it. Like in that Sam Cooke song, a change colored my life - making my daily routines & habits vanish in thin air. This fact was coincidental and had nothing to do with motivation for producing this particular painting, but these collateral events have proved to play a significant role in it's making. But I will return to that.
Initially I started the thing in order to deal with this strange feeling I've had all my life, but never quite knew what to make of it. Ever since I was 12 or so, I've moved quite a lot. Along the way I changed several addresses and I never felt connected to any place in terms of belonging. This should be more than enough of my personal history for anyone to be bothered with, but this past-digging was the reason I started this work. It felt so puzzling having most of grave importance events - like all of those first kisses and sex, all those adolescent brake-ups, first sounds of songs & music that would influence the course of my life to come... all the late night drawings in those deceased rooms that shaped my entire life from scratch - set in places that not even now or then have I ever considered a home. All of this might sound irrelevant or small, I don't know, but the fact is I always regarded all of these interiors as some places of transition..some rooms, never a home. That was the trigger for this work. I kinda hoped to deal with this dual feeling while working it thru. And as I started the work I bumped into a wall. I wasn't satisfied with the way painting was evolving. Suddenly the hole premise started to look bleak to me, feeling there should be more to whole thing than what appeared to me at that point like just some former homes eulogy. Sometimes working practice can give you really a hard time.. this has to a lot to do with a process of making. You simply can't know where a work will take you unless you take that path of finding out, and of course it may not always be rewarding. But as I mentioned above, something changed all of it and left me with the feeling of mere bystander in making of this work, as if my life was just an instrument held in the hands of a mad surgeon. In the middle of struggle with this work, relationship i was in started to fall apart leaving me with another dead home. The work preceded these events and appeared as an eerie messenger for things to come. The framework for this thinking was found in the certain part of lecture held by Nick Cave on the subject of love song that made a huge impact on my early teens when I first heard it. He tells a tale of how certain works can be tricky and difficult to produce and can't be made solely on the terms of the author. The song he mentions is called Far From Me, and in order to fully reveal this sudden & unintended issue occurring (or so I feel) in Ghost Town Revery as well , I'll quote the entire passage of the lecture.
'' Far From Me took four months to write, which was the duration of the relationship it describes. The first verse was written in the first week of the affair and is full of all the heroic drama of new love as it describes the totality of feeling whilst acknowledging the potential for pain – for you I'm dying now. It sets the two lovers it describes against an uncaring world – a world that fucks everybody over – and brings in the notion of the physical distance suggested in the title. Strangely, though, the song, as if awaiting the "traumatic experience" that I spoke of earlier to happen, would not allow itself to be completed until the catastrophe had occurred. Some songs are tricky like that and it is wise to keep your wits about you when dealing with them. I find quite often that the songs I write seem to know more about what is going on in my life than I do. I have pages and pages of fourth verses for this song written while the relationship was still sailing happily along. One such verse went:
''The Camellia, The Magnolia
Have such a pretty flower
And the bells of St. Mary's
Inform us of the hour''
Pretty words, innocent words, unaware that any day the bottom would drop out of the whole thing. Love songs that attach themselves to actual experience, that are a poeticising of real events have a peculiar beauty unto themselves. They stay alive in the same way that memories do and being alive, they grow up and undergo changes and develop. A love song such as Far From Me has found a personality beyond the one that I originally gave it with the power to influence my own feelings around the actual event itself. This is an extraordinary thing and one of the truly wondrous benefits of song writing. The songs that I have written that deal with past relationships have become the relationships themselves. Through these songs I have been able to mythologize the ordinary events of my life, lifting them from the temporal plane and hurling them way into the stars. The relationship described in Far From Me has been and gone but the song itself lives on, keeping a pulse running through my past. Such is the singular beauty of song-writing.'' *

* Taken from: Nick Cave "The Secret Life of the Love Song" King Mob KMOB 7 1999 (65:23)

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Interview regarding -Live to Tell-*, conducted for -Finalists-; group show presenting recent acquisitions by Filip Trade collection

* Live to Tell is the work initially shown as the part of Anatomies of Caution exhibition. To see the images & more info on presented works, follow the links.


1. The painting Live to Tell is the most recent work from the exhibition Anatomies of Caution (March 2009, HDLU Croatian Association of Artists, Zagreb). How did this painting originate?

The painting was made for the exhibition and as part of the series. It is the last work from that series and the last one painted prior to the opening. But like all my works, it has a story of its own. It is a sequel to the previous work called The Last Minute. My main preoccupation in Live to Tell was to further develop the narration.

2. How often do you link paintings by using narrative?

This is the first and so far only work in which I have done this. There is no indication that I will be using this in the future. The infatuation which was greatly inspired by the specific film genre mentioned in my text about the painting, as well as by the entire theme which is quite close to me, generated the primary motivation for the decision about making a sequel. I wanted to see whether it was possible to achieve a similar effect in a static medium such as this one. In terms of genre, it would be an “adventure” and, from a wider perspective, human resourcefulness in certain situations. It was a question of how to transfer the protagonists from one work to another.

3. It is interesting that you say you wanted to continue the idea of the adventure of those protagonists even though they are not depicted?

I wanted to continue the idea in terms of narration, not as a scriptwriter with the power of guiding the development of the plot by following the principles of the sequence of events, but in terms of the complexity of the depicted scene which with its four corners does things which are at the same time ambiguous and ambivalent.

4. Why did you choose cataclysm as the central theme of your paintings?

I find it interesting that despite threats and fear, the leitmotifs of our age, we often live under the impression that our existence is somehow protected and that the threat and danger are “elsewhere”. But even a single incident, like the recent flu epidemic, can cause colossal panic, which clearly shows how vulnerable and unprotected we really are. The safety we feel is based on a fragile foundation. I believe that this glass bubble often takes us through the whole of life without ever questioning some basic facts we encounter on a daily basis.

Hypothetically, only in the depicted situation do we revaluate this kind of knowledge. It is quite sad that the best solution I could come up with was like something out of a cartoon, pulling a string to tip over a box shutting in the mouse trying to get a piece of cheese.

Leaving out only one link, one element from our everyday life, leads to complete chaos. This was the logic by which I chose the motifs in the painting. For example, the comic element in the front plane: this object should suggest aluminium foil with the purpose of collecting sunlight and charging the cell-phone lying in front of it. This, of course, is a naive idea. To the same extent it is also ironic, because the need for a cell-phone in the given context of lost, stranded people is actually absurd.

5. Do you wish to point to a certain problem with this, to pose the question: “What if this happens, would the situation really look like this?”

Of course, the work was created in order to set forth my observations, however ridiculous they might be. A number of times I have found myself having a conversation with someone about similar issues. But that is not enough. Only through the approach of systematic thinking and the attempt to transform the given problem into a visual medium – in my case, paintings – do I manage to define my outlook and, hopefully, draw attention to it.

6. The details in your paintings are worked out with great precision. Why do you depict motifs in such detail?

I needed a scene that evokes present reality. The reason why I painted the American postal service label on one of the boxes in Live to Tell is not because I see America as the best representative for some global situation, but because of a certain coincidence. I had received a package from e-Bay and the box with that very label ended up in my studio. The reference is actually quite clear and this type of specific labelling suggests a whole array of shipping companies such as Fed-Ex, DHL, etc., which are in fact part of the Western culture.

In order to achieve that, I had to adopt a more descriptive mode of explaining, which required a more emphasised and precise way of illustrating.

7. It is interesting that you use the visual identity of the same brands you own and use in your life.

Well, yes. This is quite an important fact. The production of an image, in my case, is quite a long process which requires a concentrated realization of various elements. It is quite difficult to preserve motivation or connection towards a certain motif if I don’t have an affirmative aesthetic attitude towards it. Therefore, the objects, just like the people who are present in my works, have to be emotionally important to me. Regardless of the fact that I may not know them, those are the people who I think about intensively and frequently. While I was working on the figure of Kittinger, that person was David Herman Dune.

8. Could you explain the title of the work Live to Tell? Is the role of the titles to provide an additional component or guidance for possible interpretation?

That is a phrase from the English language containing an association good enough for the context of the work. The title becomes evident from the text written for the work, which I originally write in English. And that is the reason why some of my works don’t have Croatian translations, because of the subtle changes in meaning.

9. All of your paintings and texts can be found on your blog weakersoldier.blogspot.com. What is its purpose?

I use the blog primarily as a means of communication. I use it to make my work more accessible to a greater number of people than would be possible in some other way. I also need it in order to avoid mistaken interpretations of the context of works. This is the part over which I try to have control by providing the primary information myself.

Its secondary purpose is to record my art practice chronologically, thus serving as my personal archive.

The web address weaker soldier is also the name of a song by Bonnie “Prince” Billy. However, that is just the web address; the real name of the blog carries my name. That is a minor detail that shouldn’t grab people’s attention.

10.At the exhibition the texts were shown next to the paintings. In this way you form a complete whole. Do you consider text as a constitutive part of your work?

It certainly is a part of my work. If I, for example, took the position of a silent creator who only “serves” his works for others to see and completely analyse, there is no way that anyone could conclude that, for example, Live to Tell is actually a sequel to the story in The Last Minute. I think that it is vital to provide the context in which the works are being made, at least in my case.

My big obsession, and what was important for the exhibition, was my need to take control over the final product as much as possible and in this sense I didn’t want to leave any space for any “wrong” interpretations. I saw the interview as a pretty good way to present my ideas clearly and to define my position as precisely as possible before the works were presented to the public.

But even more than my fear of criticism is my fear of wrong interpretation. This is just one of the positions, but it’s mine, the position of the author. I believe that the author/artist is the one who primarily has the responsibility towards the presentation of their work. The role of the text which accompanied the paintings was to carry that message.

11. How many works do you produce during a span of a year and what is the reason for this?

I paint a maximum of six to seven paintings a year. On average, it takes two to three months for each painting. A great deal of time goes into research on the given topic. When all required elements are ready and when my main premise is defined, I then start dealing with the visual template. This is often quite time-consuming because the research of the visual aspect of the work comes down to browsing stacks of photo libraries in search of satisfying examples which in the end serve as an archive of the elements comprising the image. Only then does the technical process of the creation of a painting follow. The process as such is long and systematic; it requires consistent work and concentration.

12.Which art collections have acquired your works so far? How do you feel about being a part of an art collection?

So far my works can be found in three collections: the Essl Collection, the Museum of Young Art in Vienna and the Filip Trade Collection. Being part of a collection is an affirmation of my artistic position. And this is a great thing so far.

There is also the question of promotion of the works, but this belongs to the sphere of curatorial practices and strategies of different museums and collections. It is a very broad question and I don’t think I’m the right person to discuss it. Basically, I think that it should be in everyone’s interest, as often as possible, to present all the works in the collections in different contexts and in as many locations as possible.


Interview conducted by Mihaela Richter. Translated from Croatian by Sanja Horvatinčić

Thursday, June 18, 2009

New work preview - Ghost Town Revery





This is the work I'm currently on. I'll write what's it about in next couple of days.

Friday, March 20, 2009

-Anatomies of Caution- HDLU, Zagreb








Friday, March 6, 2009

Mounting -Anatomies of Caution-









Monday, February 23, 2009

-Anatomies of Caution- interview regarding upcoming exhibition

This exhibition displays a set of your paintings made in the last year and a half.  How did you come up with its name - the Anatomies of Caution?
While thinking about a broad link connecting all the subjects I have dealt with, I realized that it all boils down to alerts directed towards somebody, especially me. The starting point was to position myself in the system within which I operate; from my expectations to the nature of the work. I realized this system was one of the rare places where it was possible to control a final product or a work from the beginning till the end. I am an absolute self-reliant creator, a position which requires some kind of a strategy. So I started to realize how much I maneuver and calculate each aspect of life, from the emotional to the professional one, and even trying to control the imagination. The flow of my decisions and wishes is subject to thorough analyzing and development which is nothing but a kind of precaution. On the other hand, while analyzing the paintings in this series I realized that my starting point is always the fact that something valuable is endangered. All the paintings have a moment of catastrophe in them or a possibility of a complete collapse that hangs like the sword of Democles over the protagonists’ heads. Coincidentally, at the time I was reading Some Anatomies of Melancholy by Robert Burton and it seemed to me that term anatomy could be sufficiently associated with a thorough insight or a cross-section of a subject. And so the name Anatomies of Caution came to life.
When did you realize that the whole set was conditioned by the idea of caution?
This happened at the very end. I wasn’t able to perceive the idea of caution before I started look for the name of the exhibition. It is something subconscious that lies deep within me. Until recently, I couldn’t have conceived that there was a link between all the six paintings. Each of them was made out of a different motive and with a different subject. I believe that in a few years they will appear even more homogeneous, as each life period, viewed retrospectively, becomes distinctively marked.
It is quite obvious, even from the names of your paintings that there is an effort in naming, aside of producing them. How did you come up with the names for your paintings?
Coming up with names can sometimes be difficult, but I still love to do it because titles are very important to me. Their role is to offer a key for interpreting a deeper structure, rather than just confirming what is being displayed. I think that some titles are better than others. They are able to trigger a creative moment that can be as exhilarating as creating the art piece itself.
The name Oil has a razor sharp feel - short, very precise and quick. I thought that nafta had a universal meaning, but when I googled it I realized that Nafta is a U.S.-based international trading organization. In other languages Nafta has no other meaning but that one. The English word for nafta is Oil, which was very convenient, considering that at that time I was heavily influenced by P.T. Anderson’s movie, There Will Be Blood, which is based on Upton Sinclare’s novel Oil!.
The name of the painting Hold on to Your Friend, Hillary! directly refers to the main protagonist of the painting and to the emotion that I wanted to infer.
I debated over the name of the painting The Last Minute with Klaudio Štefančić. He believed, and probably rightly so, that this particular title imposed restrictions on the interpretation of the painting, even reducing it to mere illustration. On one hand this was a reasonable argument but on the other, the name came to me as a logical solution.
I like the title Live to Tell very much, but at the same time I am burdened by it because, as it has been the case with my titles before, it cannot be adequately translated to Croatian. I come up with the names for my paintings through the process of writing blog entries, which are all in English. It is very important to me that the titles can be translated to Croatian, because Croatian is, in some instances, ignored at exhibitions. Sometimes I fail in my attempt to do so, and Live to Tell is a good example. The translation of this phrase to Croatian would be: “Živi bili pa vidjeli”, which sounds like an announcement for a local soap opera. English language is universal. If we want to find an adequate Croatian counterpart for an English phrase, we have to use a bulky word construction that we would never use in everyday speech. I always have problems with making up names because I try to make them truly bilingual.
(…)
The paintings in this series look like stills from a movie, like fractions of time and space from a certain story.
It wasn’t always like that; it only started with this series. My previous paintings were lyrical in a way. The change was a result of a conscious decision. I just stopped operating in that mode, I couldn’t identify with the lyricism anymore; it got worn out. Just like some songs and albums seem to expire after a certain amount of time. They still have the same meaning for me, but I just don’t feel the need to listen to them again. And of course, new things always come along with time. I realized I needed to create a different structure and try out a new approach. I wanted to introduce elements of action to the paintings. That is probably where the connection that you make comes from.
The transition seems to be visible on Goodbye Desolate Railyard (Mile End).  It doesn’t seem to have a narrative content like the other paintings. How did you deal with the difficulties arising from your new way of work?
That’s because it was derived from an earlier piece. It’s the only variation on a theme that I have painted and it was preceded by a version made for the Essl Award in Klosterneuberg. I felt that one had certain compositional flaws with which I couldn’t come to terms with. Since I found the theme and the concept itself very appealing, I decided to give it another shot. That’s how Goodbye Desolate Railyard (Mile End) came to be. I see My Home is Nowhere Without You and Goodbye Desolate Railyard as a transition from my previous way of work into the more methodical way of thinking that I employ now. They represent a turning point, or an experiment, so to say. That’s why it’s appropriate not to exhibit them as parts of a greater whole. And Mile End is a visual derivation. Perhaps the absence of the creation process that all the other paintings have makes it less intelligible.
Could you take one painting as an example and explain the process of creating the other paintings in this series?
In Oil, my first intention was for the spillage to be coming from a sinking ship. That would link the figure with the spill directly. However, the fact that the protagonist’s feet are in the water, in those surroundings, is alarming enough. So, I decided against the ship because there would have been too many elements indicating the same thing. This way the spill, a herald of ecological disaster, complemented the protagonist. By stripping down the elements that clearly point to the premise, I assess the minimal requirements for it to remain intelligible. The connection between the protagonist and the spill is obvious even without the ship. I do this a lot in my work. I try to avoid literal interpretation of the issue that I am dealing with. It might sound like a paradox, but no matter how clear the idea, concept or thought that I want to portray is, I start preparing for the visual by making a number of questions examining its viability. I only start visualizing when I choose something that I feel is the furthest away from an obvious and banal portrayal, yet still within the parameters of the idea itself.
All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone is a result of your reflection on power relations in the art world, where you as an artist are repressed by institutions: by museums and galleries where “time-honoured skeletons” hold key positions. What were you going through professionally and privately when you made this painting?
Actually, this one is the only dualistic painting inside this series. The only one to have two equal themes: an emotional and professional one. I consider this a success, if neither one prevails. I started out with the first one, the idea of the emotional: a dialogue with myself, ending in solitude and without the possibility of anyone being around but myself, really. And an extension of this thought was my situation in the professional sense.
You mean working within the system of the art world?
That’s what it’s about - the hopelessness of the situation. It ended up being the theme of the painting: the little one against the big ones. I haven’t entirely embraced this system; I could spend my whole career on the issue and not resolve it. My feeling of uneasiness about having to sell a product is like in the movie Glengarry Glen Ross. But this game has its rules. It’s a compromise I had to make. There is a fantasy of the artist in an ivory tower, but this kind of Pollock or Picasso myth is no longer viable nowadays. I had to do things that I wouldn’t normally choose to do. For instance, contextualize my work. It’s in my best interest to explain what I do as precisely as possible. I look at it as a necessary means of communication. That’s the idea behind the blog. Speaking in percentages, I spend about 90 percent of my time working on my paintings. Considering the effort put into it, it would be irresponsible and stupid not to put the remaining 10 percent to good use.
Another interesting thing about All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone is that it is the only painting with you in it.
Yes, I’ve never portrayed myself before. I really had no choice, and that’s what’s great about it. It was important for me to follow both themes through, and I found that this could only work with me there. At one point there was an idea to do it with five characters, but I dropped it because I think a certain amount of vagueness and ambiguity is always important. I do my best to avoid banality, or literally describing or narrating everything. On the other hand, my shoes are the only ones I can walk in. I will always be preoccupied with myself, I can’t escape this. Delving into my own consciousness, conscience and character fascinates me. The issue of what makes you or me human is the kind of subject I really get a kick out of.
That’s how you portray both Hillary and Kittinger – not as heroes, but as ordinary men who happen to be in extremely unusual situations. Their personal stories are what gets your attention.
Exactly; and this is, after all, the Hollywood idea of a hero. I greatly admire their ground-breaking accomplishments, but that’s not what these men are about. I’ve always been fascinated by astronauts. I read the confessions of the Apollo program participants who had been to the Moon. Each and every one went back to their lives knowing that everything else would be a mere shadow of that event. Unable to repeat such an experience, they became depressed, in some cases started drinking. They were marked by having seen something others could not. But it’s the idea of another, more human aspect of these people is what attracts me. This also explains why Werner Herzog, who often dealt with such characters, is one of my heroes.
For instance, the painting Goodbye Desolate Railyard started from a story about Joseph Kittinger. There was an article about his exploit in one of the first Croatian issues of GEO Magazine. It really made an impression on me. Trailblazers attract me because of my boyish spirit, especially those who push the limits of human endurance. I’m fascinated by their frame of mind and interested in their personal stories. It’s funny if you think about it: the videos show Kittinger sitting in a small open gondola. He was in his seat, and the sky was all around him. Psychologically, that’s a big deal, because people are usually protected in some sort of box. The man holds an unbelievable number of records, including being at the highest altitude without a shuttle, cockpit or any other kind of box. To see the Earth from up there, to rise above everything, must be a spiritually and emotionally devastating experience; one that profoundly changes you.
In his despair, he was certain he would not make it back alive. That’s the human aspect that I find captivating. I can not fathom the things he did. The nature of these people…are they simpler than others, do they not question certain things? Does it take an emotionally detached person? Is that the reason why someone like me would never get himself in that kind of situation? The fall scene itself is incredible. It’s visually spectacular. This sort of extremes and aberrations escape all definition and social norms.
 (…)
You talk about your music influences a lot. In what way does music have an effect on you? For instance, you hardly ever mention visual art.
Absolutely, I try to steer clear of being influenced by the medium of painting as it carries a certain visual code which I would rather avoid since I create in the same medium. Of course, it always has a certain impact on your work, so I use my visual influences in a specific way. I try to fill myself with the sensation a certain thing evokes, rather than being influenced by its appearance. The definition of a sensation is used here in a broader sense than just referring to the visual dimension. It entails all perceptive senses that can be activated in my humble mind. It is more gratifying to use music as an artistic model because it leaves more room for creating my own visual code. However, I use painting as a visual influence when I come across obstacles in technical performance.
What kind of music do you model your work on and use for inspiration?
It is a complex set deriving from the same generation of artists I belong to. During the period of growing up, since my earliest memories from preschool days, followed by MTV phase and so on, my taste in music was influenced by rock and roll tradition. As time passed by, I came to be more acquainted with the work of authors who based their music on lyrics/poetry. My affinity towards music broadened to include most of contemporary pop-music. However, I always go back to powerful individual artists such as Dylan and further on. So, paradoxically, the words are the most important thing for me, because I believe that rock and roll is not all that experimental in its tradition.
I am attracted to the kind of music where rhythm and melody are prominent. It doesn’t trigger my creative imagination, but it leaves enough room for the lyrics to flow naturally and present themselves in most beautiful way. I get completely overwhelmed by certain lyrics. A whole range of recent authors, some of them even from my generation, provide me with an inexhaustible source of material: starting from Jeffrey Lewis, Kimya Dawson, Herman Dune, Devendra Banhart to Will Oldham/Bonnie Prince Billy whom I consider to be the contemporary God.
You often mention the term melancholy when you refer to the music you listen to. Is this something that functions as an artistic drive for you?
The music that I listen to tends to be sad, introverted and contemplating, mostly with author himself as the subject. Nowadays, the equivalent for melancholy would be emo (laughs). It would be wrong to mistake melancholy for depression. I experience it as a state of non-active comfort. Melancholy is not a driving force. It experiences and finds enjoyment in itself. The easiest way to interpret it, in visual arts, is by the sense of pleasure that it evokes. This has always been a familiar sensation to me. Actually, it was through the medium of music that I got drawn to melancholy. It fulfils me.
(...)
In the last two paintings, The Last Minute and Live to Tell you question the idea of utopia. Do you believe that utopia is possible?
I’m confined by my own rational thinking. This determines quite a lot of my beliefs and keeps my feet firmly on the ground. Certain elements of those two pictures function as a cynical mockery of the Utopian idea.
About a half a year ago, a documentary film Life After People had a strong impact on me. It belongs to the genre of speculative fiction based on scientific facts and is actually a high-budget documentary made in CGI technology that enquires into what would happen with Earth if all people were to disappear one day. What would happen to cultural artifacts as time goes by?
The notion that grass would completely cover the streets in one year fascinated me. All animal species on the verge of extinction would recover to the optimal population count in a record time. A lot of SF apocalypse movies are based on an idea of just a partial collapse of civilization, such as Mad Max and others. In those movies, raw materials such as petrol have value instead of money, which is ridiculous because all of those values would have simultaneously disappeared. However, the main issue that puzzles me is expressed in The Last Minute and Live To Tell. It concerns the values and knowledge we acquire through life. What kind of knowledge are we equipped with and what are its limits?
 The painting Live To Tell portrays a place devoid of people. Unlike all your other paintings, this one doesn’t depict a human figure.
The atmosphere of tension and anxiety was important for this painting, and if I were to depict any people, notions of idleness and tourism could be easily evoked. To omit them, seemed like an effective solution. In addition to the previous answer - the idea behind Live To Tell is: even if we take all our civilization’s artifacts into consideration, what do we actually know that could facilitate our survival?  This is a panic scenario, of course, and the likelihood of that happening can be measured in percentages not much higher then zero. It is a travesty having in mind the fact that, if that happens, most of us could only lay down and die. Isn’t it also funny that the demand for survival-shows derives from the fact that eighty percent of the western population is unable to climb a tree?
 
Vanja Žanko spoke to Zlatan Vehabović, in Zagreb, February 20, 2008

(translation: Sanja Horvatinčić, Iva Kušek )

Sunday, January 25, 2009

-Live to Tell-



This work specifically deals with my growing interest in possibilities of narrative in relation to an image, and as such is conceived to be a sequel of the work which precedes it (The last minute). Furthermore, this interest is the result of the exploration of dramaturgy, a term related to the theater and film that deals with structural issues of composition and the representation of the main elements of a drama or a film. I tried to apply this basic concept to the medium of painting and, following the structural rules of a plot, I conceived the possible progress of events leading from one to another. I tried to figure out what would happen to the protagonists of the previous image, how would they go on? Would they find the salvation? Where would it be? So I imagined these characters to have made it out somewhere outside the parameters of civilization or culture. The main issue that puzzled me was whether they (me/we) would have been able to survive. What kind of knowledge are we equipped with, and where can that knowledge be applied? In the text for The last minute I discussed the role of utopia. And indeed, when mentioning relation to dramaturgic elements of film, common genre for film and these two works might be found in speculative fiction, or more poignantly: utopian and dystopian fiction