[artinfo] Reconstructions: private = public = private = public =

Darko Fritz fritz.d at chello.nl
Sat Oct 10 18:16:58 CEST 2009

Reconstructions: private = public = private = public =

(Selection of Works by Croatian Contemporary Artists)

11 - 18 . 10 . 2009 . REX . Belgrade

openinig: Saturday 10 . 10. 2009 . 19 h

Curator: Darko Fritz

Artists: Helena Bulaja . Boris Cvjetanovic . Ivan Faktor . Sanja 
Ivekovic . Zeljko Jerman . Andreja Kuluncic . Dalibor Martinis . 
Edita Pecotic . Goran Trbuljak . Slaven Tolj


The exhibition 'Reconstructions: private = public = private = public 
=' examines the feminist perception from the 1970s: 'the private is 
the public' i.e. 'the private is the political' using various 
positions selected from Croatian contemporary art since the 
seventies, and outside the feminist discourse. The continuity of four 
decades of creative work of certain artists, as well as the 
interaction between the new works of art and the artistic expression 
of the 70s, are the focal points of this exhibition. Jerman's art 
diary works 'My Year' ('Moja godina') (1977) and 'My Month' ('Moj 
Mjesec') (1982), as well as the video artwork 'Make Up - Make Down' 
(1978) by Sanja Ivekovic and Goran Trbuljak's posters, are 
representative examples of the artistic perception of the 
relationship between the private and the public, expressed in a form 
of artists' first-person point of view through various media typical 
of the 1970s 'new art practices' (performance art, text, photography, 
video art). Apart from these works which use the artist's own body 
and/or personal experience, the exhibition also presents more recent 
works created in the era characterized by complex relations 
established after the phenomenon of reality TV in the 1990s, the 
erosion of privacy due to security measures introduced post September 
11, and the ubiquity of personal audiovisual technologies and their 
application in online social networks in recent years. Communication 
of (non-artistic and mostly trivial) personal and private content in 
public places became commonplace, from passive listening to other 
people's conversations over mobile phones in public places  to active 
communication with a large number of people, like for example within 
the social network web site FaceBook, where apart from communication 
with so-called 'friends' (with an illusion of being able to freely 
select people to communicate with) users legally allow the 
corporation to use their personal information.

Critical positioning of the personal, on one side, and reconstruction 
and recontextualization of historical events and facts, on the other 
side, are the tools used by artists to shape new examinations of the 
personal and the private. Several of the presented works use the 
documentary film form and documentary or archival material.

... The exhibition critically examines the use of communication media 
as well as the 'old' and 'new' technologies within the artistic 
discourse, ranging from the 'first-person point of view' to the 
critical analysis of the relationship between the personal and public 
space. The starting media forms of the works of art vary from 
artists' own bodies (performance of Slaven Tolj, acting of Sanja 
Ivekovic, Jerman's self-portraits) to intimate diary reports and 
notes (Zeljko Jerman, Boris Cvjetanovic) to personal comments and 
statements (Sanja Ivekovic, Goran Trbuljak). Various forms of public 
space were used, both physical and virtual; galleries, urban 
locations owned by corporations or urban public areas (Trbuljak's 
posters, performance by Slaven Tolj), as well as virtual space like 
television (Martinis), the Internet (Bulaja) or the system of city 
surveillance cameras (Slaven Tolj).

The personal and the public always communicate in both directions and 
sometimes (increasingly so) cannot be separated by a clear boundary 
or any boundary at all. Relationships between the personal and the 
private are dynamically activated in any given time, influenced by 
the ever-changing political context and the fluid technological 
apparatus used in the role of a mediator, and reinterpreted in 
various poetic and objective views in the works of art that have been 
critically examined. Darko Fritz

More information about the Artinfo mailing list