STAYING HERE WITH YOU – moving
10 October, 2019
16, Braće Jugovića Street
Introduction to the exhibition
STAYING HERE WITH YOU – moving in the Cinema Balkan (1867-75) examines the meaning of the concept of relocation, migration moving and/or staying.
During the autumn, we – Serbs and Swiss, Europeans, human beings – would like to present in this beautiful historic edifice not only our work – photos, videos, films, drawings, installations, sound, music, light, sculptures and objects –, but we would also like to unite in this place, to fill the building with performative life as part of the community. Art and life here are understood as an open playground, where one can explore, experiment and discover, and where interactions and reflections are possible.
We understand the building as a human body.
In front of the building, outside, we discover 2 photos from the Swiss Artist Olivier Suter (*1959) (ne)prijatelji, Enemies, 2018/19 and a neon-light quote from the Serbian artist Milica Rakić (*1972). The two big photographic portraits of kids from post-Yugoslavian time are looking at us like they were twins: a girl and a boy who are coming from Belgrade and Sarajevo: enemies? From the other side of the façade, Milica Rakić, lets the citation Air smells on craziness, float, and involves us in a field of uncertainty and experience that also includes a provocation. Placed on the façade this quote is marking the building with particular expectations and behaves like an exhibition subtitle – inviting us to enter the space where everything is possible, where things are placed at the edge, challenging us to a feeling of freedom.
The main space can be considered the belly with the belly-button. It’s the place for everybody to meet, see performances, follow the daily actions, question our relationships or just simply stay together. Milca Rakić quotes are now graved on the glasses, on a fragile surface. Glasses will be used during our daily presence into the space together with glass-pads, designed by different artists and collaborators of our project. We can be reading books coming from different cultures and artists from our library and discovering Mladen Stilinović (*1947-2016) artist book ‘I have no time’, 1983. We can be looking at the chosen art pieces and reflect on their messages – for example on a computer with COMPILER//01, a DVD-Magazine for Contemporary Art: Was ist Kunst, Marinela Kozelij?, realized by Susann Wintsch (*1967), curated with Milica Tomic, 2003, with Yugoslavian artists. Here we feel at home and question our being and identity. Here we are passing time and the space becomes our home. Here we will even exchange our dreams and prepare our future, for example our nearly invisible interventions in the urban space of Belgrade – a collective performance from the Swiss artist Yan Duyvendak (*1965). The communication of the process by WhatsApp can be followed up on a computer. Dejan Klincov (*1963) is continuously present in the main space – the so called living room, surrounded by his video works and drawings, he will give us a chance to share and to adopt ourselves with direct interaction and with the intimacy of two old military beds in the corner of the room, inviting us to lie down, to talk with him, to watch or to listen, to be not only visitors, but participants as well. Also Samuel Herzog (*1966), will be present on a reception desk with his Embassy where you can get from him as an artist and president of Lemusa a Visa for his island Lemusa.
His daily presence and performances will amuse but also intrigue. From another side we will have a Virtual Reality Station from Dragan Zdravković, (*1969), 28:20, 2019,, where he continues his research in the field of classical painting. Using Virtual Reality as not only tridimensional imaginary space that gives depth to the two-dimensional canvas, he will lead us to the mystery of classical paintings and explore the unlimited human potential and possibilities. Definitely this work will seduce with fantastic universes of loneliness, when the staying with you might get to become hard as well. Jan Eugster (*1976) shows us his salon table not wood, 2017, electroplated copper, where we can sit around playing cards or telling our dreams. In an aquarium he shows us the process of electroplating – the transformation of an object being coated. Still being in the living room, we find a range of plants on bases, put there by Ana Adamović (*1974), as if they had been forgotten since the days of the (socialist) administrations, without bounds to this lost identity, but with lots of bounds to the memory.
Christoph Rütimann (*1955) presents in the niches of the several exit-doors of the cinema, 5 Culture Maces, 2019, made in porcelain in Belgrade especially for the occasion. After the show they will stay in the White City in different cultural institutions, not only as an object, but also as a symbolic partner to the defense of culture. Even the wooden original, created by nature in the process of inoculating apple cultures, will find a partner in Serbia.
Nivo -1 discusses the legs of the human body, so it also involves movement. The video projection Wunderkammer , 2019, from Ana Adamović (*1974) will introduce us to the secrets of museum storages. The Video has been taken in the Museum of Yugoslavia in Belgrade, closed since 2017 for reconstruction. It is a document where the artist becomes a witness. You discover stored objects provoking us to think about a selective and preserved past – critically orientated for reflecting history, even recent events, that we have in our vivid memories, still can be uncertain. Processes of neglecting, interpretations or memorization are becoming complex heritages like some kind of slow, long and dedicated process of mummification.
A wooden structure invites us to discover several works from the Pioneer of performance, concept art and Individual-Anarchist Dieter Meier (*1945). On the outside of the structure you will find a documentation of one of his first performances: Two Words, 1971, in the streets of New York, where he is looking for a direct physical contact with his public. He bought the word Yes or a No from passers-by which they then had to pronounce it into a microphone. There was an official sales contract which was paid for with one dollar. They weren’t really clear about what they were saying, whether it was Yes or No (to), so we can ask ourselves how easy it is to buy an answer or a conviction from someone. He continues this philosophical exploration of “nothingness” in his Jumps, 1974. A series of photos shows the usually sophisticatedly dressed artist jumping in the air, surrounded by an autumn landscape – a short attempt to escape earth’s gravitational pull and live a single short moment of freedom. Inside the hut you find the “Love song” Buffoon, 2014, as the artist calls himself. With quite a lot of self-irony, he shows us in an undogmatic and unpretentious way his superior artistic dilettantism in singing and dancing and loving us. In the niche, at the end of the space, you find a video performance by Alexandra Meyer (*1984). Kick, 2017. It shows the artist with her motorcycle and how she tries endlessly to start it without any success. She will have to stay… Let us discover her next video near to the historical main entry of Bioskop Balkan, the second part of this work: Cycle, 2017 shows us an idyllic Swiss landscape in summertime. A silent moment with singing birds. Suddently the motorcycle with the artist on it passes loudly through the still life with a pink exhaust cloud behind her… – moving!
Near the staircase we find two videos on tablets from Katja Schenker (*1968) & Ivan Grubanov (*1976). A documentation of their performances made on December 2017 in the Residence of the Swiss Embassy as a kind of overture to questioning STAYING HERE WITH YOU. Katja Schenker’s performance shows halten so lange sie hält / last as long as she lasts (2017). With 52 handmade Serbian bricks Katja Schenker builds herself a base, which serves to close the space between her hands and the ceiling with two bricks in her hands as a living, supporting sculpture. In the performance from Ivan Grubanov the artist conducts two Serbian cleaning ladies sweeping a bunch of Yugoslavian flags from one end of the room to the other. The performance is based on his work United Dead Nations, presented in the 2015 Serbian Pavilion at the Venice Biennale. With the help of the same flags, the artist has created a painting on the site as the finale of his performance.
Leaving Nivo -1 we go down to Nivo -2 to discover the feet and their rooting. Mitesh Dixit (*) discover Territorial Transgressions – a visual genealogy on the cultural exchange between Switzerland & Serbia, 2019. The installation introduces you in a critical cartography via prints, a physical model, and intuitive mapping, to illustrate the cultural exchange between Switzerland and Serbia, illustrating that the two countries function as a single territory with regards to cultural production and exchange. Mock up – impressive in size (10 x 4.5 m) give us territorial details produced in only white polystyrene, making visually beautiful and abstract vision of geography, deliberating us from plotted borders, symbols or color intervention.
Back in the main space Nivo 0 and going to the staircase for the higher levels, we hear music from a backroom – the tender, longing song of the Musician Elina Duni (*1981) Mos ki frikë (Don’t you fear dear), 2015, and the hypnotic meditative minimal sounds Quatere of the accordion played by Mario Batković (*1980).
The staircase will be the place for two videos Handlauf B. from Christoph Rütimann (*1955). They make part of his project Geh-länder (since 2000). With the camera the artist discovers different cities (Belgrade, but also Budapest, Berlin, Bern ….). In different urban, architectural and natural spaces, the camera views “handrails” – rails, tubes, railings, structures and runs along, thus opening up insights from its very own perspective which shows unknown angles of insight and view. We discover different locations through rapid and endless views.
In Nivo 1 and 2 we enter the space of unconsciousness, of the sleep, the dream and also laziness. Muda Mathis (*1959), Sus Zwick (*1950) and Fränzi Madörin (*1963) are inviting us to enter their lullaby-song, in another sphere, with their video installation Our Own Sleep. We discover the individual anarchy of sleeping. Also Mladen Stilinović (*1947-2016) knows the potential of sleep in his series of photographs artist at work (1978), As he proclaimed already in his artists book, we show in the living room, that he has no time. A further, important proclamation you find in his pamphlet An Artist Who Cannot Speak English is No Artist, 1992. The 3 photos The Golden Landscape of Feminism: Equality, Dignity and Aim to Rule, 2012, from Muda Mathis, Sus Zwick and Fränzi Madörin shows the necessity of equality and gives us the hope, that this Golden Landscape one day can be lived in our societies. The little room behind invites us in a hotel-room to discover lovers who are disoriented in their identities: Hotel Belgrade, 1998, from Andrea Štaka (*1973). She lives in Switzerland, he lives in Belgrade. What has been destroyed by war will be resurrected in this hotel room.
The attic with Nivo 3 is the universe of the memory with the projection from Radenko Milak (*1980). From the Far Side of the Moon, 2017, shows us an animated film (13:21min) in black and white that can be seen as the metaphor for a journey of memory. Dealing with opposites and antipodes, like masculinity and femininity, the Moon and the Sun, the lightness and the darkness, absence and presence, the far and the close, the Serbian artist brings us back to a mysterious couple with their tensions of desire and disaster, that we could resume as a chiasm: desire for disaster and disaster of desire. Dejan Klincov’s (*1963) video FORBIDDEN WITHOUT EXCEPTION, 1990-99, enters in the past of Yugoslavia history with found footage, drawings and documents and asks how to stay together with this idea of equality, which is not possible? How to stay together with this diversity and with all this bonds?
Finally, a documentation of the performances of Katja Schenker (*1968) invites us to understand the universe of this Swiss artist, which results from physically and psychologically energies of the artist in particular and of human beings in general.
The Opening evening includes a series of performances that will lead our attention from Branko Milisković (*1982) with his intro performance THE SONG FROM THE GRAVE (Stabat Mater) as a strong work which deals with anticipation and the tormented feeling of waiting for a loved one to come back – referencing Arnold Schönberg’s famous opera Erwartung (Awaiting).