CONNECTION LOST/ performance and discussion

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56th International art exhibition– Venice Biennale
Collateral Event

The Silver Lining – Contemporary art from Liechtenstein and other microstates

Palazzo Trevisan degli Ulivi
Swiss Arts Council Pro Helvetia
24 October – 1 November 2015

At the 56th Venice Biennale, within the Liechtenstein pavilion, apart from artists from Luxembourg, Iceland and Liechtenstein, there was also a presentation of Montenegrin contemporary art scene in the works of artists Adrijana Gvozdenović and Natalija Vujošević.
The art association Kunstverein Schichtwechsel curated the exhibition The Silver Lining: Contemporary art from Liechtenstein and other microstates which represents the first participation of Liechtenstein at Venice Biennale, one of the most prestigious cultural institutions and art reviews.

The concept of the curating team from Kunstverein Schichtwechsel (an art association composed with Laura Hilti, Luis Hilti, Anett Höland, Flurina Seger) is built around the presentation of artists from European micro-states Iceland, Luxembourg, Montenegro and Liechtenstein. The foundation of the exhibition concept for The Silver Lining was the essay by Walter Benjamin On the concept of history, where the author explores the history of civilization, describing humanity as a chain of events marked by a single omen – catastrophe. The idea of Liechtenstein curating team had a special focus on events that ‘positively’ shaped the lives and art of the authors who emerge and create in the systems of micro-states.
The 10-day exhibition was attended by all the participating artists, who presented their projects and together with the organizer formed a program of public discussions, lectures, and work visits. The participants of the exhibition were: Beate Frommelt and Anna Hilti (artists  from Liechtenstein); Gabríela Friðriksdóttir, Gunnhildur Hauksdóttir and Anna Fríða Jónsdóttir (Icelandic artists), and the artist couple Karolina Markiewicz and Pascal Piron (from Luxembourg).

Connection lost

Within the collateral event The Silver lining: Contemporary art from Liechtenstein and other microstates, Adrijana Gvozdenović, Natalija Vujošević and Lenka Đorojević held a performance and led a discussion entitled Connection lost. Isolation as a choice in the Montenegrin contemporary art. On this occasion, the artists decided to present to the audience specifics of the cultural-political situation that Montenegro is in, attempting to contextualize their artistic stance towards the national representation also within the very concept of the exhibition. Besides a short study of the current situation, the artists suggested a potential solution and publicly committed themselves to mutual cooperation on a project called ISU. They included elements of performance in the presentation, and simultaneously read the ISU Manifesto, thus announcing setting in motion the Institute for Contemporary Art Montenegro – ISU. The performance was followed by an open discussion about the art systems, infrastructure, possibilities and problems of cultural development and art institutions, as well as comparing the state of affairs with other micro-states and countries in the region.

// Notes for a road movie: To and from Montenegro //

In Notes for a road movie: To and from Montenegro, Adrijana Gvozdenović uses the road movie genre to approach an artwork as a discursive object, thus enabling us to reflect the differences of dispositions that define us.
The project is based on a journey to Montenegro (city in Brazil) of the artist who is from Montenegro (the country). Results of this sort of an »ontological cut« created on the journey of the author’s reinterpretation of conceptualizing subjectivity transpose us into any time-space reality. The repetitive motives in the exhibited digital prints are hybrid flowers created through digitally manipulated crossbred flower sorts from both Montenegros: the Brazilian city and the European state. In this way the artist constructs a unique flora and indexes the dystopian reading of the concept of identity anew.

In the space of the Liechtenstein pavilion, the digital graphics of hybrid flowers were transposed to previously set furniture (designed by Friz Halle), which was used as a bar during the exhibition. The artist changed its function through her introductory performative intervention, presenting the recorded material at the opening of the pavilion in the form of movie trailer and an announcement for the closing performance: ‘I will use this opportunity, while you are expecting the performance, to do something very Montenegrin: to promote Montenegro’ (A.G.). A potential of an artwork that is not fixed in the certain medium is emphasized by manipulation connected to the author’s active performative role in changing the form and content of the project. Namely, on the closing day of the Liechtenstein pavilion, complete content of the movie was replenished by an accompanying live narration by the artist.

In the project Notes for a road movie: To and from Montenegro, the form of the exhibition and ways of communication of the artwork become a kind of »language medium« through which the author explores ways in which history and knowledge construct identity, constructing herself a specific, volatile artistic context and discourse through a multiple method of dislocation. Project Notes for a road movie: To and from Montenegro reveals a multilayered attempt at experiencing the disintegration of discourse, deconstruction of the perception and understanding of reality, setting under scrutiny the processes which purport opportunities of transformation of subjectivity in the circumstances of possible hybridization, nomadism and constant transience of the perspective between an individual and society at large.

^^ Market will cure all our wounds ^^

Installation Market will cure all our wounds, by Natalija Vujošević is made of a wooden construction/stand with objects assembled in a ritual fashion, micro-collages and ready-made interventions. The artist uses different constructional elements of »nature and society « to critically reflect the antagonisms of the contemporary technological culture, and juxtapose to the image of cathartic renunciation of real pain, legacies created through »sweat and blood « of the previous system for the conversion to a centralized corporate system of trade, control, and surveillance culture. Sticking out the pockets of blue-collar working suits hanging on the stand, we can see ears of wheat, collages, the first one of which asks the question: Would you like to be a souvenir?, on the next one there is a sunset, a page about photosynthesis from a biology schoolbook, a snowman on the Olympic pedestal, Tito’s pioneers in pots, decorative plants in institutional hallways, physical examination of students, dried palm leaves with peacock feathers, bouquets of dried meadow flowers. Under the stand there is a miniature sculpture made of clothes with animal print bought in secondhand shops.

Conveying a personal view on the corruptness and ruin of the former system which had shaped half of the artist’s life, and the current socio-economic and cultural system, the author reveals the mechanisms of creating an artificial identity through dislocation and specific »installation approach«. She offers core trait of the identity of the masses, “lives lost and pledged allegiances” in form of artwork as a product, touristic exotica and otherness in relation to the dominant economic-media system of the West. In the installation Market will cure all our wounds, Natalija Vujošević presents the antagonisms of contemporary capitalism through multidirectional deconstruction of objects (emptying their original, symbolic and discursive potential), through digital manipulation of the image and media she stages various processes  of (de)construction of desire, explores socio-technical complex of the mass production of desire, the consequences of market activities, tyranny of objects, transition state and terror-deterritorialization of society.

text: Lenka Đorojević
translation: Isidora Glišić
photo: Jiří Hroník

Kunstverein Schichtwechsel
Laura Hilti, Luis Hilti, Annett Höland, Flurina Seger

Kunstmuseum Liechtenstein
Friedemann Malsch, Thomas Soraperra

Ministry for Foreign Affairs,
Education and Culture of the Principality of Liechtenstein
Liechtenstein Marketing
Liechtenstein Cultural Foundation