FUGITIVE MOMENTS, 2013
An Installation in the Wasser Schöpfen/ZAGRABITI exhibition
Organized by ONE-SIDED STORY and HDLU
The Mestrovic Pavilion, Zagreb, Croatia
Curated by Candace Goodrich
ALICE IN CROATIA
Altered 19th/early 20th century American quilt, pieces of camouflage cloth from a Croatian army shirt, 1950s Walt Disney Alice marionette
In America, quilts became popular during the period of the Industrial revolution, when commercial fabric and the sewing machine became widely available. Many kinds of patterns were developed. Quilts were almost always made from new fabric, but there were exceptions, including the quilt displayed here which was created from scrap material, especially wool. It was used as a bed cover for more than one hundred years. It features the traditional nine square pattern, but irregularly, with an uneven selection of patches, sizes and colors.
Countries can be seen as pieced together out of the material of landscape, religion, ethnicity, language,
history, literature, economy, technology, trade, and so on. Any area, any region, any country, is always part of a larger pattern. I have inserted patches of Croatian camouflage wear into the larger pattern of the quilt.
As an artist I work with open metaphors. In this work I reference recent Croatian history, its war of independence in the 1990s, and its current merger into the larger European Union.
Historically, we have the earlier patterns and geographies of the 19th century European nations, where we saw the merging of regions and cultures into countries such as Germany and Italy. Earlier we had the creation of the United States of America out of independent regions and governments. Based on current developments in manufacture, commerce and finance, we have the merging and piecing together of all of the European territories into an overall pattern, into one piece of cloth, in which Croatia is currently finding its place and role.
Photogravures based on photographs by Kurt Hielscher. Published by Ernst Wasmuth, Berlin, 1926.
In the period between World War I and II, attempts were made to present countries in a romantic light, free of conflict and poverty. Politically, it is a world still dominated by folk and peasant cultures, with strong primary roots, and a nostalgic presentation of nature and people. In a sense an international propaganda for a poetic, both local and transnational existence.
This German series covered Scandinavia, Germany, Italy, and other nations. All were presented with the same approach, one that leaves out all social and historical realities. In a dreamlike language of beauty, a regressive appeal to a world that “once was.” An approach leading into Nationalism and Fascism.
WHITE CLOWN, WHITE CLOWN (black), WHITE CLOWN (Harlequin), For Michel Serres
Three American Marionette clowns from the 1950s, black paint
The story of the white clown and of harlequin lie deep in the European character. Originating in the history of the circus, and in the Commedia dell’arte, these characters have developed extensively over the years, in popular imagination as well as in literature and philosophy. Here they are, desexualized, incarnated as 1950s children’s marionettes.
The white clown and the harlequin have strong androgynous characteristics, and can be seen as hybrid figures exploring the complexity of the human psyche. Harlequin’s dress is a quilt pattern, a kaleidoscopic pattern of movement. He, more than any other figure outside of a religious context, represents the mysterious origin of human existence, and of male sexuality.
The French philosopher Michel Serres is one among many artists and philosophers who have referenced the allegory of the harlequin as a multicolored clown in the middle of the chaos of life.
FILMSKI ZURNAL 1939-40
Filmski zurnal covers (1939 and 1940), plastic fruit, lights
On the eve of World War II, transcendent images of international female film stars.
ON VLADIMIR DVORNIKOVIC
Vladimir dvornikovic, “Savremena Filozofija” (Contemporary Philosophy), published in Zagreb in 1919, two American clown hand puppets from the 1950s, branches with dried leaves
Vladimir Dvornikovic (1888-1956) was a Croatian and Yugoslav philosopher. He studied in Vienna and received his doctorate in 1911 with the thesis, “The Psychological Foundation of Cognitive Theory.”
The 1919 book on contemporary philosophy presented here, references extensively current trends in Continental philosophy, including the German philosopher Edmund Husserl and Phenomenology.
Dvornikov is best know as a strong proponent of an integrated Yugoslavia. His most famous book, “Karakterologija Jugoslavena” (Yugoslavian Identity), was published in 1939.
Ideas blossom and wither. Often passionately presented, they are valid for a period of time, while competing with other theories or historical realities, often equally passionately presented. Looking back in history we see public figures and intellectual as characters in a a complex performance, trying to write the overall script, while they themselves are being written by history.
VUCEDOL FEMALE WORSHIPER 3000 BC
The archeological site of Vucedol is located along the banks of the Danube, a short distance from Vukovar. It is the most important Eneolithic (the period between Neolithic and Bronze Age) site in Europe. At its peak, the Vucedol culture spread across an area that today are within the borders of ten European countries: Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary, Serbia, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Albania, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, and Austria.
The culture lasted over 700 years, from 3,000 to 2,200 BC. Excavations at Vucedol have unearthed the oldest European calendar, the so-called Vucedol Orion. It is represented on a clay vessel.
The only depiction of a human figure we have from the Vucedol culture, is the so-called “Vucedol Worshipper.” I have reinterpreted the figure in evergreen branches. I see the figure as female and a dancer, a representation of the natural world of plants and trees. A poetic and romantic presentation of fertility and Nature’s life force. It also has an uncanny resemblance to Ivan Mestrovic’s sculpture “The History of Croatia.”