Monday, December 15, 2008
I am growing affection towards narrative content in my works and this storytelling (more to be explored in the future) has to do with my infatuation towards the film. Therefore, this painting's narrative has its roots in the real event that took place on May 29, 1953. It was the day when Edmund Hillary and Tenzing Norgay "...knocked the bastard off!“ as Hillary tells it to his lifelong friend George Lowe, referring to the success of reaching the summit of Mt Everest. And it was the notion of friendship I had in mind when this story triggered my imagination. Not Hillary and Lowe, but Tenzing. Hillary never knew Norgay before that expedition, both coming from cultures that were different from one another. I have also read that after the climb the two of them wouldn't reveal which one of them was the first to reach the top. As the story goes: out of the mutual respect for each other. And this was for next 30 years or so. Later on they confessed it was Hillary after all but, nevertheless, I begun to wonder about these intense experiences humans will go through and how very close they grow to each other during the same. I also have this vivid memory of the story of American war pilot's escape from Vietnamese warfare along with his comrade after his plane crashed, which is depicted by Werner Herzog in his movie Little Dieter Needs to Fly. Our hero Dieter later recalls his friend who unfortunately did not make it through, and tells us how he was never able to let go the memory of him even though they never knew each other, except for those few days together. But it was Hillary/Norgay story that got my imagination, so I set off to make a reverence to friendship, an important fact and a large part of human life. As I said earlier, their origins differed and this was my key concept. Hillary was a member of British empire specific, among other things, for its taste in guilds, leagues, sororities, clubs and so on (this notion will later on explain the role of the two figures surrounding Hillary), and Norgay wasn't. I unfolded my own narrative on the premise that Norgay was missing from the image. Opposed to joyful praise in visual attempt for this notion I chose a morose feeling or, so to say, the feeling of someone genuinely missing or lost. It seems to be common knowledge that, only when you lose something/one, you fully see what you had. So I placed the plot inside a waiting room. Hillary thus seems troubled with worry and the exhausted look on his face can be justified by the consolation attempt by two members of some hunting club. They seem to embody a rather fake idea of friendship opposed to the real empathy, which may be the reason why the stuff on the wall in few cases does not belong to the real world as well.
Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Friday, October 24, 2008
Monday, October 6, 2008
Tuesday, September 2, 2008
Marc Augé: -Tourism could well be last utopia-
I’ve run on this text digging for some background for the thoughts that were dwelling in my head while working on this painting. I was trying to find some writings to back up the premise of the work. This one was about the concept of tourism as one of the last utopias around. And I must admit, I haven’t expected to come along something as precisely aimed as Marc’s notion.
But how did it all begin in the first place? This work was triggered by the already famous reward given annually by Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb and T-com. So after thinking for a while, I saw that my problem is my own framework. Which is painting. I have to respond the topic within this medium, even though the first thing that comes to mind, when thinking simultaneously of T-com and Media as art subject, is probably a bunch of rendered CGI stuff backed up musically by Duffy or Amy or whatever. So I dwelled upon these notions for a while. It became clear soon enough that these topics resolve on, or breathe the same air with the idea of utopia. Media as offered and presented to us by corporate giants such as T-com is here to constantly brings us closer to that comfortable future, bringing us commodities of the immediate time shaped in technological products. This reads as utopia. Then tourism came to my mind. I imagined it as a good way to portray a situation, a condition if you like. Michaud claims the tourism will eventually save art, saying that the only reason museums as the home to art are there is because of the tourists. Tourism also reads as commodity as Augé puts it. So for all these reasons concerning art and corporate giants in relation to individual I decided that tourists are a good subject for this issue. What also appealed to me is the tight relation of the tourism and global climate issues. Destinations are chosen regarding the geography, the weather or the climate in general. This happened to be the reason for the painting. It turns out that, since you cannot control the weather, you have to be careful not to make any last minutes during any of monsoon or cyclone periods because they kind of crash the party uninvited. The whole thing laid bare reads almost as the biblical payback to poor tourists for not doubting the malicious system and its offerings. I know… don’t get me wrong; I am the one who is confused. What should I make out of the situation of having the responsibility as an artist to critically address media contest, but do not think of leaving the city without iPod, having to say: in your face corporate giants! But essentially corporate giants play it fair within the parameters of their realm. It is me among those tourists who has hard time positioning my stand I guess, but that is what makes working so much fun in the end.
Sunday, March 30, 2008
This one is called All of a Sudden I Miss Everyone and it borrowed its title, as you may or may not know, from the same album title of Texan band Explosions in the Sky. Other than reverence towards their music, it seemed fit at one point. At the time I was feeling morose, detached from all things. This usually happens when one of the two important things of my life are in jeopardy, love-life and work-life. It happened so they were both on the line then. And though I tried to separate the two as a subject for this painting, I still can't decide which one is more dominant. And how it all resulted with this image? As my life is largely influenced by the professional struggle of keeping up with exhibitions, shows, studio work practice and so on, I figured just how much I was oppressed by that same notion. The thought that dwelled in my mind then, and it dwells still, was the role of the institutions (mainly galleries and museums), housing the works, introducing the selected works into the art world. As I mentioned, this related to the issues of power, how it is used, by whom, and in whose favour. Further research led me to essey by Mieke Bal in which she thoroughly explores the role of the museum as it has been shaped in recent modern history. She takes the example of New York Met, as a house where almost everything that should be regarded as an important piece of art, can be found. Then she contrasted it to the Ethnographic museum. At that point I decided that the setting for the scene should be placed inside a natural history museum. All dead creatures, not a glance of life coming through, call me lame, but it seemed as a good message concerning the establishment all around. I also decided I should place myself within the scene because essentially the whole thing was about me in a way. Concerning my personal life, it is disreputable and a matter of bad taste to discuss these things in detail. What I can say is that for given work I positioned myself as someone being left behind by the loved one. It was important to me to generate an image of a notion so well known to most of us. That certain point when one has to lift himself up, above the damaged life, and find some strength to carry on. In order to get this idea through, I intended to place several figures, all having my form and image, and placed them in order to simulate dialogs between them (http://www.flickr.com/photos/zlatan-vehabovic/2265074073/ , http://www.flickr.com/photos/zlatan-vehabovic/2265071533/ ). My suggestion was to amplify the fact of no one being around but yourself really. Eventually this idea fell off. I settled with one figure in the end, somehow feeling that alone is alone no matter how you look at it. Surrounding that initially came out of the previously mentioned discourse was now witnessing a completely different idea. Skeletons and the formaldehyde feel were messengers of bad news, reminding me of the constant duality embedded in this image.