Narrative war stories / quiet pictures of war
Tomislav Gotovac, Giovanni Morbin, Slaven Tolj and Marko Zink
The past is never dead.
It hasn’t even passed yet.
Thus, gradually, the past returns to the present...
Jean-Luc Godard, «Hélas pour moi» 1993
More than 100 million people lost their lives in the 20th century in the wake of war, displacement and genocide. World War II already generated massive violence within Yugoslavia, and the country was newly founded as a multi-ethnic state after World War II in 1945. After socialism collapsed in the late 1980s, nationalist movements led to the Yugoslav war and so these two wars are closely interwoven.
At the booth of galerie michaela stock the horror of these wars is shown in the form of performance, video, installation and photography. The four exhibiting artists – Tomislav Gotovac (Croatia), Giovanni Morbin (Italy), Slaven Tolj (Croatia) and Marko Zink (Austria) –show social and political responsibility for what happened in their countries. Coming from different generations, the artists share a conceptual, performative approach. They have dealt with the topic in quite diverse ways, questioning from their perspectives how the war (World War II and Yugoslav war) is remembered. However, remembering alone is not enough to make the effects of the past visible: considering the populist tendencies all over Europe, it is supposed to be a warning signal of what is to come.
Performance artists Gotovac, Morbin, and Tolj and photographer Zink do not show ›shocking images‹. Their works of art are not about starving and massacred people or the brutal horrors of war; at a first glance, they show a near invisibility, a subtle and quiet, overlapping narrative of the war. The focus of the works shown is not on fighting as such, and at times it is also difficult to find a geographic reference. The work only becomes thought-provoking and shocking when knowing the context of the picture. It forces viewers to see themselves as part of this world and to question their own history.
Tomislav Gotovac was born in Sombor in 1937 and died in Zagreb in 2010. Tom Gotovac (aka Antonio Lauer) was a Croatian movie director, concept and performance artist. In 1967 he organised the first happening in Zagreb. He was primarily known for his politically charged works, which dealt with communist Yugoslavia. The starting point of his artistic work was always a revelation of everyday living conditions, political manipulation and the reinterpretation of historic and political facts. The interaction of life and art plays a significant role in the work of Tomislav Gotovac. He mostly worked with his body to express protest in radical, emancipatory and anarchic approaches and put himself at the centre. While Eastern Europe was stripped of its political and artistic freedom, Gotovac used his naked body, literally stripping down to symbolise this freedom.
Performance and post-conceptualist artist Morbin Giovanni was born in Valdagno in 1956. He always works with his body and does not even shy away from radical, destructive performances in order to point out political or social grievances. His antiquarian or found objects such as vintage photographs or books are cut and treated, time and again bringing out the line that glorifies the fascist symbol. Based on several small-format works, Giovanni Morbin explores a time that took place without him. The work of Giovanni Morbin warns us of what happens when borders are closed and in which ways lines can be drawn. In a minimalist manner he points to the danger of the new rise of extreme right-wing parties all over Europe.
Born in Dubrovnik in 1964, Croatian artist Slaven Tolj gained international recognition for his installations, body art and performances, which reflect pronounced political and sociocultural criticism. The beginning of his career as an artist was strongly influenced by his experiences during the Yugoslav war, the disintegration of the state and most notably the siege of Dubrovnik by the Yugoslav army in 1991-92. Calmly and from a personal, guarded perspective, he examines the relationships and legacy of the war. The central theme of his works is avoiding direct language and images; rather, he works with omissions, between the visible and the invisible.
Marko Zink was born in Gaschurn in 1975. Using photographic means, he tries to make a dual disappearance visible: the extinction of people and the eradication of memories. The art form Marko Zink has chosen is analogue photography. He subjects the films to treatment before exposing them. He cooks, punches or cuts them, treats them with chlorine or ink eraser. With this delicate film material, he takes photos of selected places within and outside the former concentration camp Mauthausen in Austria. At times, Zink’s photographs seem like historic objects, taken quickly and
secretly, bleached by the sun, half destroyed by the impact of time. Sometimes the photos with their defects seem to give an account of the atrocities that took place here less than eight decades ago at a separate level. And sometimes they seem to make visible what only seemingly cannot be seen anymore.
3 EVENTS / presentation during the vienna contemporary
1) Friday, 27.9, 10 – 12h in galerie michaela stock, Schleifmühlgasse 18, 1040 Vienna
Gallery Breakfast in galerie michaela stock
Helen Carey, director of the Fire Station Artists' Studio in Dublin in conversation with international curator: Stef van Bellingen and Irish performance artists: Amanda Coogan, Laura Fitzgerald, Ann Maria Healy, Suzanne Walsh on the current performative exhibition EMBODIMENT / Capture Performance Focus / Ireland.
Cooperation: Dublin/Ireland and Vienna/ Austria
2) Friday, 27.9, 16 – 18h on our fair booth G13
Catalogue presentation: Marko Zink M 48° 15' 24.13'' N 14° 30' 6.31 E, Mauthausen - The Eradication of Memories, with authors of the publication
Since April 2019 the exhibition M 48° 15' 24.13'' N 14° 30' 6.31 E of the photographer Marko Zink is shown in the former concentration camp Mauthausen. The book contains the artworks on the one hand and the documentation of the exhibition on the other. With their texts, the authors make a significant contribution to the various perspectives of the art series and provide historical, pedagogical and socio-political embeddings. With text contributions by Felicitas Thun-Hohenstein, Wolfgang Huber Lang, Thomas Licek, Gudrun Blohberger, Bertrand Perz, Christian Dürr, Felicitas Heimann-Jelinek, Marija Nujic and Barbara Glück. The book will be published in autum / Mandelbaum Verla.g
3) Saturday, 28.9. um 15 Uhr on our fair booth G13
CD Presentation: Gordan Paunovic "OTHER VOICES - echoes from a war zone" with Elisabeth Zimmermann
Elisabeth Zimmermann, editor of the Ö1 radio series Radiokunst - Kunstradio, presents the CD of the Belgrade media artist Gordan Paunovic "OTHER VOICES - echoes from a war zone". This CD is a remix by Gordan Paunovic from his 100-minute Live Kunstradio programme, originally broadcast on April 29, 1999 from studio RP4 in the ORF Funkhouse Vienna. It deals with the bombing of Belgrade, which took place 20 years ago, with live audio streams, diary entries and sound works
The CD is available for 10,- Euro. Proceeds from the selling will be donated to a good cause (women's shelter in Belgrade).