Miško Šuvaković: “Photographic Diagrams: Processing”
The Spot Gallery and the Office for Photography announce the exhibition Photographic Diagrams: Processing by the artist Miško Šuvaković. The exhibition opening will be held on 11th September at 7 p.m. at the Spot Gallery.
Since the end of the 1950s, as the post-war high modernism gradually wanes, the art scene simultaneously experiences a series of innovations in photography in terms of form and content. Thanks to these, the complex question of the role of the medium in the context of contemporary art starts to receive more thorough consideration. Not uncommonly, the medium serves as a channel for accessing information about certain artistic strategies that do not necessarily stem from photography. Attempting to interpret such works, unconventional approaches defined by concept are employed; works that display a conspicuous processuality, and even a kind of distance in relation to the standard understanding of what a work of art is, as well as a distancing from the audience, who need not be privy to the entire process of creating such works. Or else, a more comprehensive understanding of the nature of a work of art comes much later.
In the exhibition titled Photographic Diagrams: Processing, Miško Šuvaković presents a series of photographic works created between 1974 and 1985, and one created in 2019 with the support and advice from the Provisional Salta Ensemble platform. In line with the postulates of conceptual practice, earlier analogue recordings were created based on the artist’s treatment of his (own) body and materials, while the recent series Arguing over Cinema (2019) is the result of combining digital images of the artist’s face in moments of confrontation with frames from films, taken and appropriated from social media. The “stage” on which this series was exhibited daily was precisely a popular social network, while its gallery “performance” was transformed into a projection designed to simulate the mode of handling and “scrolling” through such content.
The very name of the exhibition indicates that the photographic series are conceptually motivated, and that an inter-relationship between image, text and potential mental representations is formed in the “space” behind their visible reality. Precisely along these lines, by freely reaching for mediums (photographs, moving images, performances, books) and changing their contexts, changes the meaning of each of them. In Miško Šuvaković’s case, as in the case of other artists who opt for a conceptual approach, freedom of creation and behaviour, as well as autonomy and a sort of resistance in relation to dominant narratives are what matters. These are procedures that contribute to shifts in the understanding of what art is and departures from standard explanations of its meaning. Much of it remains in the zone of uncertainty, while the reign of once incontestable – all-embracing – works of art dissolves into a series of procedures that require a differently attuned observer, ready to adopt or produce new knowledge.
Although photography in a way stabilises a certain state of being and seemingly creates a frame within which it fixates relationships, its territory of activity in the conceptual “key”, for which Šuvaković reaches as well, transforms into an open-ended field in which everyday life, even routine and banality, become legitimate means of artistic expression, with the occasional insertion of theoretical and/or autobiographical references. This attitude aligns with the acceptance of art as an open field, where by the artist may do what they think they should, while the distinction between art and life disappears with the adoption of Fluxus principles.
Sandra Križić Roban
Miško Šuvaković (Belgrade, 1954) received his doctoral degree from the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade in 1993. He taught at several master’s and doctoral programmes, and since 2015 teaches at the Faculty of Media and Communications in Belgrade, where he is head of the transdisciplinary studies in contemporary arts and media. He has published 50 theoretical books in Serbian, English, Croatian and Slovenian.
He was a member of the conceptualist Group 143 (1975–1980), a member of the Community for Space Investigation (1982–1989), an associate of the platform Walking Theory (Teorija koja hoda, since 2000) and the platform/team Provisional Salta Ensemble (2008–). His curatorial concepts encompass 40 group problem exhibitions in Belgrade, Zagreb, Ljubljana, Leipzig, Niš, Maribor, Rijeka and Novi Sad (1978–).
He has exhibited works in solo and group exhibitions (1974–1993), while during the 2000s he co-organised retrospective exhibitions of Group 143 (Novi Sad, Belgrade, Zagreb), and exhibitions of the platform Walking Theory (Belgrade) and Provisional Salta Ensemble (Ljubljana). In the period from 1976 to 1993, he exhibited at several noteworthy photography exhibitions (Photography as Art – New Photography 2, Centre for Photography, Film and TV, Zagreb, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Razstavni salon Rotovž, Maribor; Sequences, Student Cultural Centre Gallery, Belgrade, Music Showroom and Multimedia Research Centre of the Student Centre, Zagreb; Themes and Functions of the Medium of Photography, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade; 9th Autumn Salon – the Presence of Photography in Contemporary Art, Cultural Centre Exhibition Hall, Banja Luka; Photography as Art – Art as Photography 3, Fotoforum Kassel, Institute of Contemporary Art, London, Edificio Chiado, Coimbra, Centro de Arte Contemporanea, Museo Soares dos Reis, Porto, Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, Lisbon, Fundació Joan Miró, Barcelona; New Photography 3, CEFFT Zagreb City Gallery, Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Razstavni salon Rotovž, Maribor; Photography as Art – Art as Photography, Gallery SKC, Belgrade; Realism Anti-realism, Gallery PM, Zagreb; Metafigures and Paratopologies – Photos and Texts 1973–1993, Student Cultural Center Gallery, Belgrade).
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