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Sandro Đukić at Spot Gallery

Spot Gallery and Office for Photography announce the opening of an exhibition An Archive as a Memory Construct by Croatian artist Sandro Đukić.

The exhibition opening and artist talk will be held on Monday, 21 October at 7 pm in Spot Gallery (Čanićeva 6, Zagreb).

 

Sandro Đukić, “Self-portrait”, 1989

 

Mentioning of an archive generally implies the assumption of its material embodiment, the ability to locate its elements that may or may not be connected in an organized whole. We are far less likely to question the reason why an archive was created or whether the way it is arranged conditions the way in which we use it. The question of an archive as a construct is a question of how we accumulate historical knowledge and forms of remembrance (Charles Merewether) and, thus, the title An Archive as a Memory Construct casts doubt on the material aspect of the archive itself. If an archive was created by reconstructing memories of individuals, can it then meet the demands of data accuracy and veracity (which we somehow presume when holding a document from the corresponding period)?

The end of the 1980s marked the beginning of the former state’s dissolution which triggered a series socio-political change. The disintegration of old structures and relationships, with walls literally being torn down, was welcomed with open arms – the rejection of old ideologies opened the space for utopia. In a situation where the further course of action is unknown, all options are open.

The starting point of Sandro Đukić‘s project An Archive as a Memory Construct is his own artwork realized and destroyed in the early 1990s. Namely, just before the outbreak of the Homeland War, Đukić’s first objects were created and which consisted of photographs (“self-portraits” in an atypical form) applied to three-dimensional structures made of ultrapas with the added electronics. Some of these objects were exhibited at the Objects exhibition in Gliptoteka, organized by the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, featuring – in addition to Đukić – theorist Krešimir Purgar and artist Damir Babić. These objects, as well as the exhibition concept, were theoretically based on the texts by Jean Baudrillard, Gilles Deleuze, Slavoj Žižek, as well as on psychoanalysis and antipsychiatry and strongly focused on the position of the subject in a post-ideological society. The uncertainty of the time when the objects were produced was emphasized with use of ultrapas, a material that mimics natural materials, in addition to the meticulous design of objects which were made to appear as industrial products rather than unique objects. After the exhibition in Gliptoteka, all the objects on display were unfortunately destroyed. Shortly thereafter, one of the destroyed works won the award of the Croatian Association of Visual Artists, within the framework of the last Biennale of Young Yugoslav Artists held in the summer of 1991, and which – since 1960 – had been organized by the Modern Gallery (today’s Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art) in Rijeka. For this purpose, Đukić reconstructed the award-winning work. Unfortunately, this exhibition coincided with the beginning of the war in Yugoslavia, and the exhibition opening was staged on the same day that the war in Slovenia broke out. In view of the escalating political tensions, artists from all Yugoslav republics participated in a symbolic protest against the war at the invitation of the Gallery Director Berislav Valušek. The paintings were turned to face the walls, while sculptures were covered in sheets.

After this exhibition, Đukić’s object was again destroyed.

Almost thirty years later, Đukić has returned to his lost work by creating an archive of materials that cover the process of the object’s creation and destruction. He gathers and reconstructs certain elements with a forensic precision, examines the initial artistic intent as well as the time when the work was realized. Ultimately, by revising of what seemed possible back then in relation to what really happened, Đukić approaches the reconstruction (making a replica) of the work itself as to open up new levels of meaning.

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Sandro Đukić (1964, Zagreb) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in the class of Đuro Seder, after which he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Dusseldorf, at the Video Art Department, in the class of prof. Nam June Paik and completed Nan Hoover’s Master Workshop. He has exhibited at numerous solo and group exhibitions in Croatia and abroad. As a lecturer, he has participated in several national and international symposia. He has received a number of awards and accolades for his work (ArtsLink Independent Projects Award, USA, etc.) and has participated in a number of residency programmes (Kaleidoscope of Pacific Standard Time– KPST; Montalvo Art Center, Saratoga, California, USA; Workshop at the Islandic College of Art (DAAD Stipendium, KD), Iceland, etc.). His works are part of public and private collections. He lives and works in Zagreb.

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The exhibition closes on November 8.

The exhibition is supported by City of Zagreb, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and Kultura Nova Foundation.

Opening hours of Spot Gallery:
Mon – Fri / 4 – 8 pm