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INTER NOS - First video performances of Croatian artists from the Collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art

Collection in motion

Video as a new art medium appeared in the second half of the 1960s and marked a radical break with the traditional approach to depicting reality using a distant view and Euclidean perspective. The camera, in dynamic relationship with the body of the performer, created new possibilities for showing not only the objective but also the subjective experience of the performer’s body through distorted perception and anamorphic representations of his or her body, and Dan Graham’s first video performances played an important role in the history of video art. They introduced another novelty, as well – moving from a “narcissistic” optic involving spiral camera play toward the look, or the body, of another active performer, but also including the audience in the observation and self-observation process. In the context of presenting Graham’s early video performances, which in the late 1960s marked the beginning of media art, we singled out from the MSU Collection the first video works by Croatian artists that centered (not without a dose of humor), in this pioneer age, on analytical reflections about video and its limitations both as a medium and physically. However, another theme is equally present – examining the artist’s position in relation to problems of identity in interaction with the new technology.

Most of the videos shown were made in 1976 as part of the international Motovun Art Meetings, that year entitled Identity-Identita, with the participation of artists Sanja Iveković, Dalibor Martinis and Goran Trbuljak. Today their works can be found in the MSU Collection. Besides by Galleria del Cavallino from Venice, at that time one of the first to follow and support experimental processes linked to the development of new media, the event was organized by the Pazin Ethnographic Museum and the Galleryof Contemporary Art (today MSU).

In all these early works created as part of the Motovun Meetings and somewhat later, researching and revealing one’s own and another’s body with a camera also implied creative research into new possibilities afforded by the medium itself: awareness about the flow of time and the possibility of manipulating time (Goran Trbuljak, Rearview Mirror), exploring the issue of representation – the subjective and the objective view (Sanja Iveković, Monument and Nessie), critique of the medium as such, that is, the possibility of misusing the electronic image (Dalibor Martinis, Video immunity) and, finally, turning attention from the “narcissistic” view, which then dominated in the works of video artists, toward establishing (media mediated) interaction with the audience in the performance by direct transfer of the electronic image, i.e. by introducing the new technology of closed circuit video (Sanja Iveković).

Curators: Radmila Iva Janković, senior curator and Tihomir Milovac, museum advisor and coauthor of The Collection in Motion. Exhibition set-up: Tihomir Milovac


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