Damir Očko: “Ljudska mjera / Human Scale”

 

Damir Očko: “Ljudska mjera / Human Scale”

12.09.2019 - 14.11.2019 / MSU, Prostor za povremene izložbe, 1. i 2. kat u 20:00 sati

Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb presents in a solo exhibition recent films, collages, and art books by one of the internationally most prominent Croatian artists, Damir Očko. This will bring together Očko’s remarkable production in the past ten years, including some of the works presented in the Croatian Pavilion at the 2015 Venice Biennale.

The artistic production of Damir Očko focuses on film, expanding, developing, and analyzing them in a series of visual and graphic elements – collages, objects, sound installations, and poetry, whereby the exhibition area is structured around film as a central place from which a series of units are formed as different studies. His films evolve as complex visual and sound structures in which the artist treats the visual frame, the poetic text, and the sound equally, using human voice and speech as one of the central elements in the composition, which direct the spaces of meaning, associations, and emotions. The images and words from which these complex structures emerge deal with the political implications and the social codes of control, punishment, violence, fragility, and resistance, as well as various degrees of oppression, focusing on the marginal states of the body. In Očko’s art, the poetic persists as a political statement – the rhythm of rebellion that is physical pulsation, as stated by the theorist Leonida Kovač in the monograph that will be published during the exhibition.

The exhibition Ljudska mjera / Human Scale brings together five key films by Damir Očko: SPRING (2012), TK (2014), Third Degree (2015), DICTA I (2017), and DICTA II (2018), in which bodily figures indicate interactions between the society of control and the violence it produces. The “human scale” from the exhibition title suggests the vulnerability and transience of corporeality, the feelings of insecurity and uncertainty. Here human body is both subject and object, both the vantage point and gradation or scale. It is the measure of vulnerability and exposure in which the title of the film Third Degree, for example, refers not only to severe burns, but also to the techniques of interrogation or torture legalized and protected by the ruling regime.

The artworks and the exhibition as a spatial and discursive form have here become a conceptual apparatus and an elaborate system open for rereading. Moving images alternate with a constellation of music scores and preparatory and documentary material for individual films, offering an insight into the process of artistic creation, as well as collages and art books. Architecture acts partly as a storyboard, but also as a medium for framing the exhibition space and directing the observers’ intensity of attention and movement.

Damir Očko, winner of this year’s first HT Award for Croatian Contemporary Art, is one of the most prominent Croatian visual artists of his generation. He has exhibited in numerous solo and group exhibitions. Extensive presentations of his work – films, collages, and installations – have so far been held mostly outside Croatia. The more significant exhibitions include the solo exhibition Kingdom of glottis at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris (2012); Studije drhtanja / Studies on Shivering at KM – Halle für Kunst und Medien – Künstlerhaus Graz (2014); Kunsthalle Dusseldorf (2011); Yvon Lambert Gallery, Paris (2013); Repeat After Me, Eastward Prospectus in Bucharest (2016); Jeu de Paume in Paris and CPAC Bordeaux (2018); and National Gallery in Prague (2018); he is currently preparing a solo exhibition at the Morra Greco Foundation in Naples (2020). Očko represented the Republic of Croatia at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015 with an exhibition titled Studies on Shivering: Third Degree. His works are included in numerous international museum and private collections, such as MUDAM Luxembourg, Le Plateau, Fundation Louis Vuitton, and CNAP Paris National Collection.

Curators: Branka Benčić, Jasna Jakšić

Architecture and layout: Ana Dana Beroš and Damir Očko

Sponsored by: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia; Gaep Gallery, Bucharest; Tiziana di Caro Gallery, Naples; Regeneracija Zabok and Combis.