International photography exhibition organised by Croatian Photographic Union.
Neither From, Nor Towards…
Did you, upon awakening today, see the future from the still point of the turning world?
The exhibition Neither From, Nor Towards… (its title taken from Four Quartets by T.S. Eliot) takes place in the Zagreb Art Pavillion, built a result of negotiations with Croatian cultural actors to participate at the 1898 Budapest Millenium Exhibition, celebrating the thousandth „anniversary“ of the Hungarian nation in the historical context of the Austro-Hungarian Monarchy. The Budapest Millenium Exhibition, similarly to the 1924 Great Empire Exhibition in London, was conceived following the model of the then popular World Fairs, events that only seemingly included a more „horizontal“ and democratic constellation – not showcasing the geographies of empires with their colonies and dominions but, instead, the „world as a whole“.
Neither From, Nor Towards… recalls not the structure or „intent“ of world expositions, but the spectres of their proclaimed belief in the future of mankind, based on the hegemony of Western ideas of modernity and progress realized through past and existing colonial equasions. The histories of world expositions can thus be read as scripts for the histories of the world, revealing the global power relations of an era, beneath the optimistic glow highlighting utopian visions and glorious prospects for the „future of mankind“.
Situated in a historicist art pavilion, the exhibition reflects the relations of histories of architecture, photography and the ideology of exhibition with histories of power and subjugation, as well as the histories of past utopian and futurological visions, embodied in the promises of architecture and technology. Artistic positions investigate issues of ideologies of representation, spaces of tension between the observer and the observed, the colonial imaginary of exotization, architecture as a reflection of social transformation and economic power relations, historical and art historical narratives, as well as the history of unequal relations in the field of art production and the production of meaning. The artworks it brings together do not form a clearly delineated narrative, but meet in an intertwined and „weak“ structure, in a mutual state of being haunted by similar questions, unfinished histories, forgotten visions and past futures.
The exhibition thus opens itself to reading the world in a way that theorist Mirko Suvakovic suggested to read the ideology of exhibition: not as „an aggregate of oriented and entirely rationalised intentions of its organisers“ but as the difference between the indended and unintended, the conscious and the unconscious, as „a precarious atmosphere (environment) of conceptualised as well as non-conceptualised possibilities, decisions, symbolisations, solutions, proclamations, oversights (erasure), fortuitous choices, selections, proposals, values, tacit insights, censorships, the effects of public and tacit taste, justifications, desires and social functions that form some sort of acceptable reality (…)“. Simultaneously, when contextualized within the specific space of the Art Pavilion in the context of Croatian institutional reality, the title of the exhibition takes on another, quite prosaic meaning and points to the paradoxes of hierarchical relationships between institutional and independent cultural actors. By deliberately appropriating and „inheriting“ the situation found on-site and ignoring spatial and physical remnants of the previous exhibition as well as the pavillion”s walls, the set up of Neither From, Nor Towards… realized in collaboration with „Two plus – Studio for architecture and visual communications“ demonstrates the intention to bypass and subvert the paradigm of power relations embodied in the relationship between institutions and non-institutional „content providers“. Neither From Nor Towards: Did you, upon awakening today, see the future from the still point of the turning world? is the third in the trilogy of exhibitions based on exploring the relation between narrative structures and Agamben’s idea of the immemorable initiated in 2007 with the exhibition Stalking With Stories. The Pioneers of the Immemorable, Apexart, NY and continued with the second part – And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out in 2009 in Kunsthalle Exnergasse, Vienna.
Artists: Vahram Aghasyan, Ben Cain, Alex Cecchetti, Haris Epaminonda, Zachary Formwalt, Tina Gverovic, Eric Van Hove, Gregor Neuerer, Lisl Ponger, Olivia Plender, Marinella Senatore, Guido van der Werve Curators: Antonia Majaca/Ivana Bago (Institute for Duration, Location and Variables – DeLVe)
Organiser: Croatian Photo Association Exhibition design Ana Dana Beros, Iskra Filipovic, Judita Ljutic, Damir Ljutic (2+)
Supported by: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, 2+ Studio for architecture and visual communication, Zagreb City Office for Culture, artists and friends Research collaboration: Rebecca McKay, Ana Kovacic, Jelena Pasic (DeLVe), Vedran Druzina (2+)