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Sabina Mikelić – In Between

SABINA MIKELIĆ’S EXHIBITION
FOR THE VIRTUAL GALLERY OF THE ART PAVILION

In Between

The artistic research of Sabina Mikelić is shot through with her own experience of moving from Croatia to the Netherlands. A change in the fundamental circumstances of life and in the personal perception of the artist triggered her adoption of the issue of physical place in her recent works – Ode to Joy (2019), Beyond the Choir (2019) and Looking for Her (2020). The artist assigned the main roles in these pieces to the participants of her researches, gradually circling in to the introspection conducted through a very personal multimedia installation, In Between (2022). Testing out her position, of being between two places, two cultures and three languages, the artist in her highly aware choice of the language of the title of the work designates English the bridge between her native language and that acquired in adulthood.

In association with therapist and writer Aida Bagić, the artist began the process of reflection on her own existence within her place between. The creative process resulted in intimate texts from which the work In Between developed, the artist transmitting the raw parts of it in three films – elements of the associative map of her places. The starting part of the narrative refers to the olive tree as that which characterises Rab, island of Sabina Mikelić’s birth. The viewer is faced with a static take of the island filmed from a distance, emphasising the physical distance between the place from which the artist derives and the place of her current location. The following part of this, as it were, cinematic triptych is dedicated to cows, the animals the artist meets during her fieldwork maintaining the land for the ecological projects on dairy farms in Frisia. While listening to the artist speaking about cows, the viewer sees in close up another static take, this time of grass, and instead of looking at the olive trees, looks at the distant island. In this act the artist invokes the imagination of the individual, inviting them to an internal journey and to a search for their own places of the spirit and upon earth. The subject of the last film is the road, metaphorical sign for the internal state of the artist, marked by incessant, demanding and exhausting journeying between the two destinations. At the same time, the ritual of travelling subtly suggests the importance that Croatia and Rab have for Sabina Mikelic, ramping up thereby the impression of melancholy and nostalgia present in all the films.

In Phase 2 of the work, the artist tests out the theme of place, of her own identity, describing the island on which she grew up through its indigenous vegetation. Linking Rab and the Netherlands, photographs of sorghum, grass, spurge, asparagus and other plants that the author connects with her childhood are imprinted on a characteristic Dutch cheesecloth. Since the artist collected these plants with her mother on Rab, she has published the mother’s recorded descriptions of the ways in which the plants are used in a separate booklet. The artist translated the mother’s descriptions from the Croatian dialect into Dutch and English using Google translate. This emphasises the traditional challenges in expressing and finding equivalents of the native language in later acquired languages, as well as the paradox of translation, during which the primordial, mother tongue loses any sense at all. Significantly, Sabina Mikelić today uses her native dialect only on Rab, in the family circle. Her grandfather spent his working life in the Rijeka Rope Factory, the ropemaking tradition being continued by her father and brother. Because of her continued encounters in the Netherlands with the sea and with rope, because of the popularity of sailing in the country, the artist plaited rope from Rab with the equivalent from Dutch sailing boats, symbolically thus interweaving the two cultures in the last phase of the work presented by documentary materials.

Sabina Mikelić does not position her own place between physically, rather determining it as a process of the personal transformation of an identity defined by geographic variables and feelings of belonging to culturally different climes and settings. “I was much more afraid of the cows, now less.” The artist’s words literally convey the positive outcome of a complex process of her adjustment to life in Holland, country that she today calls her “second mother”. In this virtual exhibition, the artist presents the physical relation with the Netherlands, with its soil and its grass, which she begins to experience as her own, through photos of powdered Dutch grass. For an exhibition recently held in Apoteka – space for contemporary art, Sabina Mikelić scattered the powder derived from chopped grass she had mown in the field in Frisia alongside the walls of the Vodnjan gallery, representing quite equally an attempt to bring the two countries together and a straining to belong. Unlike the physical exhibition in Apoteka, the show on the web site of the Art Pavilion does not manage to convey to the visitor the scent of cut hay, which underlines the problems faced by contemporary artists who endeavour to present multimedia works in a virtual space, particularly acute in the post-pandemic and post-earthquake times that are our reality. On the other hand, for the purpose of exhibiting In Between in the Virtual Gallery of the Art Pavilion she has supplemented it with an excerpt from the book Belonging by writer Toko-pa Turner, confirming the processual nature of this work in progress. The art of Toko-pa Turner is also marked by moving places – from England to Canada, albeit in her early childhood. Freely translated, Turner says: “Being able to move somewhere easily is not enough for this place to become your home.” What then is enough for a country to be called your own? How do you make a country your home? What is meant by the category of integration? Sabina Mikelić starts up these and other questions, offering us in this exhibition a kind of synthesis of film, writing, psychotherapy and documentary materials transformed into virtual form, into a place of contemplation.

Foreword by Aneta Barišić

Access the virtual exhibition by clicking on the photo:

Website design by inbetween.sabinamikelic.com: Andrija Šobak i Sabina Mikelić

List of exhibitions

Solo exhibitions:

2022 In Between – Virtualna galerija, Umjetnički paviljon u Zagrebu
2022 In Between, Apoteka – Space for Contemporary Art, Vodnjan
2021 Oda radosti, Galerija SC, Zagreb
2021 Tražeći nju, AK galerija, Koprivnica
2021 Tražeći nju, Galerija 90-60-90, Zagreb
2019 Beyond the Choir, u sklopu ciklusa Kinematografije otpora, Galerija 90-60-90, Pogon Jedinstvo, Zagreb

 

Group exhibitions:

2021 Interakcije 2021, Post, ex-Expoplu, Arnhem / Nijmegen
2020 Umjetnost u obrazovanju, kolaboracija s Galerijom Prozori, Zagreb
2019 Izložba radova finalista Nagrade Radoslav Putar, Muzej moderne i suvremene umjetnosti Rijeka, Mali salon, Rijeka
2018 In Process, Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam
2016 15 godina stakla na Akademiji likovnih umjetnosti, Muzej Mimara, Zagreb
2016 Kratke slike, MM centar, Zagreb
2015 T-ht@msu, Muzej suvremene umjetnosti, Zagreb
2015 Četverorukost – mala izvedbena konferencija Bol u intimnom, socijalnom i političkom kontekstu, Akademija dramskih umjetnosti, Zagreb
2015 Otvoreni atelje 10, Kik Melone, Amoroso, Academia Moderna, Zagreb
2014 Četverorukost – mala izvedbena konferencija Bol u intimnom, socijalnom i političkom kontekstu, Podrum, Zagreb
2014 Interface, Galerija Greta, Zagreb
2014 Task projekt, suradnja s Plesnim centrom Tala, Zagreb
2014 Žene umjetnice, Galerija Knežev dvor, Rab
2013 Austerity and Trick, Pogon Jedinstvo, Zagreb
2012 INA energija, Akademija likovnih umjetnosti, Zagreb
2012 VIG special invitation, Vienna Insurance Group, Beč, Austrija
2011 Essl Art Award CEE 2011, Essl Museum, Klosterneuburg, Austrija
2011 Essl Art Award CEE 2011, Muzej suvremene umjetnosti, Zagreb
2011 International Project Transform 2011, Sofija, Bugarska
2011 Autoportret u matičnom mediju, Marisal galerija, Zagreb
2011 Otvoreno polje, Marisal galerija, Zagreb
2010 Erste fragmenti 7, Zagreb
2010 Salon mladih, Hrvatsko društvo likovnih umjetnika, Zagreb
2010 Izvan formata, suradnja Ekonomskog fakulteta i Akademije likovnih umjetnosti, Zagreb
2009 Urban festival, Zagreb
2009 Preplitanja, Galerija Prozori, Zagreb
2009 43. likovni susret / Umjetnička grafika i suvremeni mediji, Moderna galerija, Subotica, Srbija
2006 Projekt Fragmenti grada, Galerija Pravi put, Zagreb
2004 Izložba Tekstilno-tehnološkog fakulteta, Studentski centar, Zagreb
2002 Klinasto ruho, Etnografski muzej, Zagreb

 

Festivals:

2019. Filmska runda, prikazivanje filma Motori, Osijek
2015. Noć hrvatske kinematografije, Kino Europa, Zagreb
2015. Etnofilm Festival 2015., Rovinj (u konkurenciji)
2015. Pobjednici Liburnia Film Festivala, Dokukino Kic, Zagreb
2014. Liburnia Film Festival, Ičići (u konkurenciji)
2014. Etnofilm Festival, Rovinj (u konkurenciji)
2013. Liburnia Film Festival, Ičići (u konkurenciji)
2012. Dani hrvatskoga filma, Zagreb (u konkurenciji)

 

Lectures and workshops:

2021/2022 Radionica Take me to a place, BA Docent Teathre, Zwolle, voditeljica radionice
2020 Umjetnost u obrazovanju, kolaboracija s Galerijom Prozori, Zagreb
2020 From Zwolle, sincerely, Winterlab Artez, Zwolle, Nizozemska, voditeljica radionice
2019 Hearth, De Appel, Amsterdam, Nizozemska, predavačica
2019 Anima Dramaturgica, Akademija dramske umjetnosti, Zagreb, predavačica
2019 Kinematografije otpora, Subversive Film Festival, Muzej suvremene umjetnosti Zagreb, razgovor s umjetnicom
2019 Etnofilm Festival, prezentacija istraživanja Filming Beyond, Rovinj
2016 Kratke slike, MM centar, Zagreb, prezentacija rada i razgovor s umjetnicom

 

Residencies:

2020 Social aspects, Derde Wal, Nijmegen
2021 Interactions 2021, Post (Expoplu), Nijmegen, Arnhem

 

Projects:

2015 – 2016 BDC Discoveries (Balkan Documentary Center Bugarska )
radionice za razvoj dokumentarnog projekta, gostovanje redateljice (Sabina Mikelić) i izvršne producentice Maje Čuljak na tri modula (Sofija, Bugarska, Prizren / Dokufest, Kosovo i Jihlava, Češka) projekt Leopoldina, Produkcijska kuća Restart

2015 – 2016 Partnerstva i mogućnosti
Suradnica na projektu Škole za umjetnost, dizajn, grafiku i odjeću, Zabok
Autorica promotivnog videa za projekt Zagorske razvojne agencije i Hrvatskog zavoda za zapošljavanje, podružnica Krapina

2015 – 2016 Kroz školski kurikulum do suvremenih sadržaja i metoda u studijskoj produkciji, partneri Elektrostrojarska škola Varaždin, Škola za umjetnost, dizajn, grafiku i odjeću Zabok, Produkcijska kuća Restart, Sveučilište Vern

2016 Državno natjecanje iz Grafičke tehnologije, sektor multimedija, produkcija glazbenog video spota, mentorica

 

Awards:

2019 Finalistica nagrade za najboljeg mladog hrvatskog vizualnog umjetnika Radoslav Putar
2015 Nagrada za najbolji pitch filma (Leopoldina, produkcijska kuća Restart), Balkan Documentary Center, Dokufest, Prizren, Kosovo
2014 Nagrada za najbolji regionalni film, Liburnia Film Festival
2014 Nagrada za poseban doprinos etnografskom filmu, Etnofilm Rovinj
2012 INA energija, nagrada, drugo mjesto
2011 Essl Art Award CEE 2011, glavna nagrada i otkup djela
2011 VIG Vienna Insurance Group Prize, nagrada i otkup djela
2011 Fragmenti 7 – stipendija Erste banke i otkup djela
2010 Rektorova nagrada za najbolji likovni rad Sveučilišta u Zagrebu
2009 Nagrada za najbolje trodimenzionalno rješenje za Nagradu Luka Ritz za promicanje tolerancije i nenasilja u školama

Biography

Sabina Mikelić (1981) is a Croatian visual artist and film director. In 2010 she completed the degree course in fashion design at the Textile Faculty in Zagreb and the degree course in graphic arts at the Zagreb Academy of Fine Art. Then in 2013 she took another degree at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, in animation and new media.  In 2018 she completed a graduate course in film at the Netherlands Film Academy in Amsterdam.  Since 2021 she has worked as mentor at the Master Kunsteducatie ArtEZ Zwolle.  Sabina Mikelić has been exhibiting solo since 2009.  To date she has had many exhibitions in Croatia and abroad, as well as screenings of her films. She has won a number of prizes and grants, and her works are featured in international collections (Baumax Vienna Insurance Group, ESSL Museum and private collections.  The experimental film on which she is currently working won the prize for the best pitch in the workshop of the Balkan Documentary Centre in Prizren,  Kosovo, during Dokufest 2015.  She is also engaged in expressive art therapy.  She resides alternately in Croatia and the Netherlands. 

For more information visit:  http://sabinamikelic.com/

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Umjetnički paviljon u Zagrebu, sjeverno pročelje, 2018.

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