Lectures and talks by international curators and artists: Vera Lauf, Walter Seidl, Sanja Stanić and Žižić/Kožul, on the occasion of finissage of the exhibition 'Wonderful Things will Happen' in Mali Salon, MMSU Rijeka.
In the Search for Public Space: Urban Transformations and the Revision of Modernist Architecture in Art
Recent transformations in urban and social life were driven by economic logics in which the rise of a consumer culture came to the fore. The Museum of Contemporary Art in Leipzig (gfzk), located in a city in which radical changes in the urban landscape took place after 1989 – has put a focus on the relationship between art and public space in several projects. Through exhibitions, art projects in the city and by commissioning new art works the search for alternatives to the dominant economic logics lead to a revision of the (socialist) modernist heritage of the city of Leipzig. The talk will analyse the alternatives, which were presented through these projects, and will discuss how a reflection of modernism is able to provide the re-creation of a public space.
Gender Strategies as a Constituent of the Kontakt Art Collection
More than forty years of reflecting on and discussing the boundaries and restrictions of sexual identity, standardizations and transgressions of physical appearance and mentally preconfigured constructions of social behavior have given rise to a plethora of artistic outputs on the theme of gender relations and its everyday perception. As in the USA, both in Western and Eastern Europe, a cultural revolution has taken place since the sixties that has fundamentally changed gender relations. In particular, visual and performative artists have tried to cut into the dominant, conservative and restrictive reality but also to carve out their own artistic realities on specific issues.
What is at stake in many current artworks that try to link up to the history of gender relations are references to the historically important decade of the 1960s and the lingering relevance for present artistic strategies.
Shopping Center - Social Contextualization of the Consumer Space
Shopping malls developed as a response to social changes and consumer needs of the American suburbs after the Second World War. This product of the specific consumer society and its culture of spending has grown into a global phenomenon that dictates the homogenization of consumption and consumer behavior. The secret to the success of shopping centers lies in the consumption that is incorporated in leisure activities, consumption that takes place in spaces of comfort and security. However, these are the spaces of illusions, implosions, simulations and ambivalence. Artificial surroundings, which join architecture and design with consumption, produce negative effects on individual, both in material and spiritual sense.
Shopping centers in Croatia are still in expansion. They will continue to be our habitats for a long time, playing their role of incorporators of consumerist way of life. However, their future is predictable and known. In this world of ephemeral joys, fast satiation and “fading malls”, postmodern consumers have already been offered new attractions of a “post-mall” world.
Guided tour of the exhibition
The exhibition encompasses several working units belonging to our artistic practice. The works map specific segments of the current post-transitional reality which once also offered seemingly convincing optimistic visions of happiness available to everyone, and which are now obviously quite different from the everyday state of affairs. By referring to the ever-unattainable dream of the middle class’s comfortable life through topics such as the currently almost surreal optimism of dazzling marketing, which is in turn defined by the possibility of a wide choice of consumption or by the triumph of expressionless servility in the form of the myth of the tourist economy.
The term of capitalist realism was coined fifty years ago and it was identified as a critique of the bourgeois middle class and its idealization of consumerism. Today the term is painfully important because it has been absurdly contextualized – the middle class has disappeared from the social hierarchy, while the possibility of choice has become a virtual category which offers a myriad of almost identical results with certain adjustments.
Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka and Nomad
Kristian Kožul and Damir Žižić
Sabina Salamon and Ksenija Orelj, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka
Vanja Žanko, Nomad
EU Programme – Culture (2007 - 2013), the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia, The City of Rijeka, Goethe Institut in Zagreb, the Austrian Cultural Forum in Zagreb
The exhibition is a part of the international project Copula (Spajalica), organized by the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka.