Jasmina Cibic is participating in the group exhibition Hunting Narratives, curated by Denis Volk, taking place in UGM Studio in Maribor.
Animals and hunting have always been a part of human life. Because of its involvement with the basic instincts of survival and their inherently strong emotions, hunting holds an important position in the collective subconscious. The exhibition Hunting Narratives is merely a partial display of the integration of hunting into contemporary art formation. The works and approaches of artists are diverse and the discussed topics involve expressing emotions, historical research, symbolic content, and social criticism among other things. Conveying the message through "hunting material", the presence of animals, trophies, animal parts, and hunting customs are the common denominator of all exhibited works.
Compared to the past, relationships toward wild animals and hunting have been changing throughout modern times. Once the hunt was conducted for survival − wild animals provided food and other raw material; at the present, hunting is an industry regulated by law.
Ever since, body parts of respectfully killed animals or entire animals have represented a trophy for hunters, recognition and an award for a successful hunt. Trophies preserve the memory of the hunting merits for hunters; they prepare, collect and preserve them thoroughly.
Contemporary artists are fully aware of the hunting tradition, yet many of them are critical of hunting as a method of killing animals, especially because hunting is no longer conducted for survival but too often, in order to collect trophies.
(Excerpt from the exhibition announcement, courtesy of UGM Studio, Maribor)
Jasmina Cibic's work featured in the exhibition Hunting Narratives is the video document of her performance work The Ambassadors which was staged at a Maribor city square and which involves elements of hunting tradition that knows no territorial boundaries.
The Ambassadors is a site and context specific work that has been conceived specifically for the framework of the exhibition Borderline produced by the Universalmuseum Joanneum, Graz in the city of Maribor, that lies on the border between Slovenia and Austria. Jasmina Cibic’s performative installation introduced a mobile hunting hide that the artist placed in the city’s central square adorned by a monument of General Maister, a military officer and political activist who fought for the north Yugoslav and Slovene border. After centuries under Austrian control Maister succeeded to annex Maribor to the newly formed State of Slovenes, Croats and Serbs (1919). Therefore Maister is celebrated in Slovenia but considered a controversial political figure in Austria.
Alongside the monument of General Maister, the square is also the home to the linden tree planted on the occasion of declaration of Slovene independence (1991). These are both instances of unique manifestations of Slovenian emancipation and nation-state mythmaking. The installation hosted a series of vocal performances of the rut, by the rut section of the Slovene and Austrian hunting associations. The hunters performed the rut in four categories, which are characteristic of the European championship that national hunting associations undertake each year. Slovene and Austrian hunters were imitating two diverse rut positions: one team was imitating the older stag that controls the territory, whereas the second team imitated the young stag – the attacker and the threat.
By inserting a symbol of a stag, which is equally representational and a noted cultural export of both Austria and Slovenia, Cibic points to the fact that the markings of territorial boundaries and their celebration within public sculpture follow the same methodologies and use the same motifs. Therefore the artist’s interest here is the demystification of these processes. By equalising two national rut teams and placing them into the same architecture, making them play the same game, the staged action is disclosed to the spectator as a fiction which serves purely to illustrate the strategies of public sculpture. All public sculptures have strong political implications and they are always a product of an immediate situation. Political, cultural and economic shifts throughout the history have continuously produced new names for streets, squares and buildings while on the other hand the removal of public statues dedicated to the figures of undesired past has become the norm.
Uroš Acman, Andrej Brumen Čop, Aljaž Celarc, Jasmina Cibic, Mitja Ficko, Mito Gegič, Svetlana Jakimovska Rodić, Vladimir Leben, Irwin
© Studio Jasmina Cibic
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