• Gallery of Matrix Croatica
  • December 2016
  • Performans & video

Galleries should be laboratories, not places for the glorification of art...
Harald Szeemann

No need to look back, always need to look in front of you.
Ivan Kožarić

The last work of this artist, the project SELFIE dislocated performer & located audience, was part of the project started earlier called Towning. Towning was devised at the end of 2012, the objective being to produce an art project with the use of resources not commonly found in art, in a gym, with a bicycle. The ultimate result of these activities was an artwork made up of a film (dynamic movement), a sculpture (the artist’s body) and a drawing. In fact it was the making of drawings that was the original idea of the artist, who had recorded all his cycling with a GPS app on a mobile phone and then via Google Earth presented them in a form of a kind of urban blood circulation of his own. The production was started in mid-2013 and was completed in mid-2016. In this period more than 15,000 km were ridden on the bike. All the neighbourhoods of the city were taken in, and the route taken along the streets is clearly visible on a map of the city thanks to the red lines, the thickness of which is in proportion to the amount of times each street was ridden down. The initial part of the project, which is not a part of the current exhibition, will be presented in three video works shot during rides along the most common routes on different days and at different times (Saturday evening, Sunday morning and Monday afternoon).

A major preoccupation of the artist, visible in his work since the Nine Views project of 2004, in which he deployed objects around socio-geographically entirely different city neighbourhoods, is to enable people of different age and social groups, genders and intellectual backgrounds, to have equal approaches to the project. In Towning the artist brings his artistic work, drawing with a bike, up close to anyone who happens to be in the vicinity at the moment of the artistic act

In some earlier projects, for example in Outsider of 2000, Have you ever seen Diablo? of 2003, and Retrospective of Davor Preis of 2007, this author has endeavoured in a certain way to undress himself, and this has continued in Towning, as he produces his artwork in front of the spectator. His ride, which reflects a kind of obsession with the bike, has taken on, then, the characteristics of a performance of self-denuding.

It’s worth also mentioning the Landscapers project of 2001, Think about... of 2003 and First orbit of 2010, in which the artist plus collaborators, or on his own, explores the relation of art and science. He engages science as inspiration, theme or critique. In Towning, science has been replaced by sport, which will be treated in all these ways throughout the project.

The whole of this artist’s work is prompted by research into the artistic in a work that he presents as art, in a continuous endeavour to make a break with classical and dubiously artistic manners of creating.

This handful of intimate interests of the artist are the reason for the creation of the current art project, SELFIE dislocated performer & located audience, devised for the Matica Hrvatska Gallery. By announcing an artwork in the classic sense, the artist brought visitors interested in his work into the gallery. But his presence was denied them, and the performance heralded took place out of the view of the observers in the intimate space of a household gym. The author documented the performance with a selfie video, and the mood and possible comments on the visitors whose expectations had been betrayed in the gallery that was devoid of any of the usual artistic events or happenings was recorded with a move camera by his chum, film author and critic Damir Radić. The two of them edited the film with takes from both performances, for the visitors, if not by any will of their own, were promoted into performers. With his kind of procedure the artist provides his performance to visitors to the gallery not only to look at but to be involved in. A visit to the exhibition on this occasion, then, is an integral part of the artistic act.

Davor Preis