FokusFokus_8: Aphra Tesla: 8 samosti

(#FokusFokus je serija tekstov, člankov, intervjujev, recenzij, ki predstavlja enega izmed temeljev medijsko-arhivske platforme iLabGT22.)

 

Recenzija samostojne razstava v IzložbaInkubator in BlackBoxGT22 (english version bellow)

 

Aphra Tesla: 8 samosti

Samostojna razstava v IzložbaInkubator in BlackBoxGT22

8 samosti je razstava, ki je vzniknila iz kompleksnih ustvarjalnih začetkov in je produkt avtorskega projekta TOD MIT VORTEIL (Smrt z namenom), ki je bil razstavljen leta 2021 v Narva Art Residency, kot del instalacije Armastus (Ljubezen) in je nastal kot rezultat sodelovanja med umetnico Aphro Tesla in estonskim umetnikom Jevgenijem Zolotkom ki je ustvaril različice antičnih herm, ki so temeljene in inspirirane po Aphri Tesla.

Namreč, ustvarila je akuzmatično glasbo, delikatne uglasbitve ženitnih oglasov iz starih ruskih časopisov, ki jih je prevedla v nemščino, jezik svojih babic, z namenom, da naslovi oznako, ki so jo Rusi pripisovali Nemcem – imenovali so jih namreč mutci. Kompozicije, ki slonijo na matematičnih shemah in algoritmih in ustvarjajo zvočno instalacijo osmih psalmov – kompozicij vokala in tradicionalnega analognega harmonija, z besedili metafizično spajajo 4 ženske in 4 moške, handikapirane, osamljene ljudi, ki preko umetničinega posredovanja najdejo bližino in so spojeni zdaj, onkraj smrti ter v kombinaciji s hermami ustvarjajo meditacijo o apolinično/dionizičnem. Osnovni projekt nosi temnejšo plat zgodbe, in sicer je pospremljen z izbrisom umetničinega doprinosa in avtorstva. Zolotko se je namreč odločil zamolčati soavtorstvo Aphre Tesla in s tem sabotiral mesto in odkup dela v stalno zbirki estonskega narodnega muzeja umetnosti.

Do sedaj smo se skozi potek zgodovine umetnosti že naučili, da tovrstni neetični pristopi in politika umetnosti prav toliko oblikujeta umetniško pokrajino kot umetnost sama. Ker razstava v končni – sedanji obliki, naslavlja tudi izbris in genocid ljudi z neželenimi političnimi prepričanji, nas spor med umetnikoma spomni na slavni projekt Hansa Haackeja Manet – Projekt 74. Haacke je na razstavi Umetnost ostaja umetnost (Kunst Bleibt Kunst) v Kölnu leta 1974 želel razstaviti sliko Eduarda Maneta Šop špargljev in ob njej izobesiti dokumente o lastništvu dotične slike skozi zgodovino. Postavitev je bila zavrnjena, ko se je ugotovilo, da je eden od lastnikov slike bil tudi Hermann Abs, nemški bankir in predsednik upravnega odbora muzeja, ki je sliko med drugo svetovno vojno z zasegom pridobil od Judov. V povojnih letih pa je bila ta informacija skrbno zamolčana v prid prikrivanja grde preteklosti. V podporo Haackeju se je najglasneje odzval Daniel Buren s svojim delom Umetnost ostaja politika (Kunst Bleibt Politik). Primer ilustrira onemogočanje in brisanje umetnosti in njene sporočilnosti zavoljo lastnih interesov, egoizma in ohranjanja družbeno percipirane persone– elementi, ki jih najdemo tudi v primeru Zolotkove kraje avtorstva. Poleg tega, spada tovrstna kraja v že zelo dolgo trajajočo patriarhalno tradicijo moških umetnikov, ki se raje kot pod svoja dela, podpisujejo pod dela ženskih umetnic. Najbolj odmevni primeri vključujejo Camille Claudel in Augustea Rodina, baronico Elso von Freytag-Loringhoven in Marcela Duchampa ter Margaret Keane in Walterja Keanea. Prelahko bi bilo za tovrstne primere okriviti čase, ko je bil ženskam dostop do akademij in razstavljanja onemogočen ali vsaj otežen, ter vsesplošno mizoginistično družbeno ureditev, ki je vladala tem dobam. Več kot očitno je, da je pojav še vedno živ in aktiven, podprt z vztrajanjem pri seksističnih tradicijah. Gre za izkazovanje dinamike moči, obupano gesto nesigurnega moškega, ki pomanjkanje svoje genialnosti krpa s prilastitvijo umetnosti ženske, ki jo zaradi njene odličnosti vidi kot grožnjo, kot neprijeten opomin na lastne pomanjkljivosti, ki ga je potrebno zatreti.

Odziv umetnice, ki je svoje glasbene kompozicije sedaj dopolnila z nizom kratkih filmov, posnetih v koncentracijskem taborišču Mauthausen in v svojem kraju odraščanja – Vuzenici (IzložbaInkubator) ter s fotografijo hišnega Kristusa iz 16. stoletja, počivajočega na orgelski tipkovnici (BlackBoxGT22), je uporniška gesta ohranjanja integritete, osredotočena na ustvarjanje mikro-sprememb v polju umetnosti, črpajoča iz lastnih izkušenj. Popolno se povezuje s prav tako globoko senzibilnim in osebnim umetničinim pristopom k celotni izvedbi umetniških del, ki v svojem bistvu, brez vedenja o njihovi predzgodbi, pripovedujejo intenzivno in povsem predano svoji sporočilnosti. Hišni Kristus, ki izgleda skorajda abstraktno, kot mumificiran zarodek aludira na simbolični izvor, surovost in avtentičnost, ki je rdeča nit Teslinega dela. Film, ki prikazuje koncentracijsko taborišče, spominski park in umetničin domači kraj ob Dravi, je tempiran počasi, gledalcu premišljeno in intuitivno prevaja atmosfero, da mu čas, da vpije prikazano moč prostorov in predmetov, ki v svojem ozračju obdržijo spomine na dogodke, ki so jim bili priča. Vse odvečno je pri estetiki odstranjeno, poudarek je le na pripovednosti in opominu na neločljivo povezanost z dogodki, ki so kljub navidezni odmaknjenosti vpiti v nas in naše soustvarjanje sedanjosti in prihodnosti ter nas univerzalno zaznamujejo. Umetnica se tokrat osredotoča na kontraste med življenjem in smrtjo, med večnostjo in minljivostjo ljubezni ter vse osmisli z vsepovezanostjo prostega toka vesolja. K posnetkom iz spominskega parka je dodan kader, ko se z roko dotakne zemlje, v kadrih iz Vuzenice je vključen njen daljni sorodnik, ob katerem je nekoč našla štiriperesno deteljico, ki je po besedah njene babice simbolizirala doživljenjsko povezanost.

Podani primeri nam osvetlijo njeno preciznost in premišljenost pri prepletanju širših družbeno-političnih tem in globoko osebne izpovednosti. Izkazujejo zavedanje povezave med velikim in majhnim, med navidezno trivialnim in udarnim. Odstranjena je vsakršna performativna aktivističnost, umetnost pripoveduje s pristnostjo, ki je mogoča le, ko izvira iz iskrene želje po podajanju zgodb in konceptov. Vsak detajl razstave je ključen del zgodbe. Film v izložbi in zvočnik izven nje, ki kompozicije predvaja na ulico, simbolizira stik med zunanjim in notranjim, med zastrtim in odkritim. Razstava, ki v naslovu nosi številko 8, navezujočo se na 8 kompozicij, je bila odprta 8. 8. in bo trajala do 8. dne naslednjega meseca. Reka Drava je, glede na okolje snemanja, vključena kot neizogiben likovni element, a tudi, po razlagi umetnice, kot tiha, vseprisotna priča, v kateri se že stoletja zgošča bolečina in borba krajev in ljudi, ki jo obdajajo. V luči sabotaže je umetnica našla način, da se dvigne nad njo in ustvarja še širše in v svoji samostojnosti bolj vplivno, s tem pa je doprinesla tako k lastnemu opusu, kot k zgodbam, ki jih moramo slišati, videti in ponotranjiti.

 

Aphra Tesla: 8 Solitudes

Solo exhibition at IzložbaInkubator and BlackBoxGT22

8 Solitudes is an exhibition which emerged from complex creative beginnings, and is the product of the TOD MIT VORTEIL (Death with a Purpose) project, which was exhibited in 2021 at Narva Art Residency, as a part of the installation Armastus (Love), and was the result of a collaboration between the artist Aphra Tesla and the Estonian artist Jevgeni Zolotko, who created variations of the ancient herms based on and inspired by Aphra Tesla.

Namely, she created acousmatic music, delicate settings of marriage advertisements from old Russian newspapers, which she translated into German, the language of her grandmothers, in order to address the label that the Russians attributed to the Germans – they called them “the mute ones”. The compositions, based on mathematical schemes and algorithms, creating a sound installation of eight psalms – compositions of vocals and traditional analogue harmonium, metaphysically merge with the texts 4 women and 4 men, handicapped, lonely people who, through the artist’s mediation, find closeness and are merged now, beyond death, and in combination with the herms, create a meditation on the Apollonian/Dionysian. The main project carries a darker side of the story: the erasure of the artist’s contribution and authorship. Zolotko chose to conceal Aphra Tesla’s co-authorship, thus sabotaging the work’s place and purchase in the permanent collection of the Estonian National Museum of Art.

We have learned by now, through the course of art history, that such unethical approaches and the politics of art shape the artistic landscape as much as art itself. Since the exhibition in its final current form, also addresses the erasure and genocide of people with undesirable political beliefs, the dispute between the artists reminds us of Hans Haacke’s famous Manet Project 74. Haacke wanted to exhibit Eduard Manet’s painting A Bundle of Asparagus at the Art Remains Art (Kunst Bleibt Kunst) exhibition in Cologne in 1974, and to display it alongside the documents showing the ownership of the painting in question throughout history. The installation was rejected when it was discovered that one of the previous owners of the painting was Hermann Abs, a German banker and chairman of the museum’s board of directors, who had acquired the painting from Jews by confiscation during the Second World War. In the post-war years, however, this information was carefully withheld in order to cover up the ugly past. The loudest voice in support of Haacke was Daniel Buren and his artwork Kunst Bleibt Politik (Art Remains Politics). This example illustrates the disabling and the erasure of art and its message for the sake of self-interest, egoism and the preservation of a socially perceived persona elements which are also found in the case of Zolotkov’s theft of authorship. Moreover, this kind of theft belongs to a long-standing patriarchal tradition of male artists who prefer to sign the works of female artists instead of their own. The most prominent examples include Camille Claudel and Auguste Rodin, Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven and Marcel Duchamp, and Margaret Keane and Walter Keane. It would be all too easy to blame such instances on the times when women’s access to the academies and exhibitions was denied or at least made more difficult, and on the generally misogynistic social order that prevailed in those eras. It is obvious that the phenomenon is still alive and kicking, underpinned by the insistence on sexist traditions. It is a display of power dynamics, a desperate gesture of an insecure man, who covers up his lack of genius by appropriating the art of a woman who, because of her excellence, he sees as a threat, as an unpleasant reminder of his own shortcomings who must be suppressed.

 The response of the artist, who has now expanded her musical compositions with a series of short films shot in the Mauthausen concentration camp and in her place of upbringing – Vuzenica (IzložbaInkubator), and with a photograph of a 16th century Christ resting on an organ keyboard (BlackBoxGT22), is a rebellious gesture of preserving integrity, focused on creating micro-changes in the field of art, drawing from her own experiences. It connects perfectly with the artist’s equally deeply sensitive and personal approach to the overall execution of the artworks, which in their essence, without knowledge of their pre-history, tell a story intensely and completely committed to their message. The statue of Christ, which looks almost abstract, resembling a mummified fetus, alludes to the symbolic origin, rawness and authenticity that is the red thread of Tesla’s work. The film, which depicts a concentration camp, a memorial park and the artist’s hometown by the Drava river, is paced slowly, translating the atmosphere thoughtfully and intuitively to the viewer, giving them time to absorb the power of the spaces and objects depicted, which retain in their atmosphere the memories of the events they have witnessed. Everything superfluous is removed from the aesthetic, the emphasis is only on narrative and on the reminder of the inseparable connection to events that, despite their apparent remoteness, are embedded in us and our co-creation of the present and the future and mark us universally. The artist focuses on the contrasts between life and death, between the eternal and the transient nature of love, and makes sense of it all through the interconnectedness of the free flow of the universe. The scenes from the memorial park include a shot of her hand touching the earth, while the shots from Vuzenica include her distant relative, next to whom she once found a four-leaf clover, which, according to her grandmother, symbolised a lifelong connection.

 The examples given highlight her precision and thoughtfulness in interweaving broader socio-political themes and deeply personal confessionalism. They demonstrate an awareness of the connection between the large and the small, between the seemingly trivial and the striking. Stripped of any performative activism, Tesla’s art tells stories with an authenticity which is only possible when it springs from a sincere desire to convey stories and concepts. Every detail of the exhibition is a key part of the story. The film behind the window and the loudspeaker outside of it, which plays the compositions into the street, symbolise the contact between the outside and the inside, between the veiled and the revealed. The exhibition, which bears the number 8 in its title, referring to the 8 compositions, opened on 8th of August and will run until the 8th of next month. The Drava river is included, given the setting, as an unavoidable visual element, but also, as the artist explains, as a silent, omnipresent witness in which the pain and struggle of the places and people that surround it have been concentrated for centuries. In the light of sabotage, the artist has found a way to rise above it, and create more widely and, in her independence, more powerfully, contributing both to her own oeuvre and to the stories we need to hear, see and internalise.        Sara Nuša Golob Grabner

 

Sara Nuša Golob Grabner (1994) lives and works in Maribor, where she is currently a Master’s student in Art History and English Literature departments. She works as a curator for the Stolp Photo gallery, exhibition reviewer for the Delo newspaper and is currently the artistic director of the Maribor Festival of Photography. She also works as a photographer and poet, and regularly exhibits and publishes her art in various galleries, publications and on portals.   /   Sara Nuša Golob Grabner (1994) živi in ustvarja v Mariboru, kjer je trenutno magistrska študentka umetnostne zgodovine in angleške književnosti in jezika. Deluje kot kustosinja za Fotogalerijo Stolp, recenzentka razstav za časopis Delo in v letu 2022 vodi Festival fotografije Maribor, kot umetniška direktorica. Ustvarja tudi kot fotografinja in pesnica, ter redno razstavlja in objavlja svojo umetnost v različnih galerijah, publikacijah in na portalih.

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