Participating Artists

JEAN-MARIE APPRIOU
Born in 1986

Jean-Marie Appriou’s sculptural research aims to build oneiric landscapes populated with human, vegetable and animal bodies, captured in spatial configurations with a strong allegorical and narrative nature. The characters move within theater plays suspended between deep memories of an indefinite past and the uncertainties of the future, in a widespread temporality, characterized by a mythical halo. The coexistence of recognizable natural forms, albeit hybrid and in constant evolution, often indecipherable narrative dimensions and allegorical plans gives the artist’s works a layering of multiple possible readings. The use of different materials, from glass to metal, participates in the plastic definition of these worlds, intended as doors, bridges and thresholds for the search for further dimensions, keys to other perceptions of the visible.
In the works on exhibition, Écume Métallique and Vapeur Métallique (both 2018), the idea of the access door to an “other” space is clearly featured. Similar to grotesques, the elements of the sculptures recall an underwater or underground world in which the different states of matter—solid, liquid and gaseous—as well as the different natural realms—mineral, vegetable and animal—articulate in space with no interruption. The two sculptures stand in the space like two distinct rock conformations, crystallized in the movements of the creatures that inhabit them, but at the same time crossed by an organic, hybrid and metamorphic force.

 

MARIJA AVRAMOVIĆ and SAM TWIDALE
Marija Avramović, born in 1989
Sam Twidale, born in 1988

The collaboration between Marija Avramović and Sam Twidale, which started in 2017, focuses on the exploration of the world of Artificial Intelligence and story-telling, in the meeting of algorithms, objects, networks and the human dimension. Often starting from pre-existing literary or cinematic works, the artists highlight—through installations, paintings, videos and animations—novel aspects of human interactions and feelings.
Their real-time animations, in particular, explore the boundary between real and artificial in the context of independent virtual universes, in which the characters act and interact according to feelings and personalities defined by algorithms and neural networks. The narrative junctions are therefore unpredictable, generating worlds no less real than the one in which we live. Thanks to video game production software, Avramović and Twidale give life to scripts that unfold like theatrical improvisation, always different and unique.
This is the case of Sunshowers, a work produced in 2019 for the Barbican Centre and proposed again in Belgrade, within an installation space redesigned for the occasion. The animation, which regenerates constantly, is inspired by the initial chapter of Akira Kurosawa’s film Dreams and follows a boy in his exploration of a forest. Together with him, animals, spirits, plants and rocks become the characters of a techno-animistic vision of a world in which the borders between human and extra-human realms cancel each other out; an entire oneiric universe that reveals the parallelism, dear to the two artists, between spirituality and Artificial Intelligence.

 

TRISHA BAGA
Born in 1985

The work of Trisha Baga combines different media to explore themes such as gender identity, the mechanics of language and the relationship between the real and digital world. A preference for video and performance is accompanied by experiments in the production of sculpture or installation, and often ceramics as well as the collection of found objects. Her productions are characterized in general by a non-linear, open, permeable, intuitive quality. Materials and fragments from disparate aesthetic and semantic universes are freely incorporated, such as the imagery of television and cinema, and the language of the documentary or home video.
The 3D film The Voice (2017) is representative of the artist’s fluid and open compositional practice. It weaves together audio tracks from soundtracks of different musical genres and off-screen voices into a visual sequence of heterogeneous scenes: newspaper photographs; filming in the studio, during family trips or during simple daily activities; superimposed images; and subtitles. The work as a whole is articulated as a space in which the different elements that compose it open up to new possibilities of meaning. It is a field of free, spontaneous connections, similar to those of a dreamlike journey, where reality and fiction, memories and visions come together in a single magmatic fabric. The ordinary office chairs that accompany the installation and on which the visitor is invited to sit revisit the relationship between object and subject, acting as interferences or incursions between one dimension and another.

 

DAVIDE BALULA
Born in 1978

Davide Balula’s multifaceted artistic practice—which includes sculpture, installations and performances, often in direct connection with the spectator’s space—is enriched by a relationship with a wide range of disciplines: from music to dance, from gastronomy to philosophy, from physics to architecture. Fascinated by technology, the body and organic materials—all understood as changing and continuously developing organisms—Balula conceives his works as elements that do not just take up space, but modify its very structure, thereby creating an unprecedented fusion between human, work and environment. His performances often activate real experiences, in which spectators find themselves becoming active participants, and redefining their own perceptions of time and space, as well as their relationship with other individuals.
For the 58th October Salon, following the guidelines and conceptual instructions generated by a Natural Language Processing program, Davide Balula creates a new display for a set of objects, spread around the exhibition space. After being pre-trained with datasets coming from former artworks created by the artist in the past, as well as lists of objects, behaviors or functions, the digital program dictates its own protocol for the artist to execute. Even at the mercy of the machine’s instructions, a human artist still holds the capacity to interpret the outcome, charged with subjective responses and biases that have infiltrated the process: from digitized ideas simplified and fed into programs only partially produced by humans, back into a reality populated by complex things and beings.
The mentioning, on the caption for each object, of the amount of CO2 needed to produce it, emphasizes the importance of our coexistence with natural phenomena and elements and highlights at the same time the perversity of depending on technology to teach us how to deal with our environment. Balula also presents a performance—Bird Calls & Songs (The Tragedy of Orpheus) (2021)—that involves the audience in an exchange with another non-human language: the work is based on the singing through which birds mark their territory, and thus is connected to themes of identity, migration and mixing, all featured in different ways in the exhibition.

 

WILL BENEDICT
Born in 1978

Working on a process of deconstruction, hybridization and recomposition of the image, the artist Will Benedict uses various media—from painting to video, from drawing to photography to curating exhibition projects—to reflect on the constitutive elements of representation and on the ways of interpreting and framing it, both visually and conceptually. The compositional and material heterogeneity of his works—often characterized by the coexistence of multiple semiotic levels—creates a sense of ambivalence. In particular, his video works depict digital worlds that subvert the codes and conventions of popular infotainment, such as music videos, YouTube tutorials, advertising and television talk shows.
In the video Degrees of Disgust (2019)—which draws inspiration from the book Trick Mirror: Reflections on Self-Delusion by Jia Tolentino and features the British model Lily McMenamy—food is at the center of a dystopian narrative in which, from a basic element aimed at satisfying a primary need, it has become the denominator of a bulimic, metabolic culture where everything is consumed, digested and transformed into waste. Here a car accident, which involves the protagonist as an Uber Eats driver, completely loses its tragic component to become a staging, a place of seduction and a dehumanized aesthetic code. A mix of different genres, from thrillers to music videos, from film trailers to commercials, Benedict’s video takes up the fundamental points of Tolentino’s best seller: the dream and freedom of the Internet that have become a nightmare and collective alienation, the drifts of scammer culture, the exasperated expression of the self and identity explosion.

 

CECILIA BENGOLEA
Born in 1979

Cecilia Bengolea employs dance as a tool and a means for a performance-oriented research which constantly challenges the dimensions and codes of video, sculpture and installation. The artist conceives her choreographic production as a form of “animated sculpture,” which allows her to become both the subject and the object of the work. Drawing on natural energies and on the building of empathic relationships, her pieces put the body, individual and collective, at the core of a complex branching of meanings and visual outcomes, turning it into a prospective engine for change. Dance is thus intended as a universal language that generates meaning, promoting an idea of community, of a possible future.
On exhibition at the 58th October Salon, Bengolea’s video piece Bestiaire (2019) is a 3D animation shown in three different sequences where the artist’s body, captured in several dance postures, undergoes constant transformation through distortions, and ends up forming a catalog of imaginary creatures. The piece is inspired by Jorge Luis Borges’ research on fantastic zoology as well as Baruch Spinoza’s principles of self-expansion through the other. From unique and individual, the body becomes a plural entity whose boundaries can expand into the realm of imagination and utopia, incorporating forms that go beyond the common perception of a single, defined, distinct self.
The Dreamers exhibition also includes a collaborative video by Bengolea and Jeremy Deller, Bom Bom’s Dream (2016).

 

JAMES BRIDLE
Born in 1980

An author and artist, James Bridle works at the intersection of different technologies and disciplines. His artistic practice, which cannot be separated from the development of his theoretical and political thinking, thus takes place in a large area of reflection and production, taking the form of installations, lectures, renderings, maps, software… In particular, his interest turns to the ways in which technological advancement changes the representation and knowledge of the real world and consequently affects our perception of the future. This line of research, capable of unhinging the boundaries between real and virtual, allows Bridle to highlight the contradictions and short-circuits inevitably generated by technological progress, digital networks and data proliferation.
The Citizen Ex project is based on the idea of “algorithmic citizenship,” a new form of citizenship that is determined and rewritten whenever the data of Internet users are exchanged, tracked and recorded in different parts of the world. This migration of information leads everyone to see their rights reformulated and recalculated depending on different and often contradictory legislative systems. The installation shows the hidden routing of searches by visitors and a shared citizenship for all of them.

 

DORA BUDOR
Born in 1984

Through complex and unstable ecosystems in which each element maintains an interdependent relationship with the other, Dora Budor’s installations, environments and sculptures engage in a dialogue with their architectural situation, reacting to and renegotiating their initial conditions. The result is a complex body of artistic actions that redefine the spatial characteristics of the exhibition site, highlighting layers and presences that are otherwise hidden or invisible. The unseen details, such as the dust that settles on objects, the sounds from nearby construction, surrounding weather conditions and historical precursors are revealed and brought to the foreground. Similar to site, time is conceived both chronologically and meteorologically. Temporal experience plays a central role in the artist’s work, which on the whole presents itself as a device marked by permeability and sensitivity to the world outside.
The work Plinth (minor key) (2021) is an outdoor piece conceived specifically for the Belgrade Biennale. A sculptural plinth made out of birdseeds and other edible substances is designed to take architectural traits from the Museum of Yugoslavia and the surrounding park, which were built from the assemblage of various materials shipped from all over the former federation. The sculptural substructure, which is also in dialogue with the nearby sculpture Bird (1956) by Vojin Bakić, changes its appearance throughout the duration of the exhibition. Literally metabolized by the birds usually present or migrating through the park, it is dispersed and reseeded through the city. The work questions the ideas of permanence, preservation and monumentality through the composition of an accidental choreography—a sort of visual music based on mutability, volatility, deconstruction and regeneration.

 

ELAINE CAMERON-WEIR
Born in 1985

In Elaine Cameron-Weir’s sculptural and installation works the combined use of natural and artificial elements has the capacity to create a dynamic of contrasts and correspondences between tactile, sensorial, metaphorical and functional qualities. If the re-use of found objects taken from the scientific or military fields aims to create an experimental dimension full of references to science fiction, the presence of natural materials and entities (including heat sources, leather, plants, sand, shells) alludes to alchemical processes of mutation and regeneration, but also to the passage between raw material and mechanical dimension, composite artifice and system. Ancestral and contemporary, antiquity and future, rituality and mechanism collide, generating unprecedented reactions. In the interweaving of these polarities, the artist’s works create a disturbing and alien dimension, in a precarious balance between different drives.
Through their long titles, allusions to a still undefined narrative, the two works on display in Belgrade generate complex visual stimuli that overlap with their multifaceted material identity.

 

IAN CHENG
Born in 1984

Ian Cheng’s research investigates the capacity of humans to relate to change and mutation. Drawing on the open compositional principles and exploded structures of video game design and cognitive science, the artist focuses on the importance of behavior. He produces live simulations in which an agent adapts to changing and chaotic environments. The result is chains of emergent behavior that are continually becoming, never predictable, and subject to change, in a sort of “neurological gym” for viewers to inhabit.
With the term Worlding, Cheng defined the research he has carried out for several years, aimed at investigating the potential of an artistic project whose basic ingredients—deterministic stories and open-ended simulations—are able to generate a new creative dimension: “something meaningful yet alive, bound yet transforming.” His participation in the 58th October Salon consists in a short story in the exhibition catalogue, in which he explores a near-future culture of Worlding.
“To create a World, we must summon the artistic masks who already live inside us but rarely get to exercise their power. We will get to know the masks of the Director, the Cartoonist, the Hacker, and the Emissary.”

 

CLAUDIA COMTE
Born in 1983

Claudia Comte is best known for her large-scale environmental installations that allude to nature and its ever shifting patterns. Her practice is led by a distinct rule-measurement system of her own creation, wherein each artwork specifically relates to one another. Referring to the memory of materials, her work intersects ancient modes of production with those fostered in the digital era. Her idiosyncratic visual language and reverence for craftsmanship partly delineate the stringent geometries of modernist tradition. But Comte inverts this depiction through her playful, digitally mediated approach to art making that sets out to examine current issues such as climate change, global pollution and the protection of endangered species. While installations form the main body of her work, Comte also creates sculptures, paintings, videos, performances and wall paintings.
For the Belgrade Biennale, the artist has created a new wall painting depicting abstracted plant forms coalescing with dynamic geometric patterns. The painting wraps around the entirety of an enclosed room within which a series of voluminous biomorphic sculptures are arranged. The wooden sculptures appear frozen in a progressive state of atrophy, as if defrosting into a viscous runny matter. Comte modelled the tallest sculpture on the height of her mother as a way to imbue the forms with a sense of intimacy. Comte’s vibrant installation is a rhythmic, contemplative environment that evokes the metamorphosis of life, immersing the viewer in an experience of multifarious becoming.

 

SANJA ĆOPIĆ
Born in 1992

Sanja Ćopić’s practice revolves around her personal experience, her feelings, her body, the conflict between expectations and reality, desires and frustrations, dreams and defeats. Taking her personal universe as a starting point, Ćopić invites viewers to share the dynamics of her own self, to enter into a deep and empathic relationship with her interiority and consequently to confront their own intimate world. Her works, which are expressed in the form of videos, installations, drawings and performances, can be read as a single journey through the different territories of her soul and her identity as a person and artist.
The presence of Ćopić therefore becomes ephemeral and rarefied, a symbol of daily desires and long-term aspirations, dreams and projects yet to be realized. With It is important that you are aware of everything at all times (2018-ongoing), the artist addresses the viewers directly, becoming the main character of a stream of consciousness that becomes a compilation, a reverse archive because it is projected towards the future and not the past, where the possibilities have no end but echo each other, in which everyone can recognize themselves.

 

MATT COPSON
Born in 1992

A dreamt universe imbued with absurdity and thriving with zoomorphic characters, aware of the narrative structures of folkloric tales of the past but also of the most up-to-date language codes. This is the area in which Matt Copson’s work dwells, intended by the artist as a very personal bestiary, an exploded saga, potentially endless, which sees the re-proposal of recurring story figures and schemes. Among these, the character of Reynard sticks out: a fox which on one hand recalls the archetypes of a folkloric tradition dating back to the Middle Ages, on the other hand is able each and every time to free itself of pre-established mechanisms and promote an always fresh flow of thoughts, images, actions. This dynamic is expressed mainly through laser projections, evolutions of previous animations, which establish the exhibition space as theater, and are intended by the artist more as sculptures than as video works.
This distorting of space within time becomes the form of evocative and shattered stories, fragments of a world in constant change.
The work Down Boy (2019), exhibited in the 58th October Salon, is an example of this expressive style: the laser projection shows a fox in the corner of a room, caught while interacting with its own reflected image, between contrasting impulses of aggression and attraction.

 

VUK ĆOSIĆ
Born in 1966

Considered as one of the pioneers of net.art, since the early 1990s Vuk Ćosić has been carrying out multidisciplinary and innovative research on the language of art conveyed by the Internet and its potential effects on contemporary society and life. Going beyond the simplistic assumption according to which the web represents a virtually endless space of freedom of expression, in his works and in theoretical reflections the artist develops a generative and critical idea aimed at emphasizing the relevance of artistic action carried out on the web in the broader context of relationships among individuals. The complexity of contemporary life, in all its facets, is thus at the center of a hybrid investigation that uses, misuses and abuses the web, its quirks and its languages, its universally accessible nature and its immediate circulation, as a point of departure to arrive somewhere else, in a space that is both real and virtual and layered with meanings.
The seamless combination of everyday and artistic actions pervades Ćosić’s practice, at once rooted in the present, projected towards the future and connected with the past. If, as the artist paradoxically states, “the art of the past was only a substitute for the internet,” this same legacy can become the subject and object of new actions born of and spread around the web. This endless game of cross-references is the basis of the video Unboxing Duchamp’s Boîte (2021), in which the artist is caught in the act of opening the packaging of an edition of the iconic Boîte-en-valise by Marcel Duchamp. Ćosić appears in the symbolic moment of his artistic epiphany, which took place during the years he lived in the city of Belgrade. The images are supported by the voiceover of the artist himself who, alternating between his own language and English, creates a short circuit of meaning, which tells us of identity and otherness, and at the same time of a universal language generated with the development of net.art.

 

VUK ĆUK
Born in 1987

Vuk Ćuk’s work explores the position of the individual in contemporary society, in particular in its relationship with the new behaviors of today’s way of life and with the changes caused by phenomena such as technological advancement, globalization and consumerism. Using a free approach to the various media of sculpture, both static and moving, of installation, drawing and painting, Ćuk elaborates reflections on the interaction of humans with technology, on the new aesthetic canons that derive from it, and on the freedom of artistic creation, viewed as a territory of possible utopias and alternative visions of the world.
In his latest production, Ćuk’s research has focused on the collection and identification of materials from the world of mass consumerism going through different types of trinkets: mini-robots, plastic toys, artificial fur, lighting and holographic or computerized devices. The artist takes apart and reassembles objects and mechanisms into mesmerizing structures, thus himself becoming the deus ex machina of an irregular set of alienating, isolated and omnivorous ecosystems. An overturned zoomorphism inhabits the artist’s installations, a symptom of an unhealthy contemporaneity forced to confront its own remains. Ćuk’s works, as in the case of the installation IS IT ALL JUST A DREAM? (2021) presented in Belgrade, are often set up as microworlds, ecosystems inhabited by small robots made with found objects that move within closed and isolated spaces. The sensory and physical involvement of the visitors plays a central role in the artist’s practice, which aims at stimulating an active role and an openness of mind of the viewer towards new perceptions and interactions with art.

 

ALEX DA CORTE
Born in 1980

A conceptual artist who works across a wide range of media, spanning video, performance, installation, painting and sculpture, Alex Da Corte mines high- and low-brow cultural references—from Surrealism and commercial product brands, to Pop Art and the icons and symbols from American life—to probe issues that include the politics surrounding culture and identity, alienation, and the psychological aspects of human experience. His works often take the form of a Gesamtkunstwerk, as immersive environments with vibrant chromatic and sensorial features that transform the dimensions of space and are capable of completely enveloping the viewer in a universe that is both alienating and familiar. Objects, symbols and images part of the common imagination become vehicles of additional senses, the touchstones of a language that goes beyond the ordinary.
The video Blue Moon (2017), originally produced for the digital art exhibition Midnight Moment at Times Square, New York, portrays a surreal karaoke of the famous ballad by Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart, with an actor, dressed in white with bold stage make up and holding a silver crescent moon, crooning along to the classic. The scene evokes an almost oneiric theatricality, with the lyrics of the song flowing at the bottom of each screen, inviting the audience to take part in a simultaneously intimate and collective experience.
The broadcast of the video on the national television adds another layer to this choral performance, suspended between the public and domestic spheres.

 

JEREMY DELLER
Born in 1966

Jeremy Deller’s art production ranges from video to performance to installation. His work often takes on a political stance emphasized by the collaborative nature of many of his projects, where the value of single authorship is reduced in favor of a participatory dimension which often transcends the settings of art and conventional language codes. The attention to popular culture and folklore in a broad sense has often led the artist to investigate the social mechanisms underlying human relationships, as well as the experiences of individuals in the context of wider collective dynamics. In particular, the historical legacy of Great Britain, where Deller was born, has consistently functioned as a reference in his research, the starting point of narrative deconstructions and re-enactments that connect past, present and future, providing them with new perspectives.
By questioning all forms of power (social, political, economic, religious), Deller’s research promotes the idea of freedom of expression, which he considers as a real engine for the definition of common values of coexistence.
An example of the frequent connections between the artist’s work and the world of music, as well as of the collaborative character of his production, can be found in the video Bom Bom’s Dream (2016), made together with Cecilia Bengolea, a surreal and dreamlike journey, a free fantasy straddling imagination and reality.

 

SIMON DENNY
Born in 1982

The technology industry, the mechanisms of the Internet and social media, the culture of corporations and startups, the world of work, blockchains and cryptocurrencies are just some of the research fields in which Simon Denny is interested. These phenomena of the contemporary world, which increasingly reveal a potential to transform relationships between individuals, social dynamics, aesthetic standards, the rules of coexistence and communication, are investigated through installation, sculptural, performative works, such as talks and symposia, videos, graphics and printing. The artistic gesture acts directly in the material world, through interventions and actions that play in an interpretative short circuit. Such an experimental and speculative approach is capable of determining unprecedented readings and visions, generating possible utopias and new ideals, while also highlighting economic systems and power relations. The artist’s work thus presents itself as an all-round investigation into the dynamics of the current world, interpreted with its contradictions and problems.
For the 58th October Salon Denny reactivates a recent work, in which a series of felt tip drawings and photographs, simultaneously documenting and critiquing debate sessions from the European Parliament’s Next Generation Internet Summit, are adapted to the exhibition space with a few new elements. Conceived as a further chapter of the artist’s ongoing research investigating the European regulatory activity begun in 2017, the installation is a reflection on how the expansion of the Internet and the power of technological platforms influence both political and social dynamics in the contemporary world.
Security, equality, democracy, privacy and the possibility of regulating the Internet system in the light of an interconnected and globalized contemporaneity are only a few of the themes around which the artist’s quest develops, as shown with analytic precision in the panels on exhibit.

 

NICOLAS DESHAYES
Born in 1983

Nicolas Deshayes’ artistic production mainly consists of sculptures, created through a variety of industrial processes and a wide range of materials, including cast iron and aluminum, ceramic and glazed earthenware. In his works, the artist investigates the relationship between industrial production and the human body, between the manufacturing mechanisms and what he himself calls “the malleability of being human.”
From a formal point of view, his sculptures freely recall biological and cellular worlds, indistinct zoomorphic or vegetable configurations, simultaneously hinting at the anatomy of organic beings and at the structure of plumbing systems. When placed in public areas, Deshayes’ sculptures become living presences in the urban fabric, defining a system connecting the human body with the infrastructures surrounding it.
In Belgrade, the artist presents a new arrangement of a series of eight sculptures, originally conceived for the fountains at Battersea Park’s Pleasure Gardens in London in 2018. Through a water game performance, like actors on a stage, Deshayes’ organic and alien forms become a single body and at the same time an extension of the large public fountain in front of the Museum of Yugoslavia where they are lodged. The eight sculptures—Putto, La Toilette, Grubber, Puss in Boots, Boy and Swan, Cuckold’s Point, Sugar Mile, and Gossip Column—expand the artist’s exploration of piping systems as elements of a complex ecosystem and metaphors of man-made networks. They also look to the Renaissance and Baroque tradition, to the fountain as a public good, a place of water supply and refreshment, to be used by travelers and the community. The solid and hard materials convey antithetical references to the fluidity, softness and pliability found in the free organic shapes of each sculptural element, functioning at the same time as passages for the relentless and cyclical flow of water, which spreads in jets and streams. The different states of matter thus contribute to the construction of a whole in which each element acts in harmony with the others.

 

DIS
(Lauren Boyle, Solomon Chase, Marco Roso, David Toro)
They have been collaborating as
DIS since 2010

DIS is a collaborative project based in New York and consisting of Lauren Boyle, Solomon Chase, Marco Roso, David Toro, working together as an artistic and curatorial collective dealing with a wide range of media and platforms, exploiting the methods of production, use and dissemination of content online (DIS Magazine, DISimages, DISown or the dis.art streaming channel). Over time, DIS has enhanced and amplified the possibilities and capabilities of art and its role in the artistic, commercial, educational, and public spheres—folding all into one.
DIS’s participation in the 58th October Salon takes the form of a site-specific installation composed of a charred wood-paneled wall used as a framework and immersive setting for a scorched ATM machine and a set of three diptych giclée prints, connecting key events in the financial crisis and Gossip Girl episode plots which aired the same day.
The piece may be read as a continuation of the Public Service Announcement project, started in 2018 and developed through a series of videos (A Good Crisis, Obama Baroque, and UBI: The Straight Truvada) that reflected on the trifecta that was the 2008 Financial Crisis, Obama’s presidency, and the rapid expansion of the Internet.
“As our homes, property, and increasingly our bodies, are offered up as collateral to the tyranny of financialization, it’s necessary to ask: how did we get here?”

 

ALEKSANDRA DOMANOVIĆ
Born in 1981

Aleksandra Domanović’s artistic career is the result of a personal, extensive and multi-faceted investigation into different phenomena of contemporary society. At the intersection of science and history, technology and the human dimension, popular culture and national identity, past and future, the artist expresses herself through a wide range of media: from photography to video, with a particular fondness for sculpture. Domanović investigates codes and principles of this language, without fear of going beyond its boundaries and modifying its genes in search of a redefinition that is not only formal but more widely aesthetic and conceptual.
The series of public posters presented at the 58th October Salon represents the continuation of the artist’s research addressing the phenomena of vision and perception, and the political, ideological and sexual energies associated with them. Domanović starts from exploring the film Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2020), by the French director Céline Sciamma, which focuses on the theme of the female gaze and the social, relational and power-related contexts that proscribe it, and which it can break free from. Moving from the plot of the film to the battles associated with the expressions of #metoo embodied in France by the actress-muse of the film Adèle Haenel, Domanović reproduces the title of the film on a series of posters scattered around the city of Belgrade, using an optical effect which, by simultaneously contrasting lines of different colors, questions the uniqueness and steadiness of vision. The translation of the title into the different languages spoken in Serbia (Serbian and eleven recognized minority languages) adds a further layering of complexity to the project which insists on the relentless quest for one’s own identity, for a placement and a view of the world and oneself that does not accept being confined into clear and defined boundaries.

 

DAVID DOUARD
Born in 1983

In David Douard’s work, texts, poems, sounds, music and images collected from the Internet or taken from popular media culture are subsequently manipulated, digested and transformed to form the lifeblood of his sculptures, films and installations. The result is hybrid, impure, deviated environments, infected with new narrative germs that overlap with the real world, profoundly transforming it. The virtual and only apparently neutral space of new technologies is thus reinterpreted as an unprecedented repertoire of poetic fragments, capable of assuming unexpected forms in the context of the work and of turning into something eminently subjective thanks to the détournement employed by the artist.
In Belgrade, the space occupied by Douard’s installation breaks directly into the exhibition path, influencing the rhythmicity of the architecture and altering the spatial coordinates through false walls, passages, shortcuts and the reactivation of several elements of previous installations. The works almost seem to escape the gaze, reverberating in the context in which they have fallen, enriched with new elements—a refined combination of everyday found objects which are interpreted by the artist in a scenic and architectural sense.

 

CÉCILE B. EVANS
Born in 1983

Cécile B. Evans’ work moves across installation, video, sculpture, and performance focusing on the value of emotion in contemporary society and its rebellion as it comes into contact with physical, ideological, and technological structures.
A Screen Test for an Adaptation of Giselle is an experimental screen test for an ongoing adaptation of the Industrial-era ballet Giselle as an eco-feminist thriller. The original tells the story of a fragile woman, betrayed to death, who rises in an afterlife propagated by a group of so-called scorned women. Now reimagined in a near-future, Giselle and her friends have moved from a failed metropolis to her mother’s rural village to ‘reset society’. An invasion of their successful community by an unnamed presence sets off a contamination of their newly formed ecosystem with old power dynamics. Here, Giselle’s death proposes mutability and multiplicity as a strategy for escape, with the force of natural “cultures” as an ally against the violence of essentialism. Weaving together high and low resolution digital footage, 16mm, VHS recordings, animation, and deep AI, the screen test is a proposal for a hybridized world where multiple realities push to the surface.

 

CAO FEI
Born in 1978

Through the use of different media, including photography, video, performance, installation and digital media, Cao Fei highlights the profound changes in contemporary society which took place following the Cultural Revolution in China, focusing in particular on the expectations, frustrations, dreams and fantasies of the younger generations. Starting from the imagination of pop culture and youth subcultures, Fei reflects on the phenomena of alienation and escape from reality, which is thus engaged in a close relationship with the realm of the virtual. In line with these interests, body and technology, dream and material world, personal and collective dynamics represent the fabric of Fei’s thorough investigation of the present.
Whose Utopia is a series of videos made by the artist between 2005 and 2006, consisting of three separate chapters: Imagination of Product, Factory Fairytale and My Future is Not a Dream. The difficult working conditions in factories is for Fei the starting point to explore the two main elements of this specific alienated environment: the machines and the human presence.
The creation of the products on which the global capitalistic system is based therefore goes from being the fascinating focus of the first video to the alienating environment of the second, the frame and background of a series of actions and dance steps performed by performers-workers. At the end, the workers turn directly to the camera and thus to the exhibition viewers, in a silent exchange of glances, in a delicate non-verbal communication of feelings and anxieties, desires and concerns, hopes and disillusion.

 

CYPRIEN GAILLARD
Born in 1980

Cyprien Gaillard focuses his research on urban contexts and landscapes, caught in states of socio-cultural change, functional alteration and spatial transformation. Travel is a central aspect of his work: through the use of a multitude of different media—from sculpture to photography and video, from performance to large-scale urban interventions—Gaillard reflects the tensions created by historical overlays. The remains of abandoned buildings, the relics of deserted urban spaces or the fragmented landscapes of degraded suburbs are reactivated and reinterpreted according to a sensitivity that redefines the categories of conservation and decline, past and present, memory and nostalgia, monument and decay.
In the wake of an interest in the utopian architecture of the Serbian capital already shown in the past, for example with the video Desniansky Raion (2007), the site-specific work UNDER-BENCH (2021) is a tribute to the city’s underground architectural heritage, a possible meeting and interaction space in a non-place, in an apparently neglected and passing territory. The underpass in which the work is located doesn’t have a specific name and its function is mainly to let people cross the street, get from one place to another. It is also a mall that includes a bar and various small shops selling clothes, cell phone accessories and gem stones. The unexpected presence of the work invites passers-by to slow down, rest and perceive this place as a passage, a transition, but also as a space for contemplation.
The video The Lake Arches (2007) shows a group of young men diving into a body of water of which they ignore the depth, in a sort of disenchanted rite of passage. The massive profile of a post-modern building—The Arcades du Lac in Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines designed by architect Ricardo Bofill in 1981—stands silently like a ghostly presence on the background of the scene, in an artificial and suspended landscape.

 

NENAD GAJIĆ
Born in 1982

Starting from graphic design, editorial illustration, animation and in particular from the production of special effects for cinema and television, Nenad Gajić has developed a personal and distinctive artistic language, based on the production of hyper-realistic and moving sculptures depicting human and animal bodies. The very detailed definition of the figures granted by the use of silicone and organic materials such as hair and feathers, together with the meticulous design of their movements which involves motors, allows the artist’s works to immediately communicate an impression of life and truth. The technology behind Gajić’s creations is used to animate the figures, infuse them with energy and activate an identification mechanism in the observer.
The tiny sculpture One Moment (2019), less than ten centimeters in size, depicts a newborn bird, in the state of sleepiness typical of the first moments of life, still without feathers and unsteady on very small legs. Its breathing is barely noticeable and recalls the moment when the tiny being faces existence, in all its extreme fragility yet with all the strength of its vital breath.

 

CAMILLE HENROT
Born in 1978

The practice of Camille Henrot moves seamlessly between film, painting, drawing, sculpture and installation. The artist references self-help, online second-hand marketplaces, cultural anthropology, literature, psychoanalysis, and social media to question what it means to be at once a private individual and a global subject. Henrot is interested in confronting emotional and political issues, and looking at how ideology, globalization, belief and new media are interacting to create an environment of structural anxiety. The changing modes of information distribution and interpersonal connections, the relationships between individual experiences and macroscopic dynamics, as well as between images and language, are at the center of her works.
Camille Henrot’s film Saturday (2017) delves into what philosopher Ernst Bloch called “the principle of hope,” which structures our aspirations for immediate, private utopias as well as for radical change. The film focuses on the Seventh-Day Adventist (SDA) Church, an evangelical millenarian Christian denomination that celebrates the Sabbath and practices baptism rituals on Saturday. Shot mostly in 3D, the film combines images of civil protests, neurological testing, cosmetic surgery, endoscopic exams and staged food television commercials with scenes shot at SDA Church sites in the USA and Polynesia. Meanwhile, a news ticker of headlines from selected news occurring on Saturdays throughout a year scroll the bottom of the screen and interweave themselves in front of and behind the subjects in the frame. By looking at the SDA through the lens of its digital media operations, Saturday shows how the church mirrors preoccupations which proliferate on social media, such as fitness, optimism and transparency. These obsessions act as a mirror of modern capitalist society’s aspiration for a better life, while echoing James Joyce’s idea of the “digestive value of religion.”

 

MAURO HERTIG
Born in 1989

A composer and musician, Mauro Hertig works with music and sound in an effort to create works with a strong performative character, intrinsically linked to the place where they are performed and marked by an improvisational approach. His pieces are open structures filled with found, stolen and contaminated sounds, arranged through what at first sight might appear as an economy of means. In works such as The Great Mirror (2019) Hertig has the performers become the enablers of an encyclopedia, gathering and collecting tones on-stage. Flugmagnet (2017) for ensemble follows a horizontally stretched and very slow upward movement of a single note, receiving interjections and pushes by the wind and percussion instruments—a game principle in the disguise of musical counterpoint. Hertig’s theoretical reflection—expressed through books (such as the recent Listening Analysis – New Tools of Musical Perception)—nourishes an experimental practice in constant reworking.
Mauro Hertig is also the author of the soundtrack to Colin Snapp’s film featured at the 58th October Salon. Mainly based on extracts from the Liquid Contra (2018) project, the soundtrack features sounds that hint at relationships between interdependent elements, supplemented by a text read by a whispering voice, taking the listener into the intimate dimension of perfect passivity.

 

DAVID HORVITZ
Born in 1974

David Horvitz’s artistic actions exploit the specificity of different means of communication, information channels and relational contexts, highlighting their inherent contradictions and unprecedented potential. Presented across a variety of media, from mail art to performance, from photography to installation to incursions on the web, his works are based on the idea of movement, distance and migration. Horvitz’s aim is to connect different spheres: the virtual and the real, the private and the public, the near and the distant, the past and the future, the subject and the other. Space and time expand in multiple dimensions, showing the mesh of their relativity, rebelling against standardized measurement systems to reveal new possibilities of experience.
For the 58th October Salon, Horvitz communicates with the architecture and urban planning of the city of Belgrade, presenting Give Us Back Our Stars (2020-2021), a flag with the colors of the night, showing a constellation of hundreds of asterisks. The work is a re-appropriation of an older work of Horvitz’s that addresses the destruction of the night sky by light pollution (with light on all the time, where is there room to dream?). In this new form, the flag takes on a new meaning. Sewn by hand in Kosovo by Shkurte Halilaj, the mother of Petrit Halilaj, the work is a gesture of solidarity and friendship with the artist—who renounced to take part in the exhibition—and his country of origin. Horvitz, working from the United States, a country that recognizes Kosovo’s independence, is exhibiting the work in a country that does not recognize it.
For the Biennale, the artist’s iconic book How to Shoplift Books, a guide to 80 ways in which one can steal a book, is being published for the first time in Serbian. The book, which can be read in The Dreamers Library, enriches the editorial section of the exhibition.

 

KLÁRA HOSNEDLOVÁ
Born in 1990

Klára Hosnedlová’s work explores historical sentiments as they crystallize in modern and contemporary design and architecture. Her sculptures and environments are indebted to Eastern European histories and the past collective mythologies. Hosnedlová works in narrative sequences, exploring utopic architectural sites, such as the iconic Adolf Loos apartments in Pilsen or the Ještěd Tower in Liberec. The atmosphere of the places is captured in digital photography, which is later augmented through a manual reduction of pixels: rendered in silk thread on canvas, objects and faces become landscapes of lighter and darker tones, dissolving into the sculptural frames made from materials found on-site. Hosnedlová’s site-specific installations recognize nostalgia as an essential feature of global culture and extrapolate the simultaneity of usually contradictory notions like reflection and longing, estrangement and affection.
For the 58th October Salon, Hosnedlová exhibits a site-specific installation in which the main elements of her artistic research come together: a large-scale architectural wall and accompanying sofa (Untitled (from the series Nest), 2020) are presented along with free-standing mixed-media sculptures or “creatures’’ that make reference to a possible future but also reimagined past. The wet, organic forms, more stylized than realistic, leave moist traces akin to primordial or aquatic beings. The installation is complemented by a performance project that sees the creatures interacting with real models inside the exhibition space and nearby areas outside. The performance can be enjoyed by the public not directly but through photographs that document an event taking place in a dimension which is more imaginary than real.

 

MARGUERITE HUMEAU
Born in 1986

Marguerite Humeau’s work stages great crossings in space and time, transitions from the animal kingdom to the mineral kingdom, and encounters between personal desires and natural forces. The artist explores the possibilities of communication and tangency between these different worlds, developing speculative narratives in which unknown, invisible or extinct forms come to life. Prehistory and biology, anthropology and linguistics, engineering and science fiction, technology and mythology are just some of the references that merge into a bewildering spectacle, full of references to the past but at the same time deeply contemporary. The artist’s interdisciplinary research, often conducted in collaboration with experts and scholars from various sectors, feeds a practice that ranges from sculpture to installation, from drawing to sound. The specificity and potential of each medium is exploited to generate works that question the present, vibrating with the memory of the past and with the anticipation for the future.
The installation presented in Belgrade, composed of the sound work Cleopatra – A Cappella (2014) and the site-specific environment Black Mamba (2015), is emblematic of this multifaceted research and production path: the hypnotic and poisonous yellow pigment of the walls provides the setting for the synthetic voice of Cleopatra, resurrected from the past like a futuristic diva. A few grams of snake venom are diluted inside the paint that covers the walls of the room, the floor and the ceiling of a fictitious and timeless space. A place that may initially appear as a passageway, almost empty, but soon reveals its violent, enigmatic and seductive nature.

 

THAN HUSSEIN CLARK
Born in 1981

Than Hussein Clark works at the intersection of the roles of the artist, designer, director, screenwriter and set designer. His productions cannot be included in any of these categories alone, but instead seem to explode their borders and redefine their very nature. What is conveyed is not so much a generic idea of interdisciplinarity, but rather that of hybridization, contamination and over identification. In his projects Clark emphasizes the productive values of a given work, be it a film-work or a sculptural object, a two-dimensional or installation work. References to art history, poetry, cinema or literature animate his research, giving it depth and opening it up to a multiplicity of possible readings. The artist’s works are thus capable of formulating new narratives through a process of appropriation that goes beyond the formulas of historicization, and instead addresses cultural interstices and the intimate minor histories of the past.
For the 58th October Salon the artist explores the collapse between fiction and reality as well as dreams and waking life in the present. The first part of the project, In Alphabetical Gardens (2021), is a 16 part audio play produced with The Director’s Theatre Writer’s Theatre and inspired by Susan Sontag’s 1963 novel The Benefactor, in which the protagonist Hippolyte lives according to the dictates of his oneiric activity, merging and confusing waking and dream states, imagination and reality. In Clark’s re-imagining of Sontag’s narrative, the action of the novel is moved from Paris to Belgrade and collaged with other found texts in the manner of Max Ernst’s Fatagaga series. The second part of the project, Aphorism Lobby Cards (A-H), consists of a series of placards drawing on Ernst’s series, the graphics of newspaper headlines and Dada poetry, and the text of Clark’s audio drama.

 

PIERRE HUYGHE
Born in 1962

Pierre Huyghe’s works often appear as situated networks, a continuity between a wide range of intelligent life forms, biological, technological and matter that learn, modify and evolve. These situations are immersive, contingent and constantly changing environments, they are sites of possibilities, fictional excesses, indeterminate and indifferent to categories and witnesses.
“It’s not a matter of exhibiting something to someone as it is exhibiting someone to something” says Huyghe.
This reversal and mixing of areas, involving artistic subject and object, also occurs in the piece resumed and exhibited in Belgrade for the 58th October Salon: After Dream (1997). The work is based on a 1948 John Cage composition for piano called Dream, which was written for the homonymous choreography by Merce Cunningham. Huyghe further emphasizes the centrality of randomness already found in Cage’s musical research, ensuring that the notes of the composition, each played by one of the many bells that make up the work, are activated simultaneously by the inconsistent, unpredictable action of the wind blowing between the tree branches in the garden in front of the Museum of Yugoslavia. The complex orchestration offers unexpected and magical results, in an endless performance where natural forces interact with shapes and sounds to create a flowing and lively experience.

 

INVERNOMUTO
(Simone Bertuzzi and Simone Trabucchi)
They have been collaborating as
Invernomuto since 2003

The artistic research of the Invernomuto duo focuses on the use of the moving image and sound, chosen as preferred but not exclusive vehicles for an investigation into the facets of the stories, cultures and narratives of contemporary world. The duo’s projects, which often take place in space and time also through installations and performances, aim at a contaminated and protean story, never finished within itself but always open to new variations and developments.
Invernomuto’s project Black Med, initiated in 2018, is an ongoing platform which aims at intercepting the trajectories that sounds trace passing through the Mediterranean Sea. This geographical area, once understood as a fluid entity aiding the formation of networks and exchange, is now the scenario of a humanitarian crisis and heated geopolitical dispute. On the occasion of the 58th October Salon, Invernomuto investigate the Balkan area and the multiple sonic directions crossing the Adriatic Sea, thus focusing on the theme of real and imagined borders, so present in the whole exhibition project.
The artists present the project through a performative session and an installation. Black Med, Chapter VII (2021) is a listening session based on a DJ set supported by a series of projected slides containing theoretical texts and backstories referring to the musical pieces, grouped by elegiac themes. The sessions explore different journeys of sound movement, touching topics such as alternate uses of technology, migrations, peripheries and interspecies. The sound installation Black Med, Београд, Beograd (2021) is a beta version of blackmed.invernomuto.info—a web platform due to be launched in fall 2021 and designed to perform the musical archive of Black Med. The core of the project is an algorithm able to play with the tracks and to broadcast an endless stream. The system is open and anyone can upload new sounds into it: the goal is to have a growing archive, a Black Med magma, which evolves constantly.

 

ALEX ISRAEL
Born in 1982

Rooted in the artist’s hometown of Los Angeles and in the myths around it, Alex Israel’s practice examines and embodies the strategies and aesthetics of the celebrity-driven entertainment industry. Israel’s works present a composite portrait of American pop culture, incorporating actors, reality TV stars, surfers, and props, backdrops and movie sets made on the backlots of Hollywood studios. Using the tactics of self-branding, ubiquitous across the Internet and social media, the artist implicates himself within this visual language of constant visibility and self-promotion.
The two works presented at the 58th October Salon—a city-center billboard featuring a painted image of the Los Angeles sky from Israel’s Sky Backdrop series, and a sculpture of a pelican hanging from the ceiling in the museum—although far from each other, are in close conversation, as if they were the setting and the main character in a single dream diffused across time and space. The boundless depth of the sky and the figure of the pelican, whose wings can be made to move by its viewers as in a mobile for children, define through their pairing a united dream of California’s fantastical great-wide-open landscape, a mainstay subject of Israel’s practice.

 

MELIKE KARA
Born in 1985

Despite the diversity of Melike Kara’s means of expression—primarily painting, but also sculpture, installation, photography, and video—the themes of family, tradition and community remain pivotal in her artistic research, which reads and investigates them relentlessly in a deeply personal way, focusing on roots, identity, and the ideas of home and country.
The formal distillation which characterizes her pictorial vocabulary has recently led the artist to explore the motifs of textile patterns, in an intertwining of personal and collective memories, of lived stories and myths. The works utilize tradition to create new narratives, blurring the boundaries between what is, what has been and what could be. In her most recent series of paintings, the artist uses Kurdish tapestries as the starting point for her own compositions. Born to a Kurdish-Alevi family, Kara shows how notions of “home” transcend national borders, how identity becomes hybrid, between home and homeland. The paintings’ elaborate texture is achieved through a stratification of painted layers that emerge in and out of the picture plane. They evoke the intricate weaving of tapestries while eluding representation, resting ambiguously suspended between figuration and abstraction.

 

NADEŽDA KIRĆANSKI
Born in 1992

Nadežda Kirćanski expresses herself mainly through drawing and installation, exploring the contrast among different sociopolitical realities and the social, emotional, intellectual and material life of the younger generation in Serbia. The exploration of space, whether public or private, allows the artist to highlight contradictions, short-circuits, conditioning or oppression systems which are not identifiable at first sight. Her approach triggers an intense recounting, both personal and collective, focusing on the reality in which she lives.
Kirćanski’s environmental installation not much 1.0 (2018), reproposed at the 58th October Salon, is an example of the artist’s research. Set up as a simple hospital waiting room, and consisting of painted walls and modular seating, the piece magnifies a sense of anguished suspension, the burden of disappointed expectations, the displacement between promises of support not kept by the current political system, and the impossibility for young people to act and react. While analyzing the material, political and social context of the artist’s country, Kirćanski’s work proposes a reflection on the dream as hope, utopia, the possibility of a change that starts mainly from becoming aware of the state of things.

 

JOSH KLINE
Born in 1979

Josh Kline’s artistic production aims to highlight the connection between individuals and larger systems such as the organization of work, technological automation, climate change, and the failure of democratic systems. Interested in the way in which these phenomena inform humanity’s experiences and perspectives, influencing the present as well as the near future, the artist uses a variety of media to elaborate reflections and imagine destinies. Therefore, rather than representing a reference model, science fiction is a way of approaching reality and formulating an idea. Video and film are the starting points for all the variations of the artist’s work, including sculpture, made through a process of editing of three-dimensional scans that leads to the 3D printing of autonomous objects.
The film Adaptation (2019-2021) is the final part of Kline’s larger Climate Change project. Set in New York in the mid-21st century, it shows a city submerged by the waters due to rising seas, profoundly marked by climate change, global warming and the most extreme consequences of nationalism and neoliberal capitalism. Adaptation is a snapshot of day-to-day life for a group of working people whose job brings them into this transformed future Manhattan. They inhabit a new normal and their human presence, inserted in this scenario, directly addresses the anxieties of our present, at the same time outlining the upsetting and realistic portrait of a possible future.

 

OLIVER LARIC
Born in 1981

Combining an interest in archeology and artistic forms of the past with the potential of 3D scanning and printing, video images and the web, Oliver Laric produces works capable of making the digital sphere communicate with physical space, in an unceasing interweaving of perspectives and levels of reading. Whether it is his polyurethane sculptures or his videos based on the manipulation of found footage taken from mass communication channels, Laric reveals his interest in the migration of forms and images from different contexts, from a chronological, spatial or semiological point of view. What is analyzed is the path of production, consumption and use of the visual in the contemporary world, which unfolds between the ideas of uniqueness and reproducibility, of authorship and anonymity, of physicality and intangibility.
In Laric’s latest video production, Untitled (2021), in an infinite digital metamorphosis the organic transition from one form to another is investigated. A liquid organicity inhabits the video in a sort of primordial soup that crosses the spatiotemporal dimension to materialize in unique forms, in an incessant dialogue between nature and artifice, between real data and the surreal.

 

MARK LECKEY
Born in 1964

Mark Leckey’s films, sculptures, installations, performances and sound works rework the objects and images of contemporary culture in a novel way, translating them into a language that is both individual and universal. Underground and clubbing culture, the world of youth and class issues, the intertwining of autobiography and history, memory and magic, identity and popular culture come together in a heterogeneous body of work, developed by the artist from the early ‘90s to the present, with a unique and original style. Leckey is one of the most iconic and representative artists of his generation and his works convey pressing issues of contemporary life in stories that are anchored in reality and in the physical and bodily experience that each individual makes of it.
Dream English Kid, 1964 – 1999 AD (2015) is a sort of mapping of Leckey’s cultural DNA, a “coming-of-age video” made out of a collage of found footage, music and sounds in which personal and collective memories, myth and reality, bodies and technologies, ghosts and dreams emerge in parallel. The result is an intense story, a sort of self-portrait made from anonymous materials (TV clips, YouTube videos, found objects and reconstructions of existing landscapes), in which mystery, folklore and technology converge to define a hybrid dimension somewhere between real and imagined world, between lived experience and dream.

 

HANNAH LEVY
Born in 1991

Levy manipulates texturally incongruous materials, such as silicone and metal, to create tactile sculptures that provoke sensory experience. Rather than fetishizing synthetic substances, her work accentuates a pre-existing sensuality hidden in modern design. Fleshlike silicone is stretched over sleek, nickel-plated steel, or cast in plump, organic forms that rest precariously on metal armatures. Her references are wide-ranging and often anthropomorphic, both sterile and erotic, amusing and disturbing. The scale of recognizable, quotidian objects is often distorted to the point of absurdity, culminating in uncanny configurations that forgo their original functionality. The work’s humor is belied by a latent anxiety, situating the sculptures in a seduction-repulsion loop. Frequently realized in anemic palettes of beige, pale green, translucent whites, and putrid pinks, Levy’s works subvert notions of ‘taste making’ and the ways in which our designed environments reflect larger systems of value. Each component exists as a potential object to be consumed, in a perverse metabolic cycle that questions the very nature of consumption—both biologic and cultural.
The material paradox in Levy’s work is exemplified in her presentation in the 58th October Salon, especially as it applies to the pearl, a commodity associated with affluence despite its mass production. Levy’s installation is oriented around a video featuring long natural nails massaging the fleshy interiors of giant oysters extracting pearls one at a time from their soft bellies. The audience to this almost pornographic exploration is a set of too-small lounge chairs featuring stretched gridded silicone dotted in pearls based on an unrealized design by the late French designer Charlotte Perriand. Cold shining pearls emerge from the soft fleshy interiors of oysters, hard long nails grow from unworked hands, and soft silicone clings to polished modernist steel skeletons. There is a continuing through line of cool hardness rubbing up against soft flesh, the textural incongruity of the melting of a surrealist dream.

 

HANA MILETIĆ
Born in 1982

Starting from a background in documentary photography, and inspired by the long tradition of handwork in her family, Hana Miletić has developed an artistic language based mainly on the creation of woven textile works. Miletić uses the weaving process to reflect on the social and cultural realities in which the artist herself works. Weaving, which requires practice, time, care and attention, allows the artist to formulate new relationships between work, thought and the emotional sphere, as well as to counteract certain economic and social conditions at work, such as acceleration, standardization and transparency.
In Belgrade, the artist exhibits a few hand-woven works from the Materials series (2015-ongoing). The works are based on mended infrastructures, architectural elements or vehicles (windows, rear-view mirrors, etc.), held together with plastic, tape, or other simple materials, which Miletić photographed in public spaces in her hometown Zagreb. The artist uses her photographs as “cartoons,” to borrow a term used in tapestry, in the production of her textile pieces, thus activating a situated process that produces material and haptic images. Through her use of weaving, Miletić reproduces public gestures of care and repair while consciously dealing with the encountered states of transition.

 

EBECHO MUSLIMOVA
Born in 1984

The irreverent, ironic and provocative character of Fatebe is the undisputed heroine of Ebecho Muslimova’s paintings, wallpapers and graphic works. Since 2011, the artist has in fact created an imaginary alter ego, an uninhibited, free, corpulent version of herself (and whose name is a portmanteau of ‘fat’ and ‘Ebe,’ short for Ebecho), capable of going beyond limits and rules and to move spontaneously in the space of the artist’s work. Depicted with fast and exaggerated traits, the round and naked body of Fatebe, with her sex proudly in view, her swollen breasts and her cheeky comic-strip smile, deals with situations, objects, ever new landscapes, amidst tragicomic misadventures, acrobatic physical contortions and lustful fantasies. By deliberately reversing the voyeuristic and objectifying relationship through which the female body is normally shown and represented, Fatebe questions codes and languages, perspectives and proportions.
For the 58th October Salon, Muslimova creates a wallpaper transforming Fatebe into a pattern entirely covering the walls of the exhibition space. In doing so, the artist plays with concealing the presence of the work in the exhibition space, but at the same time uses wallpaper as the basis for a provocative representation of her iconic character.

 

KATJA NOVITSKOVA
Born in 1984

The relation between nature and technology is at the center of the explorations of Katja Novitskova. The artist employs scientific imaging technologies to explore the composite territory of contemporaneity, complex geographies and implications for potential futures. In the artist’s practice, technological devices, algorithms, and biological organisms contribute to redefining our vision of the world. The art works carry the narrative through a language borrowed from scientific studies, info-graphics and advertising aesthetics. The recurrent presence of automatically generated imagery, often depicting the natural world, as well as devices related to care or reproduction, constantly brings the mind back to the field of human experience, set into a relationship with unexplored systems, mechanisms and balances of the present and future ecologies.
For the 58th October Salon, Novitskova presents three works from the Earthware series, part of her most recent production and a collaboration with PWR studio, supplemented by a site-specific graffiti intervention. By tweaking an algorithm originally designed for shape recognition within a large cave art database, the artist sculpts two-dimensional wall tablets from artificial clay which feature automatically shot photographs of wild animals and blurred animal-human stick figure silhouettes, as if captured in a dream. Earthware aims to capture the poetics of numerical seeing as a timeless loop: from early human art to whatever hurricane of changes is happening at the present moment.

 

PRECIOUS OKOYOMON
Born in 1993

Precious Okoyomon express their art through sculpture, performances, environmental installations and written poetry in order to explore the substance of places and materials, cathartically sublimate memories and impulses, investigate the recesses of intimacy and the individual and collective perceptions of life and death. Blackness, queer identity and migratory experience are the cornerstones of a research with deep personal roots, in which the archetypal figures of the sun, the angel, the earth and plants keep coming back. History and nature are interwoven in the sculptural and installation space, as well as in the artist’s poetic writing, to generate reflections on the past and the present, on the dynamics of violence, slavery and oppression, and on the fate of communities and individuals in the Western world. The processes of decay, collapse, rotting and destruction are often associated with only apparently antithetical ideas of rebirth, resistance and tenderness, in a poetic blend filled with suggestions and echoes.
For the 58th October Salon, Okoyomon unfold the most intimate aspects of their research, designing a cherished environment, a sort of secret garden. In this enigmatic space, reminiscent of childhood memories, where plants and flowers grow spontaneously, visitors are invited to leave a trace of one of their own dreams, which will later be transformed by Okoyomon, jointly with the artist and philosopher Bracha Ettinger, within the oral and written saga of a shared dream.

 

WONG PING
Born in 1984

After an unusual path in approaching art production—including multimedia design, post-production work for television, blogs, online video platforms and the underground music scene—Wong Ping has found his area of interest in a variety of media including video animations, installations and environments.
Frustrated and repressed sexual desires, isolation, obsessions, dominative and submissive relationships, tension between the intimate sphere and social relationships, old and young age, are some of the opposites on which the artist’s story-telling universe is structured. This imaginary, where sparks of irony flash in the darkest recesses of the human psyche, is portrayed through lo-fi shapes, pop colors, two-dimensionality and a language that harks back to obsolete technologies. The intertwining of the story—intended by the artist as a sort of diary capable of recording a myriad of thoughts and experiences—and its visual development produces deeply personal pieces that reflect on the contradictions of contemporary life. In some cases, the moving images find an extension in installations that take up the three dimensions of real space, often expressed through the obsessive accumulation and multiplication of the elements.
This is also the case with The Ha Ha Ha Online Cemetery Limited (2019), an orderly sequence of toy dentures which, like the title of the work itself, recall at the same time a collective irreverent laugh and the idea of a communal burial. In this case too, the playful and ironic aspect is combined with broader reflections on the fate of mankind in today’s globalized and hyper-connected world.

 

SONJA RADAKOVIĆ
Born in 1989

The body represents the conceptual pivot, the tool and the chosen medium of Sonja Radaković’s research. Through video, photography and especially live performance, the young Belgrade-based artist investigates the boundaries of morality, taste and social norms, using her own and others’ bodies to define novel relational possibilities. By exploring seduction, narcissism, voyeurism and desire for self-determination, Radaković thus questions her own identity as a woman and artist, highlighting the contradictions of the mechanisms through which society exercises its control or makes its own judgment.
The performance Occupied (2021) takes place physically in interstitial, non-conventional spaces between public and private. Radaković and a group of performers enact a paroxysmal performance of everyday gestures, at first sight ordinary, but which a persisting repetition makes alienating and disturbing. Visible in part live and in part in live streaming, the actions and performers play with the distance between the displayed and the concealed and with the tension between online and offline, in a game of mirrors of everyday life and theatrical representation.

 

JON RAFMAN
Born in 1981

Culling video and images from the far-flung corners of the web, the work of Jon Rafman explores the influence of contemporary media and technology on present experience. In his practice, Rafman employs the rich vocabulary of the Internet subcultures, virtual worlds, and video games, to create work that reformulates the concepts of present, future, memory, nostalgia, identity, and the psyche.
Rafman’s Dream Journal 2016-2019 (2019), with a soundtrack by James Ferraro and Oneohtrix Point Never, is a 3D animation with an absurdist storyline developed using automated writing inspired by “cursed” images from the artist’s vast archive. Dream Journal’s fragmented narrative follows its characters through a series of dystopian, ever-changing landscapes which include metropolitan neighborhoods and nightclubs, rotting wastelands, glaciers and deserts, starry skies and parallel universes. Weaving together broken temporalities, distorted spatialities, and unexpected lyrical inspirations, Dream Journal leads viewers on a surreal Dantean journey into the recesses of the Internet’s psyche.
The second film exhibited in Belgrade, Minor Daemon, Vol. 1 (2021), set in a surreal dystopia that feels like the deranged fever-dream of Hieronymus Bosch if he grew up on 4chan, traces the intersecting fortunes of two young men, Billy and Minor Daemon, who share an extraordinary gift for virtual reality gaming and go through a series of nightmarish events.

 

ANRI SALA
Born in 1974

Since the 1990s, Anri Sala has worked with a range of media including video, photography, installation, and more recently drawings and sculptures. His work explores the boundaries between image and sound in order to generate carefully assembled time-based moments which overlap one another. Through a new form of language, his work opens to multiple perspectives and interpretations, bringing together the past, present and future. Giving prominence to light, sound and space design, Sala’s work is often presented in immersive spaces, thus stimulating our senses and creating a link between the body and the architecture.
The video Dammi i Colori (2003) represents the changes the Albanian capital underwent following a program of urban renewal that involved the repainting in vivid colors of the city’s buildings. The voice of the then Mayor of Tirana Edi Rama—promoter of the project as well as an artist himself—describes this regeneration process, based on the ideas of hope and utopia. The video is a portrait of a changing city, full of contrasts, caught between night and day, with the sounds of everyday life on its streets. Interpreting the contrasts of reality from an intimate and daily perspective, the video has a profound political value. It offers a suspended observation of a changing and porous landscape and a deflagrated social fabric, but driven by the desire to rebuild itself.

 

BOJAN ŠARČEVIĆ
Born in 1974

An exquisite tension characterizes the sculptures and installations of Bojan Šarčević: tension between his wildly diverse choice of materials, between the fragility and the assertiveness of his forms, between the relationship of an organic universe to a functional one, between the cold “neutrality” of the exhibition space and the messy reality of a lived environment, and between time and space, viewed within their social, historical, cultural and psychological dimensions. The practice of the artist is often marked by a strong architectural sensitivity and an interest in the creation of formal systems that challenge certainties and stereotypes, raising questions regarding the empirical, theoretical and sensory understanding that the individual has of the world.
The installation Retribution (2021), on display at the 58th October Salon, consists of a series of commercial freezers, filled with thick layers of frost and emitting an intermittent sound piece. The triad of industrially made monoliths evokes both the aesthetic codes of Minimalism and abandoned food storage containers. The hum of the devices is complemented by fragments of the melody of a Rom/Serbian folkloric song from the 1980s, Livadama, Dolinama, by Vida Pavlović, which draws upon a local ethos mixed with innocence, emancipation and forbidden love. This sentimental folk ballad is interspersed with fragments of a more recent song by the Swedish metal band Meshuggah, Demiurge, characterized by a throbbing score and interwoven with abstract references to armed conflicts and humanitarian crises. Transducer speakers installed within the freezers emit vibrations that rely on solids to generate sound. As such, the thick layer of frozen condensation that has formed from the moisture in the air of the exhibition space becomes the physical carrier for sound wave transmission, creating sounds that are quite literally born from the piece’s immediate context—the very air around it. The effect is one of nostalgia and indictment: anguish and history are mixed with references to the culture of consumerism, the readymade, and a past that is both frozen and still, today, constantly gaining layers of new frost.

 

MAX HOOPER SCHNEIDER
Born in 1982

Graduated from Harvard University with a master’s degree in landscape architecture, Max Hooper Schneider has developed an artistic practice that feeds on the technology, materials and biological systems endemic to this discipline. His installations explore nature, conceived as a process of relentless transformation in which bodies, as continually forming matter, are intended as the principle mode of nature. As co-constituents and co-creators of the works, bodies and matter—a starfish, a discarded boot, a neon sign, a mannequin, a fossil, varied debris from the discarded relics of the contemporary world—like the work as a whole, are not viewed as static or formally concluded but as ‘alive,’ in constant flux, an endless swirl of creation and destruction. In the works thus produced, technology and geology, natural and artificial, living and dead, past and future, art and science, ideas and materials collide to materialize novel spatiotemporal configurations and mutational ecosystems. The formal recollections of Minimalism and Land Art are reworked with uncanny materials and unleash a vision that attempts to transcend categorization—neither utopian nor dystopian, fact nor fiction. In this conception, the artwork is thus conceived as actual nature rather than as a representation of nature, and the artist, as one among many bodies, is no longer viewed as an independent actor in the creative process.
The artist’s new piece, created specifically for the Belgrade Biennale, consists of a group of translucent, glowing fiberglass human figures hybridized with heads of fossils, corals and minerals. These distant, alien, mutant figures, who seem to blend a prehistoric past with the mutations of a future still to come, are placed in an urban setting consisting of metal scraps collected by the artist in the city of Belgrade and situated at the base of a forgotten monument. As often happens in Schneider’s experimental research, and also in this case, natural elements and man-made artefacts produce bizarre ecosystems and narratives that suggest a possible future in which the boundaries between flora, fauna and anthropogenic interventions will be questioned according to their new relationships and juxtapositions.

 

AUGUSTAS SERAPINAS
Born in 1990

The work of Augustas Serapinas is often marked by an intense and empathic re-appropriation and reinterpretation of the places in which it is hosted. The artist investigates the layering of stories and tales in a sort of excavation process that includes research and meetings, from which he draws the elements he creates his pieces with. Whether consisting of concealed and rediscovered frescoes, original and forgotten functions of places, removed stories, omitted people, destroyed and recovered materials, the elements that make up the artist’s work contribute in forming new points of view, new perspectives on a layered, dense, permeable, open world.
Serapinas’ explorations often begin with the observation of a city, as in the case of Belgrade, and then move to the deeper investigation of a specific place, in a process of identification which moves from the general to the detail, during which individual and collective stories are involved. The artist’s new production Cast Iron Saber (2020) is the result of his analysis of the original function of the Belgrade City Museum, a former military academy. The encounter of archival images showing the fencing lessons held in the 20th century inside the premises and the discovery of a hidden storage room filled with radiators led to the formalization of a series of swords, incorporating the radiators as their material. The different elements of the past are thus merged together and constitute a new object, now revived and placed back in the place it belongs—as if the building itself had decided to wake up through a memory.

 

IGOR SIMIĆ
Born in 1988

The artistic path of Igor Simić, initially only focusing on video, over time came to include a wide range of media, with the artist experimenting with photography, 3D-printed sculptures, music, writing of essays, articles, painting, as well as creating video games as part of the activity of his Demagog Studio transmedia company.
The artist’s main line of research in the field of moving image goes together with his interest in contemporary culture and politics in a broad sense, and with an attention to the social dynamics of the dystopian technological era, involving surveillance systems and post-apocalyptic visions. From the illusions of advertising to the chimeras of the medicine of the future, from the fantasies of dating sites to the hypnotic language of algorithms, the world of today and tomorrow is probed by Simić with a gaze that is both direct and hallucinated, capable of highlighting unexpected perspectives and landscapes.
This approach is exemplified by the two works exhibited at the 58th October Salon. In the video Melancholic Drone (2015) a surveillance drone reflects on its own existence, flying over the city of Belgrade and following an unplanned trajectory. The drone, a humanized technological character, seems almost bored by its own functionality, a subtly ironic allusion to a theme that worries and fascinates the scientific community and certain movie productions: the possibility of a digital conscience. The series Radio Nostalgia from Mars (2018) is a sophisticated animation that describes a post-catastrophic landscape, among the ruins of an Earth destroyed by an ecological disaster and a possible life on Mars, the preserve of a small percentage of wealthy earthlings. Using the narrative and aesthetic codes of the animated short film, the work reflects with disenchantment on the economic inequalities and devastating outcomes of a possible future.

 

MARIANNA SIMNETT
Born in 1986

Marianna Simnett’s artistic practice includes film, installation, drawing, sculpture and performance. At the heart of her work is a preoccupation with the body, exploring the ways it is perceived and imagined. Simnett probes social and cultural norms to expose their fallibility. The bodies in her work are mutants, shapeshifting according to their desire, moving fluidly between transient states, creatures, organs, machines, and other imaginary beings. In her disturbing, fantastical stories, she invents worlds in which identities, genders and species are not already given but waiting to be found.
The Bird Game (2019) is a deliciously dark fairy tale in which six children are seduced into playing a deadly game by a talking crow. The winner gets to transform into a bird and never have to sleep again. Birds are known for their remarkable ability to survive on little to no sleep, a phenomenon which scientists are trying to steal to keep humans awake for longer. The film takes place in a secluded mansion without adults, in which all the rooms are like different cavities of a sick brain. This brutal tale of childhood and transformation will infect your dreams and give you nightmares.

 

EMILY MAE SMITH
Born in 1979

Emily Mae Smith’s work combines references to artistic movements of the past, including Symbolism, Art Nouveau, Surrealism, and Pop Art, with a profoundly contemporary sensitivity, influenced by the linguistic devices of digital and computer graphics. In a delicate balance between the analog, manual and traditional aspects of oil painting on the one hand and a reference to the accuracy of the digital production of images and graphic design on the other, her works convey an entirely personal visual universe, inhabited by a lexicon of signs and symbols dominated by the artist’s avatar, an anthropomorphized broom. The reassuring and disturbing figure takes on ever-changing forms and roles to convey reflections on disparate contemporary issues, from gender to sexuality, from capitalism to violence. This element—both concrete and imaginary—is both symptom and protagonist of a visionary reinterpretation of reality. Smith’s works are proposed as openings on dreamlike worlds, almost windows that allow one to peek at remote landscapes and postures known to the history of art, in a contamination of worlds and imaginations that blend together in a completely new iconographic apparatus. The series of works on paper especially produced for the 58th October Salon represents a synthesis of recurring themes in the artist’s production, reflects the variety of her subjects and the eclecticism of her sources of inspiration.

 

COLIN SNAPP
Born in 1982

The photographs, videos and sculptural works of Colin Snapp investigate the mediated visual experience through which we perceive and catalog the world around us. Focusing in particular on the present American landscape, the artist reminds us that the way in which we look at and represent reality is never neutral, direct, and objective. Screens, frames, lenses, both figuratively and concretely, are the filter of apparitions that do not coincide with the essence of things but open up new perspectives on them. Snapp’s creative process starts from images considered ordinary or banal in order to then frame them and look for a new meaning. The act of photographing or filming becomes a conscious ritual of translating reality, a way of defining an unprecedented conceptual landscape. His voyeurism, far from any morbidity, takes on analytical and scientific characteristics.
At the 58th October Salon, Snapp presents a new video featuring American shopping malls. The artist activates a thorough and detailed investigational process, undertaking weeks of research and filming, aiming to map these non-places where the mechanisms of consumerism seem to go ahead regardless of the ongoing economic and social crisis. The film’s soundtrack, composed by Mauro Hertig starting from found sounds, is a perfect commentary to the contradiction of images that move between the dullness of the ordinary and the disturbing universe of a recurring dream.

 

DANIEL STEEGMANN MANGRANÉ
Born in 1977

The migration of forms between different registers, such as nature, art and architecture, is at the center of Daniel Steegmann Mangrané’s multimedia practice. His works, which include film, drawing, sculpture, environmental and sound installations, define landscapes in which the borders are constantly questioned: between organic and artificial materials, between man and the environment, between subject and object, nature and culture. Each element of his compositions is intended as part of an ecosystem, in an interdependent relationship with the context and its components. The immersive aspect of many of the artist’s works aims to insert the observer in a relationship of ontological continuity with the work and the rest of the world.
An example from this research path can be found in the piece presented at the 58th October Salon, A Dream Dreaming a Dream (2020), consisting of a continuously self-generating online animation featuring a panther wandering within a tropical forest. The animal’s dream takes on different forms each time, stopping and starting incessantly, imbued with the vague misperception of a half-sleep state, between new oneiric images and repeated awakenings. A Dream Dreaming a Dream blends different forms of knowledge, from indigenous wisdom, to the relationship with animal and plant beings and with the spiritual entities of the forest, from the images and sensations of dreams, up to the mechanics of artificial intelligence, thus defining novel ways to relate to the real, virtual, and dream world.

 

DIAMOND STINGILY
Born in 1990

Personal, family and collective memory is the pulsating center of the multiform practice of the artist Diamond Stingily. The memories of her childhood and adolescence, as well as, in a broader sense, of the American subcultures and Black culture, are the starting point of her reworking of (often found) household and ordinary objects, placed in a language which alludes to more extended narratives and meanings. Nothing is only what it appears to be; everything, starting from one’s own materiality, detaches itself from the naturalness of the physical world in order to open autobiographical narrative scenarios or to recall further dimensions: control, violence, surveillance or emotional relationships, beauty, joy. Through sculpture, installation, video, as well as poetry and stories, the artist thus expresses a sober lyricism.
The series Elephant Memory, which Stingily launched in 2016, is connected with this peculiar translation process from the material realm to a narrative one: steel chains are woven with artificial hair in always unique and different patterns. Hair, part of Stingily’s family memory, as she grew up in her mother’s hair salon, are a reference to the bonds that formed the artist’s identity.

 

JENNA SUTELA
Born in 1983

Jenna Sutela operates with sounds, words, and living creatures to create works that aim to investigate social, material and biological phenomena, engaged in a relationship with the codes and mechanisms of technology. The symbiotic, ecosystemic relationship that the human universe has with the rest of the world—organic or synthetic—is the basis of a reflection carried out using many languages, ranging from the production of publications to that of sound-based, poetic, performative and sculptural works, often generated by an expanded, non-linear and non-centralized collaborative process.
Sutela’s approach, open to chance and contamination, shuns anthropocentrism and geocentrism, to instead go looking for alien and unexplored dimensions. The vehicles used in this exploration can be bacteria, artificial intelligence, neural networks, as well as the endless transformational possibilities of language, seen as a living and thriving element.
The audiovisual manifestation of the nimiia cétiï project (2018), on exhibition in Belgrade, is an example of this investigational approach. The artist’s reiteration of the vocalizations of the 19th-century French medium Hélène Smith, who claimed to be able to communicate with Martians, together with microscope footage showing the movements of the Bacillus subtilis bacteria, considered a life form potentially capable of surviving on the “Red planet,” become the learning elements of a neural network that creates a new language. The communication between different species, the interaction through distant dimensions, the collaboration of biological and artificial entities define an alternative world.
In addition to nimiia cétiï, a piece from the sculptural series I Magma (2019) is exhibited in Belgrade, featuring a cast of the artist’s head in the form of a lava lamp. In this work, neural networks, psychedelia, pareidolia—i.e. the tendency for incorrect perception of a stimulus as an object, pattern or meaning known to the observer—take part in the creation of an “other” universe of meaning.

 

NORA TURATO
Born in 1991

Nora Turato contends with the porosity of language in contemporary media landscapes through sonorous, spoken-word performances and typographical artworks composed of found textual materials. She is known for her ability to syphon the textual idiosyncrasies of the internet into her work, appropriating language from books, advertising, social media, and everyday exchanges, and pouring it into performance scripts and visual works, which range from wall murals and videos to artist books and posters.
For the 58th October Salon, she is creating a new audio piece and sound installation which derives from her research into the politics of accents, identity, and Hollywood. This piece marks a new direction for Turato, who has been working intensively with a dialect coach to exercise the full range and potential of her voice. Through a process of rigorous observation and dissection, Turato is learning to embody the sounds and speech patterns of multitudinous accent types. As such, she has developed an internal repository of sorts, a vocal cache of accents, dialects, and idiolects between which she can rapidly alternate.
The piece is a sound study of Turato’s growing vocal arsenal, within which she emulates the tones of familiar Hollywood personas and character archetypes. The piece is both a rhythmic display of the artist’s vocal acrobatics and a commentary on the way accents are primed and commodified in the entertainment industry.

 

NICO VASCELLARI
Born in 1976

Moving among various languages, including performance, sculpture, installation, drawing, collage, video and sound experimentation, Nico Vascellari pursues an artistic path that conveys different and contrasting forces and energies to disrupt the established order of things. His research is contaminated with the alternative underground scene, feeding on popular culture, folklore and an intense relationship with nature, to define a personal alphabet of gestures, signs, actions and images in constant growth and transformation, always balancing between individual perspective and collective experience. An almost shamanic, ritual dimension spreads from Vascellari’s projects and interventions, whether these come to life in genuinely artistic contexts or invade different spaces. The idea of layering, sedimentation and excavation is often the basis of the artist’s research, in an everlasting yearning for the exploration of deeper levels of the phenomena around us.
The series of the Nidi [Nests] is a precise expression of the attempt to understand—or, rather, decipher—the language of nature. Following a careful selection of fallen nests, thus not purloined from their original location, the artist starts a long process of dissection of the individual components that make up the temporary abode of a bird. Twig by twig, the result of the dissection is arranged neatly on a board in the always unique and irreproducible structure of natural alphabets, the result of an exchange between artist and animal. The Nido presented for the first time in Belgrade is therefore testimony of a modus operandi that typifies various aspects of Vascellari’s practice, always fascinated by limits, whether natural or human, and by the desire to overcome them.
A liminal thrust in terms of physical resistance, exposure to dangerous situations and loss of control, often expressed in the artist’s performances, is also present in the video Visita Interiora Terrae (2020), part of the Film Program. Vascellari evokes the poetic and scientific experiments carried out around the figure of the flying man, from Leonardo da Vinci onwards, with a reference to cinema in quoting the opening scene of Fellini’s La Dolce Vita (1960).

 

JORDAN WOLFSON
Born in 1980

Drawing inspiration and material from the world of advertising, mass media, the Internet and the technological universe in general, Jordan Wolfson produces works that develop the potential of a wide range of expressive languages, including video, installation, robotics, augmented reality and photography. Instead of simply appropriating found material, the artist creates his own unique content, which frequently revolves around a series of invented, animated characters. This creative impulse becomes the starting point for disturbing narratives deeply linked to his personal imagination, through which he analyzes the cultural, social and political contradictions of today’s America and lingers on the deepest folds of the human spirit. Autobiographical references, mass culture heroes and heroines, stereotypical characters, or his own avatar leak out. The frequent use of CGI animation, facial-recognition software, virtual-reality viewers, as well as other cutting-edge technologies, allows Wolfson to carry on his investigation into individuals’ relationship with the media, the information and the image economy.
The recent work ARTISTS FRIENDS RACISTS (2019-2020) uses a new holographic technology, based on the presence of fans whose spinning blades are covered with micro LEDs. Animated characters, videos, symbols and words thus seem to float in space, similar to ghosts that go beyond the boundaries of the media systems in which they circulate. Drawing directly on the semantics of advertising devices, made up of recurring logos and pressing claims, the installation escapes from these recognizable coordinates to display a holographic, glowing and convulsive poetry.
Initiated in 2019 and completed in January of 2020, just as the Covid-19 crisis began, this work reflects growing tensions as well the troubling socio-economic and political climate in which it was composed. Disturbing images of Dutch people in Black face, depicting Zwarte Piet, along White people seeing themselves as angelic figures, address the contradictions of racism in neo-liberal society. Inherent systems of racism that maintain White privileged are depicted here as some of the most overt problems in the contemporary world, that withstand despite indisputable injustices, and the madness of Trump and Covid-19 have made this as apparent as ever. Following the police murder of George Floyd in the United States, there has been a reckoning with Whiteness and supremacy structures. This piece serves as a snapshot of the world preceding this breaking point.

 

GUAN XIAO
Born in 1983

The question of the individual is a central subject matter in Guan Xiao’s art, particularly the challenges of how one should not only navigate but harness the logic of time and speed and influx of technology while changing understandings of materiality and the burden of history.
Using sculpture, installations and videos, the artist creates a suspended, rhythmic narration, in which traces of organic elements from the plant and animal world—such as leaves, flowers, tree trunks, bones—reshaped and distorted ordinary objects, and artificial materials stripped of their original function express a novel hybridization that challenges any visual or semantic hierarchy. Personal experience, past artistic traditions, digital materials, and everyday reality come together in Guan Xiao’s works in a vocabulary which is at once primordial and speculative.
In the exhibition in Belgrade, the artist presents Rest In (2017), originally conceived for public display as part of the High Line Art program in New York. Through the presence of footprints and vertebrae-like casts, the work embodies an unidentified creature, alluding to a kind of paleontology of the future. The title suggests a moment of pause for these roaming corporeal subjects.

Edited by Costanza Paissan