Last week I had a great pleasure to travel to Dundee to attend 3G 2017- 3 Generations of Women Artist Perform. The programme of this event, which was held at Perth music Hall, consisted of a selection of eight video pieces by 8 female artist of an ex- Yugoslavian background ( preceded by a talk by Jon Blackwood and a live performance by a Bosnian artist Maja Zeco.
In a nutshell, all pieces we could see were contextually concentrated around difficult history of the area, especially the events of Balkan war in early 1990’s. However, the range of subjects contained in this topic is much more complex. Though the war itself is not only about violence, but also about identity, broken relationships,struggle, social injustice, exclusion, politics and so on, and so on. It is also about every day life filled with moments of joy and tragedy.Therefore in my opinion, the general image of war does not exist. It should be viewed rather as a complex image woven with individual stories which, just like the stories of these eight artists, are all about something different.
The artworks were also very interesting in terms of a performance as an art form. Some of them recorded solitarily on the camera, some performed in front of public. Their common ground however lies in a strong symbolism. In majority they were only simple, but very meaningfull gestures like combing or hammering. It is pure meaning- with no spare embellishment or display of technical skill. In my view performance should be an intellectual challenge rather than an ordinary aesthetic amusement.
The form of expression has been tempting me several times in a past. However, using my own body seemed to be way beyond my limits. Along with development I started to lack the tools to communicate my ideas. I was trying then to gradually cross this border by using my voice or starring in one of my video pieces. I feel happy to expand my visual language and open myself to whole new areas of contexts to explore.
‘The class of patriotism’ is a video piece I recorded recently. Through recording myself and one other person, doing physical exercises when listening to Polish national anthem I tried to illustrate complicated relationship between Polish migrants and their fatherland. In my opinion this bond between Poles and Poland is very unique- it is a combination of disappointment and sorrow and very ardent affection, sometimes even bordering with something unhealthy. I think, that it is a constant struggle between humiliation and great pride. The reasons for this are to complex to expand on them here. Moreover, since it is a combination of social, economic, political and historic factors I do not feel competent even to try to explain it. I would like therefore to focus on the form that I decided to use.
The sound is here just equally important as what you can see. Besides the Polish national anthem, I recorded the sounds of male and female heavy breathing generated through the 3 minutes session of squats. These sounds may be interpreted in various way they can suggest the struggle, exhaustion or anguish. On the same time, the sounds may suggest a sexual activity. To simplify, this piece is about being raised to unconditionally love your country (metaphorically and not) despite being constantly humiliated.