Inke Arns on Mon, 14 Aug 2000 14:14:48 +0200

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Syndicate: Skuc Gallery - Press Release. WHAT AM I DOING HERE?

From: "galerija.skuc" <>
Subject: Skuc Gallery - Press Release
Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2000 09:42:16 +0200




Skuc Gallery, 17 August - 10 September 2000 

You are kindly invited to attend the opening of the exhibition on Thursday,
17 August at 9 p.m. at Skuc Gallery Ljubljana. Featuring the artists: Maja
Bajevic, Danica Dakic, Sejla Kameric, Damir Niksic, Rachel Rossner, Nebojsa
Seric Soba. Curated by Lejla Hodzic, Sarajevo Center for Contemporary Arts. 

The exhibition, "What Am I Doing Here?" was conceived over the past few
months, through conversations with artists, as a work in progress. The
works that originated during this time are concerned with various dilemmas
that confront the artists. The basic question, which each participant poses
in his/her own way, is succinctly expressed by Damir Niksic: "What am I
doing here?" The questions of one's own position, perspective and place and
one's connection with the problem of identity, language, nationality and
country are especially highlighted in the aftermath of the war in Bosnia
and Herzegovina.

Damir Niksic confronted chance passers-by with the question, "What am I
doing here" during SCCA's Second Annual Exhibition "Beyond the Mirror," in
Sarajevo in 1998. Just as now, the visitor, upon his entrance into the Skuc
Gallery in Ljubljana, activates sensors and is confronted with that same
question, which appears on a blank wall. The visitor has a choice: to exit
the gallery (unsure of what he is really doing there) or to remain in the
gallery and go into the next rooms and see the other works. Damir Niksic
also poses the same question to himself: what is he, an artist, doing in
the gallery. 

In the video installation "I love -- I don't love" Maja Bajevic and Danica
Dakic examine language as an element of identity, of belonging. Maja
Bajevic in Sarajevo recites ten sentences in Bosnian to Maja Bajevic in
Paris, who &ldquo;answers&rdquo; her with the same, only negative,
sentences in French. Danica Dakic does the same, but in German and Bosnian.
Although the sentences in the second language (German, French) and those
spoken in Bosnian, the &ldquo;mother&rdquo; tongue, are opposite in
meaning, they do not disprove one another, rather they are true in the
places in which they are spoken&mdash;they are connected to the country.

Rachel Rossner is an American who has been living in Europe for a number of
years and in Sarajevo for the past three. She says, &ldquo;I know where I
am, addresses make this very clear&mdash;street and number, city and
country&mdash;but the real question remains: Do I know who I am?&rdquo; The
address at which she can receive mail is a stabilizing element in her life.
For one year now, she has been sending herself transparent envelopes
containing her sketches, drawings and notes, sending them to her own
address (which she constantly changes). Some of the contents of the letters
are visible, while other items remain hidden, as in life, which is always
divided into the private and public. The letters travel via the postal
system with the risk of being lost. When she moves, Rachel Rossner puts all
these unopened letters in a big envelope and sends them to herself at her
new address. The title of her work is her recent address, "Zagrebacka
43/III, Sarajevo".

Sejla Kameric confronts reality with imagination in her video installation,
which consists of two works. The first video "Here" deals with a
confrontation with the environment that surrounds Sejla in Sarajevo,
pointing out reality. A reflection of the existing situation in BiH is
visible in the media, especially on television stations., which are mainly
founded for political reasons and which are unfortunately in competition
for the worst program. Recording the everyday program of one independent
station, which mainly broadcasts a live picture of a quiet intersection in
Sarajevo, Sejla Kameric communicates a part of Sarajevan reality. The
picture of the intersection is the same day after day. The only changes are
in the weather and the time of day. Passers-by are not aware of the camera
that records them, even though they have a chance to see this picture every
day over the airwaves. No matter what happens to Sejla or anyone else in
Sarajevo, the general picture remains the same, inexorably unchanging. A
picture that drives everyone to ask, "What am I doing here?" The second
video, "American Dream," was taped during Sejla's study residency in
Washington, D.C., USA. In fact, it is a fake video letter to her family and
friends at home. The video contains all the elements typical to letters of
guest workers and immigrants-status symbols of a new, "better" life: a
house, an automobile, house pets, new friends, etc.

The word "gap" metaphorically and literally describes the art of Nebojsa
Seric Soba as well as his position in the contemporary art scene of Bosnia
and Herzegovina. In fact, Nebojsa Seric Soba is himself caught up in
various fissures: professional (between the "eternal student" and the
artist), generational (between the young generation just now about to prove
itself and the generation of artists who made their reputations before the
war) and geographical (between BiH and abroad). Soba, who spent the entire
war in BiH, has since the beginning of 2000 been living in Amsterdam, where
he is taking his postgraduate studies at Rijks Academy. This time, he
presents the gap in which he lives and works via photographs of his
apartments in Amsterdam and in Sarajevo&mdash;here and there. The tittle of
his work is "Home is where the Home is."

WHAT AM I DOING HERE? is an exhibition in the framework of MSE-projects
(see gallery's homepage). Contact person: Gregor Podnar, phone: +386 1 12
13 140.

MSE-projects supported by: Swiss Arts Council PRO HELVETIA, department
Reseaux-Est-Ouest , SCCA Multimedia lab Sarajevo, MOL - Oddelek za
kulturo; Art and Culture Network Programme Link Programme (Open Society
Institute - Slovenia, Open Society Institute - Croatia, Open Society Found
- Bosna & Hercegovina, Fund for an Open Society &ndash; Yugoslavia, Soros
Foundation - Hungary); European Cultural Foundation; Ministrstvo za zunanje
zadeve, Slovenija - Pakt stabilnosti za juzno vzhodno Europo; Ministrstvo
RS za kulturo; Kultur Kontakt; Avstrijsko veleposlanistvo - Oddelek za
kulturo; .Kunst, Bundeskanzleramt, Austria; National Cultural Found &
Ministry of National Cultural Heritage of the Republic of Hungary;
Oesterreichisches Ost-und Suedosteuropa Institut, Budapest; Public Fund for
Modern Art, Dunaujvaros; Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia;
Cultural Department of the City Zagreb; Italian Cultural Institute in
Slovenia; PCX computers, Mit Loid oder co. Graz. 

Skuc Gallery, Stari trg 21, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia, phone/fax: +386 1
2516 540, e-mail: ,

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