Trafo Gallery Budapest
16 May - 11 June 2002
Galerija Balen and
Muzej brodskog Posavlja Slavonski Brod
17 Sept - 4 October 2002
The intriguing idea of Human/Nature is open to a number
of interpretations. It includes the notion of a dichotomy between civilisation
and the natural world and holds out the possibility of overcoming it.
It also involves the tricky concept of 'human nature' that has divided
philosophers for centuries between advocates of a harsh 'law of the
jungle' and believers in the intrinsic goodness of the 'noble savage'.
The debate between proponents of optimistic and pessimistic views of
basic human character is further complicated by the post-modernist's
belief that human nature is a self-referential linguistic construct
and only meaningful within a specific cultural context. Nevertheless,
we still feel a desire to delve the mysteries of human nature, and in
this situation, art can take a role in divining and expressing the global
We are witnessing a growing tendency to seek out new forms of spirituality and a rediscovery of ethics in art. Reconstructive post-modernism regards interconnectedness, social responsibility and ecological attunement as the crucial issues for human creativity. It calls for a reenchantment of the human soul. Human/Nature is about an awareness of how fragile the balance of nature is, how precious local lifestyles are, and how much it all depends on us.
Viktor Daldon is a painter, who on this occasion is represented by a photographic series of contemporary saints. Each photograph frames a passer-by against the neon logo of a pharmaceutical firm, revealing a glowing aureola around their head. They are reminiscent of Renaissance saint paintings, but contemporary saints are just ordinary people crossing the main square of Zagreb. Through social and spatial intervention the artist encourages us to look for the holy in each other and ourselves.
Ivana Franke uses such materials as paraffin, paper, threads, and fishing line to create site-specific installations that convey a sense of the ephemeral. The transparency of the structures she builds allows the viewer to perceive their wholeness simultaneously. Her work is gentle, sensual and fragile, and evokes abstract dimensions of the human mind and the natural stillness of space.
Alem Korkut is a sculptor who explores natural forms and processes in his work. Momento Mori-me directly confronts the universal problem of death, the separation of the spirit and the body, and the myth of individual immortalisation in stone. A video recording preserves the gradual disintegration of the artist's clay self-portrait as it sits in a water-filled glass container. The final result of the process of dilution is an undistinguished mass of submerged mud. The work is a poetic meditation on the inevitability of physical decomposition. In this final stage, humans again become part of nature.
There is a convincing humanism and affirmative spirit
to the work of the sculptor Denis Krakovic. Lying in a hammock,
gazing at repetitive landscapes, we're torn between meditation and apathy.
Although Laziness Wins can be read as a criticism of human indifference
towards nature, it can also be seen as an invitation to relax. The work
suggests we should stop seeing life as a struggle and celebrate the
true nature of existence.
Sandra Sterle's work deals with the rituals of daily life and explores places connected to childhood. She raises questions of social engagement and the enduring tug of our roots. In the video piece Round Around the artist is shown running around an olive tree dressed in folk costume borrowed from an old peasant woman on the island of Mljet. Running in a circle around the tree of wisdom, circles become cycles of a female nature.
Ivan eremet likes to point out uncomfortable truths. He succeeds with very reduced tools in expressing the frustrations of social realities. New Testament with a 100 kuna note is a reminder of a common side of human nature, of bribery, dishonesty and everyday hypocrisy. The work explicitly states that money is the new religion. It raises questions about the state of organised religion and comments on the superficial materialism of global capitalism.
The art of Slaven Tolj is often connected with his hometown of Dubrovnik. He employs the living environment, local conditions, objects and time present there as building material for his art projects. The video he presents here dramatises the end of a love affair through the act of peeling a potato. Through the intimate nature of his work, Slaven Tolj shamanistically performs the power of human emotions.
Maja and Reuben Fowkes