Solo exhibition show within the project Performing the Museum
Opening Reception: Tuesday, 3 November 2015 at 20 am
Duration: 3 – 29. november 2015.
Sanja Kojić Mladenov
Jasmina Cibic’s (b. Ljubljana 1979) work explores histories of ideological formations, which she addresses through site- and context-specific installations, performance and film. By traversing different structures and systems, the artist creates projects that often feel like Gesamtkunstwerke, within which she re-works found ready-mades spanning phenomena from language, architecture to historical events. These form components of a theatrical stage and speak of their place of origin, infused with a variable effective half-life, charged with former ideologies that can only cool down slowly over time. Jasmina Cibic investigates these properties outside their usual habitat and aside from their physical reality as communicative media that are charged (and recharged) with meaning and political programmatics.
Jasmina Cibic’s latest project developed for the Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina continues the artist’s interest in how the politics of representation is reflected in the shaping and building of desire tied to political power. Following her recognizable work method of curating and re-contextualizing historical subjects which speak of the beginnings of soft power as we understand it today, the artist has built her new body of work around a mirroring effect of two specific architectural objects designed in 1929 and 1927 respectively. These are the national pavilion of the Kingdom of Yugoslavia at the Barcelona EXPO, designed by the Serbian modernist architect Dragiša Brašovan, and the house for Josephine Baker, designed by Adolf Loos, which remained unrealized.
Both architectures were imagined at a time when finding a new visual expression for the future was central to the European political debate. The two buildings reflect their identical skin, a facade of horizontal black and white stripes that surrounds both of their entire exteriors. Apart from their aesthetic regime, they also share their function of displacement of desire: they were both to present specific objects of the geopolitical exotic for the pleasure of the spectator. They both served as seminal mythmaking devices, whose purpose was that of affirming the otherness of the objects and artifacts whose display they were housing inside, simultaneously making sure that desire for them was prolonged. In the case of the Yugoslav Pavilion, these were the emblems representing a nation state at a world exposition, and in case of the Josephine Baker house – an exotic female body.
Both buildings are products of an architectural reverie in which the architects imagined a series of spaces where the objects on display were put on show for the entertainment of the audience. Both belonged to the same cultural landscape of European modernity, and it is their invisible ruins that lie in the center of Cibic’s new project at MCAV.
For over a year, the artist has collected archival traces of the Yugoslav Pavilion, which supposedly won the Grand Prix and subsequently lost it, due to political intrigue, to Mies van der Rohe and his design for the German Pavilion. Despite its international relevance, the Yugoslav Pavilion slipped into oblivion, with only few documentary traces left. Cibic has reconstructed its model on a scale of 1:7, drawing on found photographs collected from personal and museum archives. The model is the main protagonist of the artist’s new film, which is placed at the center of her exhibition at MCAV. The single-channel work shows the model being continuously constructed and deconstructed by two female dancers. Filmed on a stage in a national theatre, their game of construction and deconstruction is accompanied by a documentary style voice-over, which merges the Yugoslavian Pavilion and the house for Josephine Baker into a singular architectural object.
Through this gesture of collision of two distinct architectures, Cibic performs a formal/conceptual inversion that, in the context of her created architectural disposition, underscores the relationship between private pleasure (Loos) and the pleasure of (political) authority through presentation of a nation-state.
In Building Desire, Cibic demonstrates the common core strategy in directly addressing the viewer in the observation and creation of a space of pleasure – whether through the authoritarianism of state architecture or the production of sexualized space. The installation at MCAV will comprise the film’s projection within a specific installation setting consisting of a cinematic space and its furnishings.
Jasmina Cibic’s project Building Desire does not only propose to the museum to embrace an architectural model, but to become one itself – a model whose function underlines and questions the museum’s own function: the display and framing of objects of desire.
Archives and Power
Performing the Museum
3–29. 11. 2015.
2. november 2015.
3. november 2015.
3. november 2015.