51st Annale: Wasting Life Away
Istrian Assembly Hall, Poreč, Croatia
15. July 2021 - 12. September 2021


curator: Ksenija Orelj

The exhibition Wasting Life Away questions the effect of bureaucracy on the individual and criticizes the impersonality of the bureaucratic apparatus. In the administrative intricacies and accompanying comedies of confusion, we can all recognize ourselves, and it is on this that the works of eleven artists and art groups are reviewed.

The form that begins remains an end in itself, the impenetrable protocols of administration and the extension of the final solution are individual 'images' of the exhibition, which are placed on the border of reality and fiction. It gathers works that perform bureaucratic procedures, caricature administrative language and question its purposefulness and rationality. These are works that thematize impersonal processes and one-way communication protocols that cause us discomfort and disorientation, but also the urge to rebel.

In addition to the artistic heritage close to conceptual art (on the domestic stage inaugurated by the Gorgona group), the ideological starting point of the exhibition is the literary work of Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol from 1836. The confusion allegedly caused by a certified auditor leads us to question the manipulative character of today's bureaucracy, as well as the contemporary bureaucratic mentalities that, willingly or unwillingly, they take on in everyday life. As Gogol says, In short, it is rare for someone not to be Khlestakov at least once in his life - it's just that his trail cunningly changes direction, so it looks like it's not his. Thus in the exhibition, we encounter a film comedy of confusion about the correct use of linguistic phrases (Meriç Algün); a satire on the impersonality of administrative models (Igor Eškinja), ironic commentary on the everyday system of supervision (Toni Meštrović); an attempt at dialogue with an untouchable order that becomes a game of the deaf telephone (Ivana Pegan Baće); the action of long-term carrying of the binder in public space, which is intertwined with everyday social interactions (Bojan Mucko); spatial perturbations that evoke the common understanding of artwork - where does the work begin and where does it end? (Goran Petercol); public renunciation of authorship of a work of art (Nastasja Špilj and Pasko Burđelez); questioning the infallibility of statistics, figures and tables (Iva Ćurić); opposing sums of two and two (Nadija Mustapić); taking over dual identities (Janez Janša, Janez Janša, Janez Janša); absurd protocols, humorous polls and manipulated photographs that play with a rigid understanding of personality (Gorgona),

With works in various media, both older and new productions, the exhibition seeks to shake the days of God, to shake the foundations of the confusion created by the swollen bureaucracy and to penetrate the automation of individual action, which ultimately leads to innovation and lack of individual initiative. Stealing God’s days leads to the disruption of normalized hierarchies whose meanings we accept as necessary because of unconscious automatism. It makes us wonder; What happens to personality in a hyperbureaucratized society? Has bureaucratic language crept under our skin, as a camouflaged form of violence that becomes ‘soul bookkeeping’?

Artists: Meriç Algün, Pasko Burđelez & Nastasja Špilj, Iva Ćurić, Igor Eškinja, Gorgona, Janez Janša, Janez Janša, Janez Janša; Toni Meštrović, Bojan Mucko, Nadija Mustapić, Ivana Pegan Baće, Goran Petercol

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