Jaša & Jyrki Riekki: FRIENDLY WAR

There are days meant for those who love,
then are days meant to do some good,
and days to sit around and wine about,
but still there are days where you need to pick a friend
and declare war.

Texts which accompany exhibitions of all kinds, performances, spatial installations and everything else that contributes to the mosaic of contemporary visual arts, are usually begun with a presentation of participating artists, their past work, and last but not least, an attempt to install them, formally and content-wise, in relation to the multitude of tendencies that intertwine the field of fine arts.  
An introduction in the fashion of Vasari, with the two authors’ biographies, seems inappropriate and senseless at this point; it would in fact contradict the spirit of the project that aims to achieve, at least in terms of authorship, as seamless a contact of two artistic expressions and creative approaches as possible. On the level of individual details it is of course possible to discern two separate artistic languages, but the conceptual scheme and the mere organization – its psychological and sensual effect – are functioning on a level where individual authorship is out of the question. With a clash of two authors – their practices, manner of doing and thinking – another subject is inserted into the traditional creative equation: there is a birth of a new, two-headed creative entity and through it a creation of an ambient piece of work of nearly epic proportions that stretches over the exhibition space through almost all of Kibla.    
Neither is the intention of this text to verbalize, describe and clearly concretize the organization, which speaks for itself and does not want to be determined in terms of meaning. The question therefore, that will inevitably pop up with the reader is: what is the purpose of the existent text? If it is not the authors’ presentation, nor a description and explanation of the exhibition, let it serve as a companion, a short parallel dialogue that unravels some of the thought behind the organization.
Kibla’s gallery space KiBela is, with its pillars, explicit longitudes, a fragmentation of the space into some sort of niches, and after all the retreated stucco, a highly unconventional exhibition space. It’s frustrating to anyone who wishes to organize a polite, modernism-anchored exhibition – an exhibition allowing the works to breathe, as the works are the only speakers, while the space is nothing but a silent and neutral environment, as unobtrusive as possible. But it is really spaces like this one – untypical and inappropriate to a lot of people – that open up undreamed-of and often surprising exhibition possibilities. KiBela is not just another white venue, meant for a correct presentation of art – with an almost basilican ground plan it is silently interwoven into the lengthy continuity of sacral spaces, which stretches from old-Christian basilicas all the way to contemporary church concepts. The space itself is a carrier of too many contents and associations for the works to be able to reside in it without inevitably imposed connotations. It calls for a site-specific intervention that would allude to this tradition; play with it, interpret it and search for new ways of the sacral inside environments that are, at least in accordance with the established distinctions, understood as undoubtedly profane.
However, it is right at this point of referring contemporary art to the religious that a complication occurs, most difficult to overlook. The world of contemporary art, with the multitude of institutions and a variety of individual agents, is a priori positioned on the explicitly leftist, liberal, and often anti-church side. This changes every use of the sacral into an abuse – a search for attention with a cheap thrill, a provocation. Strategies of this kind have been a constancy of artists’ self-promotion and the subject of a number of scandals for such a long time, that with every processed religious image, every borderline mixture of the sacral and the profane language, quickly produces a stream of thoughts that discards it altogether as yet another in the line of countless ironic critiques of the chosen religious doctrine.
The question worth asking is where in the complexity of contemporary artistic practices and thoughts is the place to explore something that oversteps the material essence of our existence? Where and how are the places today that enable meditation, parallel to the kind that used to be available to everybody through religion? At this point some of the answers can be provided precisely by contemporary artistic production, which allows for the materialization of hypothetical realities – as causes for thinking and at the same time as actual spaces that embrace the spectator, and draw him inside the construct with manifold, often paradoxical meaning emphasis. This offers an almost endless potential for experimentation with more or less extreme ideas in a controlled environment, where every move becomes a performance, and the rudest ideas are but a sharp artist’s caprice. Such positioning of the art is of course Utopian, but even the wildest of fantasies are sometimes a comforting resort from the everyday delusions, the commanded search for happiness and self-realization.
Žiga Dobnikar

February10th 2012 – March 5th 2012
Opening: February 10th 2012 at 8pm
KiBela / KIBLA Maribor

Special thanks for project support to: Erik Vidmar, Peter Žula in UGM
Thank you: Saša Šuštar (assistance) in Mark Požlep (performance at the opening)
Organization assistance: Luka Uršič
Sound:  Kalu, Junzi, Fejzo

KiBela is open on weekdays between 9am and 10pm, Saturdays between 4pm and 10pm, closed on Sundays.

Support: EU-EACEA, Culture program, Brussels, Ministry of culture, Municipality of Maribor, Office of the Republic of Slovenia for Youth.




Photos (Boštjan Lah)



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