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Between Image, Medium And The Body: Montenegro At The Venice Biennale
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Between Image, Medium And The Body: Montenegro At The Venice Biennale

Picture of Helen Brady
Updated: 26 January 2016
Montenegro was represented by artist Irena Lagator Pejović at the 2013 55th International Art Exhibition in Venice – La Biennale di Venezia. The Montenegro national pavilion was entitled Pensare attraverso l’immagine or Image Think and elaborates upon Pejović’s notion of art as a social strategy.

The overall theme of the 2013 Biennale has been selected by curator Massimiliano Gioni as ‘Il Palazzo Enciclopedico’ or ‘The Encyclopedic Palace’; and investigates the desire to see and know everything through the transformative power of the imagination. Montenegro’s Irena Lagator Pejović is one of the most dedicated artists in terms of her commitment to Gioni’s theme in the 2013 Venice Biennale. Pejović constructs her own artificial universe as an artist, and blends the space of the self into the thinking image of our world – oscillating between physical and mental spheres. Gioni remarks that ‘The Encyclopedic Palace… is a show that illustrates a condition we all share… channeling images, or at times even finding ourselves possessed by images.’ In a nod to George Orwell and his novel Nineteen Eighty-Four, Image Think is an acknowledgment of the power that mental images can harbour and their superiority over the deformation of language.

The exhibition extends throughout the three rooms of the ground floor and consists of four specific works: ‘Further than Beyond’, ‘Image Think’, Ecce Mundi’ and ‘Camera Imaginata’. Together they constitutean interrelation between image, medium and the body; the exhibition manifests the functions of perception and imagination, translating seeing into thinking, sensory experience into sense and personal responsibility into a collective one.

Further than Beyond’ looks to Derridean deconstruction theory; consisting of two golden tetrahedra in which the light dims at the end of the constructed space, accentuating the moment the work disappears visually. ‘Image Think’ consists of light, movement and mirrors reflecting upon Orwellian ‘Newspeak’ as a demonstration of the power of imagination. Exiting the black box of ‘Image Think’ the viewer enters ‘Ecce Mundi’, a white square covered in hand-drawn canvases with pictograms conjuring up peaceful worlds. Finally, ‘Camera Imaginata’ turns image into words, relying on social media and the visitors’ participation. The audience is supposed to cut a page out of the catalogue and construct a white cube for him or herself. If the viewer decides to construct this object, they create their own ‘Camera Imaginata’ which will remain in the space of our own individual memory. An exhibition catalogue will also be on offer and contains essays by Nataša Nikčević, Irena Lagator Pejović and Bazon Brock.

Irena Lagator Pejović was born in Cetinje, Montenegro in 1976. She lives and works in Cetinje, Podgorica and Belgrade. Pejović graduated with an MA in Graphic Design from the University of Montenegro, and she also has a PhD in Interdisciplinary and Multimedia Art at Centre for Interdisciplinary Studies/University of Arts in Belgrade. Highlights of her solo shows include The Society of Unlimited Responsibility, Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, Serbia and What We Call Real, Atelier DADO-gallery for contemporary art, National Museum of Montenegro, Cetinje.

The Montenegrin Team:

Artist: Irena Lagator Pejović.

Commissioner/Curator: Nataša Nikcevic.

Venue: Palazzo Malipiero, San Marco 3078-3079/A, Ramo Malipiero Venezia – Ground Floor.

The 55th International Art Exhibition of the Venice Biennale will take place from 1 June – 24 November. The Culture Trip’s Venice Biennale Series is an article series leading up to the start of the exhibition. With 88 countries participating in this year’s Biennale — 10 of them for the first time — and 150 artists from 37 countries, our coverage over the next couple of months will highlight a selection of the National Pavilions that will be participating in the 2013 edition of the Venice Biennale. Watch this space for our daily Venice Biennale updates or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest!

By Helen Brady

The Culture Trip showcases the best of art, culture and travel for every country in the world. Have a look at our Europe or Montenegro sections to find out more or become involved.