Serbia Shows There’s ‘Nothing Between Us’ at the Venice Biennale
For the Serbia Pavilion at the 2013 Venice Biennale, artists Vladimir Peric and Miloš Tomićare have created a complex yet comprehensive environment as their artistic project, following the Biennale theme ‘The Encyclopaedic Palace’.
Miloš Tomić (b. 1976) is a graduate and lecturer in film directing. He is also a proponent of independent film making and director of over 30 short films, music videos and commercials including the project Musical Diaries. This project consisted of a number of video diaries of the artist and friends combining musical improvisation on saxophone, harmonica and piano, and with rhythmic sounds made with everyday objects such as clocks ticking, lights switching on and off and the sound of the Velcro on his child’s shoes – in what the artist calls ‘personal healing improvisation’. As Tomić wrote about the first of these diaries, ‘I don’t know [how] to play but it is my unfulfilled wish, so I will do my best to ‘communicate’ with some instrument or object every day in order to make some kind of music, through relaxing and making noise, searching for melodies’.
Watch this video on Tomić musical diary:
Miloš Tomić is joined by Peric’s Horor Vakui installation, comprised of a floor that replicates boards that are for popular social games and a wall made up of elements of his previous 19 solo exhibitions (both under his pseudonym and own name) where he places found objects in ‘wondrous relationships’ as to give them new meaning.
Vladimir Peric (b. 1962), is a member of the prestigious Art Directors Club of Serbia and is inspired by his collections of everyday items and discarded paraphernalia. This has been compiled in projects such as the ‘Museum of Childhood’, which is his ongoing collection of children’s toys, publications, etc. However, he critiqued his own collectors’ impulse in Horor Vakui (meaning a fear of empty space) by filling the entire space or surface of the artwork with detail. His piece aims to examine this, as well as asking where the impulse Horor Vakui comes from.
Although the two artists were pitched separately, they were chosen in tandem by the international art curator Maja Ćirić due to their joint fascination with how the relationship with a found object changes to an individual depending on its context. This is shown in Tomić’s films through its juxtapositions of ‘musical’ sound with ‘non-musical’ sound and his ‘healing improvisation’ with the artwork, and also in Peric’s work as he changes the ‘garbage’ of everyday life into fine art. In fact (and in the kindest way possible) ‘garbage’ can be seen as the link between these two artists: Tomić’s PhD thesis on ‘garbage as a material for film, animation [and] photography…’ and Peric’s collections of flea market finds.
This interest in ‘garbage’ makes a particular striking theme for the show when it is taken into consideration where the venue for this exhibition is: the Giardini’s Serbia Pavilion which was designed by the Italian architect Brenna Del Giudice in 1938. This show focuses on the detritus of everyday life and popular culture (with Mickey Mouse being a recurrent theme in Peric’s work) and could be said to serve as a critique, both of the bombast and minimalism of this building and the notion of ‘The Encyclopaedic Palace’ in general. The term ‘Palace’ suggests the grandness of monuments to historical epochs, which this exhibition questions through its definition of encyclopaedic to mean essentially trivial, as seen in the collection of scissors arranged on a wall to the sound of a rubber duck squeaking. Thus, adding another layer to what has been termed ‘the complex environment’ envisioned by Ćirić when she and the rest of the panel voted unanimously for these two artists.
Artist:Vladimir Peric, Miloš Tomic
Commissioner: Maja Ciric.
Venue: Pavilion at Giardini
By Samuel Spencer