Blesok no. 66, May-June, 2009
Gallery Reviews

A Green Island as an Area of Freedom
– from Ulupuh gallery catalogue –

Davorka Perić Vučić Šneperger

As a reaction to the exhibition space in three successive rooms Vladimir Končar exhibits three structural entities, three different views on the same segment of life – market, marketplace, mart…

    In the realm of the gallery room and of one's own consciousness as a space for artistic creation the real everyday events, people and objects cross over from the ordinary perspective into the space of art. The idea of comparing life with a piece of art as a special area of modern arts results from the esthetic experience as well as from deliberations upon one's own life. Within the exhibition this idea has been brought – through several formal phases – to its ultimate form.

    The main characteristic of Vladimir Končar is an aware and critical view on the world in which we are living, especially emphasized in his work “Hybernation of gaze” dating from the year 2002 in which he uses politically replaced street plates. But in case of this exhibition he directs his look towards the sphere of everyday life and criticizes the blindness of the consumer era that makes us accept “comforts” of the dear postindustrial capitalism. The author focuses onto the market place, thus illuminating a separate small intercultural world. It is his directed look at the everyday things viewing them as something different and new that transfers us into the field of art created on the basis of very specific relations towards reality.

    The author selects an isolated, utopian green island as an area of freedom and artistic creation. Končar relates to situations and possibilities springing from them not by annihilating their selectivity, but by pinpointing their multiplicity using their universality.
    The author views the ever-changing market place from different angles and through different media, thus indicating the openness of the object, as well as his own ability to form a critical opinion and support different points of view. The author builds an open identity of the object – and himself simultaneously – leaving some space for making choices, the space for others.

    The concept of this exhibition saves some place for coincidence: on the photos capturing the life of the market place on Saturdays, on videos taken from the upper angle that remind us of videos of supervisory safety camera or those taken by the author, holding the camera in his hands, while he walks and shops around the market. The greatest coincidence in moving a situation from life into the gallery space we find in placing a lady – who usually sells her products at the market – in this new market world. That reminds us of pumpkins exhibited at pedestals by the Croatian artist Kožarić, who himself exhibited fruits and vegetables on stalls to the audience during his exhibitions. A piece of art needs no longer be created by the artist himself – objects of utility, products of the nature and real life situations become pieces of art depending on the artist's intention and selection.
    As his material Vladimir Končar selects the market place, a group of changing objects and unforeseen developments where a fluctuating object results from the outside, unforeseen factors, but also from an intense concentration of the author himself.

    By directing his view at the object and working on it the author himself, his own consciousness and his own life undergo a change. The awareness of nature, health and freedom overflows to the visitors at the exhibition, spreading the positive energy which abodes in a separate artistic sphere, the art of living. The esthetic dimension of life is complemented – in a wider sense – by existential and ethical awareness of what we do, where we shop and what we eat.
    The change of subject/object positions brings us to a turn – the artist no longer shapes his material, but lets the material influence him. Rich colors of food, fascination by smell and taste flows into a creative energy which fills us and shapes us.

    Beginning with the static media of photography, capturing the segments of the real life, the author starts on a transmedia journey with a clear development course. The photos depict the situation from the upper angle, the author includes several rows of stalls and draws a border to his work, while he photographs individual stalls and details from the upper angle. Objective perception and defining the field of activity in form of photographs that remind us of scanned situations and details is just the first step in elaboration of the artistic strategy of introducing the reality into the sphere of art.
    Coming closer to the real continues in the video media in the form of three-channel projection. In the first part of the video projection the camera is fixed above the market and shoots statically all changes in the course of a day – from the first morning setting up of the stalls until the afternoon cleaning of the market. The real time of about twenty hours we see sped up to only 20 minutes.

    While the photography manages to fix only a second of the real time, the first part of the three-channel video projection condenses the time period and speeds it up. The next station in Končar's media journey is the central video projection in which the static camera shoots from the same upper angle the real time of 20 minutes in the middle of a day when the author himself goes shopping. Due to this upper angle he remains unrecognizable and blends in with the masses of people and food circulating in the video. In the third part of the projection the real time and the space come even closer together.
    With the camera in his hand the author shoots people, faces, hands and food as he perceives them while he goes from one stall to the next choosing potatoes, leek, tomatoes.

    From the impersonal upper angle, through a sped up shots of a day, the real time and the author, captured in the video, the camera moves to the eyes height, becoming more communicative and lively, due mainly to being held in the hand.
    The journey towards an enlivened moment in time continues in the third segment of his work. Into the gallery the author brings a stall with fruits and vegetables and a saleswoman who actually sells her products during the exhibition, but this time as artistic artifacts. It is completely irrelevant how the seller-buyer relationship develops – it is a work in making, in which we have no interest in the end result and the valuable emphasis lies on its openness.

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