Pit stop on the way to dancing with cosmic forces
Jure Kastelic, Liga Spunde, Ulijona Odišarija, Valinia Svoronou, William Sheridan
16/09/17 — 17/09/17
Kensington High St, W14 8NZ, London, UK
Curated by Marta Barina
Pit stop on the way to dancing with cosmic forces is a pilot exhibition presenting the works of five international contemporary artists: Jure Kastelic, Liga Spunde, Ricardo Van Eyk, Ulijona Odisarija and Valinia Svoronou. The exhibition stems from a personal expanding and non-linear study into the pleasures and effects of spectatorship in contemporary culture. The apartment where the exhibition is taking place became available on extreme short notice, so I decided to use it as an experimental ground to test and visualize the interim phase of my taste and research – rather than trying to rush into definitive assertions and aesthetics. However, it is not easy task to quickly put together a group of artists whose works are meant to be the materialization of a nuance. In this occasion, a personal understanding of two books confines the research: Beyond Good and Evil (1886) by Friedrich Nietzsche and The Art of Cruelty (2011) by Maggie Nelson. These books commonly impugn the traditional ideas of value in a dangerous manner, encouraging to a “violent return to life”. In Beyond Good and Evil, Nietzsche suggests that we really ought to free ourselves from the misleading significance of morality; reclaiming “evil” as a necessary pit stop on the way to dancing with cosmic forces, on the path towards a new soul, in a life defined by “will to power”. A century later, Maggie Nelson writes about the cultural phenomenon that flourished from Nietzsche’s words - alimented by the turbulent scenario of genocides, state-sponsored wars, exploitation of resources, terrorism, environmental catastrophes and subjected by the explosion of images circulation and technological inventions such as film, television, Internet, digital photography. Surrounded by brutalities and hostile systems, many twentieth-century art movements (Futurism, Dada, Surrealism, Viennese Actionism or the Black Arts Movement to name a few) were obsessed with diagnosing injustice and alienation using “shock and awe” treatments as a cure (as Nietzsche was placing evil on the path towards life). Attempting to describe this new aggressive scenario, Nelson decides to take into analysis those practices that “rape the viewer into independence” (Michael Haneke, 2007) rather than the juxtaposed contemporary art trends that go by the name of “relational aesthetic”. The reason is that the latter most often predicate on the desire to lessen the amount of cruelty and miscommunication in the world, rather than to explore or express it as the former do. This choice is central to Nelson’s book as it is for this exhibition. “It is possible that the contemplation of cruelty will not make us human but cruel”, wrote Lionel Trilling, but it is also possible that “embracing cruelty is a step -a hazing or threshold- on the path to move beyond cruelty itself” (Nelson). Make no mistake: do not expect to be facing an exhibition of Hermann Nitsch' kind of explicit violence, neither to walk out of the room as to walk beyond human cruelty and alienation, towards Nirvana. There is something wrong with us that requires forceful interventions to correct, and the works in this exhibition are not presented to do so. Using Roland Barthes words from The Neutral (2002): “What I am looking for…is an introduction to living, a guide to life (ethical project): I want to live according to nuance”. Adopting the most delicate and genuine making-choices, the artists exhibited in Pit stop on the way to dancing with cosmic forces are looking into human darkness through the lens of irony and ordinariness. As Fanny Owe would say, they are subconsciously whispering to the viewer that life is worth living by showing that it isn’t.