Antonia Majača, writing on the exhibition The Diary of Drowning (PM Gallery, Zagreb)
A more precise title of the exhibition of Tina Gverović in the Gallery of Expanded Media would probably be: The Diary of Drowning, which bears a negative connotation, is in sharp contrast with what the artist really tries to put across to the audience: here, it is equated with comfort, the sensation of being flooded over, envelopment of all the senses with the veil of the sea, sound, the beauty of being lost. The installation constructed from purified sensations translated into a number of elements shapes the syncretism, which, on the basis of intimate dedication, works with a force on all those who are ready to let themselves go, into the depths that allure and induce, to be recognised as one’s own.
But are we able to let ourselves be immersed in the vastness; are we ready to take a walk into the unknown, or do we remain tied to the land of self-comprehensibility? What goes on in the period between two moments of artistic perceptibility, facts of realisation, production? Does the effect stop or start at that moment? The young artist does not offer answers to the entire set – or cycle of questions. She neither illustrates them, nor should she. She is definitely aware of the potential existence of the unpredictable, and thus she offers only those signs that we can, but don’t have to follow, in order to detect the area free from territory, boundaries, solid base – the area of freedom and wandering delirium that is defined only by the coordinate system of spirit. Naturally, the signs ought to be characterised, explained on an individual basis, as their coexistence establishes countless possibilities of entangled guidelines.
The sound which fills the gallery in six-minute cycles is composed of deep, warm bass tones, which recall the depth, suppression, inner organic quality and have a sedative effect precisely due to their extra-temporal features. We can perceive the sound through the echo, and thus, thanks to the short time delay, the sound becomes more pregnant and abstract. This enables artistic perception to substantiate its full complicity with the place within which it works, cultivating the friendship of a darkened round dome. The gallery emanates, accepts the extension, becoming, through the artistic intervention, vast and unpredictable in the darkness. Where does the sound come from and where is its starting point – it is difficult to detect under the dome filled with echo, entangled unperceivable lines of force and labyrinths through which the sound flows. The sound is sensitised, identified with the sensation itself, while its identity is comprised of the potential of transposing the state of meditativeness, where the immersion is a paraphrase of artistic or – simply – subjective stratification.
On the strength of paradigms of potency, the presence of the sea, which is immense and which can be comprehended only on an emotional level, as well as the light, as well as the sound, we are immersed, drowned in the vastness. Projected images of the sea only scratch us in transit, following us and providing a base for our forlornness, as there are no signs nor logical orientation in the sea. We find ourselves sweetly lost in the sea, out of time and out of space. The exact place is not defined, the location is spirit – because (as Shelling teaches us) “nature is invisible spirit, the spirit is invisible nature”. The eye and mind are offered only one refuge – video presentation of a lighthouse, deprived of iconographic romanticism, for which the location of Dubrovnik is not decisive – it is an image (or the image of the image’s image), only an idea of a lighthouse. It simply directs, without its own expressive power, it is the sign which ought to be followed, freed from aestheticisation, bared of interpretative potential. It is here to “tie” the drowned, indicating the fixed point in the area of real – the point which truly exists – but it need not be followed. The light is the only sign for exit in case of danger.
On the rounded wall of the gallery, there is a drawing on paper composed of delicate arrows indicating movement – which is the movement itself. It reminds one of the movement of a wave, appearing and vanishing depending on the position of an observer; it is dead in space and unperceivable, unless illuminated by black UV-light. The wave is a sign for movement and vice versa; it needs to be followed in the darkness. This sign is not physical; it represents the statement of spirit, a subtly framed sensation. The established game with the space – respected and investigated by artistic perception – mediates our sensation by implementing signs. The author shapes the fragile scheme of getting lost and raises questions only implicitly: where do the signs lead us, and should we follow them? What is our movement determined by, and do we actually – in the very rotation and wandering around – unconsciously follow ourselves? How to indicate those places in which two points of a circle meet, the points which form the circle’s segments: do they define the circle, or do they disrupt its rounded quality?
The poetic quality of the ambience demands complete devotion and confidence from the observer: it points to intimate geography, wandering in the immenseness or in the circle, when the circle does not represent a boundary, but the space of infinite possibilities. Its boundaries are untouchable, as each time when we approach them, we become unaware that they exist and thus we keep on wandering. Precisely this challenges the existence of boundaries for those who are free from perceiving them.
Antonija Majača is an independent curator based in Berlin.