Sanela Jahić, Nikita Kadan, Zhanna Kadyrova, Vladimir Logutov, Timofey Radya, Mark Požlep
“I wonder why I lied to myself that I had never been here and was totally ignorant of this place – in fact, it’s just like anywhere else here, only the feeling is stronger and incomprehension deeper”.
The perception of the fourth dimension explored by the exhibition Everything and Nothing is not transcendental, analogue-spatial or temporal dimension, but is rather determined by current social, political and cultural dimensions and uses the avant-garde tradition as a meta-language which progresses from everything to nothing, which equals everything by purifying artistic activity until it becomes a clear, engaged statement, still determined by the restrictive parameters of our actions. Although it is unlikely real change will occur, the fact that we can engage with the idea brings us closer.
When Ilya Kabakov created The Man Who Flew into Space from his Apartment (1988), he was not concerned with utopia. Individual re-appropriation freed the cosmic dream from being closed within the system and re-established its primary essence – an essence which is not fixed, has no definite form and is not institutionalised, and whose genuineness can only be collective.
Based on these parameters, the exhibition presents a collective urge for change, or a possibility of change, in all its vitality, independent of image transfer and original context, which goes beyond imitation and appropriation.
An indispensable dialogue between past and present is presented in the work of Zhanna Kadyrova, who uses ceramic tiles to fill the cracks between different temporal layers, returning life to everyday things, to catch and position our bright yet hazy image of the present. Like an aureola, this spatial intervention reveals a new symbolic dimension in the various possibilities of the present.
Accepting the division of visual perception into the spatial and semiotic proposed by Timur Novikov, the work of Vladimir Logutov overlaps various realities, with prohibitory signs that reveal the real coordinates of our perspective. The search for new meanings that can overcome ordinary ones and establish a supra-rational solution is also manifest in the performative action of Timofey Radya’s Figure #1: Stability. As in the work Trips to the Country by Collective Actions, nature serves as a tabula rasa. In Radya’s work nature is clear and free of ideology, and through a liberating aesthetic experience, nature engages the viewer, toying with their curiosity and inviting them to participate in a metaphorical construction without mystical slogans about a loss of trust in authority.
The incandescent rays of light in Private Suns by Nikita Kadan reflects an aura of freedom – which is increasingly being reduced in public space – from a private space. The visitors remain outside the utopian horizons created by the shining image of the neon suns of a post-socialist metal grid, where others (artists?) have sought to find a new dimension. The grid is only effective as a formal and ideological tool when it is not perceived as an escapist structure. However, unlike in the previously mentioned work by Kabakov, the exhibited works do not focus on a yearning to escape, but on discovering new possibilities here and now and, consequently, taking action.
It seems that time – the fourth dimension in physics – has been suspended in Sanela Jahić’s kinetic installation, where movement – a synonym for change – is what enables individuals to liberate themselves from the dominant mechanism, which is revealed to have absolute supremacy.
Different strategies, which all rely on full and emptiness as contradictory essences, use different materials, unexpected elements or manipulate the field of perception or movement to create a meditative emptiness that does not refute the present, but expresses it and invites one to think about the present from a specific position.
The position expressed by the work One Dog, a Man and an Island does not lack romanticism, and is full of insecurities and doubts, but is also bold. The individual’s existential journey becomes a metaphor for finding new intellectual, philosophical and spiritual dimensions and is shown as an indispensable experience for overcoming everything around us and the nothingness that we feel when weighing our existence.
Curator: Yasmin Martin Vodopivec
Acknowledgements: Aleš Bracović, Fotoformat, Galleria Continua (Kuralai Abdukhalikova), Garage gallery (Alexey Misnik), International Centre of Graphic Arts, Alexandr Shein, Maja Žabota.
Special thanks to: Ekaterina Andreeva and Nevenka Šivavec.
Guided tours: Thursday, 7 August, and 21 August, at 18.00.
Screening of films from the Antology of Contemporary Art series by Evgeny Mitto and Alexander Shein:
- Oleg Kulik: Challenge and Provocation (2009), 12 August at 18.00.
- Vinogradov in Dubosarsky: Commissioned Painting (2010), 14 August at 18.00.
 A. Monastyrski, N. Alexeev, I. Yavorsky, V. in L. Veshnevsky, G. Kizevalter, slogan Collective Actions, 9 April 1978, Moscow, Belorusskaya railway close to the town of Zvenigorod.
 Cf: Andreeva, Ekaterina, Все и Ничто. Символические фигуры в искусстве второй половины (Everything and Nothing: Symbolic Figures in Post-War Twentieth-Century Art), Saint Petersburg, Ivan Limbakh, 2004, revised edition 2011, in Russian.
 Cf: Groys, Boris. Ilya Kabakov: The Man Who Flew into Space from his Apartment, Afterall Books, 2006.
The programme of Škuc Gallery is supported by Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and Cultural Department of the City of Ljubljana.