in the context of Svetlobna Gverila festival.
Galanterie Mécanique by Meta Grgurevič and Urša Vidic is a symphony of kinetic objects, video, performance and music. A homogenous spatial whole reveals a contemplation of the relationship between man and machine, collaboration and co-operation between individuals, and the position of the individual within wider social relationships. The driving force of the installation is harmony of constituent parts – the seemingly crucial or superfluous ones. The latter take on the role of tiny connecting elements, communicating with the seemingly established system and operation of mechanic elements and imbuing them with a lyrical and organic tinge, while assuming a part of mechanic essence. The new convolution becomes a working system, which is independent to a certain extent, but needs the participation of all components, both organic and mechanical, in order to function.
The key starting point, which, however, is not referenced directly and descriptively, is the film Modern Times. The artists establish a parallel narration, which is quite independent despite similar form and content. The Chaplin film lucidly and somewhat romantically critiques Fordist principles of production, which illustrates the capitalist tendency to mechanisation to increase efficiency and profit. The worker becomes only an imperfect, never sufficiently efficient part of the mechanic process of manufacturing, which gradually compels them to merge with the machine and changes activity into passive repetition.
The mechanicalness of the assembly line workers seeps into the performance, and relates to the heritage of Russian avant-garde theatre, particularly to the principles of Vsevolod Meyerhold, who in the spirit of post-revolutionary enthusiasm sought to create a theatre for the new industrial age. He rejected naturalistic and text-based acting, and introduced movement and gesture as the main means of expression. With complete control over their bodies, the actors created rhythm and movement, whole creating the form and content of the performances. Unlike Chaplin’s critical perspective, Meyerhold was led by Futurist enthusiasm, favouring progress and incorporating it into his theatre credo: actors performed movements with mechanical precision in a mutual synchronicity, which gives meaning to their individual roles. They became the wheels of a complex set machine.
Constructivist set design had a major role in Meyerhold’s performance – stylised acting drew inspiration from the increasingly mechanical everyday life of the proletariat. Marked by elaborate set and costume design, his projects were the first to practically apply the principles of constructivism. In Meyerhold’s plays complex, often moving constructions, directed the movement of actors.
In the project of Urša Vidic and Meta Grgurevič, a similar role is taken by a collage of chain mechanisms, which skilfully transition between small and large formats, and shadow and light, changing the gallery into an evocative space, which coexists with the movement of the dancers and the rhythm of music (which is the connecting element of the exhibition). The artists create a functioning system, a complex living organism made from small machines, their large shadows, performers, sound and video, connecting it into an organic whole, where everyone has to contribute in order for it to work. Galanterie Mécanique is a vision of harmony between equal stakeholders governed by solidarity and willing to serve anyone in order to preserve movement, the life in their shared environment.
Meta Grgurevič and Urša Vidic have been collaborating since 2009. Their projects are based on the multi-media vocabulary and the exploration of boundaries between stage and gallery installations.
Meta Grgurevič (born in 1979) finished postgraduate studies of painting at the Fine Art Academy in Venice (in 2007). Since then she created several solo projects and participated at numerous group exhibitions at home and abroad. Her project One Foot On A Banana Peel And With The Other In A Grave was presented at the 54th Venice Biennial in the framework of a group exhibition in the Italian Pavilion.
The visual artist Urša Vidic (born in 1978) finished postgraduate studies at the Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts and Design (in 2008). She presented her works at numerous solo and group exhibitions at home and abroad. Since 2010 she is also active as set designer in the field of performing arts. She co-operates with the Spider network holding visual-performance workshops.
Meta Grgurevič and Urša Vidic: Galanterie Mécanique
Premiere on the occasion of the opening of the exhibition 11 June 2013, Škuc Gallery
Reruns: Summer Museum Night, 15 June, at 23.00; 21 and 28 June, at 19.00
Tine Grgurevič (1983) completed his post-graduate studies in jazz piano at the Musical Academy in Amsterdam (2010). In Philadelphia he recorded his first album Balkan Flavour (2009), and one year later the second album, Images of Reality, in Amsterdam. He has been a member of different, mainly international ensembles. Since 2011, he has been especially engaged in music production and is working on his electronic debut album Bowrain.
Choreographer and dancer Nina Fajdiga graduated from the Theatreschool – School for New Dance Development (in 2007). She has collaborated with numerous choreographers, as a dancer and performer. She has also choreographed her first solo, Debris, and other performances.
Choreographer and dancer Leja Jurišić made a striking dance debut with her solo performance R’z’R (2005). With Teja Reba, she created Between Us (2009) and the ongoing performance Sofa (2011). She is one of the creators of the international project At Once (2012). Her most recent solo work is Ballet of Revolt (2012).
The project is part of 1 Step Forward, 20 Steps Back, which commemorates the anniversary of the establishment of the independent cultural scene in Ljubljana. The project is also part of U3 – 7th Triennial of Contemporary Art in Slovenia. Resilience (http://u3trienale.mg-lj.si/en/about/)
Project by: Meta Grgurevič and Urša Vidic
Lightning designer: Borut Cajnko
Created by: Jaša and Meta Grgurevič, Urša Vidic
Performed by: Nina Fajdiga and Leja Jurišić, Tine Grgurevič
Music by: Tine Grgurevič, Jaša, KALU
Costume design: Nika Ravnik / n i O k a
Created by: Jaša and Meta Grgurevič
Concept: Meta Grgurevič,Urša Vidic, Jaša
Performed by: Jaša
Text by: Jaša
Director of Photogrpahy: DK
Music by: Tine Grgurevič, Jaša, KALU
Design and 3D modelling: Johnatan Podboršek
Electricity works: Tomo Markočič and Martin Podlogar
Construction by: France Petač
Carpentry works: Tilen Grgurevič
Accompanying text by: Žiga Dobnikar
Proofreading: Inge Pangos
Translated by: Tina Škoberne and Borut Cajnko
Graphic design by: Janez Vidrih
The project was made for Lighting Guerrilla Festival (programme selector: Katerina Mirović), and U3 – 7th Triennial of Contemporary Art in Slovenia, curated by Nataša Petrešin-Bachelez
Produced by: Svetlobna Gverila@Strip Core/Forum Ljubljana, Galerija Škuc,
Co‐produced by: PTL – Plesni teater Ljubljana, MSUM – Muzej sodobne umetnosti
Lighting Guerrilla is part of the international network of lighting festivals and the Spectrum international project. The project has been financed by the European Commission. The content of this text is the sole responsibility of its authors and does not represent in any case any views of the European Commission.