BY THE BOOK
The title of the exhibition and text intentionally borrows the definition of the phrase "by the book", and in an ironic way criticizes things created by blindly following predefined rules and templates.
The exhibition By the book presents the works by Ana Vujović and Danijela Pivašević-Tenner, who had mutually recognised connecting points in their artistic approaches towards phenomena that occupy their artistic practice. Both artists examine the relationship between tradition and contemporary life which invites a close investigation into constituted canons and systems of value, as well as the ever so faster changes which we as a society are exposed to.
Every change in paradigm evokes an opposition to innovation and the "rehabilitation" of a cliché which in time positioned itself as a "true value". Today, we often see “approved values” nested in tradition, while tradition is then primarily seen as identity permeating nationality. It is this dimension of the traditional that Ana Vujović and Danijela Pivašević-Tenner directly attach to their work, through the topics and the media that they employ. On one hand, we encounter depictions of Pirot rugs in the drawings, objects and installations of Ana Vujović; while the prints, objects and spatial installations of Danijela Pivašević-Tenner are characterized by the use of elements and forms taken from porcelain products. Pirot tapestry is widely recognized as an autochthon Serbian craft, whereas the first European production of porcelain originates from Saxony. The works featured in the exhibition widely rely on these two traditional manufacturing techniques – the usage of the loom for weaving on one hand and casting ceramic objects on the other, whereas the selected procedures contort the particular methods that produce these objects. Along these lines, daily life is implicitly included into the concept of the exhibition as applied arts and crafts, to which the artists refer to, and consequently, the industrial manufacturing of commodities, profoundly frame the micro-narratives of our lives.
In late Capitalism, from the point of the view of the individual, the present may appear as an intersection of two contexts – the past (reconstruction) and the future (anticipation). Here, the subject-individual shifts into a hub inside of a constantly evolving, but unstable net which connects entities from the past and potentials from the future. In this way, the present appears as the cut of two rather asymmetrical constructs of constantly processing the past and minimally anticipating the future filled with anxiety and uncertainty. In the work by Danijela Pivašević-Tenner which features photos of upside-down plates that show stamps of factories that once manufactured porcelain, but that no longer exist – the artist leaves traces of an upside-down cup after drinking coffee, much alike the domicile ritual of fortune telling.
Maida Gruden, art historian
Translation: Isidora Krstić