Chasing the Corruptible Code

connection show | pdf


Gerhard Gross, Flying Scope 27, Los Angeles, digital print, 2001/2003.

What connects Constanze Ruhm from Vienna, Gerhard Gross from Graz and Dejan Grba from Belgrade, the three artists who exhibit together at the Connection show? Not many things. Anyway, their connections can hardly be the key constituents for the manifestation that hosts this show. As artists, they do not share the goals that are most often stressed in the discourse of in the European integrations: more tolerance and mutual understanding, less internal and external conflicts.

Every creative existence originates in conflict – individual, social, political – and the apparent denial of confilct can not resolve the problems but only rearticulate them, urging us to reflect and deliver them differently. This rearticulation generally requires a conscious exclusion of certain relations and a flexible exercise of language. And while the works of these three artists are thematically and conceptually diverse – from the cultural milieu of film in Ruhm and the fissures in the grand tradition of Americana in Gross, to the portrait and interpersonal relations in Grba – they share the procedures of analytical, code-level formalization. These procedures make their works look distant, indifferent and incommunicable thus indicating that opacity and misapprehension are the prerequisites of that rather distressful contact in which we establish our individuality.

In order to avoid slipping into the homogenizing world that numbly or/and opportunistically drifts toward total depolitization and in which the notion of cultural difference is just an ideological disguise, these artists use the virtuality of their identities, transform their apprehension of art and reality, and instrumentalize them into some kind of anomaly. Therefore, it could seem absurd that they act within the digital paradigm which is primarily determined by the corporate imperatives. Instead of aestheticizing the digitally supported and limited media interface, these artists take the digital code itself as a medium. It offers an attractive ratio between exclusivity and efficiency being accessible only to fanatics while de facto generating reality. At the moment. Only by continuously escaping into the perilous zone of absolute otherness that yields relevant consequences can artists evade the role of decorators and to be the evil of culture in a sense in which ‘better’ is the evil of ‘good’.

Connection, exhibition catalogue, Remont / Belgrade Cultural Centre, Belgrade, 2003.