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- Author Vlatka Horvat
- Date of production 2015
- Dimensions height: 123 cm, length: 410 cm, width: 410 cm
- ID no. BS/1099
- Availability in stock
- Acquired date 2016
- Object copyright Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art
- Digital images copyright © all rights reserved, Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art
- Digitalisation RDW MIC, Virtual Małopolska project
The physical sense of space, things being material and, at the same time, cultural objects, physical presence and what it leaves behind are the key motifs of Vlatka Horvat’s works. Drawing dynamics from the performing arts area, the author weaves these kinds of motifs into her artistic activities, and also those that use the medium of drawing, collage, sculpture, or installation. In her works, the main actor disappears, and cannot be observed in the creative process, but there remains a trace of their action.more
The physical sense of space, things being material and, at the same time, cultural objects, physical presence and what it leaves behind are the key motifs of Vlatka Horvat’s works. Drawing dynamics from the performing arts area, the author weaves these kinds of motifs into her artistic activities, and also those that use the medium of drawing, collage, sculpture, or installation. In her works, the main actor disappears, and cannot be observed in the creative process, but there remains a trace of their action. The effect, presented to the viewer, is proof of action which triggers their imagination. The artistic moves that lead to it can easily be recreated as a series of simple actions, such as measuring, positioning, moving, or translating. The spatial organization of the work causes the recipient to become aware of the position of the body and the weight of its movements.
Horvat’s objects and installations do not fill a given space, but they create a physical framework for mutual interactions and manipulations between people and objects. The immobilization of these events in arranged compositions suggests the fragmentary character of the performance, an extensive zone of deficiency, which the author treats in the categories of “disappearance, absence and leaving unsaid”. The artist is fascinated by uncertain and disturbing sensations. The situations created by her are often accompanied by an atmosphere of hesitation, doubt, suspension, extortion or embarrassment. By reaching to the sources of such emotions, the author examines the boundaries of human activities and their spatial and social frameworks. She looks for cracks, breaks, and transitional stages in them. The regrouping of objects and elements of space made by her reveals the possibility of transforming the established social relations, expressing themselves in the material organization of our surroundings. Her manner of work is distinguished by the regularity and repeatability of activities, included in an uncertain process of improvisation.
The works from the series Balance Beam search for a balance between dual emotions arising in contact with a material object. They refer to the relationship which, through corporeality, connects us with objects: a relationship from which it is easier to be separated with a wall than to accept it. Does the advantage of control and agency, traditionally attributed to only one, human side not create imbalance? The construction of works which aspire to answer this question is based on an identical model: its basic structure – composed of a wooden beam supported by the backs of two chairs – is a support for the collection of various objects searched for by the artist at the venue of a given work realization. The basic criterion to be met by the objects selected by the author is a spherical or cylindrical shape. The final choice is determined by the possibility of placing them on the narrow surface of the support and balancing it the framework of the unstable composition, which threatens to break up. In the case of the work created for the Bunkier Sztuki collection, bulbs, batteries, film tape reels, a spool of string, a glass bottle, an orange, siphon cartridges, a car spring, and a washing machine drum were used as exhibits. These objects gained a new life, but this is an uncertain life, suspended on the brink of collapse. Similarly worrying is the new status of ordinary things acquired from everyday surroundings or from the reservoir of abandoned and unused objects. Can they, as artistic components, unambiguously return to the centre of attention from the world of socio-cultural periphery?
Balance Beam # 0715 evokes uncertainty arising at the interface between the gesture of the body and the materiality of things. The desire to maintain the stillness of objects mobile by nature at the same time raises a question about the freedom of the author’s decisions. After all, the zone of creative freedom, defined by the axis of the horizontal beam, is grossly narrow. Equally limited is the room for manoeuvre around the composition, which allows it to avoid annihilation. The installation embodies the entanglement of human activities into a complex structure of fortifications, artificially created and real at the same time. One can stand perfectly still in front of it and surrender oneself to the aura of entrapment. However, when you reach deeper, you can see some gaps in this system of constraints. Their exploration opens up an area of inexhaustible possibilities of a simple – at first glance – pattern, developed repeatedly by the artist and each time in a different way as part of the cycle Balance Beam. The balance desired here seems to rebuild the lost closeness between the subject and the object.
Elaborated by Kinga Olesiejuk (Bunkier Sztuki Gallery of Contemporary Art),
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Poland License.
Vlatka Horvat (born 1974) is an artist creating with a wide range of artistic media, including performance, sculpture, installation, drawing, collage, photography, and textual projects. Her actions are shown in various contexts, starting from galleries, through theatre halls, dance and performance festivals to public space. Horvat studied theatre and performance art at Columbia College in Chicago and at Northwestern University in Evanston. She received a PhD at the University of Roehampton in London. Her major individual exhibitions include: Or Some Other Time (The Kitchen, New York, 2009), By Bending Back (Annex14, Bern, 2011), Present Future (Artissima 18, Turin, 2011), As Opposed to the Front, Back, Top and Bottom (Bergen Kunsthall NO5, Bergen, 2011), Out of Left Field (Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Rijeka, 2011), Beside Itself (Zak Branicka, Berlin, 2011), Unleveling (Rachel Uffner Gallery, New York, 2012), Also Called: Backbone, Anchor, Lifeline (Boston University Art Gallery, Boston, 2012), Fault Lands (Annex14, Zurich, 2013). The artist presented her performances in, among others: LIFT — the London International Festival of Theatre, KAAI Studios in Brussels, Volt Bergen, PACT Zollverein in Essen, Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin, alkantara festival in Lisbon, Tanzquartier in Vienna, Outpost for Contemporary Art in Los Angeles. For many years, she has been collaborating with artist and writer Tim Etchells. Their joint projects include: Insults & Praises (Kulturhuset Stockholm, Stockholm, 2003), Money for Nice (Victoria and Albert Museum, London, 2005), Interferences (Contemporary Art Society @Bloomberg Space, London, 2008), Over the Table (Aichi Triennale, Nagoya, 2010), What Can Be Seen (Millenium Gallery Sheffield, 2017). She lives and works in London.