Metonymy of Economy

Solo exhibition “Metonymy of Economy”, 2013

Gallery Fonticus, Groznjan, Croatia

It is his sensibility and education that drive the artist to choose the means and materials through which to speak out artistically. Matoković presents works whose backbone is made out of graphic prints of discarded objects. We are faced with the revelation of the insignificant, and the stratification of its significance. The situation is provoked by the instinctual noticing of raster-like forms. It is then continued by selecting, processing, designing, artistic intervention, and printing. The course of the transformation results in a series of disciplined contemporary signs. We usually evaluate the finished artwork without necessarily looking back at the course of its creation, or its social markings. This project demands that, after locating the presented artifacts, we delve into the interpretation of the process and its consequences. We are obliged to consider the meaning of the artist’s unusual technical procedures, as well as the aesthetical range. Consequently this text will occasionally refer to the artistic, processual, and meaning-related consequences.

The graphic prints of Mario Matoković, from their premise up to their realization, are subjected to being designed in units. The artist presents a cycle composed of several works, which are divided into groups. They are made up of a series of nine prints, a triptych interrelated with a flat installation, and a video work accompanied by another graphic print. If we were to take a closer look at these aesthetically exceptional artworks, we would notice that we are faced with prints of prosaic templates. In one case we are talking about the top or bottom lid of a barrel, big cans for liquid cargo, bitumen, or oils. Immediately after that, continuing his contemplation of graphics, the artist reaches for an ordinary small can, usually used for selling refreshing beverages. These segments, observed in their surroundings, become the material for shaping/reshaping. This choice of motifs speaks about Matoković’s freedom of approach to the creative act. Once again it is confirmed that in the world of contemporary art, technology, material, or motif do not determine the status of the work. This artist, at the crossroads of noticing an excellent idea of forms for revisualization, and the awareness of the state of civilization, takes objects which are characteristic for a moment in history. Here already, at the point of choosing the materials, we notice the artist’s intention, the notion of the difference between people. Some handle the raw material and resources, and others handle small packages. Both of them live in the same world, but they do not come across each other. The social note of this presentation is further underlined by the video segments, as well as the blind print of a document which should stand for the security of the individual, i.e. an employment record book.

The artist’s approach and placement of elements initiates the game with the viewer’s perception in the area of the visual and meaningful. At the first glance, it appears that we are faced with the visualizations of the planet Earth or celestial objects. We can also perceive these circles as the possible image of Earth after we had completely destroyed it. The series of circular objects might also appear to us as enlarged photographs of orbs or reproductions of damaged coins. Coins have the same shape as the bottoms of barrels. Scratched and dappled, they are not worth anything. Just as their value is made up when they are real and new, so can this serve as an illustration of their true value. The associations go on. It would seem that the author presents shapes similar to worn-out traffic signs. The shape of a circle denominates a command. Command signs elicit prohibition, limitation, and obligation. As if the artist is attempting to demonstrate, identify control or commands given in relation to the situations that surround us. Because there is more and more censorship, prohibition, and so-called democratic renouncement that benefits particular privileged group. Out-of-control capital, statesmen in the role of managers, instead of democratically elected representatives of the people, who would look after the people, they all contribute to the collapse of the system on the whole. For a long time, we have been witnesses to the vulgar exploitation and destruction of Africa, the perfidious struggle for dominance over oil resources, instigation of chaos in the Middle East, the attempt to realign interests in this new form of colonialism. The capital has now reached for the lives of those who had worshiped it, the people of the so-called western democracies. Due to its greed, it had overlooked the fact that, by doing so, it is undermining its own stability. Like all monetary crises so far, this one too will fall on the backs of the middle and the poorest classes of the population.

This project of Mario Matoković strongly reconsiders the times we live in. The unscrupulousness of the consumerist society, the helplessness of the individual, the offer of false comforts, and similar situations that capitalism hides under the mantle of democracy, has got to result in the discontent of the majority. It would seem that socialist revolutions have not succeeded, or they have been wiped away by the machinations of the capital, nationalism, religion. However, the great world-wide social revolution has not occurred, as of yet. Today we give our solidarity to that class of society which we, drunk on consumerism as we were, have not been able to notice. Seeing a person digging through trash, or a retiree collecting plastic containers, invokes solidarity. There is absolutely no certainty that our governments will not pull us into a war, leave us without work, or that they will not accuse us of being the enemy, a terrorist, because we had come to despise the lies of the collapsed capitalism. Marko Lederer writes on this notion: “…those who have taken to the streets all over Europe do not fight to change the system, they fight for their right to participate in it.”

Mario Matoković takes a found object and “consumes” it for his contemplations. During that time, he resorts to classic technology. He unites the costly graphic paper with a discarded, but provocative motif/template. The game is not impaired by the technology. This recycling of sorts is contradictory, and it is up to us to decide whether we are going to perceive this act as production or reproduction. The artist multiplies shapes and gives them new connotations, determining them as a possible new subject of substitution for the common aesthetic notions. The visual results are not questionable, and they appear in front of us as exceptional artistic facts. The influence of coincidence in the work with the material that the artist had chosen has been overcome in a magnificent way.

The artist presents the consequences of a well thought-out ritual. The template ceases to be important. The mutation becomes the original; a conditional simulacrum. The instigation of cooperation with discarded objects/people, presented as a finished work, attributes the fact of change. The artist reaches abstract compositions which become a symbol. An offer is put in front of us: the poetry of a consumed world has been offered for meditating on. Instead of a lotus flower, we are presented with clusters of stains or parts of cans. We are presented with the state of the discarded items, the metamorphosis and the condition of people, all in recent times. The surroundings show themselves as they really are: dramatic in their metamorphosis and transience, here, all around us. Just as, after Duchamp, the role of the artist does not consist of the artist’s work, but of his choices, so does Matoković combine latent found elements. He lets the forms happen by themselves, under the patronage of the technical process of printing. The result, the artifact, is an artwork in itself, but also because the artist had decided so. Contemporary creativeness reshapes the world according to the idea of the author who dares to create. The means and methods are left to the will of the creator who is no longer God, but one of us. The relativization of our surroundings becomes not only a mode of shaping, but a mode of perception as well. In addition to education and cognition of the constant flow and metamorphosis of everything around us and inside us, we cease being susceptible to the ordinary. We become disobedient explorers, creators. Paul Klee states: “Art does not reproduce the visible; rather, it makes visible.” This project speaks out about that. The space of the gallery has served as a space for confrontation.

Eugen Borkovsky, IX, 2013

Samostalna izložba “Metonimija ekonomije”

Galerija Fonticus, Grožnjan, Hrvatska

Senzibilitet i edukacija nagone umjetnika da izabere sredstva i materijal kojima likovno progovara. Mario Matoković predstavlja radove čiju okosnicu čine grafički otisci odbačenih predmeta. Pred nama je otkrivanje neznatnog i uslojavanje njegove znakovitosti. Situacija je pokrenuta instinktivnim zapažanjem rasterastih oblika. Nastavlja se izabiranjem, obradom, osmišljavanjem i likovnom intervencijom, otiskivanjem. Tijek transformacije rezultira serijom discipliniranih recentnih znakova. Najčešće vrjednujemo gotov likovni rad bez nužnog osvrtanja na tijek nastanka ili socijalnu obilježenost. Ovaj projekt zahtijeva da se, nakon lociranja predstavljenih artefakata, upustimo u interpretaciju procesa i posljedica. Moramo razmišljati o smislu neobičnih tehničkih postupaka umjetnika a uz to o estetskim dometima. Tako će se u tekstu povremeno spominjati likovni, procesualni i smisleni posljedak.

Grafički zapisi Maria Matokovića od premise do prezentacije podliježu osmišljavanju po cjelinama. Umjetnik predstavlja ciklus kojeg sačinjava više radova podijeljenih u grupe. Tu je niz od devet otisaka, jedan triptih u suodnosu sa plošnom instalacijom i video rad uz kojeg ide još jedan grafički otisak. Pogledamo li pobliže, ove estetski izuzetne likovne uratke, uočiti ćemo da su pred nama otisci prozaičnih matrica. U jednom slučaju to su gornja ili donja strana bačve, velike limenke za tekuće terete, bitumen ili ulja. Odmah zatim, nastavljajući grafičko promišljanje, umjetnik poseže za običnom, malom limenkom u kojoj se najčešće prodaju osvježavajući napici. Segmenti, primijećeni u okruženju, postaju materijal za oblikovanje / preoblikovanje. Ovakav izbor motiva govori o Matokovičevoj slobodi pristupa kreativnom činu. Još jednom se potvrđuje da u svijetu suvremene umjetnosti tehnologija, materijal ili motiv ne označava status djela. Ovaj umjetnik, na razdiobi uočavanja odlične ideje oblika za revizualizaciju i svjesnosti stanja civilizacije, uzima predmete karakteristične za povijesni trenutak. Već ovdje, izborom motiva zamjećujemo intenciju autora, predodžbu o razlici među ljudima. Jedni barataju sirovinama i resursima a drugi barataju malim pakovanjima. I jedni i drugi žive u istom svijetu ali se ne sreću. Socijalnu notu ovoj prezentaciji dodatno podcrtavaju video segmenti te grafički, slijepi otisak dokumenta koji bi trebao označavati sigurnost pojedinca a to je radna knjižica.
Umjetnikov pristup i plasman elemenata inicira poigravanje promatračevom percepcijom na planu vizualnog i smislenog. Na prvi pogled čini nam se da su pred nama vizualizacije planeta Zemlje ili nebeskih tijela. Ove krugove možemo doživjeti i kao moguću sliku zemaljske kugle kad ju potpuno uništimo. Nizovi okruglih oblika mogu nam se učiniti kao uvećane fotografije orba ili uvećane preslike oštećenih kovanica. Kovanice imaju oblik dna barela. Izgrebene i pošarane one ne vrijede ništa. Kao što im je izmišljena vrijednost kad su prave i nove, tako ovo može biti ilustracija njihove realne vrijednosti. Asocijacije idu i dalje. Čini nam se da autor plasira oblike slične istrošenim prometnim znacima. Oblik kruga označava naredbe. Znakovi naredbi stavljaju do znanja zabrane, ograničenja i obveze. Umjetnik kao da želi pokazati, ukazati na kontrolu, naredbe zadatosti u odnosu na situacije kojima smo okruženi. Jer, sve je više cenzura, zabrana, tzv. demokratskih odricanja u korist neke povlaštene grupe. Podivljali kapital, državnici u funkciji menadžera umjesto demokratski izabranih predstavnika naroda koji se o narodu i brinu, doprinose urušavanju cijelog sistema. Već smo odavno svjedoci vulgarne eksploatacije i uništavanja Afrike, podmukle borbe za prevlast nad naftnim resursima, izazivanja kaosa na bliskom istoku, pokušaja novog rasporeda interesa u novom obliku kolonijalizma. Kapital je sada posegnuo za životima onih koji su ga poštovali, stanovnika tzv. zapadnih demokracija. Od pohlepe je previdio da si time odsijeca vlastitu stabilnost. Kao i sve dosadašnje monetarne krize i ovu će platiti srednji i najsiromašniji sloj stanovnika.
Ovaj projekt Marina Matokovića snažno promišlja vrijeme u kojem živimo. Beskrupuloznost potrošačkog društva, bespomoćnost pojedinaca, ponuda lažnih ugoda i slične situacije koje kapitalizam skriva pod okrilje demokracije, mora rezultirati nezadovoljstvom većine. Čini se da socijalističke revolucije nisu uspjele ili su izbrisane rovarenjem kapitala, nacionalizama, vjera. No, još se nije dogodila svjetska socijalna revolucija. Danas se solidariziramo sa onim slojem društva kojeg, opijeni konzumerizmom, nismo htjeli primijetiti. Pogled na osobu koja kopa po smeću ili penzionera koji sakuplja plastičnu ambalažu izaziva solidarnost. Više ne postoji baš nikakva sigurnost da nas naše vlade neće uvesti u neki rat, ostaviti bez posla ili da nas neće optužiti kao neprijatelje ili teroriste jer smo prozreli laži urušenog kapitalizma. O tome piše Marko Lederer: “…oni koji su iz očaja izašli na ceste diljem Europe ne bore se da bi promijenili sustav, nego kako bi izborili pravo u njemu sudjelovati.“
Mario Matoković uzima nađeni predmet i “troši“ ga za svoja promišljanja. Pri tom se utječe klasičnoj tehnologiji. Skupocjeni grafički papir sljubljuje uz odbačen a provokativan motiv / matricu. Igra nije sputana tehnologijom. Ova svojevrsna reciklaža kontradiktorna je i sami se moramo odlučiti hoćemo li taj čin doživjeti kao produkciju ili reprodukciju. Umjetnik multiplicira oblike i daje im nove konotacije određujući ih kao novi mogući predmet zamjene za uobičajene estetske predodžbe. Vizualni rezultati nisu upitni i pred nama se pojavljuju kao izuzetne likovne činjenice. Utjecaj slučajnosti u radu materijalom za koji se autor opredijelio, pobijeđen je na veličanstven način.
Umjetnik nudi posljedice promišljenog rituala. Matrica zapravo više nije bitna. Mutacija postaje original. Uvjetni simulakrum. Provokacija suradnje s odbačenim predmetima / ljudima, plasirana kao završeno djelo, atribuira činjenicu promjene. Umjetnik dolazi do apstraktnih kompozicija koje postaju simbol. Ponuda je pred nama: poezija potrošenog svijeta ponuđena je za meditaciju. Umjesto lotosa ponuđene su otisnute nakupine mrlja ili dijelovi limenke. Ponuđeno nam je stanje odbačenog, stanje promjena i stanje osoba, sve u recentnom vremenu. Okolina se pokazuje onakva kakva zapravo jest: dramatična u mijeni i prolaznosti tu, oko nas. Kao što se, nakon Duchamp-a, uloga umjetnika više se ne sastoji u tome da radi, već da izabire, tako Matoković kombinira moguće pronađene elemente. On pušta da se dogode oblici pod patronatom tehničkog procesa otiskivanja. Rezultat, artefakt jest umjetnički predmet sam po sebi ali i zato što je umjetnik tako odlučio. Suvremena kreativnost preoblikuje svijet prema ideji autora koji se usudi kreirati. Sredstva i načini prepušteni su na volju tvorcu koji više nije Bog već je jedan od nas. Relativizacija okoline postaje modus oblikovanja ali i modus percepcije. Uz edukaciju i spoznaju o stalnom tijeku i mijeni svega oko nas i u nama samima prestajemo biti podložni uobičajenom. Postajemo neposlušni istraživači, kreatori. Paul Klee kaže: „Umjetnost ne prenosi vidljivo, ona stvara vidljivim.“ Ovaj projekt govori o tome. Prostor galerije poslužio je kao prostor za suočavanje.

Eugen Borkovsky, IX, 2013.