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As If a Monsoon Suddenly Became Silent

Author: Slavica Obradović
U10 gallery, Belgrade, July 2020

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Kada je Wendy Brown pisala o stanjima ranjivosti i bolnim tačkama u post-kolonijalnom svetu mapirajući pozicije slobode i pozicije moći i njihovu međusobnu uslovljenost, i analizirajući sistem koji ne uspeva da odgovori na svoja obećanja, celo poglavlje je posvetila vezanostima koje bole. Događajima iz prošlosti koji žuljaju i u sadašnjem trenutku, i koja ne zaboravljamo, ili nam pak društvo ne dozvoljava da ih zaboravimo, koristeći traumu neretko kao sredstvo sistematske manipulacije. Ranjene privrženosti (wounded attachments 1 ) su delikatne, neretko toksične i fizički nepostojeće niti koje nas drže vezanim za ozleđena, bolna mesta koja pulsiraju u nama i koja poput fantomskog uda, osećamo dugo nakon što više nisu deo naše nove realnosti. Putem tih spona, klizimo nazad ka epicentru iz kog polaze icentralno pitanje koje se razmatra je zapravo nakoji način takav osećaj, takva mešavina ranjivosti, povređenosti i privrženosti, i svesnost opostojanju bolnog mesta, postaje osnova za definisanje i formiranje identiteta? U tom kontekstu Brown insistira da pojedinac ne mora da se identifikuje sa bilo kojim zvaničnim modelom odnošenja prema prošlosti, ali i tome da je ta prošlost od njega neodvojiva, te kao takvi nismo samo neutralno pozicionirani u istoriji, već smo njenom specifičnošću uslovljeni i proizvedeni.
Isto pitanje, kao polazište svojih umetničkih istraživanja koristi i Slavica u novim radovima, samo što ih sa pozicija globalnog i kolektivnog (bola, trauma, marginalizacija i sećanja…) prevodi na sasvim ličan jezik, pitajući se u kojoj meri me ono što me boli ujedno i konstituiše? Šta to ne govorim ali osećam, kako izgleda tenzija koja se prećutkuje, gde je mesto onome što ignorišem? Brownovski svesna da svako nesuočavanje, i svaki pokušaj da se pobegne od bolnih čvorova u ličnim i kolektivnim narativima rezultuje samo reafirmacijom bolnih struktura, Slavica svojim radovima teži da materijalizuje ono što obično izmiče bilo kakvoj definiciji jer može da se iskusi samo emotivnim bićem. Ako Hannah Arendt definiše Lebenswelt 2 kao svet ljudskog iskustva i interpretacije, svet koji nam je zajednički, koji je mesto preseka, zbirni skup između različitih strana i kao takav daje okvir za razumevanje, delovanje i prosuđivanje, gde jezik, misao i akcija udruženo deluju, izložba “As if a monsoon suddenly became silent” otvara dodatni prostor za zajedničko postojanje. Otvara svet u kom se ne prepoznajemo samo po akciji, i ne sastajemo direktno i nužno glasno, već se razumemo u onome što ćutimo i u odnosu koji gradimo spram toga. Umesto na racionalnom, insistira na relacionom, koje svaki od susreta obeležava ogoljenošću, izlaganjem, dostupnošću i ranjivostima u kojima se prepoznajemo, i koje zauzvrat imaju transformativne mogućnosti.
Serijom skulptura, Slavica pokušava da oslušne i reaguje na možda neizrečeno, ali sigurno upamćeno. Na sve ono sa čime ostajemo kada oluja protutnji, utiša se i prestane. Pokušava da reintegriše u svest nešto potisnuto, odbačeno i napušteno dajući mu oblik. Odbacujući ideju o jakom pojedincu koji je u kontroli (ili uporno pokušava da je preuzme nad svim aspektima svog života i ličnosti) prilično prisustnu u savremenom diskursu, Slavičina praksa je zapravo delikatna evaluacija pozicija moći, i postavlja pitanje šta ranjivost zaista znači i kolika je njena snaga? Nudeći mogućnost da najveća snaga možda leži upravo tu, u priznavanju stanja bola i nesigurnosti, njene skulpture pomalo nalikuju na Popine oblike za kojima čezne- “čisti i odani oblici moga nemira, moga umora, moga sna”.
Dovodeći elemente u nesvakidašnji odnos i gradeći narativ u kom je sve prividno zavodljivo ali suštinski pomalo strano i neprijatno, ističe se koliko su nam takve emocije začudne, nesvakidašnje, egzotične. Čeljusti, zmije, veštački implementirano uvo, neprirodnost postura i položaja, tela koja nalikuju na ljušture, nagoveštavaju da je ono što se oseća, za pojedinca, ne samo neprijatno već pomalo i monstruozno. Međutim, “monstrum nije tako strašna stvar za biti. Poreklom iz latinskog, monstrum je božanski glasnik katastrofe, kasnije u starofrancuskom adaptiran da označava životinju raznovrsnog porekla. Biti monstrum znači biti hibridni signal, svetionik. Sklonište i upozorenje u jednom” 3 .
Kako polazi iz sopstvenih nesigurnosti, osećanja nesklada, nepripadanja, i iznevernih očekivanja, secirajući ih, Slavica ne govori o izborima nego o nužnostima. O neophodnosti nepotapanja nesvesnih strahova i emocija, nego njihovog osvešćivanja i izvlačenja na površinu. Tek tu i tada, na površini, u titravim i nestabilnim, ali prisutnim, odbljescima samoprihvatanja moguće je raditi sa, a ne protiv “negativnog” u nama. Umesto da negira, akumulira i sakriva bolni sadržaj, autorka pristaje da je možda artikulacija, jedini način kojom emocije mogu da budu zadržane ali kao pripitomljene, rasvetljene, opredmetljene, i takve da ih se više ne bojimo. Tretira ranjivost kao ožiljak, svesna da on uvek ostaje hrapav na dodir, drugačiji od ostalog dela tkiva i pojačano senzitivan u delovima, ali i sastavni deo onog što smo danas.
1 Wendy Brown, States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity, “Wounded Attachments”,
Princeton University Press, 1995, 52-77
2 Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, University of Chicago Press, 1958, 28
3 Ocean Vuong, On Earth We  Are Briefly Gorgeous, Penguin Press, 2019
When Wendy Brown was writing about different conditions and painful spots in the post-colonial world, mapping positions of power and freedom and their mutual codependence and conditioning, and analyzing the system which is failing its promises, she has dedicated the whole chapter to attachments that hurt. Moments from the past still pinching in nowadays that we hardly let go off and forget, or society won’t let us forget them, using trauma as a tool for systematic manipulation. Wounded attachments 1 are delicate, frequently toxic and physically non-existent, invisible threads that keep us attached to injured, painful spots that pulsate inside us, and like a phantom limb, could be felt long after they are no longer part of our new reality. Via these bonds, we slide back to the epicentre of their beginning, and the central question that is being reconsidered is how does such feeling, such a mixture of vulnerability, injury and attachment, becomes the basis for defining and forming an identity? In that sense, Brown insists that an individual doesn’t necessarily have to have identical attitude and model of behaviour towards the history as the official one is, but also that history and past are inseparable from us. Therefore, we are not just neutrally positioned within history but also fabricated by it.
That very same question, Slavica is also addressing in her new works, just with a difference of moving from the position of global and collective (pain, trauma, marginalization, memories…) to more personal and intimate positions and language, wondering how does the sense of woundedness become the sense of identity? What is that I don’t speak about but I can feel, how does silenced tension look like, where is the place for all the things I ignore? Brown-alike aware that every avoidance and every attempt to turn back on painful knots in personal and collective narratives, result only in a reaffirmation of the painful structures, Slavica strives to materialize what usually escapes any definition because it can only be experienced emotionally. If Hannah Arendt defines Lebenswelt 2  as a world of human experience and interpretation, a world we have in common, and a place of intersection, that as such represents a framework for both understanding, and political judging, where speech, thought and action take place, an exhibition "As if a monsoon suddenly became silent" opens up additional space for coexistence. It offers a world in which we do not recognize each other only by actions, and we do not meet directly and necessarily loudly, but we mutually understand in what we are silent about. Rather than on the rational, Slavica emphasizes the relational, which colours each of the encounters with exposure, accessibility, andvulnerability that turn out to have transformative qualities.
With a series of sculptures, Slavica tries to listen and react to voiceless, and perhaps unexpressed but certainly remembered within us- similar to what we are left with after the roaring storm calms down and stops. She tries to reintegrate into consciousness something repressed, rejected and abandoned by giving it a shape. Rejecting the idea of a strong individual who is in control (or persistently trying to take control over all aspects of owns life and personality), that is quite present in contemporary discourse, Slavica's practice is actually a delicate evaluation of positions of power, and raises the question what vulnerability really is and how great is her strength? By offering a possibility that the greatest strength lies exactly there, in coming to terms with our brokenness and vulnerability, her sculptures remind of shapes Vasko Popa yearned for: “clear and faithful shapes of my restlessness, my fatigue, my dream” 3 .
Elements brought into an unusual relationship and within a narrative where everything is seemingly seductive but essentially a bit unfamiliar and unpleasant, it is emphasized how strange and unusual those emotions are. Jaws, snakes, artificially implemented ear, shell-like bodies, unnatural postures and positions, suggest that what is felt, is not only uncomfortable for an individual but alsoa bit monstrous. However, “a monster is not such a terrible thing to be. From the Latin root monstrum, a divine messenger of catastrophe then adapted by the old french to mean an animal of myriad origins. To be a monster is to be a hybrid signal, a lighthouse, both shelter and warning at once”.
Starting from personal insecurities, disharmonies, feelings of non-belonging and failed expectations, Slavica is not speaking about choices but rather necessities. Necessities of not drowning unconscious fears and emotions but rather becoming aware of them and bringing them to surface. Only then, and there, on the surface, in trembling and unsteady but present, reflections of self-acceptance, it becomes possible to work with not against “negative” in us. Instead of denial, and hiding and accumulating suppressed, the author accepts that articulation may be the only way to retain those feelings, but tamed and enlightened, that we are not frightened by. She treats vulnerability as a healed scar- a patch of tissue that is still different to touch, and sensitive in certain parts, but also inseparable part of who we are.
1 Wendy Brown, States of Injury: Power and Freedom in Late Modernity, “Wounded Attachments”,
Princeton University Press, 1995, 52-77
2 Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition, University of Chicago Press, 1958, 28
3 Ocean Vuong, On Earth We  Are Briefly Gorgeous, Penguin Press, 2019

READ CURATORIAL CONCEPT

Kada je Wendy Brown pisala o stanjima ranjivosti i bolnim tačkama u post-kolonijalnom svetu mapirajući pozicije slobode i pozicije moći i njihovu međusobnu uslovljenost, i analizirajući sistem koji ne uspeva da odgovori na svoja obećanja, celo poglavlje je posvetila vezanostima koje bole. Događajima iz prošlosti koji žuljaju i u sadašnjem trenutku, i koja ne zaboravljamo, ili nam pak društvo ne dozvoljava da ih zaboravimo, koristeći traumu neretko kao sredstvo sistematske manipulacije. Ranjene privrženosti (wounded attachments 1 ) su delikatne, neretko toksične i fizički nepostojeće niti koje nas drže vezanim za ozleđena, bolna mesta koja pulsiraju u nama i koja poput fantomskog uda, osećamo dugo nakon što više nisu deo naše nove realnosti. Putem tih spona, klizimo nazad ka epicentru iz kog polaze icentralno pitanje koje se razmatra je zapravo nakoji način takav osećaj, takva mešavina ranjivosti, povređenosti i privrženosti, i svesnost opostojanju bolnog mesta, postaje osnova za definisanje i formiranje identiteta? U tom kontekstu Brown insistira da pojedinac ne mora da se identifikuje sa bilo kojim zvaničnim modelom odnošenja prema prošlosti, ali i tome da je ta prošlost od njega neodvojiva, te kao takvi nismo samo neutralno pozicionirani u istoriji, već smo njenom specifičnošću uslovljeni i proizvedeni.
Isto pitanje, kao polazište svojih umetničkih istraživanja koristi i Slavica u novim radovima, samo što ih sa pozicija globalnog i kolektivnog (bola, trauma, marginalizacija i sećanja…) prevodi na sasvim ličan jezik, pitajući se u kojoj meri me ono što me boli ujedno i konstituiše? Šta to ne govorim ali osećam, kako izgleda tenzija koja se prećutkuje, gde je mesto onome što ignorišem? Brownovski svesna da svako nesuočavanje, i svaki pokušaj da se pobegne od bolnih čvorova u ličnim i kolektivnim narativima rezultuje samo reafirmacijom bolnih struktura, Slavica svojim radovima teži da materijalizuje ono što obično izmiče bilo kakvoj definiciji jer može da se iskusi samo emotivnim bićem. Ako Hannah Arendt definiše Lebenswelt 2 kao svet ljudskog iskustva i interpretacije, svet koji nam je zajednički, koji je mesto preseka, zbirni skup između različitih strana i kao takav daje okvir za razumevanje, delovanje i prosuđivanje, gde jezik, misao i akcija udruženo deluju, izložba “As if a monsoon suddenly became silent” otvara dodatni prostor za zajedničko postojanje. Otvara svet u kom se ne prepoznajemo samo po akciji, i ne sastajemo direktno i nužno glasno, već se razumemo u onome što ćutimo i u odnosu koji gradimo spram toga. Umesto na racionalnom, insistira na relacionom, koje svaki od susreta obeležava ogoljenošću, izlaganjem, dostupnošću i ranjivostima u kojima se prepoznajemo, i koje zauzvrat imaju transformativne mogućnosti.
Serijom skulptura, Slavica pokušava da oslušne i reaguje na možda neizrečeno, ali sigurno upamćeno. Na sve ono sa čime ostajemo kada oluja protutnji, utiša se i prestane. Pokušava da reintegriše u svest nešto potisnuto, odbačeno i napušteno dajući mu oblik. Odbacujući ideju o jakom pojedincu koji je u kontroli (ili uporno pokušava da je preuzme nad svim aspektima svog života i ličnosti) prilično prisustnu u savremenom diskursu, Slavičina praksa je zapravo delikatna evaluacija pozicija moći, i postavlja pitanje šta ranjivost zaista znači i kolika je njena snaga? Nudeći mogućnost da najveća snaga možda leži upravo tu, u priznavanju stanja bola i nesigurnosti, njene skulpture pomalo nalikuju na Popine oblike za kojima čezne- “čisti i odani oblici moga nemira, moga umora, moga sna”.
Dovodeći elemente u nesvakidašnji odnos i gradeći narativ u kom je sve prividno zavodljivo ali suštinski pomalo strano i neprijatno, ističe se koliko su nam takve emocije začudne, nesvakidašnje, egzotične. Čeljusti, zmije, veštački implementirano uvo, neprirodnost postura i položaja, tela koja nalikuju na ljušture, nagoveštavaju da je ono što se oseća, za pojedinca, ne samo neprijatno već pomalo i monstruozno. Međutim, “monstrum nije tako strašna stvar za biti. Poreklom iz latinskog, monstrum je božanski glasnik katastrofe, kasnije u starofrancuskom adaptiran da označava životinju raznovrsnog porekla. Biti monstrum znači biti hibridni signal, svetionik. Sklonište i upozorenje u jednom” 3 .
Kako polazi iz sopstvenih nesigurnosti, osećanja nesklada, nepripadanja, i iznevernih očekivanja, secirajući ih, Slavica ne govori o izborima nego o nužnostima. O neophodnosti nepotapanja nesvesnih strahova i emocija, nego njihovog osvešćivanja i izvlačenja na površinu. Tek tu i tada, na površini, u titravim i nestabilnim, ali prisutnim, odbljescima samoprihvatanja moguće je raditi sa, a ne protiv “negativnog” u nama. Umesto da negira, akumulira i sakriva bolni sadržaj, autorka pristaje da je možda artikulacija, jedini način kojom emocije mogu da budu zadržane ali kao pripitomljene, rasvetljene, opredmetljene, i takve da ih se više ne bojimo. Tretira ranjivost kao ožiljak, svesna da on uvek ostaje hrapav na dodir, drugačiji od ostalog dela tkiva i pojačano senzitivan u delovima, ali i sastavni deo onog što smo danas.
When Wendy Brown was writing about different conditions and painful spots in the post-colonial world, mapping positions of power and freedom and their mutual codependence and conditioning, and analyzing the system which is failing its promises, she has dedicated the whole chapter to attachments that hurt. Moments from the past still pinching in nowadays that we hardly let go off and forget, or society won’t let us forget them, using trauma as a tool for systematic manipulation. Wounded attachments 1 are delicate, frequently toxic and physically non-existent, invisible threads that keep us attached to injured, painful spots that pulsate inside us, and like a phantom limb, could be felt long after they are no longer part of our new reality. Via these bonds, we slide back to the epicentre of their beginning, and the central question that is being reconsidered is how does such feeling, such a mixture of vulnerability, injury and attachment, becomes the basis for defining and forming an identity? In that sense, Brown insists that an individual doesn’t necessarily have to have identical attitude and model of behaviour towards the history as the official one is, but also that history and past are inseparable from us. Therefore, we are not just neutrally positioned within history but also fabricated by it.
That very same question, Slavica is also addressing in her new works, just with a difference of moving from the position of global and collective (pain, trauma, marginalization, memories…) to more personal and intimate positions and language, wondering how does the sense of woundedness become the sense of identity? What is that I don’t speak about but I can feel, how does silenced tension look like, where is the place for all the things I ignore? Brown-alike aware that every avoidance and every attempt to turn back on painful knots in personal and collective narratives, result only in a reaffirmation of the painful structures, Slavica strives to materialize what usually escapes any definition because it can only be experienced emotionally. If Hannah Arendt defines Lebenswelt 2  as a world of human experience and interpretation, a world we have in common, and a place of intersection, that as such represents a framework for both understanding, and political judging, where speech, thought and action take place, an exhibition "As if a monsoon suddenly became silent" opens up additional space for coexistence. It offers a world in which we do not recognize each other only by actions, and we do not meet directly and necessarily loudly, but we mutually understand in what we are silent about. Rather than on the rational, Slavica emphasizes the relational, which colours each of the encounters with exposure, accessibility, andvulnerability that turn out to have transformative qualities.
With a series of sculptures, Slavica tries to listen and react to voiceless, and perhaps unexpressed but certainly remembered within us- similar to what we are left with after the roaring storm calms down and stops. She tries to reintegrate into consciousness something repressed, rejected and abandoned by giving it a shape. Rejecting the idea of a strong individual who is in control (or persistently trying to take control over all aspects of owns life and personality), that is quite present in contemporary discourse, Slavica's practice is actually a delicate evaluation of positions of power, and raises the question what vulnerability really is and how great is her strength? By offering a possibility that the greatest strength lies exactly there, in coming to terms with our brokenness and vulnerability, her sculptures remind of shapes Vasko Popa yearned for: “clear and faithful shapes of my restlessness, my fatigue, my dream” 3 .
Elements brought into an unusual relationship and within a narrative where everything is seemingly seductive but essentially a bit unfamiliar and unpleasant, it is emphasized how strange and unusual those emotions are. Jaws, snakes, artificially implemented ear, shell-like bodies, unnatural postures and positions, suggest that what is felt, is not only uncomfortable for an individual but alsoa bit monstrous. However, “a monster is not such a terrible thing to be. From the Latin root monstrum, a divine messenger of catastrophe then adapted by the old french to mean an animal of myriad origins. To be a monster is to be a hybrid signal, a lighthouse, both shelter and warning at once”.
Starting from personal insecurities, disharmonies, feelings of non-belonging and failed expectations, Slavica is not speaking about choices but rather necessities. Necessities of not drowning unconscious fears and emotions but rather becoming aware of them and bringing them to surface. Only then, and there, on the surface, in trembling and unsteady but present, reflections of self-acceptance, it becomes possible to work with not against “negative” in us. Instead of denial, and hiding and accumulating suppressed, the author accepts that articulation may be the only way to retain those feelings, but tamed and enlightened, that we are not frightened by. She treats vulnerability as a healed scar- a patch of tissue that is still different to touch, and sensitive in certain parts, but also inseparable part of who we are.