Three dead, three alive 2013

Silvija Đolonga, Andrej Kurtin i Nika RukavinaThree dead, three alive

 Joint project of Silvia Đolonga, Andrej Kurtin and Nika Rukavina is based on allegorical representations from the Middle Ages, and the numerous stories from Middle Eastern and European area of personalized death and the facing of the living with it. In such stories the three dead men appear before the three living members of high society, nobles, bishops, knights … suddenly become fearful and humble – equating to ordinary people. At that moment all the social, material and status differences become irrelevant: in the face of death we are all equal.

Silvija Đolonga exposes installation, Andrej Kurtin drawings and Nika Rukavina a performance at the opening, which in the course of the exhibition, visitors can try out . In the installation we see three burial mounds in which the accumulated earth bears traces of the printed body. Three modest plots allude to the graves of the nameless and marginalized, rejected. When we find out that the prints are made from the artist bod , it make us wonder: how are artists seen in a wider socio – economic environment? What is their social status and financial situation? In the Kurtin’s drawings we recognize today’s “untouchable”, the figure of bankers, politicians and bishops, shown in almost life-size. However, they are stripped of their dignity. In the drawings appear inarticulate, naked and barefoot in front of the viewer. However, in a joint portrait o in which the characters meet death there is no trace of humility. Their smugness and arrogance is still at work. In the performance that requires a considerable concentration and stamina, Nika Rukavina is set in a challenge with her own mirror image. The dialogue, which is apparently a 1:1, becomes a test between the body and its shadow.

We can say that the medieval allegory becomes the counterpart to think about death in the modern era, as well as its classical antagonist, life, which under the transnational purchase machinery acquires more subordinate role of the extra. A feudal form of direct and personalized subordination is replaced with the economic constraints of the struggle for the survival in a roundabout capital, which imposes a flexible and perfidious form of subordination of broad layers of the population.

As a variant of broader theme of memento mori, a medieval story is chosen because of its specificity, the critical edge aimed at the fact that the wealthy are untouchable. The three dead become duplicate images of the living. Death is used as an equalizing force, infusing the spirit of humility and self-questioning in the privileged ranks, seemingly protected by status and financial immunity. Moving the perspective into the present the question rises, what is the present instance that can bring fear under the skin of the wealthy and restore confidence in the fairness to the impoverish layers?

Text author: Ksenija Orelj