1 Dec 2014 at 20:00 – 30 Dec 2014
JUSUF HADŽIFEJZOVIĆ: PROPERTY OF EMPTINESS
Opening 11. 12 . 2014 @ 2O:000
12. 2014. @ 20:00 with : Emir Mutevelić & Dženan Hadžihasanović
Gallery Hours : Tuesday – Saturday 12 pm – 7 pm
Curator and Text: Jonathan Blackwood
PROPERTY OF EMPTINESS – JUSUF HADŽIFEJZOVIĆ
This exhibition is Jusuf’s first showing in Zagreb in many years. With thirty-five years of varied and restlessly inventive practice behind him, this exhibition works over some themes familiar from that career- the performative, the transformation of the everyday object, repetition, the profound consequences that random events and chance meetings can have.
“Property of Emptiness” deals with the material detritus left behind by everyday life, and their transformation via Jusuf’s creative imagination, into art objects. Empty packaging, bottles, cartons, cans function as material evidence of Jusuf’s daily life in Sarajevo. These objects have been collected and assembled since he returned to the city, after a period in Belgium.
In one sense, of course, such a practice locates Jusuf in the tradition of Marcel Duchamp and Joseph Beuys; the making of everyday objects and commonplace materials into art objects, in a gallery space. But, unlike both these historical figures, Jusuf does not seek to intervene or manipulate; the objects, emptied of their original content by the process of everyday consumption, are presented as mute witnesses to the life of the artist.
If we are what we consume, then this process reveals its emptiness; hollow objects filling the space of an art gallery seems to function as a sculptural depiction of the emptiness of lives purely affected by consumer trends rather than by ideas or feelings. Further, it focuses on the status of the object; the ability of a humble carton, ignored by most, to trigger memories of a particular day or a particular encounter with someone.
This latest show seeks to maintain the cutting edge of installation, and performance, as social critique and invitation to dialogue. In the very specific circumstances of culture in Sarajevo and wider BiH, installation and performance remain marginal, subterranean activities; culture, such as it is, is administered by political and business classes, at once indifferent to and ignorant of these practices. Perhaps it is this which gives Jusuf’s practice such a pungent relevance; these practices provide a dual space, to dream and remember, as well as to critique, that has perhaps been flattened out of such practices in other countries.
This artist, and those whose practice he continues to influence, continues to use whatever tools come to hand as a means of generating discussion, humour, social interaction, and the combination of all these factors into critique. Jusuf’s art is nothing if not social, and relational; this show here invites us to think of memory and how we order our thoughts of the past, and how to make sense of these memories in the hyper-capitalist present. It can be argued that much of the political edge of 1970s performance art has now transferred itself into contemporary “socially engaged art”. If that is true, then this exhibition shows us that transformation in the career of one artist.