Schleifmühlgasse 18 - 1040 Vienna 
+43-699-19207778 -

11th October – 15th November 2013
WHERE: Galerie Michaela Stock, NEXT DOOR & UNTERER STOCK, Schleifmühlgasse 18, 1040 Vienna


curated by Sabina Salamon, curator at the MMSU Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka and Slaven Tolj, artist & director at the MMSU Rijeka.
By introducing silent work as a title we are not pointing to silence which calls for abolition of art or permanent silence of artists as an act of reluctance to communicate with the audience, but rather to styles in which silence may be advocated: loud and soft (quotes see: Sontag, Susan: The Aesthetics of Silence, Source:, S. 1, S. 10) Thus, it is about speaking silently, contrary to persuasive speech. For art is forced to perform the duty of pursuing higher aims, social awareness and possible changes within society, that become instrumentalised by politics through cultural policies and cultural elites who determine the importance of art as part of cultural work. Art engaged in social and political issues today seems to be embraced by the politics (unlike their predecessors in avant-garde movements at the beginning of the 20th century). Our intention is to weaken the excises of important and non-important, which burden art and impoverish the spectator's attention.

To make no mistake about it, by the term silent work we never intend to advocate the private, but to support a variety of experiences, liberate the making of art of rules which are not inherent to it. It seems that there is certain hegemony of the cultural rhetoric of public in art, an unspoken rule of being relevant when speaking about social matters in a manner of striving for political changes, aiming to prove social awareness that goes hand in hand with political correctness. The side effect is a subtle abolishment of the topics usually considered irrelevant, detached from the public life and from the sphere of art. Contrary to that, the works exhibited here make it possible for us to hear/see beyond the everyday bustle. To the extent that they refuse it, they fit the idea of filling up the periphery of the art-space, leaving the central area of use blank (Ibid, S. 4: Sontag mentioned Andre Breton's statement as an act of being silent).

Different in their formal expressions, six contemporary Croatian artists presented in the Galerie Michaela Stock share these traits. None of these works tries to convince of something, or present themselves as important for the human issues. They communicate through subtle threads of unconscious.

The Perimeter Test of the Field of Vision (1970) by Goran Trbuljak (*1948 in Varazdin) opened up a few ongoing topics of his work until this day. His work considers the hierarchy established by the art system, which dictates working methods and determines values. Presenting himself as a person stripped to the bone, weak and suspicious, he is dismantling the work of an artist. Since the beginning in the early seventies, Trbuljak maintains the position of distrust against cultural rhetoric, without bitterness, but with encouraging humour regarding the conventions, challenging the codes of conduct.
To the same source of ideas belongs his actual work at the Galerie Michaela Stock entitled Der Standard. He aims to continue the event started in 2005 in Vienna when in the same newspaper an article about the exhibition of the Generali Foundation collection appeared, in which he participated. Exhibiting in Vienna in 2013 could be seen as another waiting for an article...

Testing the spectator's vigilance, Igor Eškinja (*1975 in Rijeka) develops a surprisingly consistent work that seems to communicate through mundane objects. The exhibited series represents a graphic technique made by UV rays on paper. The spontaneity of the natural process of sunshine is partly controlled by the author who shapes the desired pattern gaining forms that sometimes resemble things we might have once seen or not. We encounter a body of work entirely devoted to the viewer's gaze, perception as an important issue in visual art. Disguised in formally reductive visual games, it underlines the same old controversy: is the spectator responsible for the vision, or is it the other way around, does the object create it?

When staring at Fields, Matrixes by Predrag Todorović (*1966), we become aware of the immediate sensitivity of the human eye to visible world, proving the impossibility to see anything. As a result of a multitude of linear strokes, the metal-drawings become a breathing surface consisting of swirling heaps that endure endless scratching. The result is a dense grid of energy charge that evokes movement which changes depending on the position we take observing them.

Still requiring the sensory reception of visual art, Aleksandar Garbin (*1955 in Rovinj) goes straight to a more abstract level, dealing with gravity. Using a globe and a wooden stick, or a little pole and a plank, bringing them close to each other or even sticking them together, he creates a spatial resonance that causes impacts on the viewer's experience of space. Considering space as the most multilayered notion brought him to something more tangible, to the discovery of interspace, or as he calls it a neutral zone, a space where two similar or opposite objects meet, a corridor where things are in relation to one another, either as incompatible or related items.

Silvo Šarić (*1965 in Pula) is one of the most interesting Croatian artists when it comes to the notion of space. Making objects and installations that purposely correspond to a space he happened to find in the gallery, his works are fragile structures, resembling some inexistent objects, peculiar ephemeral forms that evoke series of associations drawn from the unconscious, so immediate but so indefinable. The Cooking of the Stomach provides us with reduced visual evidence of what it is about. The ready-made of his mother's recipe for healing the stomach-ache according to the old Istrian folk medicine transcends the physical space of the gallery, not because of its minimal presence, but rather due to its unusual, purposeless appearance. It makes sense to quote Sontag's differentiation of looking and staring where the latter advocates the renunciation of thought, transcendence of the physical presence.

On the other hand, the bare physical presence of the isolated object can equally evoke silence. The series of 10 photographs by Antun Maračić (*1950 in Nova Gradiska) represent the observations of the reception desk in the cinema entrance hall in Dubrovnik. Even though located in the very city centre, the reception desk has been temporarily in use, for special occasions and for the most of the time pushed in the corner. Being accidentally used by people it played a role of a non-place. Hence, The Reception Desk corresponds as a sanctuary for respite, counterpoint of life in the city exploited by the tourism industry. Therefore, the question whether silent work stuck in the flow of time, have political implications, remains superfluous. Knowing the desk ended up at the city dump, Maračić's silent recordings have even more sense. Coming to conclusion, we admit that the need for silence comes out of the bare omnipresence of the authoritarian persuasion.
(Sabina Salamon)

press release
press photo 1
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