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

13.11.2015 - 9.1.2016
Opening: Thursday, 12th November 2015, 18h
WHERE: NEXT DOORgalerie michaela stock, Schleifmühlgasse 18, 1040 Vienna

A performative analysis of the present

No phenomenon could currently illustrate global dispositives of power and their influences on the present better than the migratory flows from Syria and the Middle East, crossing Austria, sometimes resulting in an application for asylum, but more often than not destined to reach Germany or Sweden. The last experiences of that kind in Austria stem from the period of the war in former Yugoslavia in the 1990s. The works of Marko Marković deal with dislocation resulting from war and political hostage on a multitude of levels. The Osijek-born artist witnessed the disastrous effects of war-driven violence and tries to performatively transpose this exercise of influence of political power to current migration waves in his works. These concepts reflect distinct levels of experience, observing personal stories with different visual regimes and, thus, reflecting both the view on other people's destinies and their perspectives.

In his work, Marković pursues the photographic representation of various approaches by mixing his own photos with found ones while partially distorting them with color effects and black markers. These 10 x 15 cm big photos are then placed onto a three meter long wall map, revealing current migratory flows as well as the martial actions and political dimensions in the background, thus also pointing to problem areas in crisis regions of the past years and decades. Sometimes, the artist himself embarks on the paths of the refugees, leading from Turkey, Greece and, finally, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia to Austria, once Hungary had closed its border to Serbia. The photos portray refugees pushing into trains or being on the road, as well as numerous soldiers and tanks, intertwining moments of war and the refugee crisis. Mainly in yellow, blue and red, individual spots of the photos are painted over, thus adding performative interferences to the per se action laden scenes. A similar way of interaction is also depicted in Sanja Iveković's photo work Novi Zagreb (Ljudi iza prozora) / New Zagreb (People Behind the Windows) from 1979, when President Tito processed through the streets of Zagreb and parts of an apartment block he passed were collaged by Iveković in exactly those three shades. Marković applies a similar process, but in his case there is a multitude of photos, evoking a performative act in which the artist himself participates, thus adding his own body to the scene.

Two photos that have not been collaged show President Tito's funeral, after which Yugoslavia's disintegration gradually became more evident. Also on display are photos taken by Marković's mother in Osijek in 1997, documenting strangers passing by the house. She took these photos out of the constant presence of fear caused by war traumata. On each photo she wrote the date, time and gave a description of the unknown person in case she needed to report them later. Other photos show the artist's upper body covered in bruises, which Marković has inflicted upon himself during a performance. His works, thus, oscillate between the traumata experienced by the artist and his family and those who now emerge as dislocated, highlighting the always recurring mechanisms of history. These constant shifts also become manifest in the two-part photo work showing jubilant, promising people at the Brandenburg Gate after the fall of the Berlin Wall. A second photo from 2015 shows the performative process when the artist tried to form a wall of people at the exact same spot, which, however, goes by almost unnoticed in front of the gigantic monument. Marković explores the topic of a recurrent diaspora and the obstacles connected thereto also in a performance in Pula in October 2015, which subsequently will be shown as video documentation. The artist can be seen rope-skipping, however, it is not a usual rope but a barbwire. His works, therefore, study the moments of pain, both physical and mental, which, in this duality, remain at a constant level with people in situations of migratory transitions.

Dr. Walter Seidl

press photo 1 | Marko Marković, World order composition, Butterfly, 2015, photography, marker and tusche, 10 x 15 cm
press photo 2 | Marko Marković, World order composition, Brave Kurdish women, 2015, photography, marker and tusche, 10 x 15 cm
press photo 3 | Marko Marković, World order composition, Palmyra, 2015, photography, marker, 10 x 15 cm
Marko Marković

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