Exhibition opening, photo: Tanja Kanazir / Drugo more (Flickr gallery)

It is our pleasure to present the exhibition And Now for Something Completely Different 11 by Ljubljana-based artists Nika Oblak & Primož Novak, opening at Filodrammatica Gallery (Korzo 28/1, Rijeka) on Thursday, 24 September at 19:00.

Five selected kinetic / video installations remain on view until 16 October, from Monday to Saturday from 17:00 to 20:00 (or contact us to arrange another time of your visit). Admission is free.

Nika Oblak & Primož Novak have been working as a collective since 2003. In their artistic practice they examine contemporary media and capital driven society as they dissect its visual and linguistic structure. They operate in the border zone between reality and fiction in order to create ambivalent artistic interventions. They make performative actions in public, private or remote locations and often appear as protagonists of their works. 

Making of Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?

Nika Oblak and Primož Novak use technology as a self-reflection tool; they build complex machines capable of bridging the physical and the virtual, the digital and the mechanical, the natural and the artificial. Since 2003, they have produced a large number of projects, including performances, films, photography and installations, that together constitute an ongoing investigation on contemporary life, focusing on its most controversial aspects: the traps of consumerism, the oppressive structures of work and politics, the ambiguous relationship between reality and fiction, the hidden perils of an uncritical use of technologies.
 
In The Box (2005), for example, we see the artists inside a TV screen, trying to find a way out by pushing and kicking the walls. Their actions infiltrate the physical world by bending the frame of the monitor, but they are never able to break out: the mass media system is a giant rubber wall that won’t let us escape its influence, no matter how hard we try. This idea of helplessly trying to establish a physical connection between what’s inside the screen and what’s outside, opening a breach, reminds us of The Last Nine Minutes (1977), a seminal performance by American artist Douglas Davis. Like many other artists of the period, Davis engaged in a profound reflection about the rising world of telecommunication, considering its profound impact on human consciousness and social relationships. Despite these similarities, however, Oblak & Novak’s work is very different, aesthetically and conceptually: humans today are not just exploring new tools of communication, they are completely fused with them, to the point of not being able to recognise their true impact. To describe this new situation, the artists build alternative machines, ironic devices capable of depicting in a very accurate way our daily life: a circle of recursive actions that are both entertaining and exhausting.”

(Valentina Tanni, taken from Aksioma.org)

 

PRESENTED WORKS

 

The Scream
video installation, 60” monitor, 2015

Nika Oblak & Primoz Novak - The Scream

Video installation The Scream is inspired by Edward Munch’s painting Scream. It shows performer concentrate deeply and then screaming out with full force. The powerful voice breaks the screen.

 

Border Mover
kinetic video installation, 250 x 70 x 35 cm, 2015

Nika Oblak Primož Novak

Border Mover is dealing with contemporary individual being trapped by overwhelming technology and routine of our everyday existence, which more and more resembles monotony of operating machines. It is playing with ideas of physical and psychical boundaries as the consequence of capitalistic, neoliberal globalization, where it seems dreams are impossible and that a different world cannot exist.

Software by Rado Miklavcic.

 

The Box
kinetic video installation, 57 cm x 57 cm x 145 cm, 2005

Nika Oblak & Primož Novak, The Box, 02

The Box shows Nika Oblak & Primoz Novak being trapped, trying to escape to the outside. As they hit their fists against the walls of the interior surrounding them, trying to break through, each hit is visible, since the rubber bends outwards. The work is influenced by constant exposure to mass media messages and inability to avoid its effects. It evokes detachment, the possibility to exist outside prevailing systems. Oblak and Novak’s attempt of escape is a reference to an escape from an all encompassing media world as well as an escape from the white cube.

Software by Rado Miklavcic.

 

Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going?
kinetic video installation, 2019

Nika Oblak Primož Novak

Where do we come from? What are we? Where are we going? shows a situation of performer being caught inside the screen, walking endlessly as if he is spinning a giant wheel, but awkwardly enough spinning a rectangular, a 16:9 LCD monitor, a screen among countless screens, information boards, smart phones, which flood our contemporary existence. Unconventional device appears like perpetum mobile, but alludes to contemporary definition of a rat race, an endless, excessive or competitive work, a pointless pursuit without a purpose. The title of installation is taken after one of Gaugin’s final and iconic work D’ou Venons Nous / Que Sommes Nous / Ou Allons Nous, painted in Tahiti. Like Gaugin’s painting the installation proposes a fundamental question where the world is headed. It is an introspect of human condition.

Software by Simon Gorše

Co-commissioned by: MMC Kibla, Maribor, Slovenia; ACC_R Asia Culture Center, Gwangju, South Korea; Aksioma, Ljubljana, Slovenia

 

Reality is Out
kinetic video installation, 73 x 42 x 10 cm, 2012

Nika Oblak Primož Novak

Reality is Out is an installation, which combines Nika Oblak & Primoz Novak’s performance video, pneumatic mechanism and the actual cardboard sign, which appears as if exiting video frame and literally entering exhibition space. The work is a continuum of Oblak and Novak’s exploration of relationship between reality and fiction. As according to Zizek, today’s reality has appropriated a fictional structure.

Software by Rado Miklavcic.

 

Oblak and Novak have exhibited worldwide, in venues like the Sharjah Biennial (UAE), Japan Media Arts Festival, Tokyo (JP), Istanbul Biennial (TR), Biennale Cuvee, Linz (AT), Transmediale Berlin (DE), FILE Sao Paulo (BR)... They received numerous grants and awards, including the CYNETART Award by the Trans-Media-Akademie Hellerau in Dresden (DE), an honorary mention of art critics at Biennale WRO, Wroclaw (PL), the White Aphroid Award for artistic achievement by MMC KIBLA, Maribor (SI), production grant ACC_R Creators in Lab by the Asia Culture Center in Gwangju (KR) and most recently The Rihard Jakopic Honorable Mention, highest national award for visual arts, awarded by Association of Slovene Fine Artists Societies, the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, Museum of Modern Art Ljubljana and the Slovene Association of Art Critics (SI). Their works are part of public and private collections from Graz, Beirut, Hong Kong, Seoul, Stockholm, to Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates.
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