Powerlessness has become a collective feeling. Belgrade, end of nineties, a quote from my journal.
Collective Powerlessness. Again. Ljubljana, present time, a quote from my journal.
Ode to Powerlessness, 2014/2015, Installation with participative closing performance, production: Ljubljana City Gallery, installation photos: Matevž Paternoster, performance photos: Vera Stanković
Vera Stanković’s art reaches its highest form of expression in her clay sculptures. Working with clay, this soft and malleable material, allows her to develop a poetics filled with personal experiences and insights drawing from both intimacy and a broader social reality. This time, exhibits a piece entitled An Ode to Powerlessness(2014), a spatial installation consisting of numerous rustic human figures made from clay that hang powerlessly. This web of helpless, benumbed figures hanging from different heights sways gently, seemingly falling in space (the social space of our contemporary neo-liberal world). The artist includes another element – a music stand, which, in contrast to the hanging figures,stands erect, numb, like a solitary tree. This is where the symbolical sheet music for the Ode to Powerlessness goes. This installation, thoughtfully executed both in terms of content and composition, evokes not only associations with the current state of our society and its collective powerlessness, but also acts as a blow, a strike in the author's utopian act of a personal fight against these feelings of powerlessness. The title of the work would seem to celebrate and glorify powerlessness, but at the same time, it also serves as a warning and a wake-up call, beckoning us to think about new systems of co-habitation that could one day help defeat powerlessness.The installation, organized in this manner, recalls an endless repetition of an intimate and social state – a cyclical historic time – in which humanity, represented here by small, curled up or deformed figures, tragically sows destruction and loss while drowning in a flood of stupidity, helplessness, collective powerlessness and despair. And it is precisely the suggestive, insightful and stark critical nature of this sensitive installation that highlights the increasingly direct honesty of the medium, acting through a dense manifestation of artistic expression fastened into constructive forms that expand into a dynamic system of sculptures. The installation is a representation of feeling and thinking, full of doubts and fears. Stanković often uses powerless figural signifiers onto which the viewer projects himself and within which he recognizes contemporary stories and figures. She evolves the sublimely composed sculptural elements within spatial installations and deliberately stretches them out into space as representations of life itself. Such installations often become a substantive, multi-layered event that is completed and fully realized only within the gallery. On a narrative level, the artist doesn't want to put the viewers out of balance, nor does she want to shock them too much. Her aim is to come closer to them, to touch themin a way that is visually enticing and yet still promotes contemplation. Organized in this way, the spatial installation reflects the essential and existential state of being of the contemporary art piece as the bearer of intimate as well as the broadest social narrative. In this narrative, visual artistic actions are emphasized and developed in various authorial ways as the viewer's perceptions in reciprocally varied relationships and oscillations on mental (rationally emotional) and concretely material levels. Vera Stanković is an insightful storyteller. Her sculpture is full of a sincere reminiscence of intimacy, but at the same time carries a strong critical charge directed at a broader human society.