Boris Beja, Vlasta Delimar, Mitja Ficko, Hupa Brajdič kolektiv, IvAnKe (Andreja Džakušič, Keiko Miyazaki, Iva Tratnik), Olja Grubić & Živa Petrič, Nina Koželj, Andrea Knezović, Vika Kirchenbauer, Sarah Maple, Iza Pavlina, Franc Purg, Pila Rusjan, Lada & Sašo Sedlaček, Iva Tratnik, Noemi Veberič Levovnik
Curator: Irena Čerčnik
Intimacy and sexuality have passed from the field of privacy and taboo several decades ago, becoming a more liberal and ever-present subject of diverse thought and research also within the arts. Among other things, the arts have dealt with the issues of sexual roles and patriarchal constructs, sexual identities, stereotypical representations and sexual exploitation. A wide variety of personal experiences, desires and fantasies associated with pleasure have become visible through art. Contemporary man’s integration in the time of production has been considered, the question of whether he even has the time for sexual pleasure and the concurrent hypersexualisation of society. Issues tied to the body and sexuality have often been contemplated with an engaged approach that has contributed to social transformation, not infrequently also with an extreme radicality of expression – let us only remind ourselves of the performances by the feminist artists in the 1960s and 1970s, or the interweaving of pornography and art during the 1990s.
The Duckling Festival, launched by CSU with a focus on the relationship between art and sexuality, touches upon the widest spectrum of intimacy, emotions and sexuality with this year’s edition entitled Production of Desire and Pleasure, including an exhibition and a series of performances. Only later will it focus on selected narrower topics. The reason for deciding to avoid making suggestions to the invited artists this time, most of whom are also participating with new projects, which would point them to a selected narrower issue, was the wish for the first edition to open the only and central issue: What kind of issues and dilemmas regarding sexuality are being shaped today within the field of art and what are the ways in which artists are putting these up for consideration? In this way, we wish to follow today’s “talking” about sexuality, as well as observe today’s approach to the issues addressed in the past, which still remain topical.
The issues that come to the forefront with this exhibition, are presented by the artists through personal experience or through their research into the facts that fascinate them or which they perceive as social problems. They present them through various approaches – through humour, including the absurd or the grotesque, using metaphorical and symbolic or suggestive narratives, through poetics or plain honesty, through a completed piece or the construction of a situation involving the audience. They thematise lust, the disintegration of love and yearning, like Boris Beja with the symbolism of flowers in his photographic installation Bonbonniere. Steamy pleasures and burdens, like Hupa Brajdič with their performance On Deck – an interactive exhibition, a psychological game and an experimental ship party in one. The shrinkage of time and space for pleasure, like Pila Rusjan in her photographic series by juxtaposing two situations that speak of the feelings and changes as a community of two becomes a community of three with the arrival of a child. The positions beyond the boundaries of gender and identity-based prejudice, like Noemi Veberič Levovnik or Vika Kirchenbauer. Censorship, like Iva Tratnik with the game between the visible and the invisible, or Iza Pavlina, who is fascinated by the fact that the octopus in Japanese culture, art and mythology is present as the ultimate erotic symbol and is used in pornography as a substitute for the erect male organ since depictions of genitals are prohibited. Contemporary society is a society of concepts and constructions, which also applies to sexuality. The history of the rise of “talking” about sexuality coincides with the history of the development of capitalism and its ongoing interest in limiting all man’s available time from useless pleasures so that he can be as fully focused on making a profit as possible. At the same time, capitalism has produced a profitable article out of sexuality, it has equipped it with a range of values and concepts of love, as well as with the cult of youth and the demand for a beautiful and young body. Vlasta Delimar deals with the taboo of ageing and sexuality through her performance Successful Ageing, whereas Andrea Knezović places her piece All of those constructs they made you call pleasure with a praise of redundant gains into the context of neoliberal constructions, the creation of a persistent desire for happiness and satisfaction, as well as control that penetrates into the most intimate spheres. Dealing with one of the most pressing social problems, widespread and most often concealed, is Franc Purg with the performative workshop Quiet, quiet …, which discusses paedophilia and trauma, combining personal experience, hypnotherapy, an expert-guided process as well as the involvement of the audience. Nina Koželj takes on the authority of limiting rules and norms as well as rigid views on life with a good dose of humour, and lots of humour is also part of Sarah Maple’s work, who deals with the symbol of masculinity, male power and “penis envy”, by placing the phallus in the shape of the most everyday objects on herself in her photographic series Cocks. The IvAnKe collective (Andreja Džakušič, Keiko Miyazaki, Iva Tratnik) combine the scary, the strange, comfort and celebration, the woman’s body, the woman’s organ and pleasure in their performance Otsukisama, whereas Olja Grubić & Živa Petrič create a space, where the borders between the private and the public are blurred in their participatory performance Red Web, a venue for the pursuit of desire and seduction. Mitja Ficko places sexuality into the field of entirely everyday life with a composition of drawings and paintings consisting of both images with erotic content and those without. The field of everyday life is a reality, distinctly permeated with technology. This has, among other things, shaped new forms of seduction: intimate conversations, maintaining love connections while being physically apart is dealt with in ASAP (Long Distance Desire), a project by Lada & Sašo Sedlaček, who swapped the usual digital communication, known as sexting, with the absurd situation of sending SMS messages on postcards via the regular postal mail.
Talking about sexuality is changing with time. New contents are brought along by the new time – its technology and science or its invisible aspects, more or less committed to silence (such as the sexuality of the elderly or the Church cover-ups of the inconceivable numbers of sexually abused children). Many subjects that were present in the past remain topical, yet their delivery has undergone the greatest changes. In the exhibition at hand, excess and provocation have largely been swapped by humour, celebration, playfulness, levity. The strategy of provocation and awakening of discomfort, which is typical for feminist performance of the 1960s and 1970s, is most obviously preserved by the piece Please Relax Now by Vika Kirchenbauer, who, through very sensual seduction, invites the viewer to participate and give meaning to the work, in order to finally move him from the comfortable position of the viewer to a markedly uneasy position of the viewed. (Irena Čerčnik)
FESTIVAL PROGRAMME AND PERFORMANCE LINEUP
FRIDAY, 21 September
at 19.00: opening of the festival and the exhibition Production of Desire and Pleasure
Participating artists in the exhibition: Boris Beja, Mitja Ficko, Nina Koželj, Andrea Knezović, Vika Kirchenbauer, Sarah Maple, Iza Pavlina, Pila Rusjan, Lada & Sašo Sedlaček, Iva Tratnik, Noemi Veberič Levovnik
from 20.00, performances:
Vlasta Delimar, Successful Ageing, 2018 (participants: Vlasta Delimar and Milan Božić)
As Delimar has written, she is working hard to make her ageing positive and beautiful, with a low risk of getting sick, with physical functionality, active participation in society, independence and ability to take care of herself. She sees ageing as growth, maturity and enhancement of potential rather than decay. Whether she will age well, depends, as she maintains, from her own self, which is why she assumes all responsibility for her own ageing. In addition to fixing her teeth, correcting her eyesight with good glasses, and getting her right hip replaced, she is also taking care of a continued flourishing sex life. The performance is a sensual demonstration of its success, and the presentation itself stems from her own research.
IvAnKe (Andreja Džakušič, Keiko Miyazaki, Iva Tratnik):OTSUKISAMA, 2018
The Otsukisama performance is a homage to the most specific organ of a woman’s body, an expressive play of light and sound effects, body movements and facial grimaces, a manifestation of the scary, strange, pleasure and celebration. It is a homage to the genitals and their secretions, their connection with the cycles and processes, a homage to the female and the corporeal at different stages of life. It speaks of what is often considered unpleasant and unclean, even obscene, in which mucus or a lack of mucus intertwine, menstrual blood, lust and delight.
Olja Grubić in Živa Petrič, Red Web, 2016
Red Web is a digitalised performative installation of a sexual chatroom in which a female performer takes her female or male spectator through a test/experience intertwining the intimate and public space and through an interface addressing everything in between. Red Web is a user’s experience of an individual’s intimate space which includes both the real and the fictional Other at the same time, as well as different performative strategies that generate and transform this relation. It is a fusion of digital communication into a performative situation that will be created in the interaction between the user’s desire and its (un)fulfilment; personal data are valuable goods… The limits of my interface are the limits of my world… You get what you click… Freedom is all around…
SATURDAY, 22 September, from 19.00, performances:
Franc Purg, Quiet, quiet …, 2018
The performative workshop on the subject of paedophilia and trauma engages viewers to become participants in the exchange of experience. Through a delicate guided process that adapts to the unforeseen, the participants of the workshop explore the issues of sexual abuse, guilt, ridicule and shame previously determined by the artist. At the same time, they open up new questions and introduce new contents as they arise through the workshop. The project is based on the forgotten and repressed artist’s personal experience and the hypnotherapy process that enabled him to re-experience and review the traumatic event in childhood. Beba Splichal, an experienced therapist on group dynamics is taking part in the project.
Noemi Veberič Levovnik, Fontana, 2017
The Fontana performance is the artist’s sensual and playful response to the numerous taboos, from breastfeeding in public to sexism in all its numerous forms. She shapes an offensive against all kinds of sexism that we encounter every day and everywhere – through her body and rude play, through revealing her own weakness, through the poetic and dreamlike image that was shown to her one day and whose beauty overwhelmed her with an unidentifiable longing. With her fifty balloon breasts, she feeds all those who want some of the unbridled and childishly boisterous. Or her body. She does certainly not become an object and retains all the power, and as she says, she decides herself whether she will give or take, whether she will create or destroy. At once a goddess and a mother in an erotic dance, she parodies the reduction of a woman to saint and sinner. She ejaculates, squirts, lactates, dances and penetrates …
Hupa Brajdič, On Deck, 2018
A dairy note from one of the ship’s passengers, Lady Dream: “I do not remember when I boarded the ship, but I do know that this was the point when I sailed into timelessness. Forever. Since time immemorial. There are many passengers on the ship, each with their own luggage. Steamy pleasures and heavy burdens. Right now beside me on deck, crammed under the table in the ship’s bar, sits Mr Awry, attempting to read the newspaper. Miss Gaze Sensuality is staring reproachfully at the scant work attire of Domina the attendant, who is throwing the cups overboard to be washed up by the sea instead of doing the job herself. The ship correspondent Good News looks over the shoulder of the Sexologist who has just opened up his infamous little black book, whereas sailor Hedonist peacefully sunbathes by the pool.”
Production of Desire and Pleasure exhibition will be on view until 28.10.2018
Supported by: Ministrstvo za kulturo RS, Mestna občina Celje