Artes Mundi – day 2

Another amazing day… I met everyone at Ffotogallery in Penarth to see that last two Artes Mundi artists.

The first artist at Ffotogallery was:

Sanja Ivekovic

sanja IvekovocHer work almost stops you in your tracks. Initially lulled into security by familiarity. The first room had a series of images that, from a distance, simply look like advertising posters, glamorous young women. But get closer and the shocking message is revealed. Sanja Ivekovic has taken powerful found advertising imagery of young women and juxtaposed them with the information and name of political women. These women, who have become almost forgotten, either died, committed suicide or lost significant years of their lives to their beliefs and values.

sanja Ivekovoc In the corner of the room on a desk was what simply looked like a glossy magazine. each page looked like advertising for sunglasses. On each image is a brief sentence from women in a refuge explaining how they feel about the domestic violence that they endured in unhappy and violent relationships.

sanja Ivekovoc

sanja IvekovocThe next room also contained work by Sanja Ivekovic. On the left of the room as I entered was a cabinet containing many toy donkeys each with the name of a n individual who fought against oppression. On the wall opposite are printed texts about each of these individuals. on the adjoining wall is a lightbox with the image of a donkey in s space enclosed by barbed wire with a Nazi officer. This image was taken from a newspaper and was originally a warning not to be stubborn or stupid enough to buy from Jewish people. The use of a donkey to visualize these revolutionaries uses ideas that donkeys carry heavy burdens for others, that they are stubborn, simple and hard working. This piece again uses familiarity to initially draw us in and then almost whips the carpet from under us.

sanja IvekovocRagnar Kjartansson

Ragnar Kjartansson

Upstairs at Ffotogallery was a large 64 minute video installation over 8 screens of musicians playing each in a different room of a large romantic looking house. The piece of music moves in and out of a repeated chorus ‘once again I am falling into my feminine ways’ almost like a mantra. people move within the house into and out of some of the screens and it eventually culminates with everyone in a single room moving out into the garden and the space beyond. For me this piece seemed too ‘nice’ and didn’t feel challenging enough for me. it didn’t leave me questioning and I really want to come away from works of art with more questions than when I went in.

Ragnar Kjartansson

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