The solo show by Jasmina Cibic, works and lives in London, installed at Açıkekran New Media Gallery is titled “Philosophical Theatre” which video works are the focal point of the exhibition have in common is that difference and repetition take each other’s places and comprise a total series. Repetitions, as a theatre term, form separate similarities in every repetition. Each incident is connected to a moment that creates a difference. Whenever the owl changes its spot in the cage another owl leaves its spot; the event repeats itself. The sameness and separateness dialectics make themselves visible here.
In images that develop in a puzzle like manner the people do not let you feel whether they are a hero or a coward. In this manner, the actions on the theatre stage turn reality into a fiction whereas fiction is perceived as a reality. The historian Paul Veyne, who set out with the question “Should we believe in mythological theatre plays?”, had questioned whether the Greeks actually believed in their mythology they knew by heart. Every audience member continues to be excited about the Greek tragedies they all know. The events that occur consecutively give the impression they might change but always end in the same way. Like children who love what is already known, don’t they? They always love to see what they knew already. That is why theatre unites with poetry, one of the oldest forms of art. The puzzle-like feature of events forms the core of theatre and tragedies in particular. Events are articulated even in the case of this puzzle like situation.
In the video titled “Rotation” (cycle, rotating) Jasmina Cibic put thought into a hawk standing on a pedestal taking on directions, makes us think by symbolizing power. Power is a venue – the pedestal is revolving around itself. This action portrays the power that revolves around itself in a poetic and romantic way. The artist plays with a symbol belonging to an ancient era. The symbol is an iconography but in this way the image moves away from being taken as a metaphor. Rather than not making a similarity, it does the opposite and expresses a straightforward meaning.
“Bird’s Cage” video is attributed to Picasso. It refers to the bird cage that Jacques Doucet, who had purchased the 1907 “Girls of Avignon”, the portrait that expresses the transition to cubism in 1924 directly from Picasso’s atelier ordered from famous designer Pierre-Emile Legrain in the same year. The work is dedicated to Pierre-Emile Legrain, the designer of the bird’s cage that is placed under Picasso’s painting. This adjacency establishes a similarity to the works of Picasso, which approach wilderness and primitivism, it is placed on the stage with this meaning. The bird’s cage and the Picasso work that the collector has put side by side in a theatrical way, has been reverted to the old design by Cibic and made theatrical again. The wild bird flies and lands on one cage then another, as the instructor walks it follows the cage he is at. As in the ancient times it comes and lands on his hand and then returns to the cage: domestication trainings.
In “Nada Akt II” video the Aarhus City Hall building is used and Bela Bartok’s pantomime ballet of the 1958 Brussels EXPO “Magical Mandarin” is placed here. Thus the venue and the play complete each other.
In the video titled “Pavilion, Building Desire”, Jasmina Cibic fictionally rebuilds the building temporarily built by Dragisa Brasowan (1887-1965) in 1929 at the World Exhibition he participated in the Yugoslavian Kingdom’s booth in Barcelona, and places this process on the stage as a theatre scene: Despite winning the prize according to what has been told about the incident since, Brasowan loses the prize to German architect Ludwig Mies Van der Rohe through some kind of trickery. This scene completes the theatre stage with the other works of the exhibition “Nada II: Akt”.
Philosophical Theatre is a theatre itself or even ‘document on theatre’: it cannot operate with metaphors, Jasmina Cibic’s videos destroy those directed at a single simulation to the opposite and starts decentering. By decentering the artist emphasizes the importance of the independence of each scene by distributing them. The historical series that are formed in this way both repeat and separate the same incidents from each other. She connects the exhibit videos to each other in an arrangement where there is no center and realizes a “centrifugal” relation this way. By connecting certain main points together, she brings out an “articulation point” from each point.
With the video works we have set side by side in this exhibition, Jasmina Cibic uses local history like a theatre stage and shows her effort to reform it with a theatrical strength.
Click for the front face of the brochure
Click for the reverse face of the brochure