Horizon of expectations /// Croatian Pavillion /// Venice Biennale 2017

The Horizon of Expectations at the Croatian Pavilion presents artists Tina Gverović and Marko Tadić. The project is shaped as a double solo exhibition and it’s based on the production of new artworks, developed specifically for the pavilion. Structured as a fragmentary narrative, Horizon of Expectations brings together two artistic positions that deal with issues of uncertainty, tension or collapse, and how they relate to different conditions and contexts. Tina Gverović and Marko Tadić engage with conceptual procedures and subjective imagination inscribed in spatial and temporal discontinuities, in a process that encompasses contingency and actively engages our perceptual space.

The artists frame different scenes, as processes of creating, constructing, or building. Together they form a type of ruined, abandoned archaeological site, oscillating between deconstruction and construction. To achieve this, Tina Gverović and Marko Tadić delve in processes of accumulations – of materials or images, and their effects. Different processes are seen as materiality and methodology, tools and language – as the processes of stockpiling, gathering, collecting materials, images and events.

Using different media, painting, drawing, installation or text, Tina Gverović creates works in the form of disorienting installations that engage with the space, territory and identity, and how these concepts are bound to imagination. Her images are fluid and fragile, suspended between different conditions. In Phantom Trades: Sea of People an installation involving paintings, video and objects (developed in collaboration with artist Ben Cain), Tina Gverović explores different processes, history and materiality, bodies in transit, as moving masses or geopolitical entities.
Body outlines, clothing garments, gestures of materiality and traces of presence are inscribed onto canvas surfaces that constitute intricate layers. Paintings are positioned as self-standing objects, panels, screens and barriers or are laid horizontally forming bulks and stacks, becoming objects and becoming metaphors of different possibilities and perspectives. The constellation of paintings and objects, seen as layers and sequences of conditions, potentialities, positions and movements, constitute a fragmented, fragile and uncertain space, focusing on the ephemeral and transient, devoid of coordinates.

Marko Tadić continues to explore his long-term interest in the legacy of modernism and the actualisation of its utopian potential. His works represent a look back at the recent history as a visual narrative of obsolete remains and elements of visual arts, architecture or everyday imagery, building up an unusual atmosphere of oblivion, highlighting the possibilities of re-reading the relationship with the past. He de- and re- constructs a modernist vocabulary from a formalist perspective, using it as the research polygon for a new genesis, seeing new potential constructions.  This entails opening up new perspectives and constituting new meanings. Retaining traces of previous histories as they are re-inscribed and dissolved into a new context, the method and materials the artist selects are transformed. Using found images and animation techniques to stage a narrative oscillating between document and fiction, Tadić unfolds a series of haunting visual sequences, based on a series of projected images. Like images of disappearance, they represent a trace of unknown events that fade out and vanish before our eyes. Regardless of the medium, his works can be seen as a continuous effort to initiate a potential new beginning, often building on the ruins of times past.

The exhibition is a constellation that unveils itself, opening different vistas, perspectives, horizons of works that take shape by our movements through the exhibition space, inviting the observer to connect different fragments, narratives, experiences. The space is arranged in order to explore structures of exhibiting and the perception of the observer. As a self-reflexive gesture it is a form of colonising the space.

Avoiding a fixed narrative that defines a certain content, the exhibition takes part in creating a series of gaps, ruptures and renegotiations as places of potential transformation and imagination, staging mechanisms of visibility – framing of space and time, place and identity. In this way a ‘horizon of expectations’ takes into account both, our individual and collective experiences we share as audience, framing local hi/stories into global contexts. Borrowing the title from H. R. Jauss’s reception theory, the shifting ‘horizon of expectations’ points to a platform of common experience, knowledge and understanding of things, framed by renegotiations and uncertain possibilities of identification.

Branka Benčić
Curator, Pavilion of Croatia