Damir Radović, 2013
My work is both a question of balance and a tool for understanding reality. A very delicate balance, silently worked by the interplay of contradictory forces, at the point of dispersal.
Everything is a question of immersion within my scheme ; an alliance between visual matter and subtle moods. Images of the everyday set into space like so many motifs of a monumental composition. My drawings are haunted by all these elements that disrupt the senses, plunge them into experience, carress and play with disapearance to cede their position.
Through installation, drawing and video, my work consists in capturing the real, in its' cultural and social aspects, in archetypal, generic or carnivalesque form that examine the modes of historical and contemporary representation.
DAMIR RADOVIC - ON THE EDGE OF REALITY
By Markus Kersting, art historian, 2011
The impact of Pop-Icons in recent works
Pop-icons are the subject of dreams, a strong expression for the need for affiliation in a world existing exclusively in our minds, in our most absurd fantasies - they are the screen for the projection of desires, of sexual or even religious vacuums dominating the unconciousness in ones life.
The media presence creates to a certain extent a diffused picture to make them appear as if from "outer space". Despite or even mainly because of their unattainability, we are longing for identification. Real persons who became pop-icons by public absorption as well as iconic comic book characters populate the confusing and sometimes disturbing world of Damir Radovic's artificial universe.
In fact it's a parallel universe founded on confusion - a tremendous implosion of pictures, emotions, artistic expressions captured inside our deepest aims and wishes. The perspective is set completely off its hinges - this doesn't just apply to the composition of his watercolors and paintings but more precisely also to the world displayed and developing in front of our eyes by walking deeper and deeper into the mysterious trails of a yet undiscovered no-where land.
Radovic's stories are composed from the ambiguous and apparently schizophrenic images collected during the nineties in former Yougoslavia and postwar Bosnia. Combined with translucent and at the same time obscure and surreal - and therefore even realer - images of the promising american "canon" culture.
His work reflects the look in the review-mirror for what we can('t) leave behind; the "un"-nessecity of material and emotional possession, seems to be contradicted by Radovics work. By using those promising pop-icons such as initially, the all american, and finally, the global Laurel & Hardy, the Statue of Liberty, Mickey Mouse but also Vucko (the mascot of the 84 olympic winter-games at Sarajevo, Bosnia) and Buddha, he is putting the observer into a maelstrom of irritations and allusions.
Critical political statements put in an all-embracing language such as the mentioned comic book characters became not only part of a truly global childhood memory but are going far beyond that. Mixing up positive reflexes and negative charged impressions out of a global and local cosmos, or better speaking atrocious, barbarous reflexes from a dumbfounded, doomed world marks Radovics way towards a complex understanding of the incomprehensible - a world consisting of hate and disillusion where one might only find relief in even more chaos and confusion.
As the world is such an irritating place to live in, Radovic is one of the apologists of its conception of chaos and relief. His abbreviated pictorial language of suggestion, achieved by the evoking of common dreams, leaves us astonished and speechless.
But don't you feel frightened by the weight of images - by using the full range of chromatics he is also able to draw the attention on the lyrical side of the world.
THE BLIND-SPOTS BANNERS
Shoelaces are Undone and Zagor against Zagor
By Naomi Hennig, 2011
Published in Spaceship Yugoslavia - The Suspension of Time, NGBK, Berlin, 2011
Damir Radović's work draws from those fluctuating patterns that make up identity and memory, often involving graphic symbols, places references and maps, fragments from popular culture and mysterious messages.
These elements seem to gravitate around an intangible and empty center, to which they unavoidably and repeatedly return. The black outline of Bosnia and references to the city of Sarajevo keep recurring, while the Balkan boy enters the symbolic stage as a self-questioning ironic alter ego. Through the manifold signifiers, and pictorial and textual fabrics we are offered a glimpse of the past, even though many questions initiated by these works remain unanswered.
For the NGBK exhibition, Radović presents a new version of his work Shoelaces are Undone. A tent in the exhibition space serves as a temporal habitat for the artist ; turned into an instrument of construed lightness, it is freed from the weight of territory. Inside we find various everyday objects, dishes, newspapers, and a radio, producing the individual comfort zone of the artist-nomad. On the occasion of the exhibition opening, coffee and alcohol will be shared with visitors.
A TV set plays the video Zagor against Zagor. This Italian comic hero, extremely popular in the former Yugoslavia, appears at the start of the clip. The accompanying dialogue originates from the last sequence of the famous Partisan-classic Walter Defends Sarajevo *
Colonel : "Since I have been in Sarajevo, I have been looking for Walter, but couldn't find him. And yet, as I am leaving, I know who he is."
Geman officer : "You know who Walter is ?! Tell me his name right away !"
Colonel : "I will show him to you... You see this city ? That is Walter."
Another work by Damir Radović appears as a banner installation on the façade of the NGBK gallery building. Replacing the usual exhibition advert banner, this display functions as an extension to the gallery space, and at the same time as a theme for the show. The messages presented to the lively Oranienstrasse reflect changes within the artist's environment and place of origin. "No more, no more" is rendered into an elegy on a past and distant country. The present day of the Yugoslavs - those vanished and gone, and yet to be found all over the world - seems transfixed between the statement of loss and the prophecy of near events. Between festive decoration, agitprop and humorous intervention, these messages do not allow a clear focus, but they do boldly address a blind spot.
* Valter brani Sarajevo (Walter Defends Sarajevo), Yugoslavia, 1972