Crooked signs, Exhibiting in Public, Bans

Belgrade Youth Center Gallery, Belgrade

The exhibition Crooked signs, Exhibiting in Public, Bans presents photographs from diverse cities from 2016 till today. Through documenting everyday situations on city streets, particular elements started to emerge as a result of the activities of the city’s inhabitants, but also through the rules and regulations of cohabiting. In this way, the three photography series engage with the city as an exhibition space, a sculpture and an organism that through the most minute modifications breathes, moves, opens and closes, and finally forms.

Bans, Matija Zlatanović

In this series, the photographs show examples of architectural elements that have the function to prevent public urination in street corners. These elements have been around since the 19th century, from a time when the lack of public toilet infrastructure drove passers-by to relieve themselves on street corners. They started out as geometrical corner blockades akin to pyramids (with the aim to not only prevent urination, but to reflect the stream back onto the individual) that over time became elements of the urban landscape in their own right. They are usually made in wrought iron, stacked with decorative elements, painted and made to blend with the environment and spirit of the time; sometimes plainly utilitarian, sometimes elaborate in design.

These elements can be seen as ‘proto-adversary’ architecture: an example of how architecture and urban planning has been utilised to control behaviour in public space. Cities today are full of spikes in front of exclusive shop windows, underground passages and underpasses are filled with stones and gravel, whereas benches are losing their backrests, armrests are used to divide sitting spaces in twos and threes to prevent homeless people from sleeping on them and prevent the unwanted from hanging around.

The photographed bans function on a micro-level; they are tailored to humans, modest and unassuming, but still unrelenting in their intention and existence. They are unique accents in space that throughout a number of cities pose the same questions regarding public space. Where is the boundary between the utilitarian and the controlling?

Exhibiting in Public, Luka Knežević Strika

Each artistic intervention in public space that is not permitted, asked or payed for, confirms the possibility of dialogue. Although they seem invisible, and on first thought the only reaction to them is a deliberate or inadvertent ripping, breaking, taking down or simply a slow or fast disintegration of the material due to the sun, wind or rain – these interventions are a part of the landscape: their presence and lack of it thereof is felt, not necessarily consciously, but in the same way we perceive the hum of traffic, pigeons or tourists – as a backdrop rather than the main focus. However, at certain times such an intervention can grab our attention, even if it is not understood as intentional or as a piece of art, and it becomes a part of our thoughts,  maybe documented with the mobile phone camera, which is more and more replacing our memory and how we chronicle. These dialogues occur completely outside of the system. But as ephemeral as they are, and partly precisely as a result of it – they embody the possibility of thinking change.

Crooked Signs, Iva Kuzmanović

A road sign’s function is to point out behavioural rules. They are reminders of the law and our civil obligations, they aid in  maintaining order and safety, and help guide movement in traffic. Whether circumstantial or through a deliberate intervention by those who they are in fact intended for, these crooked, broken, bent and wobbly signs are dissolved of their initial function, banished to dwell on the edge of their potential in an absurd and touching choreography.

Translation: Isidora Krstić

Udareni znakovi, Javno izlaganje, Zabrane

Galerija Doma omladine, Beograd, 2. – 19. 7. 2019

Izložba Udareni znakovi, Javno izlaganje, Zabrane prikazuje fotografije različitih gradova nastale u periodu od 2016. do danas. U beleženju svakodnevnih situacija na ulicama gradova počele su da se izdvajaju određene situacije i elementi koji se javljaju usled navika građana ali i usled regulisanja pravila zajedničkog života. U tom smislu, tri serije fotografija pristupaju gradu kao izložbenom prostoru, kao skulpturi i kao organizmu koji i kroz minimalne promene diše, pokreće se, zatvara/otvara i oblikuje.