AnKo – Andreja Džakušič in Keiko Miyazaki: Vmes / In-between (solo exhibition and performance)
ACE KIBLA / 9. 5. -1. 6. 2019
AnKo – Andreja Džakušič in Keiko Miyazaki: Vmes / In-between
9. 5. -1. 6. 2019
ACE KIBLA / artKIT, Glavni trg 14, Maribor
I know I was wrong,
When I said it was true,
That it couldn’t be me,
And be her in between,
(In Between Days, The Cure)
AnKo – Andreja Džakušič and Keiko Miyazaki have functioned as an artistic duo since 2017, engag-ing mainly as performers, but also active in other contemporary media, most notably photography and video, as well as interactive installations. The two artists come from diff erent cultures, which is the basis of their explorations into the possibilities of adapting to conditions in a new environ-ment, where their focus has been on a comparison between diff erent behavior patterns and ways of communication. Communication, of course, does not exist only at the level of verbalization and potential language: bodily communication means that apart from the agreed, general gesticula-tions, people respond to the environment also by means of body language, which is closely related to our subconscious, if we are to believe, for example, Freud. After all, (according to Freud’s student, Lacan) the subconscious is structured like a language, which means fi rst that as such, it can be traced within the structuralist discourse, and second, that language itself is in fact a matter of agreement, it is arbitrary, and depends not only on the speech situation, but mostly on the emer-gence of specifi c signifi ers, which determine the meaning of signs used for communication.
Following the idea of external communication and body language, the artists find that the code of conduct in different countries is not the same by any means, which is something the communica-tion discourse should confront. Speech in itself falls short many times, dangling in the crack of the civilization difference, which is why we upgrade speech by means of gesticulation, of which body language is a part. The possibility of misunderstanding thus arises already from the mere neces-sity of fundamentally breaking the barrier of incomprehension: to understand someone, it is not enough to speak their language, but rather, they must be understood holistically. Because lan-guage is arbitrary, it depends on the signs that we are to understand collectively in order to have a successful communication, therefore it is vital that this unconditionality not be overlooked. The two artists, then, deal fi rst and foremost with socially committed art, with current stereotypes, taboos, and the position of women in society: are women more adaptable already by nature, or is this only an expectation of the society?
In the artistic act entitled In-between, Andreja Džakušič and Keiko Miyazaki wish to overcome past relationships and attitudes in a visually poetic, yet still socially critical manner. In-between is a mo-ment between before and after, it is in fact that intermediary moment of the proper being, of the earthly reality, which is justifi ed by its temporary emergence, as a surrogate for something, which is yet to take place. The time in-between is not empty time, but a suspense of the future: it is an event between two moments, which falls short of a practical value, because it remains in a state of expec-tation, postponed, as it were: instead-of-something-for-that. That ‘in-between’ remains unfulfi lled, because the subject rejects it as something eliminated each time: the spirit suspends the work of the mind (to play with Hegel’s thought), because it does not really need this ‘in-between’. The ‘in-between’ is there in order to – like an interference, a defect or a vocal tic – preserve the subject in an at least relative relation to reality, which changes.
The artists call attention to the disintegration of relations, which do not only represent interrup-tions before what is to come, but even a ruined relationship, reciprocally irreparable, which echoes in the future as well, and which has been marked in the past. Although the artists do not to wish to specify these relationships, because this is a global problem, they nonetheless ask themselves about the actual limits of each such relationship.
The exhibition opening features a performance that symbolizes the intermediary (in-between) phase of some human relationship. The art-ists employ visual symbolism of objects, which represent the bond of a mutual relationship be-tween two persons. They put on masks, stretch-ing a red thread to emphasize the integration of individual subjects into a certain relationship, which will acquire, only in the future, a character of suspense, and the fragility of which repre-sents not only the possibility that this bond can be torn at any time, but mainly the fact that a clash in a relationship does not necessarily mean a release of the subject from that relation-ship. By stretching the thread the artists test lim-its, physical and psychological, which still hold the fi bers together, and through them preserve the relationship, and thereby the whole.
The in-situ performance is designed also as a communication with the physical space, which represents the link between the protagonists and the audience, in which, in some unrepeat-able form, they visualize some random moment that acquires, through the presence of the third, a note of voyeurism. The invited observ-ers have the privilege to wait, together with the artists, for that fatal breaking point, which emerges beyond the need for mere pleasure: the relationship we observe is charged with a tragic character, because it always remains (precisely because of the general equality of possibility, both in the economic as well as the biological sense) under the threat of the sword of Damocles; it is always in a just-before-the-end situation. The illusion created in external observers by some random relationship, is really a double one: fi rst, it is about some imaginary external content, which is there only for us, and is covered by language. And until the masks are not down internally in that same relationship, it cannot be understood, which is highlighted by the artists: only the removal of the mask makes it possible for the illusion to make way for the truth, which has now ‘become fl esh’, faithfully and in the rhythm of life’s metronome.
The exhibition showcases two experimental videos, designed especially for the occasion of exhibiting at the artKIT Gallery. The screens with two images are positioned one vis-à-vis the other, so that the images are facing one another: through them, the artists thematize the breaking point of some random relation-ship, when the overabundance or surplus of pleasure is transformed into an empty space, into a repeating vacuum. The videos represent a kaleidoscopic symbolism of impressions or memories, a digital mandala shaped like a spiral, which either devours us or declines us.
In the second part of the exhibition space there is a sound room, which, again, invites us to be voyeurs, this time by means of eavesdropping. The artists use the sound installation to make us participate in a game of “playing phone tag”: the sound message cannot be made out, unless we press our ears to the object each time. Every time we move our ears away in order to under-stand what we heard, we are already missing out on that content, so we always remain out-side of the reach of the whole. Particularity as the necessary element in human relationships is what – according to the artists – carries a great deal of responsibility for the occurrence of in-between states, i.e., disruptions in relationships, deterioration of relations and consequently, disagreements between people.
“In our society, a certain type of behavior is expected of women; every overstepping of the agreed boundaries of ‘good behavior’ is seen as an unwanted disturbance,” thus the artists.
The artists, then, lean against the moment in-between relationships, against that limited du-ration, in which the interruption of some state or habitude resounds; a schism between two persons that can occur as a consequence of the unexpected, because it is always bipolar, and prevents even our best intentions. The artistic exploration of the development of this relation-ship, which is built out of the internal dualism between the ‘before’ and the ‘after’, enables a broad exposition fi eld. We all know that rela-tionships develop and also change. They may be short-term, superfi cial, or deeper and therefore long-lasting, in the case of both, it is primarily about genuine human contact. Relationships are what makes a life full, and they can only enrich us if we know how to open up to each other, and, only then, truly meet.
– Nina Jeza & Artists&Poor’s
Andreja Džakušič is an interdisciplinary creator of contemporary art. She obtained her MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. She was additionally trained at the Vysoka Škola Vytvarnih Umeni in Bratislava (Slovakia) and at the Akademia Sztuk Pieknich in Krakow (Poland), spending some time also as part of a working visit in Belfast, Ireland. She deals mostly with socially engaged art, art in public space and community art. Since the year 2000, she has been operating as a self-employed person in the fi eld of culture (intermedia artist, performer, pedagogue and designer). She is an active member of the Visual Artists Association of Celje and a member of several other collectives, including SIVA (with Simon Macuh and Iva Tratnik), IvAn (with Iva Tratnik), IvAnKe (with Keiko Miyazaki and Iva Tratnik), and the group Public Readings. Andreja Džakušič organizes individual and group art projects, and participates in exhibitions at home and abroad. She lives and works in Celje.
Keiko Miyazaki was born in Ehime, Japan. After she completed her MFA at Northumbria University in England (2003), she moved to Slovenia. She pursued her study at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, Slovenia (2004), as well as at the Academy of Fine Art in Krakow, Poland (2005). Keiko Miyazaki’s work is based on an observation of European social structures and taboos, an important segment of her creative process being communication that involves forging connection and cooperation with individuals from the immediate and wider environment. Originally coming from Japan, the artist discovers new aspects of communication by connecting and engaging her surrounding. She expresses herself through various media such as installation, painting, performance and video. In her recent works, light and shadow have been often appeared in common in order to represent the human duality. She was awarded the Sakaide Art Grand Prix (1999), the Jury Award of the Cosmos Cable TV (2005), and a prize for her cultural contribution to the city of Shikokuchuou. Since 1998 her work has been exhibited internationally. Her most recent solo exhibition was Secret Desire at The Center for Contemporary Arts Celje Gallery Račka (2018), while one of her installation works has been selected for the 12th International Festival of Light – Lighting Guerrilla (2018). She lives and works in Slovenia.