Exhibition title:  IVANA FRANKE – Lability
Duration: 8 Sep 2009 – 7 Oct 2009

To write before the event about an exhibition that is only just coming into being, about a work, indeed, that gains its essential meaning from its own exhibition value and to hypothesize one’s own future experience or expectations from this experience has about as much sense as writing with the finger in water.  Sense shifts and is lost in the meanders of the virtual event. And yet, perhaps it is possible on the basis of understanding of the earlier pieces to put forward a few general remarks about the artistic issues and aesthetic moment in which the artistic work of Ivana Franke has developed, not as way into the interpretation of the work, but into a text that might be able to be written when we really come into contact with the work.

Particularly since it generally seems that this kind of work produces misunderstandings at several levels of reception. This sometimes comes down to simplified illusions, very trite after all, that on the one hand derive from the identification of experience with certain natural phenomena (reflections, refractions and diffusion of light), with some specific place or moment, or indeed compares the effects of the work with chaos theories and fractals, this scientific approach making out of art and criticism just interesting examples of post-modern kitsch. And the artist does not reject them, accepts all the effects of her work, in line with the logic of the post-conceptual aesthetic. Of course the work of art can be in conformity with some scientific effect, but science cannot confirm its value, nor with its authority can it guarantee any kind of aesthetic interest. And then, for a very long time, science does not deal with contents of everyday human experience, but with extremely precise artefacts built up by generations of other scientists.  There is a long and tenuous thread that links theoretical knowledge with the curiosity of the sensory experience, through which physical formulae are linked with natural elements.  The work of art is essentially grounded purely upon itself, and not on the form of its recognition.  The germinal elements of the artistic practice of Ivana Franke can thus be more appropriately and justly sought in the intellectual heritage of the perceptual research of the New Tendencies and of the formal procedures and resources of Kinetic Art.   We tend to lose sight of the practice of contemporary art from the 70s onwards having created new aesthetic relations between the work of art, the artist and the public, which led to the artistic situation in which viewer happens to be placed seeking from him or her the same kind of seriousness as the artist herself.  The physical and psychic reality of the space they enter is qualitatively changed.  The artistic and aesthetic space is not just a volume occupied by the bodies of the objects on show and of the viewers, nor is it an illusionist grounding for the work, but a certain devised surrounding, into which one or more persons enter, who are given the capacity of spontaneous and multi-sensory activity.  Increased audience participation has contributed to the vanishing of the artistic object as traditionally understood. The space itself replaces the artwork as object.  The range of effectiveness of the work will depend on the capacity of observation and the conceptual and logical thinking of someone who comes into its visual field. Although it contains in aspectual terms variable physical phenomena of artistic characteristics, the space is dominated by the overall aesthetic mood of dematerialisation. The essence of the work is not an object but the confrontation of viewer with a certain perceptual situation. The viewer is charged with total absorption that is not limited in either intensity or time, and that drives his possibilities and capacities of contemplation, observation and movement. With her formal procedures, resources and materials, optical and kinetic in their characteristics, Ivana Franke builds artistic and spatial structures with her light installations placed on the whole in darkened rooms in which she develops her concept of a complex, unstable and changeable space.  The visual perception of the viewer in such a space is activated by optical and kinetic resources.  The movement of the observer, or rather the shifting of the angle of vision, creates ever-different forms of encounters with the light structure, changing the images of this encounter. It is the consequence of effects that derive from the variability of optical laws and the perceptual possibilities of the eye.   The more aleatory variables there are in the structure of the installation, the more complexly develop the characteristics of light and movement in their metamorphoses, and hence the spatial imagination becomes more challenging to the viewer.  In the observation and discovery of this spatial situation there are two variables, there are light and movement. They are created by the colourless light of LEDs within insubstantial geometrical bodies made of nylon filament or transparent canvas, which can be static or rotating, surfaces of transparent and reflecting materials that capture and mirror light, whether artificial or natural, and the movement of the observer in a space of restricted visibility, or along variable  planes of movement.  The slightest shifts produce very different refractions of light and create images of the stretching or flickering of surfaces and volumes.  Movement is the structural element and effect of all space. And what in fact does one think of a space formed in this way, how does one understand a space that is conceptualised by the work of Ivana Franke?  This would be a task for a much profounder consideration, which would take in the importance of space in connection with the places that contain the bodies, with the positions of the bodies between which a certain extension does exist, the temporal gaps between them, when and because of which it can be determined that space comes into being, and places vanish.  One should show in what actually we find the essential characteristic of the space.  Here it is as if the work of Ivan Franke suggests that we investigate this characteristic in the very space itself, in our relations with it.  The relationship then between man and space. Man does not create space, because it is not something objective, something like an object.  Man presences space, as we recall from the writing of Martin Heidegger.  As for presencing as space in the dynamics of one’s own being in space and the human organisation of his own space and space in general.  This presencing is referred to in German as “räumen”, which means clearing, moving through, liberation, the cut towards the light, the clearing.  The poetic image of a quote from Grimm’s dictionary about the original meaning of the word as the creation of a clearing the forest perhaps the best sums up the experience of the works of Ivana Franke: einen raum, d.h. eine lichtung im walde schaffen. Zlatko Wurzberg     Ivana Franke was born in 1973 in Zagreb where she graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts. She represented Croatia at the Venice Biennale twice: the first time in 2004 at The Biennale of Architecture in 2004 with collaborative work Frameworks with architects Petar Mišković, Toma Plejić and Lea Pelivan and with her solo exhibition “Latency” at The Art Biennale in 2007. Her works were shown at numerous exhibitions, including: “Full empty space”, PS1 Contemporary Art Center, New York, 2001, “Passage d”Europe”, Musee d”Art Moderne de Saint Etienne, Saint Etienne, 2004, “Avoiding” (with D. Očko and S. Vujičić), Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, 2005, “Levity”, The Drawing Center, New York, 2007, “Reykjavik Experiment Marathon”, the Art Museum in Reykjavik, 2008, “Manifesta 7”, Bolzano, 2008. She lives and works in Zagreb.