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Galerija Rigo
spacer Ivan Kožarić
Art & Photography
Ivan Picelj
Josip Pino Ivančić
Vlasta Delimar
Silva Potočki
Danijel Žeželj / Stanislav Habjan
Media Scape 8
Renate Kasper

Tina Modotti
Telegrafske žice, 1925.
Tina Modotti, Telegrafske žice
Pablo Picasso
Sam Taylor-Wood
Jesus Rafael Soto
Tina Modotti
C. C. Diez - R. Gibson, A. Archipenko - A. Girbes, M. Chagall - M. Riboud, H. Matisse - W. Klein, P. Picasso - S. T. Wood, R. J. Soto - T. Modotti
Art and photography converge in many points which, when confronted, also uncover the differences that reveal the autonomy and expressive singularity of both mediums. Particular parallelisms might be most evident between photography and graphics having in common the ethimological basis as well as reproductibility, i. e. the possible multiplication of identic images that, under certain conditions, preserve the status of an original. The very thematisation of this characteristic common to graphic and photographic prints – in both cases, achieved through different proceedings - is the background of this selection trying to show how in modernist practice the image-making process was diversified either on formal as well as on the iconographical level so that from case to case we can see where the two visual expressions come extremly close to each other and where they diverge already by their primary orientation.
From the excurse to history we can learn how the presupposed antagonism that the invention of photography seemingly established in relation to the then existing methods of representation did not have such consequences for the visual production itself as one could presume at the first sight. If, in fact, in mid-nineteenth century, some artists were pesimisticaly announcing that with the divulgation of photographic techniques painting was close to its end, the further developement of science and techonology to which both practices started refering almost simultaneously created an essentially different basis for consideration and effects of the visual phenomena: after Chevreul's discoveries, painting concentrated on research of light as primary reason of making the things in nature visible, while photography stepped from simple registration of the visible reality to the sphere of its subjective interpretation. What to paint and what to photograph became the question that had to be answered with perpetual inventing of new ways how to paint and how to take photographs. The invention determinated the originality and meaning of both, the painterly as well as the photographic approach to the visual phenomena, the conventional subjects - portrait, nude, landscape, genre - still remained the paying departure point of the painters' compositions and the photographers' aspirations but the intentional transparency moved from meticolous objective evidence to loosened iconicity loaded with invisible (however implicit) meaningful allusions. While in post-cézannian painting, the status of the figure obtained completely different connotations and with the appeareance of abstract art the principle of analogy as relevant criterium of representation was abolished, photography in its mainstream was more and more assuming the role of "the keeper of reality" or the link between the empirical world and its reduced model as the traditional aim of the image-making proceedings. At the same time, it is true that the photographic medium relatively soon and especially during the first decades of the 20th century within the so-called historical avantgardes became conscious of its precarious, manipulatory nature and turned towards exploring its own meta-language and the modalities of its articulation in quite an important segment of its artistic orientations. In the same way as photography in its pioneer's phase of (self)constituation from many points of view took painting (in all derivations and technical realisations, but nevertheless renouncing to one of its key components, the colour) as paragon and led this correspondence to the extremes in particular on the formal level in pictorialism as notion of style, the feed-back effect was produced in high modernism after the expanding of the field of artistic competencies and interactive intentions of the avantgarde movements: the photographic image often became the subject of plastic (re)interpretations - not the substiture of reality but specific matter that ispired the original formulations of visual artists. Nouveau realism in Europe and American pop art are by far the most outstanding examples of appropriation of the photographic shots, generated in consumeristic urban context and within the mass-media imagery, as "models" that are summing up the essentials of a certain ideology much more obviously as their material references. On the other hand, the various achievements of geometric abstraction were relevant for photography as they influenced the compositional principles and sometimes also the concepts of flatness in certain trends of photographical expression with their rigorous constructive basis and rational plans of the picture surface.
The interweaving between painterly or graphic with photographic approach to the visual phenomena contributes nowadays to maintain the dialogue which even the most radical attempts towards establishing the autonomous reach of specific image-making discourses do not intend to deny - on the contrary, analytic approaches often contribute to better viewing of the internal structure of the perceived entities, their denotative and conotative potential and help us to seize and to understand more profoundly the facts uttered through art production by means it disposes with. The question of meaning, in fact, neither in painterly/graphic nor in photographic formulations is not (and it never was) identical with mere recognition of the depicted, but was established according to complex cultural paradigms contained in relations between elements that compose singular images. That's why a non-figurative, at a glance arbitrary visual statement presented as a graphic sign, ideogram or symbol, can explain much more than a narrative sequence or series which literally illustrates a story known in advance. Important artists that marked the art movements and showed new ways in understanding time and space were always the inventors of signs, producing surplus values that became referential, with an extreme economy of expressive means. Among world's leading photographers the ascent towards this elite was even more difficult: they had to proof their exceptionality in front of much larger rivalry having considerably less chance to overbuilt the iconographical framework imposed by rather short history of their medium. When today we look backwards to the past century we may beyond any reasonable doubt point to the leaders of the main art movements, directions and tendencies with their most important and generally recognized results, while in photography - at least for the general public - many more questions regarding its aura and realisational conditions remain open. Longlasting consideration of photography as mainly technical invention accessible to everyone was not easy to overcome and it was only with recognition that the quality of painted as well as photographed image is determined by consistently materialized idea of an intelligent, sensitive personality whether he/she is holding in his/her hands a brush or a camera the decisive change in attitude was made to accept photography as equal to other art disciplines. A modest contribution to the discovering of individual conceptions and realisations of these criteria of quality is also the here presented selection of master prints and photographs.
Brane Kovič
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