Podbielski Contemporary proudly presenting:
Exil | Dubravka Vidović
Guest Curator: Gigliola Foschi
19 March 2011 – 21 April 2011
Inauguration: 18 March 2011, 7pm
Dubravka Vidović observes the fragile life of things, even the most humble, the most abandoned of things, because, for her, they encapsulate the history of those who have lived with them, because they too have eyes and a voice. The artist draws dreams into life, transforms artistic quests into poetic gesture and a gift. Vidović’s art springs from a utopian tension that is able to evoke the voices of the past through her ability to listen and empathise. Born in Zadar and currently living between Milan and Shanghai, in her project Exil, Dubravka Vidović’s glance rests on the surfaces of the encrusted walls of the shikumen, the traditional houses of Shanghai that were about to be demolished, just as their evicted occupants had had to vanish into painful exile. The artist’s eye goes beyond these corroded walls; her photography seeks to preserve the memory of a world that has ceased to exist. By focusing on these walls, many of which have now disappeared, she seems to want to remind us of our memories of another wall, the Berlin wall. The difference being that the barrier between East and West was destroyed by a collective desire for freedom, whilst the walls of the shikumen in Shanghai were pulverised by the single will of the developer, which has cancelled a chapter of the human and urban history of the city. Dubravka Vidović has sought to interact poetically with these humble abandoned spaces. With her penetrating eye, each of her works strives to reevoke the memory of all those who have had to abandon their homes and make their voices heard once more. Before she photographed the grey and crumbling walls, the artist squeezed old books into their cracks and scattered the cracks with unexpected fragments of fabric: their colourful and vital presence being a small and fragile reminder of the vitality of these ancient homes, now in ruins. Inspired by the desire to reinject human warmth into places and life stories otherwise destined for oblivion, the work of this artist engages us in a sense of loss and compels us to reflect on the collective fate of all those who have had to abandon their roots and go into exile. Alongside her recent work, The Shikumen’s Walls Series (2010-2011), we can also see Vidović’s video, Waterhouses (2011), in which the outlines of old and new houses in Shanghai appear and then vanish, traced in felt tip dipped in water. These are a tribute to ancient Chinese ink drawings in which the pen strokes are decisive and are also a poetic reflection on the fragility of memory and the ephemeral nature of our artistic endeavour and of our very existence.