Monte Verità

Past Exhibition

Podbielski Contemporary proudly presenting:

Monte Verità


Dubravka Vidović

16th November 2013 – 18th January 2014

Opening, November 15, 2013, 7 pm

Podbielski Contemporary is delighted to house the second personal show of the Croatian artist, Dubravka Vidović. As already witnessed in her previous show, Exile (a poetic and evocative tribute to the traditional houses, shikumen, of Shanghai), Vidović once again undertakes a photographic enquiry which both questions and rivitalises the past. The subject of her research for this show is Utopia, seen from a historical perspective and in the light of the emblematic experience of Monte Verità (Hill of Truth) above Ascona in Switzerland. The Monte Verità community, founded at the beginning of the twentieth century, embraced vegetarianism and naturalism. The community wanted to find a new model of life which was free from authority and sought to explore the relationship between body and nature, inspired by theosophy and by Tolstoy’s mystical teachings. A symbolic place for all those who wanted to create a new world, artists and intellectuals of the time, among whom The Zurich Dadaists, Hugo Ball and Hans Arp, teachers from the Bauhaus School, such as Oskar Schlemmer, Walter Gropius and Moholy-Nagy and also Carl Jung, Erich Maria Remarque, Herman Hesse, Isadora Duncan, Ernst Bloch, Fanny Reventlow and many others came to Monte Verità. Dubravka Vidović’s show, the starting point of which are the experiences at Monte Verità, sets out to investigate the subject of Utopia. A subject that is current in contemporary society in as much as it has been progressively relegated to the innocuous realm of dreams. Her project, in which Utopia is seen as a renewed relationship between man and nature, creates a sort of poetic and imaginary “contra-mundum”. The artist re-examines the idea of a return to nature through key symbolic words, which evoke the wider experience of Monte Verità: Utopia, Energy and Believe. She forms letters with small neon tubes and inserts them into the context of solitary woods, and then documents these installations through photography. An obvious tribute to the cosmology of the pre-conceptual artist, Armand Schulthess, in another series of photographs the artist freely cites the metal plaques made from the tops or bases of food tins, on which Schulthess inscribed his ‘Encylopedia in the Woods’, an inventory of all human knowledge, most of which is sadly lost. In Vidović’s work the symbols of the sun and the moon are also present, so dear to the dancers and artists in the community of Monte Verità. She creates kinetic sculptures made up of playful clusters of coloured circles which appear magically along the paths in the woods and suspended from the tree branches. The circle, seen as a symbol of the sun and the moon, also appears in another series of photographs, this time inspired by the rhythmic dances of free body expression created by Rudolf von Laban and Charlotte Bara, two other artists who were part of the community at Monte Verità. Vidović’s images allude to each other, thus evoking cosmography and at the same time they convey mystical and imaginary presences which relate to the surrounding natural environment. Similar to “firefly images” (using Georges Didi-Huberman’s term), Vidović’s photographs are bursts of light which, inspired by the mystical-libertarian philosophy of Monte Verità, seek to give voice to the imagination, visions and a possibile harmony between microcosm and macrocosm. In line with themes focussing on the portrayal of the invisible proposed by the recent Biennale in Venice, curated by Massimiliano Gioni, the artist creates a sort of “other-world” in which images appear to have regained their magical-symbolical power to influence our way of perceiving the relationship between man and nature. Text by Gigliola Foschi and Silva Kalčić. The exhibition is held with the support of the Fondazione Monte Verità Podbielski Contemporary I Koppenplatz 5 I D-10115 Berlin I I +49 (0)30-24088 238 I Born in Zadar (Croatia) in 1970, Dubravka Vidović lives and works in Shanghai and Milan. She graduated in painting at the Brera Academy of Fine Arts in Milan, under Professor Luciano Fabro. In 1999 she was admitted to the Advanced Course in Visual Arts at Foundation Ratti in Como, with visiting professor Haim Steinbach. Vidović works in the fields of photography, installation, video and archives. Among group exhibitions, Dubravka Vidović has exhibited in Final project with Haim Steinbach, Ex-chiesa di San Francesco, curated by Angela Vettese and Giacinto Di Pietrantonio, Como (1999); Tracce di un seminario, Via Farini, curated by Angela Vettese and Giacinto Di Pietrantonio, Milan (2000); Mercedes Benz Art Prize, Documenta Halle, Kassel / Museum Ludwig, Aachen, curated by Ulrich Scheider, Germany (2001); Note: nostalgie, Via Farini, curated by Gabi Scardi, Milan (2002); Video It, curated by Mario Gorni, Turin (2002); Insert, MSU, Zagreb, curated by Tihomir Milovac, Branko Franceschi, Silva Kalčić and Antonia Majača, Croatia (2005); Masaï Art Factory 2005, Assab one, curated by Roberto Pinto and Gabi Scardi, Milan (2005); Creative Emergencies, MAR, curated by Silvia Cirelli, Ravenna (2009); Al di là delle apparenze opache, European Photography Festival, Museo Frati Cappuccini, curated by Gigliola Foschi, Reggio Emilia (2010); Hotspot Berlin 2011 + Auction Phillips de Pury & Company, GeorgKolbe Museum, curated by Eugen Blume, Berlin, Germany (2011); Memoria variabile, Gallery Milan, curated by Carla Pellegrini and Gigliola Foschi, Milan, Italy (2011); Re-calling the past, 52. Annale, Istarska sabornica, curated by Radmila Iva Janković, Poreč , Croatia (2012); T-HT Award, MSU, curated by Vladimir Čajkovac, Zagreb (2013); Anne Cecile Noique Gallery, Shanghai (2013); Imageination, ULUPUH, curated by Silva Kalčić, Zagreb (2013).In 2005 Dubravka Vidović was awarded the first prize at the 11th Zadar Salon of young artists organized by the Art Gallery of the National Museum Zadar (Croatia). She then had a personal exhibition, Formae Mentis (2006), working on photographic archives from her hometown. In 2007 Vidović had a solo exhibition, Boxed Sea, at the Gallery Artopia in Milan, curated by Francesca Pasini. Curated by Gigliola Foschi, her solo exhibition, Exil (2011) at Podbielski Contemporary Berlin, presents a series of works reflecting on the shikumen houses, traditional housing unique to Shanghai. In 2012 the artist had her solo exhibition at Alberto Peola, Turin, Italy. In 2013 she was selected for the T-HT Award 2013 and a group exhibition at Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb (HR), curated by Vladimir Čajkovac. Dubravka Vidović has her second solo show at the Podbielski Contemporary Berlin in November 2013 with an exhibition in which she captures the spirit of the community of Monte Verità. She will have her first solo show in Shanghai in May 2014, at the Gallery Anne Cecile Noique.