Essay by Iztok Hotko
The photographs of Bojan Radovič, displayed in the Simulaker Gallery seem like the photographic media anatomy lesson. Author is dissecting several problematic themes of the photography, from questioning the formal media processing structure, to changes of the photography as an art form, appearing with the introduction of the digital paradigm. He is questioning the semantic potential of the photography, its relation towards other art forms and status in the world of media spectacle; he is reflecting the problem of authorship and plays with the question, always inherent to photography – the relation between the original and copy.
The photograph, titled ‘’And What About the Truth?’’, which intonates the basic theme of author’s interests, is placed in the very centre of the exhibition. Radovič’s questioning the truthfulness of the media, the slippery relation between the photography and reality, is probably most obvious in the photograph from the series ‘’ (Re) Questioning Photography’’. This is a snapshot of an empty wall, from which the framed photograph has been taken off – it only shows the visible traces of its former presence, blurs and stains, appeared in time due to the effect of lighting on the edges of once covered surface. With this intervention Radovič summarizes the essential property of the photography as the optical record and ingeniously paraphrases Susan Sontag’s thought on photographic image paradox; the fictitious presence operating like fetish by offering the illusion of the contact with absent reality.
The theme is continued in the series Matrix-Malevič placed in the context of the digital photography. The photographs are presenting a Russian supremacist Kazimir Malevič on his deathbed. There is a text print over his face, a coded computer software record that defines printout properties of this photographic image. The print, made on the celluloid paper is acting as the photographic negative; and by this, Radovič is strangely perverting the fundamental property of the digital era photography. The series of nudes ‘’Re-Make’’ is also questioning the technological, material, and formal properties of the photography. This is the series of the photographs, ‘’re-printed’’ after many years in a totally different technique. By this gesture, the author is pointing our direction on the technical possibilities of the contemporary photography and exposes the problem of the ‘’original’’.
The photographs from the series Skopje, 6 December 2007, are questioning the role of the photographers in the contemporary art projects. Radovič was the photographer of this project, made by Roman Uranjek (IRWIN).
The CardArt is a series of 14 photographs, made this summer in USA. Radovič is indicating the diverse possibilities of the use of photography here. On the one hand, the series represents a photographer’s diary, and on the other hand postcards, which were actually sent to the address of the curator of the exhibition.
New York is also a birth place of the series TimeBox / Brooklyn Cigar Co., which includes 73 photographs, presenting a single scene filmed in a short time period - Auggie's corner in Brooklyn. Auggie, the owner of the cigar shop, is a figure from the American movie Smoke (1995). Auggie used to take a snapshot of the same scene at the same time every day – the street in front of his shop. In New York Radovič found the very street from the movie and pointed his camera in the opposite direction – in a house that used to host the movie cigar shop. This sequence of Radovič’s photographs draws the viewer’s attention on the dimension of time, which has a special place in the photography phenomena, and at the same time pays tribute to the movie Smoke and a famous scene where Paul is questioning the meaning of Auggie’s everyday photographic ritual.
Intensive questioning of the photography’s ontological status is definitely one of the most important constants of Radovič’s photographic opus. He indeed has an analytical approach to the photography phenomena but, on the other hand, he never neglects its poetic potentials.
Guest exhibitor: IRWIN (Roman Uranjek).
24. 12. 2008 - 23. 1. 2009