Tomislav Vignjeviè

Concealed Fact

The widespread dogma that we live in a unique age, overfilled with the omni-present, virtual, and imposed (electronic) creation of imagery, which is the "achievement" of the modern era, becomes questionable the moment we glance back at history. The late-medieval use and distribution of sculptures, paintings, graphic works, and other fine art production brought into human existence a much deeper, more widespread, and direct involvement between people and images. These could, among other things, cause miracles, provide indulgences for long periods of prayer to the sacred person depicted in the image, or offer a means of easier meditation. The relationship between man and the image at that time was much more obliging and more manifest in the consciousness of the viewer, than the current rather widespread and imposed use of image.

Following Baudrillard, we can point to the basic difference of approaches in both periods, which could be subsumed with the difference between the image representing and participating in the invisible essence of (sacral) reality, and the contemporary image which conceals the absence of reality. Today, the image is certainly no longer obliging, and it is merely a point of the constitution of the world of appearance which, in spite of its superficiality, offers one of the rare supporting pillars for the explanation of reality. A television or video screen is exemplary precisely in this superficiality, temporality and inauthenticity, which triggers in the spectator, at best, the adaptation to appearance.

I think that the installation by Damijan Kracina thematises precisely this gap between the perception of image and the inability of the direct, say ethical evaluation of the image which is served on the screen. The self-portrait sculpture confronted with the "slaughter" of innocent, sympathetic pets, is a kind of pars pro toto for the aggregate of television spectators staring every night at thrilling and, to some degree or another, bloody news from around the world. Even the punctum of the photographic image, mentioned by Barthes, has submerged in the scintillation of pixels on the screen.

Although Kracina's installation is not an "anti-television" video, and even less a lamentation on the modern era, and we can but conditionally speak of the reference to TV medium, I believe that he speaks - with an effective metaphor - precisely about the viewer of the small TV screen, and about his/her insurmountable distance from the real which is supposed to be placed somewhere behind the appearance.

At first glance, the Kracina T.V. installation deals with the view of the contemporary individual faced with a number of superficial, instantaneous images whose aim is primarily to hide the absence of reality under the impression of appearance. This understanding is no longer about the competition of media with the wrongful, deformed representation of reality, but rather about the concealment of the fact that "the actual is no longer real" (Baudrillard). However, in Kracina's case we deal with the opposition to this approach to reality, to this interpretation of the loss of the capacity to override and interpret the reality beyond the image. Damijan Kracina's self-portrait sculpture, placed in confrontation with a number of screens, is rather a metaphor of subjectivity which cannot remain without meaning and robbed of a personal standpoint.

Tomislav Vignjeviè