Irena Lagator Pejović – IMAGE THINK | Montenegro Pavilion at the 55th VENICE BIENNALE 2013

I’m happy that the great artist Irena Lagator Pejović (Born in Cetinje, Montenegro, 1976. Lives&works: Cetinje, Podgorica, Belgrade) shows her project IMAGE THINK at the Montenegro Pavillion at the 55th Venice Biennale 2013.

opening | May 30, 2013 at 6:30 pm

  • with opening speech by Bazon Brock, artist and Professor of Aesthetics and Cultural Education at the Bergische Universität Wuppertal

Press release:

At the 55th International Art Exhibition, La Biennale di Venezia, Montenegro is represented by Irena Lagator Pejović’s project Image Think. For years now, the artist has been elaborating her analysis of art as social strategy in order to suggest the potentialities of the “unlimited responsibilities” of each and every one of us. By stressing the range of human emotions, she seeks to invoke cognitive and perceptual awareness.

Image Think is a triangular interrelation between image, medium and the body that highlights the functions of the imagination, the activation of perception and the relations between the Universal and the poetic architecture of the self. “These spaces inside spaces exist in order to translate seeing into thinking, sensory experience into sense, absence into presence, questioning our personal and collective responsibilities in relation to the creation of images.” (Irena Lagator Pejović)

The exhibition at Palazzo Malipiero extends throughout the three rooms of the ground floor and consists of four works: Further than Beyond, Image Think, Ecce Mundi and Camera Imaginata. The Means for Exchanging the Power of the Imagination, artists´ intervention in the catalogue.

The first room contains the work Further than Beyond: golden strings tensed horizontally between the walls create the bodies of two tetrahedra, one facing the other. The barely visible filaments, which refer to the work of two renewed Venezuelan artists, Gego’s ambient diagrams, and Soto’s Penetrables, as well as to string theory in science, delineate a line between the Earth’s end and the start of the Universe − the space of perception and imagination. The light dims at the ends of each of the tetrahedra, accentuating the moment the work disappears visually, evoking Derridean deconstruction theory.

Next, in the second room, we enter a completely darkened setting. Light, movement and mirrors in the work Image Think create rhizomes bridging the material and immaterial worlds, presence and absence… This artificial Universe − created out of black polyethylene perforated with different gauge needles, reflected in the mirror floor and influenced by the presence of the visitor (who is reflected in it) − blends into the space of the self and into the thinking image of our world, oscillating between the physical and mental spheres. Referring to the concept underlying Orwellian “Newspeak”, the title Image Think, with the infinitive form of the verb “to think”, is an attempt to demonstrate how the power of imagination and mental images can survive the degeneracies of language (or any kind of totalitarian regime).

From this black box, we enter a third area, a spatialized white square (Ecce Mundi) covered in hand-drawn canvases with a multitude of rotating minuscule human-like pictograms. In this positive of the cosmos, human beings become star-like figures, constituting a distant−nearby universe with respect to both the drawing-form and the optical phenomena of the figures’ animated movements. Visitors are supposed to walk through the medium and the multitude of its barely visible pictograms, but it is the choice and responsibility of each to decide whether to step in and walk through the work to continue its consumption. This work’s concept questions the image itself, the reasons for its existence, as well as the categories of interactivity, time, space, society and responsibility. The architecture of the white space created here becomes the medium that transmits the image, the palace of humanity, which the human race has, for centuries, been just about to start building.

In the fourth work, Camera Imaginata. The Means for Exchanging the Power of the Imagination, image becomes word. The Camera Imaginata is the artists´ intervention in the exhibition catalogue and relies on social media and the visitors’ participation, activating personal and collective spheres, subjective versus collective understandings of the world. Out of the palace of humanity, visitors exit into rooms of the imagination through the artists´ intervention in the catalogue, which fosters action instead of representation, participation rather than reception. The artist invites us to feel the presence…multiply time…recall imagination, initiating art as social strategy − a key aspect in the work of the Montenegrin artist Irena Lagator Pejović.

The exhibition Image Think is hence a walk through the knowledge and the suggestions developed by the various ambiences. At the end of experiencing the exhibition, in the Camera Imaginata. The Means for Exchanging the Power of the Imagination, artists´ intervention in the exhibition catalogue, a gift is offered to all those who decide to construct it by cutting the drawing, and thereby construct an ideal poetic place. It is the responsibility of each of us to transform the idea into an object, the ideal into reality.

A fully illustrated catalogue will be issued containing essays by Nataša Nikčević, Irena Lagator Pejović and Bazon Brock. The catalogue contains Irena Lagator’s long and deliberated dialectic exchange with artist and philosopher Bazon Brock regarding the question of whether art can be charged with the values of social strategy. An essay by Bazon Brock, who ends by asking the Montenegrin artist for an answer, is published on the Websites of Irena Lagator Pejevic and Bazon Brock.

Irena Lagator Pejović Ecce Mundi  disegno e stampa su tela, inchiostro, neon, legno / drawing and print on canvas, ink, neon, wood 2013 306 x 306 x 236 cm
Irena Lagator Pejović | Ecce Mundi, disegno e stampa su tela, inchiostro, neon, legno / drawing and print on canvas, ink, neon, wood 2013 306 x 306 x 236 cm

Irena Lagator Pejović – IMAGE THINK | Montenegro Pavilion at the 55th VENICE BIENNALE 2013

  • Commissioner/Curator: Nataša Nikčević
  • Supported by the Montenegro Ministry of Culture,
  • and the Center of Contemporary Art, Montenegro

Schedule | June 1 – November 24, 2013

Hours | 10:00 am – 18:00 pm, closed Monday

  • except Monday, June 3 and Monday, November 18, 2013

Venue | Palazzo Malipiero, San Marco 3078-3079/A, Venice, ground floor

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