Solo Exhibition LUCKY TO BE ALIVE – Nenad Gajić, September 2021

about this project

The works in Nenad Gajić’s exhibition Lucky to be alive depict replicas of sleeping human beings and other living beings in an isolated moment the length of a single breath. That moment is repeated linearly and continuously for the gaze of observers who are allowed to look at them from all sides and speculate on the state in which they find them. The eyes of these beings are closed, and the postures of their relaxed bodies do not betray the awareness that they are exposed to views, but rather imply complete preoccupation with some internal process that has engulfed them. Of course, the assumption that they could even be aware of being watched rests on the power of the sight to trigger the empathetic potential of the viewer. Although these replicas are mostly proportionally reduced in size and thus somewhat defamiliarize the scenes they represent, they are all made with a very high degree of realism in performance. In order to awaken the empathic potential of the audience, the bodies that carry the scenes are made of a combination of organic and inorganic materials, which is mainly used for special effects in films, and the installation of an electric motor that moves these bodies to the rhythm of breathing. Their mediation by the language of the artist, and to engage in personal imagination of the narratives that they could sense in them.

Anxiety, sense of absurdity and apprehension often characterize moments in life in which normal everyday behavior and thinking, which are quite successfully carried out by inertia, fail. Namely, sooner or later unreflective behavior and thinking prove to be insufficiently effective to eliminate the penetration of consciousness about the necessity of dying, about the impossibility of avoiding suffering in certain situations, as well as about the inevitability of the daily struggle for life, with constant susceptibility to uncontrolled chance. According to the author, the process of working on this artistic cycle was marked by just such a moment, in which he personally faced something that at first glance seemed completely banal, but in which, however, he recognized the borderline experience of existence, and not only human but of every living being. It was a digital record from the Internet, from the field of mass culture, the experience of which he could not process in any other way than to replicate it in the form of a small-format sculpture with mobile parts. This is how the edited video of the last days of the life of a bird that fell out of the nest, whose struggle for survival turned out to be unsuccessful, became the basis of the work called One moment and opened up space for a further series of works that reexamine the role of art as a place of empathy and a channel for conveying the truth some specific moments of indecision, in which it is not known whether life or death, dream or reality, reality or illusion, reason or emotion will prevail. In this way, Gajić’s works show themselves as generators of empathic relationships, on which attempts to think about a non-invasive role of man in the world of nature to which he belongs, which would not be based on the principles of exploitation, but some kind of symbiosis, could be built.

Stevan Vuković


6 September 2021


Galerija Milorada Bate Mihajlovića


Ivana Markez Filipović