Affect and Mood through Photography
16.10.2014 - 24.11.2014
Gallery of Contemporary Art, Celje
Curated by Irena Čerčnik
Group show exploring affect and mood in contemporary Slovene photography showcasing: Goran Bertok, Rajko Bizjak, Brane Božič, Luka Dakskobler, Jon Derganc, Andreja Džakušič, Luka Gorjup, Severin Hirsch, Robert Hutinski, Ciril Jazbec, Jurij Korenjak, Peter Koštrun, Arven Šakti Kralj Szomi, Jure Kravanja, Borut Peterlin, Boštjan Pucelj, Small but dangers, Tomaž Tomažin, Šimen Zupančič.
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The exhibition focuses on that sort of photography that can bring about strong emotional reactions in the viewer with its image and context, particularly a sense of unease and uncertainty through nature and the workings of man, the authorities, politics and the economy. Through its individual parts, it talks about how we feel about the world here and now, a world in which death, persistent wars, encampments and killings, the unscrupulous ideology of neo-liberalism, the economic crisis, unemployment and exploitation of people, irresponsible attitude towards nature, climate change and violence against animals, have become a fixture, which builds an increasingly omnipresent experience of despair, exhaustion and helplessness in modern man without respite, as one finds it almost impossible to have a direct impact on the situations and developments in the world, yet at the same timebears a crux of the responsibility. It talks about a world in which it is obvious how the systems and centres of power maintain a sense of powerlessness and uncertainty because of their own interests, and intensify the perception of the present, in which it seems as if a break and a different choice that would disrupt the continuity of what exists are not really possible. By composing external, impersonal sources that predominantly live in the reality of capitalism and largely give rise to unpleasant emotions within society and the individual, the exhibition talks about a world in which anxiety is becoming one of its fundamental sentiments. (In the recent article, We Are All Very Anxious, the Institute for Precarious Consciousness claims that the dominant affects of the various stages of capitalism follow each other from a general feeling of deprivation and misery from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, a feeling of boredom that prevailed between the 1950s and the 1980s, when the standard of living rose, to the widespread feeling of anxiety in contemporary capitalism.)
The photographs address the viewer at various levels. Some force open the feelings of the dark side of reality and the complete collapse of ethics, others speak at a symbolic level and visualize the unknown and the unimaginable, justlike the new demands, forms, rules, conditions, provisions and experiences of the impending worldremainunknown and uncomfortable.The suggestive address of the photographs, rather than capturing spectacular and shocking scenes, is built on a subtle yet at the same time eloquent delivery of contents. Some images even have a pleasant air to them at first glance, a comfortableness, it is the story and context,however, that have a powerful effect on the viewer,causing a sense of emotional discomfort,which are placed and (through the title, text, knowledge) disclosed to the viewer behind the surface. The common quality to all of the works is the way in which they use language to hold onto the viewer, engage him and in no way leave him unscathed. With their intensity, they are able to trigger off an affective response (let us disregard the apathy arising from the constant feeling of helplessness and passivity), and more – shed agitation into the complex emotional mood that remains in the viewer for some time to come and blends in with the generallydisagreeablefeel encompassed by contemporaneity.
At this point, the exhibition poses the viewer a question: not so much about the necessity for change as principally about the belief in change and the possible strategies of resistance, at a time when unease and anxiety so persistently inundate society.
Photo: Borut Kranjc