Jasmina Cibic's presentation for the Slovenian Pavilion, For our Economy and Culture, continued her interests and methodologies and took the curatorial directive of the 55th International Art Exhibition ‐ la Biennale di Venezia: The Encyclopedic Palace as a starting point to further explore systems and hierarchies of knowledge and presentation.
Using the architectural specificity of the Slovenian Pavilion, a repurposed private residence, and referencing state architectural strategies, Cibic created an immersive multi-media installation that appropriated the entire space and explored issues around national representation and framing.
Into this context, Cibic placed a variety of elements, which further examined modes of exchange, reception and constructions of identity. These included two films, shot on official state locations, which underwent numerous redesigns concurrent with national cultural and political imperatives. The films presented philosophical and architectural theories of purpose, form, function and aesthetic priorities through, in one, a staged interview between a (male) architect and (female) journalist, and in the other, a recreation of a 1957 parliamentary debate set up to decide which artworks might be suitable (i.e. nationally representative enough) to ‘decorate’ the newly built People’s Assembly. In each film, the re-imagining and re-contextualising of such issues, dramatized not only the power paradigms inherent in systems of authority, but also the explicit contradictions present in the transmutation of a national identity from past to present, place to place.
For our Economy and Culture also featured a series of historical and contemporary paintings of flower arrangements drawn from the official art collection of the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia. Such paintings are routinely selected to decorate the current government offices, literally framing MP’s as they hang behind their heads and presenting a particular ideal of state image. By utilising these apparently neutral and decorative images within the context of her installation, Cibic further articulated her interest in art as ‘souvenir’ a token of national identity. As a further framing device, the interior of the pavilion was entirely covered with wallpaper carrying obsessively repetitive scientific illustrations of an endemic Slovene beetle, a 'failed' national icon that has almost been completely exorcised solely because of its ideologically charged name, Anophthalmus hitleri.
video documentation and edit: Juš Premrov
music: Filip Sijanec
thanks to: Žan Flaker Berce
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