2023. Friendly Space, FOMO Art Space, Zurich

“Is the Universe a Friendly Place?“

Einstein’s question from this title is a hanger on which the entire human history hangs. The more fundamental question doesn’t exist, since, like it or not, to it everyone responds, sometimes to themselves, sometimes to others, and sometimes to both; sometimes consciously, sometimes, unconsciously, and sometimes both. We may search for the peculiar answer to this question in each human encounter that indirectly or directly occurs (but still necessarily) in the body, which, again (to ease its understanding of reality), has always invented “extensions” of itself. Of course, concerning objects that, despite serving humans as tools, also regularly tempted them: are they “placed” or “thrown” into the world? In any case, experience taught humans that the dangers of “complicating” reality are impossible to evade, so the necessity of determining simplistic and understandable forms and rituals was obligatory, regardless of human relations to objects. Besides, one should not forget the fact that we don’t connect the ritual, as an everyday part of life, exclusively to religious practices, because the ritual’s essence is the regular awareness of what is common to all, and how it is always more important than that which is common to some. After all, the Sun itself confirms this to us every day as an incomparable “master of rituals”, stressing that there is no life without “repeating”! It is interesting precisely how children request an action that made them laugh to then be repeated several times. So should the adult world be conscious of this; that it will be socially healthy in so far as the things that made it happy in childhood will continue to make it happy. Hence Picasso’s famous claim “every child is an artist” is not merely an affective statement of a single artistic genius, for only that primordial childishness can lead to the continuous repetition of its sample, transforming itself into a person (read: artist) that laughs to his own “jests”. Deep inside, an artist always hopes to find willingness for under- standing things in others; that this other will enter his vessel with trust in the “artistic Odysseus” who will lead him to safety, despite what the “crew” could encounter or endure. In that context then, which ancient story will the representing artists introduce to us? Is it one about a rhythmical shift of two perceptual models during which they arise from each other simultaneously; or one involving redistribution of expected semantic connotations in the reality of logical spatial relationships? The answer is, in fact, very simple: “recognition” (which is clear to everybody) transcends into the primary visual space (that can be clear to everybody) and vice versa, thus the works themselves establish a kind of optical ritual. Sometimes the repetitions are mute while feigning some kind of general rules, and indeed they may just be an existential demand for a break, for the clear breathing inside a dictatorship of the abolished and meaningful spatially-temporal construct. That’s why “Art Now” has a communication problem with countless tactile-averse individuals. They will express their “unlimited freedom” by phone or computer keyboards, mostly unaware of the “personal” rebellion with an unknown beginning and an aimless ending in their “cells”, consoling themselves that they are not guilty of any- thing anyway. Shackled by the Zeitgeist, a large majority of these “techno-sphere Samsas”, will reflect the pain of their detachment and loneliness onto someone else, and the awareness of the consistency of matter in its service to man will constantly elude them. To the artists in this exhibition, that consistency, and also liability, of matter, is intuitively understandable, from the ancient practices of firing, bending, kneading, hewing, and melting, to the breaking of atoms in accelerators which we are witnessing today. Matter dies and is resurrected in natural cycles, but also in inventions, as some kind of humanity’s nervous system to whom perhaps food can un/justifiably be fast, but to whom Art, in the cerebral evolution of all human efforts so far, luckily, cannot simply be that. Because if this were to be possible, then the universe, most certainly, wouldn’t be a friendly place. To no one and nothing.

Curated by Leandra Agazzi and Miran Blažek

Photo: Sebastian Lendenmann

Text by: Zlatko Kozina

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