Goran Bertok – ‘Red and Black’
from October 29 until November 14, 2010
Kibela / Kibla Maribor
Goran Bertok’s solo exhibition Red and Black presents his latest artistic projects shown in different contexts and exhibitions in last six years. Selection of photographic works from the series The Visitors (2004), Post Mortem (2007), Red (2009) and untitled video trilogy (2008) will present the valuable body of work of the artist, who has been over the last twenty years continuously exploring human body, its fragility and ephemerality that finally led him to its utmost end – physical death. Death itself and confronting the dead body turned out to be tremendous taboo nowadays and in this sense Goran Bertok is again dealing with frontiers of life and death, boundaries of reality and art work.
Although Bertok’s approach towards mentioned subject matter is entirely subordinated to the final aesthetic of the carefully portrayed corpses his work turned out to be subversive in the current period when death and physical contact with the dead bodies is totally industrialized and moved away from the eyes of the broader public. Death itself and confronting the dead body turned out to be tremendous taboo nowadays and in this sense Goran Bertok is again dealing with frontiers of life and death, boundaries of reality and art work.
Starting with the untitled Video trilogy the artist is turning to the extreme of wounded human bodies derived from the sexual pleasure. In that sense he is not interested in social and cultural phenomenon of such sexual practices but solely visual ingredient of presented bodies in their vulnerability and incomplete presence. In the photographic series The Visitors Goran Bertok moves a step further, that is, to the end itself. Wounded bodies from the previous work are symbolically brought to the radical end when they are left to the ephemerality in the process of its own biological deterioration. Bertok pictures corpses decomposed through the process of cremation, representing a peculiar “Memento mori” iconography that is not looking back to the symbolic of death but to the inevitability of the real with their exceptionally presence. With the cycle Post Mortem artist is more focused on the details of particular frozen dead bodies treated in their imperfection. In that sense beside the visual aspect also question of attitude towards dead body left to the cold and sterile spaces of mortuaries far away from the eyes of the public is brought out. Recent series Red represents continuation of Bertok’s obsessive exploration of the (dead) human body. With the composition of five big format colour prints he is depicting the death of the body which has not even started to live. Motifs of dead nursling floating in the darkened empty space are again highly aestheticized and are moving towards abstraction coming from the undefined story of too early death.