Velimir Zernovski: Alice, what else is out there?

Although treating a subject with a referential paradigm – I and the Other (Others) that imposes modern aesthetics of the sublime – Velimir Žernovski refuses to step into the narration of the “lost” harmony, already in the title shifting the focus of interest away from the sublime “Other” and towards the down-to-earth “Else” and “Out”, choosing to explore the margins of “non-human”. With his latest work “Alice, what Else is Out There?” – through multimedia, subtle narration and intimate exploration – the author continues to re-consider the complex mutual relationship of the Self and the Other. His approach reveals Foucault’s civilisational imperatives: the indignity of speaking for others; the man’s Other must become the Same as himself.

What preoccupies Žernovski is the phenomenon of the multiplication of identity, not only that of the Other but also of I, the decentring of the social subject, the re-figuring of the I and the Other dichotomy which grows into a conflict or – if you wish – a dialogue, this time in the context of the global versus the global. He is concerned with the conflict between the dynamic and the changing I, on the one hand, and what Spivak calls “the hopelessly static” Other that is still locked in the frames of the groups of the so-called Great Three (race, class, gender). The author uses this conflict as an exhibition tool. By reflexive representation, deconstruction of his perceptions of his own identity and those of the others, the author explores the process of ghettoisation, his own Utopian systems and social identifications, particularly in relation to the local political, cultural and psycho-social circumstances.

Žernovski decides to produce a figurative and visual structure fitted with elements of various density and energy charge in order to dynamise the narrative process. The use of the pop art palette, silver glaze, colours applied, in flat layers are references that successfully outline the author’s fundamental preoccupation: the individual and artistic integrity in the global world. His visual aspect clearly integrates the Warholean style of understatement, which calms down and depresses, contrasted with an emotionally dense verbal narration.

In Žernovski’s works videos, photographs, images, objects, drawings, on the one hand, and text and visual poetry on the other, give rise to independent messages that flow in parallel without disturbing each other, and eventually intertwine in the comprehensive yet still open entirety that communicates with his previous works through quotations, forewarning that futureness might somehow be superstructured.

As was the case with his earlier work The Walk (Museum of Contemporary Art, 2009 Young Artists’ Biennial, for which he was awarded), the author consistently seeks inspiration in the manner of pop art, investigating the newly formed urban environment permeated with conflict, tension, violence, bustle and depression, the environment he recognises as his own yet alienated, and in mass media culture. Gus Van Sant’s film The Elephant is skilfully coded in the work in order to reinforce the poetic structure.

Intimate memory, fragmented throughout the installation’s elements of various quality, eases the communication of the process of disintegration and re-creation of personal identity confronted with the uniform force of the global. Through repeated silver, mirror-like themes and fragmented memories, he produces a duality of I and the Other, as Groys says “….In time the child we were becomes an Other, a stranger, to whom we believe we have access inside”. The playful child-like spirit of that which Caillois termed kredati surfs from one object to another, we see its silhouette for a fleeting moment on the surface of one of the embroidered memory units.
The author suggests that identity, even gender identity, is a social construction. The choice of one’s appearance, the mask, is motivated rather by the fear of rejection or by the need to frighten the Other and this mimicry is less used in its freest of forms, as a game of exploration, affection or self-affection. The emancipation of the different, in the name of the individual ant the similar (and in contrast to the indifferent), the incorporation of the “rainbow” into the global project before it becomes closed within a new social equilibrium of a totalising unity is the Utopian civilisational challenge with which the author motivates our generation.

Curator: Mira Gacina
At the 8th Biennial of Young Artists held in 2009. the award for realization of solo exhibition in the Museum of Contemporary Art – Skopje, went to Velimir Zernovski.

Velimir Zernovski (born 1981. Skopje) has realised several solo exhibitions and has taken part in many international projects and cultural cooperations among which are Lost Highway Expedition, a project initiated by Kyong Park and Marijetica Potrc, Independent Drawing Gig, global and long-term project initiated by Linas Jablonski etc.

In the focus of his work is the transition of his own identity and of his generation. Through the medium of drawing, video, installations and photography, he explores the changes in the urban culture and questions related to the sexuality and the gender identity.

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