artists & participants
My sweet little lamb (Everything we see could also be otherwise) November 4, 2016–May 8, 2017
Curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg
The 4th episode February 17–March 25, 2017 Đorđe Andrejević Kun, Josef Dabernig, Ion Grigorescu, Sanja Iveković, Gülsün Karamustafa, Július Koller, Jiří Kovanda, Ivan Kožarić, Vlado Kristl, Katalin Ladik, Kazimir Malevich, Slavko Marić, Vlado Martek, Rabih Mroué, Neša Paripović, Goran Petercol, Marko Ristić, Mladen Stilinović, Sven Stilinović, Goran Trbuljak, Ana Vuzdarić & Marko Gutić Mižimakov Apartment Softić, Gallery Forum, GMK, Gallery Nova, Institute for Contemporary Art, Zagreb
The 5th episode February 17 & 18, 2017 "What comes after collecting?" A series of conversations, talks and performances with Zdenka Badovinac, Charles Esche, Reem Fadda, Kate Fowle, Gülsün Karamustafa, Katalin Ladik, Joanna Mytkowska, Manuel Pelmuş, Nikolay Punin, Erzen Shkololli, Goran Trbuljak, Françoise Vergès... Association of Architects Zagreb
The 6th episode April 12–May 8, 2017 HDLU/Croatian Association of Artists, Apartment Softić, Gallery Nova, Zagreb
Epilogue September 19–November 11, 2017 The Showroom, London Co-curated with Emily Pethick
Based on the Kontakt Art Collection, featuring conceptual, post-conceptual and experimental artistic practices from Central, Eastern and Southeastern Europe, My sweet little lamb (Everything we see could also be otherwise) is conceived as "an exhibition in time." The collection's nomadic character and critical questioning of its own geo-fictional modalities probes further into decentralizing formats of exhibiting. By exposing the historical works from the collection to the contingencies of the present, the project relates them to a current quest for new lines of artistic engagement. Unfolding in six episodes, the two main venues, Gallery Nova and Apartment Softić, anchor the continuous flow of exhibitions inserted into Zagreb’s urban and cultural landscape. Dispersed throughout the city's most active cultural organizations and non–profit galleries, artists' studios and independent initiatives, the series of exhibitions uses the collection as a resource whose cultural capital is shared to support new constellations.
The first episode took place in winter 2016 and acted as a pilot that introduced key protagonists and the recurring themes of gender and sexuality, the role of institutions, the traumatic status of history and amnesia, legacies of historical avant-gardes, and the politics of collecting and display. Through combining presentational and discursive formats, the 2nd and 3rd episodes looked into those topics from various temporalities and geopolitical contexts, marking a horizon where ideas about the radical politicization of artistic production connect with those of withdrawing into the private sphere. An interplay between present and past conceived as a nuanced dialogue between the collection and the other historical and contemporary works continues to shape the 4th and 5th episodes, that layer those encounters with reverberations from various emancipatory movements, such as WW2 Yugoslav partisan art, to consider the prospects of repoliticizing cultural production and the politics of collecting and exhibiting.
By summarizing previous investigations, the 6th episode will culminate in the project's finale staged at the Croatian Association of Artists/HDLU. Overloaded with historical references, the Croatian Association of Artists was built in 1938 by Croatian sculptor Ivan Meštrović as an art space that, during WW2, was turned into a mosque by the Croatian Nazi puppet state. Under socialism, the building served as the Museum of Socialist Revolution until 1990 when it was emptied of historical content and brought back to its current function as a Kunsthalle. By inserting displays, reminiscent of emergency rafts, the set up of the exhibition will reconfigure the venue's architectural monumentality and propose a non-linear viewing. The final episode will also include an exhibition at Gallery Nova and a site-specific installation at the Softić apartment by Tina Gverović and Siniša Ilić, who will rearrange the apartment's in-situ remnants to reinterpret its urban, socioeconomic and historical aspects.
In September 2017, the project's epilogue will be held at The Showroom in London. It will investigate the possibilities of reviving the anti-systemic and anti-commodity strategies of artistic production and dissemination of the 1960s and 1970s, when many of the seminal works included in the Kontakt collection were made.
Titled after a work by Mladen Stilinović (1947–2016), to whom the project is dedicated, all episodes of the project encompass his pivotal cycles that engage with subjects such as pain, poverty, death and inequality, creating a retrospective of sorts, stretched over time and dispersed in various spaces. Stilinović's humorous approach and sense for poetry and its ability to resettle the habitual relationship between the viewer and the viewed, figures as an open invitation to try to see otherwise, or to see more clearly through the surrounding opacity and paradoxes of the times in which we live.