Exhibition: In Mourning and In Rage | U žalovanju i bijesu (8.07.-16.09.)

A visitor on the opening night of “In Mourning and In Rage” exhibition looking at some of Vera Dajht-Kralj’s exhibited pieces. Photo credit: WHW

Selected works of Vera Dajht Kralj along with the collaborative work called The Passage by selma banich and Marijana Hameršak with the Women to Women collective, are part of the “In Mourning and In Rage” exhibition along with art by Suzanne Lacy and Leslie Labowitz, curated by Ana Dević of WHW on display at Gallery Nova in Zagreb until 16.09.2021. It is an honor to be part of this What, How & for Whom/WHW event announcement and photos and fb event

WHW Facebook event text: In Mourning and In Rage | U žalovanju I bijesu 

Marwa Arsanios — selma banich in collaboration with Marijana Hameršak and the Women to Women collective — CAConrad — Vera Dajht-Kralj — Lav Diaz — Etcétera / Progressive International Workshop — Tina Gverović — Suzanne Lacy and Leslie Labowitz — Mladen Stilinović

Gallery Nova, Teslina 7, Zagreb
curated by: Ana Dević/WHW 
08/07–16/09 2021

Exhibition opening: Tuesday, 08/07/2021, 20h 
Gallery hours: Tue– Fri 12–20h; Saturday: 11–19h 

In Mourning and in Rage takes its title from the 1977 public performance Suzanne Lacy and Leslie Labowitz realized in 1977 in Los Angeles in collaboration with women-led communities opposing sexual violence against women. The exhibition reflects on the integration of grief and loss as a necessary step in reigniting resistance, empowerment, communal learning, and healing at both individual and collective levels. Although, the exhibition is not an overview of this complex topic, from various geographical and temporal perspectives it looks at the relationship between mourning and rebellion in past and current feminist, Indigenous, and other emancipatory struggles. 

Who Is Afraid of Ideology? III (2020) by Marwa Arsanios addresses the ecological and activist struggles of Indigenous women in Colombia related to the preservation of seeds as a common good. Tackling the normalization of border deaths in Europe, selma banich in collaboration with Marijana Hameršak and the Women to Women collective within the project The Passage – dedicated to our fallen comrades (2021) have created a memorial canvas stitch that commemorates the lives of the people who have died on the Balkan migration route.

Exhibition visitors looking at “The Passage” collaborative work. Photo credit: WHW

The exhibition approaches the notions of “mourning” and “rage” as a twofold process that involves somatic, poetic, and temporal experiences of withdrawal (mourning) and reaching out (rage). This process is exemplified by a number of works that use the motifs of bodily gesture, language, and duration as speculative sites for processing loss. The representation of female subjectivity, through the figures of the female fighters, rebels, witches, grieving mothers, and imprisoned women is central preoccupation of the sculptural works of Vera Dajht-Kralj, who in the postwar period also realized public monuments thematizing anti-fascist struggle in Yugoslavia.

Two of Vera Dajht-Kralj’s exhibited pieces. Photo credit: WHW

The nearly eight-hour film Melancholia (2008) by filmmaker Lav Diaz addresses revolutionary melancholy and grief as well as the fiction of togetherness in the context of the political and revolutionary struggles of the Filipino people. 

Alongside a socially engaged approach that combines art and activism, the exhibition holds space for intimate perspectives and a poetic approach. Two Way Surge as if There Was No Other (2021) by Tina Gverović is an immersive textile installation that expresses the embodiment of rage, as translated into the flow of fabric, with the motives considering bodies in need of mutual support. Continued engagement with the subject matter of pain and death in the work of Mladen Stilinović never means talking about a particular pain, death, or so on—rather, the artist considers these to be lasting and mutually interwoven conditions, and his works reflect upon their inexorably intertwined nature. 

The poetry of CAConrad revolves around the topic of death and grieving. Following the brutal murder of their partner Earth in 1998, they began searching for a (soma)tic poetry ritual to overcome depression and tackle systemic violence against LGBTQ+ communities. Their book of poetry While Standing in Line for Death (2017), included in the exhibition, consists of rituals, poems, political actions, and exercises that testify to poetry’s ability to reconnect us and decrease alienation on personal, collective, and planetary levels.

Looking at the dynamics of melancholy vis-à-vis revolutionary potentials, the In Mourning and in Rage exhibition calls for a renewal of spaces for communal mourning and dissent. This notion, shared by all the works in the exhibition, is exemplified in Etcétera poster work Let’s Try Again (2021), which symbolically calls on us to try again to collectively rebuild internationalism, by joining ongoing struggles that the support recognition of all peoples, Indigenous nations, and states besieged by ongoing violence and apartheid.

The exhibition is a part of the two-year collaborative project Education from Below, conceived in collaboration with the Rijksakademie van beeldende kunsten, Amsterdam, and MACBA – Museu d’Art Contemporani de Barcelona.