Dusa Jesih, (Non)aligned | Catalogue published by Contemporary Art Centre of Montenegro 2022

The exclusion of the present moment within the extensive transition of the Ex Yu region, made us feel like actors of time that flutters above the areas torn to smithereens, each carrying a memory opposed to tense progression tending to further disintegrate and degrade the unacceptable past that we tirelessly reject. The multimedia exhibition (Non)Aligned covers a multi-layered concept that arises (according to the artist Duša Jesih) from its own character, influenced by the region and time of a certain environment, and reaches to the exhibition space of Petrović Palace, wherein the artist feels in certain aspects to be sharing the tendencies of the past. Multimedia, therefore, collective media (defined in Berardi’s and Guattari’s language) reveal the concept of the past (lat. Connceptus: ability to understand, power of comprehension), exposed in a space of invocation that requires a significant expansion of the context of the present, increasingly desolated and torn, perhaps even abandoned to exist only for itself. All the more so, (Non) Aligned (yes: if we align ourselves, then we necessarily take a side, an inhospitable attitude, and aren’t we already launching a preemptive attack on the Other?), the artist assembles her being through memories of the past, collected in what we called brotherhood and unity, now scattered in individual stories of known people that must be able to fit into one, unique and indelible story about ourselves, which we still retell with intricate feelings, realising that minimal differences (says Hannah Arendt) require maximal comprehension supported by reflection of the detrimental effect of the negativism created by various ideologues. Suddenly, (all)together we must be competent to expand from within such democratic proposal, that may only survive by disseminating itself by itself, which is, without a doubt, the message of the painting (meanwhile significantly deconstructed pentacle) “Penta(n) gram / United we stand, divided we fall”1.
Obsessive descriptiveness, neurotic narrative, metaphorical melodiousness, in the case of the paintings of Duša Jesih, here remains inapplicable, since the hardness of the text should follow the imperative given by Julije Kniefer to herself after stating that: “The text must be clear and direct.” The sentence structure will, therefore (adhering to the strictness of the painting), be arranged in a setup, so that the purity is solid (factual), the space is constant, and the claims are true. There is no metaphorical detachment from the painting whose language is dull, systematically organised in a way to exclude narration of hints, everything is one, rigid, monochromatic, architecturally strong; only in some places, but even then always sparingly indicative, as in the case of the painting “I scream / you scream”2, where the screaming takes on red and black colour (“Munch’s The Scream is by definition silent: in front of this painting we can hear (the scream) with our eyes” said Slavoj Žižek), touching the edge (membrane) of the creature and trying to break through from within. The shattered spaces of our lives, broken, interrupted, continue strongly by refracted and connected/interrupted lines that disappear in the parcelled surfaces, which is convincingly presented in the painting “Ghetto I”3.
These two paintings have something of Wittgenstein’s language, so superiorly self- aware that the self-absorbed says to oneself: “The limits of my language are the limits of my world.” The paintings, as said, give a clear view of the fragmented space and, no less, its minimalist organisation; edge, facet, border, but also overflowing contents, surface, continuous line of the constitutive, in a word, a framed completeness. However, as far as the political contextualisation of what is meant by the ghetto is concerned, it is immediately clear that the ghetto is strictly fenced and isolated, a separate, unrepeatable space, reduced, empty inside and externally monitored. Yes, the ghetto is architecturally designed to show: Here are gathered the ones that are punished, exiled, captured! Gilles Deleuze notes the following: “Nomads are exactly the people who do not travel. They are literally immobile (ils resent immobiles), all nomadic experts say so. In a sense, we could say that no one is as immobile as nomads.” Strictly speaking, the captives of the ghetto minimally communicate with each other (almost exclusively through secret signs). Primarily, their living space is black and white, cramped, unsocial, disregarded, so that every captive of the ghetto (in the biopolitical sense) is in some way Agamben’s homo sacer. Immovable, simplified square, but improvisational and for a while composed, the ghetto announces that for those existing within, “their lives are like those of the undead” (Byung - Chul Han). Taken as a space in the territory of Ex Yu, the ghetto is unbearably (and equally absurdly) directed at itself, its own idiom and code, always obtaining already homophobic tradition and mythologized value, and all this, paradoxically, (as) some deeper meaning only if being indivisible, untranslatable, immovable, rooted among its own, aided by perpetuation. (Example: to the question of Srećko Horvat - “What about Peljhan?”, Žižek answers: “Now the story of what it means to be a Slovenian is being constituted. And if this story wins, I will be gone.”)
The ghetto, without further ado (as a strong resistance to the conclusion drawn from experience and formulated in the boldly provocative title “Penta(n)gram / United we stand, divided we fall” (italics, V. V.)), fully represents a par excellence political space of late modernism, which is, therefore, the last phase of political modernity contained in the power, today (globally speaking), a wire-fenced reservation for migrants, a place at the border, primarily a border place of bare life, pure horror “Twilight Zone”4, from which there is no way back (to a war-torn house, land, country: Iraq, Afghanistan, Ukraine), nor forward into a world dictated by a homogenised, neoliberal market, the invisible hand of techno-corporations. They monitor and punish, supervise, and manage, treading the “roads of the desperate ones”, that are overlooked, instead with ubiquitous meta-controls of installed cameras, with a management system implemented with the help of what the artist Duša Jesih calls: “Loophole I & II. - Whole, Polyptych / (De)construction.”5 So: the gunpoint constantly monitors the movement of the homeless and the person without ID, documents, birth certificate, that (Faulkner’s) Intruder in the dust, the enemy, outnumbered, who was unable and will never be able to arrive anywhere, and even more so, in the wake of what was said, “being unable to die, sees the ultimate human curse.” (Maurice Blanchot) Thus, the painting “Off-the-Wall I.”6 , states the inevitability, ontological rejection and tragedy, haunted doom, cruel nakedness of oneself within undeniable nothingness.
It is necessary, indeed, to disseminate dissensus, to scatter ingrained beliefs, to position (non)alignment by manoeuvring, to be able to refuse to be on the side of the infuriated parties, because that is and will remain an important political stance against Sartre’s dialectical quasi-turn that insists on conclusion that “not taking sides is a cowardly choice.” Moreover, in these torn times of privatisation and endless Balkan transitions (in which, by the way, as a reminder, the culture of continuity and memory is being entirely degraded), adhering to any side means indulging in deviation, the process of excluding the Other/Others, and finally, trying to impose one’s interpretation of the history. Simply said, all this means that there is no inner largeness for the proposal of Franco Berardi - Bifo, who notices that nowadays “freedom needs to be reinvented.”
The saying that freedom should be reinvented, always happens in an artistic way, through creative capital, because although “artists have no profession, only skill or maybe genius” (Richard Rorty), they discover themselves, the process of moulding the character, they perform an auto-analysis, but simultaneously, they are strategically reconsidering the residue of the past, since here, in Ex Yu, the politicisation of the past has served many authorities to rule at all levels as a “subject who is assumed to know” (Lakan), the possibility of its best restoration- presentation, fiercely treating the present from which they extricate themselves, the unfit ones, practicing the work of a critique intolerant to prepared paradigms. Everything contrary to that, a priori surrenders to inertness and passivity, to the irresponsible conformism of a frenzied consumerism driven by the ideology of entertainment and spectacle, which is constantly boiling underneath as latent charge of destruction towards otherness. The artwork “Guillotine, another point of view,”7 recognises the power of such hazard, an identity based on the persecution of the Other, on catastrophic claustrophobia that instinctively reacts with an attack, already serrated, metallic, dreadful, recognising the threat in everything, hence seeking the enemy, a stranger sneaking into our fulfilled and healthy organism, called the state. However, the so-called long-sought middle path is not at all, and according to increasing evidence, it cannot be contained in what Claude Lefort calls the democracy that holds an empty place to the power, but in the radical reinvention of the innumerable distinction comprised of all of us.
Vuk Vuković, Museum Pedagogue / Educator of the Centre for Contemporary Art of Montenegro, 2022

Ekskluzija sadašnjeg trenutka ekstenzivne tranzicije na prostorima Ex Yu, učinio je da se osjećamo akterima vremena koje leluja preko u paramparčad pocijepanih prostora od kojih svaki nosi memoriju neprisajedinjivu tenzičnom toku koji ima tendenciju dodatno razgrađivati i degradirati prošlost koju neumorno ne prihvatajući odbacujemo od nas. Multimedijska izložba (Ne)svrstana pokriva višeslojni koncept koji počinje (prema riječima umjetnice Duse Jesih) od sopstvenog karaktera na kojeg uticaj vrši prostor i vrijeme izvjesne sredine, do izložbenog prostora dvorca Petrovića sa kojim umjetnica osjeća da u nekim aspektima dijeli tendencije prošlog vremena. Multimedijski, dakle, uzbireni mediji (definisano berardijevim i gatarijevim jezikom) raskrivaju koncept o prošlom (lat. connceptus: sposobnost shvatanja, moć poimanja), izloženom u prostoru prizivanja koje potrebuje da se znatno proširi kontekst sadašnjeg, sve više opustjelog i istrgnutog, možda i ostavljenog da postoji samo za sebe. Tim prije i više, (ne) svrstana (da: ako se svrstavamo, onda nužno zauzimamo stranu, negostoljubiv stav, i zar time već ne krećemo u preventivni napad na Drugog?), umjetnica sebe u sopstvu sklapa preko sjećanja o prošlom, sabranom u onome što su zvali bratsvo i jedinstvo, sada razasuto u pojedinačnim pričama bližnjih koje se moraju moći uspjeti uklopiti u jednu, jedinstvenu i neizbrisivu priču o nama koju i sada ne bez komplikovanih osjećanja prepričavamo, dokučujući da minimalne razlike (kaže Hana Arent) potrebuju maksimalno razumijevanje potpomognuto refleksijom o štetnom učinku rada negativiteta raznih ideologema. Odjednom, (za)jedno moramo znati umjeti iznutra proširivati taj demokratski predlog koji može opstati samo desementiranjem njega samog njim samim, što je, nesumnjivo, i bez ostatka, ujedno poruka slike (u međuvremenu znatno dekonstruisane petokrake) “Penta(n) gram / United we stand, divided we fall”1. Opsesivna opisnost, neurozna narativnost, metaforična melodičnost, u slučaju slika Duse Jesih ovdje ostaje ono neprimjenjivo, tvrdost teksta trebala bi da sledi imperativnost koju sebi zadaje Julia Knifer pošto ustvrdi da: “Tekst mora biti čist i direktan.” Rečenični sklop će, dakle (držeći se strogosti slike), biti nizan spratovno, da bi čistina bila čvrsta (činjenična), prostor postojan, tvrdnje tvrde. Nema metaforičnog otcjepljenja od slike čiji je jezik suvoparan, sistematski organizovan tako da izostaje naracija nagovještaja, sve je jedno, kruto, jednobojno, arhitektonski stameno, tek i ponegdje, ali i tada uvijek štedno znakovito, kao u slučaju slike “I scream / you scream”2, gdje kričanje poprima crvenu i crnu boju (“Muchov Krik je po definiciji nijem: ispred ove slike čujemo (krik) očima” Slavoj Žižek), dodirujući vrhom ivicu (opnu) bića unutar kojeg se oformljeno nastoji probiti. Iskockani prostori naših života, izlomljeni, isprekidani, nastavljaju se snažno prelomljenim i povezano/ prekinutim linijama koje iščezavaju u isparcelisanim plohama, što se tako ubjedljivo predočava na slici “Geto I”3.  Ove dvije slike imaju nešto od vitgenštajnovog uvida, toliko superiorno svjesnog sebe da sobom zahvaćen sebi govori: “Granice mog jezika su granice mog svijeta.” Slike, prema rečenom, daju pregledan prikaz isfragmentiranog prostora i, ništa manje, njegovog minimalističkog organizovanja; ivica, faseta, granica, ali i ispunjeni sadržaj, površ, neprekidna linija usastavljivog, jednom riječju, uokvirena upotpunjenost. Međutim, što se, pak, tiče, političke kontekstualizacije onoga što se podrazumijeva pod getom, odmah biva jasno da je geto strogo ograđen i izolovan, odvojen, neudvojiv prostor, sveden, iznutra ispražnjen i spolja nadziran. Da, geto je arhitektonski riješen tako da pokazuje: ovdje su okupljeni kažnjeni, prognani, zarobljeni!
Žil Delez primjećuje sledeće: ”Nomadi su upravo ljudi koji ne putuju. Oni su doslovno nepokretni (ils resent immobiles), svi stručnjaci o nomadima to kažu. U nekom smislu, mogli bismo reći da nitko nije toliko nepokretan kao nomadi.” Zatočenici geta se, strogo uzev, zaista čak među sobom minimalno (gotovo i isključivo putem tajnih znakova) komuniciraju. Prvenstveno, njihov prostor prebivanja jeste crno-bijeli, skučen, nesocijalan, isključen, tako da, svaki zatočenik geta (u biopolitičkom smislu), jeste na neki način agambenovski homo sacer. Nepomjerljiv, uprošteno kockast, no improvizatorski i za neko vrijeme sklepan, geto sobom objavljuje da onima unutar njega “život liči na onaj nemrtvog.” (Bjung-Čul Han) Uzet kao prostor na teritoriji Ex Yu, geto je neizdržljivo (i jednako tome apsurdno) upućen na sebe, vlastiti idiom i kôd, uvijek već homofobičnu tradiciju i mitologiziranu vrijednost, i sve to, paradoksalno, zadobija (kao) neki dublji smisao isključivo ukoliko je nepodjeljivo, neprevodivo, nepokretno, ukorijenjeno među svojima, potpomognuto perpetuiranjem. (Primjer: na pitanje Srećka Horvata – “A Peljhan?”, Žižek odgovara: “Sad se konstituira priča šta znači biti Slovenac. I ako ova priča pobijedi, mene nema.”)
Geto, bez daljnjeg (kao snažno odupiranje zaključku izvedenom iz iskustva i formulisanom u smjelo provokativnom naslovu “Penta(n) gram / United we stand, divided we fall” (kurziv, V. V.), u potpunosti predstavlja par excellence politički prostor kasnomoderne, to je, dakle, poslednja faza političkog moderniteta sadržanog u moći, danas (globalno gledano), žicom ograđen rezervat za migrante, mjesto pri samoj granici, ponajprije granično mjesto golog života, čist užas “Twilight Zone”4, iz koje nema nazad (u ratom razorenu kuću, zemlju, državu: Irak, Afganistan, Ukrajina), niti naprijed u svijet kojim diktira homogenizovano, neoliberalno tržište, nevidljiva ruka tehnokorporacija. One nadziru i kažnjavaju, nadgledaju i upravljaju, utabavajući “puteve očajnika”, iznad kojih umjesto instaliranih kamera svepristune metakontrole, imamo sistem upravljanja sproveden uz pomoć onoga što umjetnica Dusa Jesih naslovljava: “Loophole I & II. – Whole, Polyptych / (De)construction“5. Dakle: nišan neprestano nadgleda kretanje obezdomeljenog i lica bez isprava, dokumenata, rodnog lista, tog (foknerovski rečenog) uljeza u prašinu, neprijatelja, prekobrojnog, koji nije niti će ikada moći uspjeti prispjeti bilo gdje, i tim prije, na tragu rečenog, “u nemogućnosti da se umre vidi krajnje čovekovo proklestvo.” (Moris Blanšo) Samim tim, slika “Off-the-Wall I.”6, konstatuje konačnost, ontologijsku bačenost i tragičnost, ukleti udes, surovu svučenost sopstva u neporecivo ništavilo.
Neophodno je, zbilja, diseminirati disenzus, rastvrdnuti uvrežena ubjeđenja, pokretno pozicionirati (ne)svrstanost, moći htjeti odbiti zauzeti jednu od ostrašćenih strana, jer to jeste i ostaje bitno politički stav kontra Sartrovom dijalektičkom kvaziobrtu koji istrajava na zaključku da je “ne zauzeti stranu, izbor, i to kukavički.” Štaviše, u ovim rastrzanim vremenima privatizacija i neokončivih balkanskih tranzicija (u kojima, usput rečeno i podsjećanja radi, kultura kontinuiteta i pamćenja biva dokraja degradirana), priklanjanje nekoj strani znači prepustiti se zastranjenju, procesu isključenja Drugog/ Drugih, u konačnom nastojanje nametanja svoje interpretacije Istorije, naprosto, sve to znači da se nema unutrašnje širine za predlog Franka Berardi-Bifoa koji primjećuje da danas “slobodu treba ponovo izmisliti.” To da se sloboda treba nanovo izmisliti, uvijek već događa se na umjetnički način, preko kreativnog kapitala, jer iako “umetnici nemaju fah, nego samo veštinu ili možda genijalnost” (Ričard Rorti), oni istražuju sebe, proces kalupljenje karaktera, vrše autoanalizu, ali istovremeno strateški preispituju reziduum prošlosti (budući da je ovdje, dakle, na prostorima Ex Yu, politizacija prošlosti poslužila mnogim vlastima da gospodare na svim nivoima kao “subjekt za kojeg se pretpostavlja da zna” (Lakan), mogućnost njene najkvalitetnije restauracije-prezentacije, žestoko se odnoseći spram sadašnjosti iz koje se samoistiskuju, neprilagodljivi, praktikuju rad kritike koja ne trpi pripremljene paradigme. Sve suprotno tome, a priori se predaje inertnosti i pasivnosti, neodgovornom konformizmu jednog bjesomučnog konzumerizma zadojenog ideologijom zabave i spektakla, ispod kojeg uvijek tek bubri latentni naboj destrukcije prema drugosti. Rad “Guillotine, Another point of view”7, prepoznaje potencijal te opasnosti, identiteta koji se temelji na progonu Drugog, na katastrofičnoj klaustrofobičnosti koja instinktivno reaguje napadom, već reckava, metalna, strašna, u svemu prepoznaje prijetnju, otud i traži neprijatelja, ušunjalog stranca u naš zaokruženi i zdravi organizam zvani država. Međutim, takozvani dugo traženi srednji put nipošto nije i sve se više pokazuje da ne može biti u onome što Claud Lefort imenuje kao demokratija koja drži prazno mjesto moći, već u radikalnoj reinvenciji neizbrojive razlike koja smo svi mi.
Vuk Vukovic, muzejski pedagog/edukator Centra savremene umjetnosti, 2022

Duša Jesih, Golden eye, akril na platnu, poliptih 150x150 cm, 2018

Dusa Jesih, Western, Mantra, acrylic on mdf, 2022

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