New website documentation KONTAKT – COLLECTION / 2019

Excerpt text by Marina Klonaris and Katerina Thomadaki about Gržinić /Šmid–retroavantgarde–irwin

The work of Gržinić/Šmid is characterized by an eclectic, discursive, distanced approach to filmmaking free of fascination and empathy. Quotations overlap in a complex, many-layered, and multiply subdivided conceptual and visual framework. Stylistic effects collide, references to narrative “cinema d’auteur” join with references to poetic or theoretical texts (Chekhov, Duras, Barthes, Žižek, Weibel, Gržinić) and with references to mass media—B-movies, TV, commercials, news. Out of all this material, mixed with disnarrative polysemy and an astonishing lack of inhibition, strange “fictions” are reconstructed—fragmentary fictions that are constantly interrupted. Phantasmatic and critical situations are devised around political figures (Mao Zedong and his wife), groups of artists (IRWIN, New Slovenian Art), and cultural artefacts. The pictures—stereotypes, masquerades, reminiscences—deploy fiction as a mask that is forever being removed, being put back in place, and changing its form. Here, disguise becomes a linguistic strategy. Godard and Fassbinder influence the interpretation of Brecht’s alienation effect. Paradoxically, amidst the rupture of any continuity, a dramatic effect is achieved. Beneath the discourse and the irony, one recognizes the disappointment and the awareness of belonging to the “unfitting other.” Political violation is transformed into physical and existential reality. Reversing Godard’s dictum “That’s not blood, it’s just red paint,” Marina Gržinić writes: “In post-Communist society, a traumatic reality appears beneath the surface of the works. It is not just red paint, it is blood, it is the invisible, post-communist residue that is not (yet) capable of integrating itself into the immateriality of globalization and into the virtual world of the media.” M.K., K.T.

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