MILICA TOMIC – ONE DAY
CURATED BY EUGENIO VIOLA
Gallery z2o, Rome
Gallery z2o is pleased to present the first solo show in Rome for Milica Tomic, born in former Yugoslavia. Entitled One Day, the artist realizes a project that began in 2009 in Belgrade, then in Copenhagen, and now in Rome. The show consists of a performance in relation to the photographs and video in the gallery space.
Milica Tomic belongs to a generation of artists that in the 90s, was compelled to identify and recognize itself on a basis of state and nationality. This generation is rooted within a specific geographic and cultural origin that necessarily confronted with political ideologies and with history, exposing itself to a series of questions that are incapable of eliminating from their practice. A condition lived like a part of the artistic vocation, unable to be ignored, almost like a part of the actual destiny.
Do they elaborate politics and history from an aesthetic point of view? Does the artist need to be political or apolitical? Can the artist have an actual, personal view of history? Milica Tomic answers these questions with a caustic re-reading of the past and its stratifications, its symbols and marks, elaborated across a complexity of references in which the same story and events are correlated and introduced into a mental context that is open, vital, and conflicting, if not deliberately provocative. Leaving the trauma of former Yugoslavia’s disintegration, Tomic investigates in an often autobiographical manner, the political and media violence filtered across the individual and collective experience.
Symbolic of its modus operandi is the project One Day (2009-12), begun in Belgrade with a public action and without authorization, during which the artist goes for a walk in town flaunting a machine gun under her arm, in an extremely natural way, as if she were carrying a grocery bag or an umbrella, and retraces the places defeated by the supporters of the National Motion of Liberation during WWII against the fascist troops. The artist repeated this unauthorized walk in Copenhagen and finally in Rome, refuting, with the same procedure, in different places and different times, all sharing the memory of the antifascist resistance.
In One Day, the cinematic virtue of invalidating time and different spaces are all pushed to the extreme by Tomic, according to a strategy that defines “artificial landscape” or “creative geography,” expressions borrowed from the technical homonym of film production invented from Lev Kuleshov in the 1920s. The present tense meets the past and merges into a single, irrepressible presence, created by the violence and ancient abuses of power that are reflected in the rekindling of old and new intolerances, in the new barbarity of the terrorism but also through hypocrisy, in conformity, indifference or in anger. The artist defines the American realpolitik as a condition of “permanent war,” like trotzkyism. “This new type of war introduced a specific mechanism of criminalization and also redefined particular ethnic groups, status, religious groups and political organizations outside of the law – the artist declares – a permanent era of war that leaves an open question: who is the terrorized and who the terrorist?” (M. Tomic).