Solo exhibition

Šejla Kamerić

Perfect Tense
19. 6. — 13. 10. 2024
Upstairs Galleries, Parterre Gallery
Šejla Kamerić
Photo © Šejla Kamerić; BASICS, 2021 (triptych colour photographs)

Curatorial advisor: Galit Eilat

Perfect Tense, the most comprehensive exhibition of Šejla Kamerić’s work in Slovenia to date, explores the pervasive political effects of perpetual war by creating multiple mirror images reflecting its structural and temporal embeddedness in everyday life. 

A selection of outwardly political works from Kamerić’s versatile and prolific artistic career is presented in Cukrarna, with Galit Eilat as curatorial advisor. These works are placed in a reflective sequence: the ground and second floor mirror each other, as do word interventions and artworks. Spectators are invited to reflect on their own image while simultaneously participating in the artist’s introspective reflection on her positionality within and beyond the confines of a white cube. The exhibition is centred around two contrasting terms: words and war, which are intertwined through the extensive use of documentation as artistic material, simultaneously highlighting its necessity and absurdity in the context of war.

 The cohesive thread across the entire exhibition is the artist’s lifelong grappling with dyslexia and dysgraphia, informing the introspective nature of recent works such as RE PRESENT END; SICKhome, and PRESENT, each of which is allocated a distinct space within the exhibition. Created in 2024, these pieces serve as affirmative markers amidst the perceptible tensions between the artist and her creations, as well as the contexts of time and space in which they exist, thereby poignantly reflecting on the imperatives, accountability, and challenges inherent in her work. Kamerić’s works UNTITLED / DAYDREAMING and IMAGINE (both created in 2004) introduce her intimate reflections on her positionality.

Presiding over the mirrored space is the artwork WE WERE CHILLING BY THE POOL WHEN THE WAR STARTED (2006), whereas the spectators find themselves on equal ground with the artist, each confronted with their own relationalities. Commencing with a participatory intervention within Cukrarna’s lift, the subsequent segment of the exhibition is astute in its abrupt detachment from its introduction. By transferring documentation into the domain of distorted perceptions, the exhibition invites a reevaluation of our comprehension of war as an event that happens elsewhere. The exhibition’s insistence on intersecting distorted glimpses of several wars, such as in the works AB UNO DISCE OMNES (2015), SUNSET (2008), and BASICS (2001), entrenches visitors into a frenzied depiction of human suffering while each piece simultaneously extols human resilience and survival. With the new (2021) and original (2000) iteration of EU/OTHERS, Kamerić continues acknowledging that the repetitive and mirrored condition of dispossession is a collective responsibility to bear.

Empowering individuals to embrace empathy and recognise the immediacy and structure of pain, this curatorial and artistic endeavour is replete with signs, symptoms, and evidence opposing a prevailing reality of silencing, suppression, and despondency. Eliciting a recognition of the underlying structural causes of war and the consequent impact on those caught amidst it, the exhibition is a gesture towards acknowledging the ongoing and harrowing terror in Gaza while at the same time admitting the confusion, pain, and inability to address it. Consequently, using visual and emotional cues, Perfect Tense reflects on the contemporary world with a passionate discussion of the themes of liberation, humanity and memory.

–Hana Ćurak

Press kit

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