BEHIND THE LINE / comic show & catalogue / 3 floors by 3 authors / Ivana Armanini, Igor Hofbauer, Miron Milić / PUO Poreč, Decumanus 34, Croatia
exhibition behind the line
CATALOGUE TEXT BY PATRICIA POČANIĆ
exhibition behind the line presents the works (posters, drawings, comics, illustrations) of ivana armanini, igor hofbauer and miron milić who in many respects have similar, while at the same time different, artistic signature and conception. the artists have been studying, developing and presenting their works mostly in public space of zagreb, and their work has spread to public (both urban and virtual) of the whole croatia and even wider. in case of these authors the public is designated in a twofold manner – armanini, hofbauer and milić quite often create for public, virtual and urban platforms, while the great number of the works (as well as some of the newly-presented drawings by milić) are posters which are both the historical and actual means of public communication. by using the public, which is a place of opposition and antagonism (o. marchart), in personal comments of every-day life on posters by ivana armanini, visually provocative posters for happenings by igor hofbauer or drawings and numerous works realized for the public space of a city by miron milić, the artists are provoking the public opinion, and trigger a reaction of the observers outside the galleries. the goal of these works is to occupy the observer’s attention in a contemporary dictate of time and provide intensive experience. the poster and drawing in such circumstances must induce a reaction – whether it was laughter, surprise or horror; visual code must be concise, clear in performance, devoid of any ballast, while the visually-verbal scenario has to be closer to everyday speech without high art elitism. the works exhibited inside the gallery space are partially excepted from the critical reaction of accidental passers-by, but they offer visitors a deeper insight into the process of the very creation of the work and differently engaged contemporary art. the works are also linked by a specific relationship of image and word, a property characteristic for poster, and often for drawing as well.
in the works by these artists image and word transmit the content through verbal and visual code, and so the word becomes an important visual component of the work. the drawing is in all three cases the basis of the work and presents a direct connection of mind and body (hands). the works are linked by humor, irony, bizarre, dark or absurd situations or turned-upside down puns. humor achieves the communion between the artist and the audience who creates an opinion toward some (personal or social) unease, which they transform into laughter, while through irony, in various ways, they are breaking the presupposed visual patterns and elitist ideas about art. what differentiates them, apart from different visual handwriting, and the production of works – from the very techniques to functions of their creation. at the exhibition armanini presents the posters in personal diary form, published on public internet platform, hofbauer presents a compilation of his favorite posters in which, having on mind the multiplication of the work of art, he was able to create recognizable visuals with a minimum of compromise intended for the broad audience, and milić is dedicated to a further exploration of drawing by distancing himself from the known in detail representations.
ivana armanini+’ comic exhibition / Poreč for the first time presents the posters from the cycle instant posts (instantne objave). for the exhibition the author has chosen around fifty works in short comics form and illustrations created in the period of 2017.-2018., which have been published, as the author states, “instantly” on instagram (https://www.instagram.com/ivana_armanini/). she exhibits the posters that often contain textual part, but have no advertising nor applicable purpose. these are illustrations, short comic book forms which record certain associations and emotions, retaining the freshness of instantly recorded state. although this is personal documentation of various daily interactions from all segments of reality, the observer also recognizes the comments of his own everyday life – sometimes media, actual socio-political or he recognizes certain ambient. therefore the poster of stylized representation under the name her majesty reminds of a recent event of censorship in osijek, while on the other posters we recognize political protagonists such as trump, but also the characters of artists who marked our neo-avant-garde and conceptual history. however, the observer can certainly identify with some of the more personal every-day short comic forms and recognize the interpretation of a traditional form of building such as dry-stone wall or enjoy in purely aesthetical quality of what is shown. some, almost abstract illustrations or comic books in a humoristic, satiric way record the every-day life of an empty city, the sounds of music and then the visitors once again via humor identify themselves with what is shown. humor and irony also transcend the narrative level. armanini by editing the sequences and choosing the appropriate cadre for the image simultaneously ironizes the classical comic book form, which, as she points out, takes to the limits by linking “comic books and abstraction, action, experiment, street art and graphism.” however, ironizing the classical form of comic book is simultaneously done on the level of context and stereotypical comprehension of comic book as a male medium. this idea has been for a long period of years realized on the internet platform for production, promotion and distribution of authorial comic book of independent scene komikaze.hr and via the project femicomix aimed at the authorial comic books of various female artists. longtime studying has served ivana armanini as a foundation which she transcends through upgrade in comic books as a field of extreme authorial freedom, socially engaged potential which through combination of image and text more directly conveys the message of other classical mediums, but, like metamedia research of panned pictures in which armanini tries to achieve “deeper symbolical level on which forms meet words and meaning mutually creating some kind of their own internal rhythm and time which occurs in those interrelationships ”armanini achieves all of this by unique purified artistic language in which often appears either the change of two contrastive colors or with color and emptiness she additionally achieves the tensity of the visual narrative.
visual language is also contributed by the collage technique which armanini pursues through the very process of digital creation of the work in which, as the author states, she stores all the previous versions of the work and then she makes collage, reassembles them or erases, breaks and creates them once again in order to achieve the form she desires. while in the previous comic book works, reading journals like the adventures of gloria scott (pustolovine glorije scott) from 2005 and the catalogue (katalog) from 2016 her visual language was determined by drawing with a strong “black and white contrasts, naked structures and macabre atmosphere”, now she develops a refined relationship with colors and technique in order to translate the tensity of the form and the unpredictable of a scenario. the contrast in the new posters is multilayered – it occupies shapes, colors and meanings. in this, respect the influence of music and sound affects the organization of the poster and single-paged comic books since the rhythm of the contemporary life is accompanied by shorter and shorter form which have to be as loud as possible in order to stop the eye of the observer. therefore, as the artist points out, the influence has the concentration, speed and loudness of punk/noise piece, but also the noise as well as the contemporary rhythm of the street which she transfers into the short comic book form on a poster. due to the rapid pace of recording interactions inspired by everyday situations on the streets, with the people, media or situations, the artist only with a distance notices the formal and semantic whole of what is accomplished, and what she especially emphasizes as a help is a circle of virtual colleagues form instagram who daily publish new materials. exactly this encouraging internet environment, in which the creative work is the only thing on which the interaction is based, and socially determined body is not linked to the artist’s identity, is perceived in stylistically and technically refined and fast speech of the associations. ivana armanini wholly uses the potential of financially less demanding, and yet in influence far stronger internet network not only she does that as an artist but also as one of the key promoters of and independent authorial comic book who brings changes to the croatian and world art scene with an incredible enthusiasm.
… despite the clearly visible visual and conceptual divergence, ivana armanini, igor hofbauer and miron milić are also linked by their activity outside the given institutional propositions of art and realization of works available and in their social idiom understandable to the majority. every one of them, in their own individual way, contributes to democratization of media and art.