kids, my eyes can move too! - the show at The Belgrade Cultural Center
DONALD DUCK IN POMPEII
by Mileta Prodanovic
Never will it
be known whether any of the obscure alchemists from the Middle Ages
or from some later period has found the elixir of eternal youth. However,
we can only say with certainty that besides Dorian Gray - who was on
the threshold of attaining that aim - or Highlander - to whom that ability
was innate there is a whole group of creatures who attained that ideal
without too much effort. That is, more or less, the harmonious family
of Disney's heroes. Have you ever heard that Donald Duck who has just
stepped into his sixties, for instance, has problems with his prostate
gland, that he has become absentminded, has backache or that his diopter
is rather high? No, of course not. He is still vigorous, merry, sometimes
grumpy, still living in an undefined concubinage with his darling Daisy,
takes care of his nephews who still have not grown up and whose parents
we have not yet met.
The Duck family, as well as all the other humanized members of the animal
species from the Disney laboratory, Mickey, Minnie, Goofy... have always
about them an aureole of the eternal present, their life is a film that
does not rewind, their clocks do not tick off time..
But is it, for example, possible to imagine scene - or at least a sequence
from a film - in which an archeologist with his brush cleans the dust
from a small figure of Donald Duck in Pompeii, under the walls of Baalbek
or Jericho? Just such an unreal combination is one of the levels on
which the newest work of Aleksandar Kujucev operates. He, of course,
does not go back so far into the past - in order to separate gadgets
soaked in emotions of generations of children from the context of permanent
present it suffices only to bring out of focus their aureole. Postproduction
action on the photographs of Aleksandar Kujucev supplies recognizable
heroes with a patina of old age we are not used to when Disney's children
are in question.
here to read more...
on Aleksandar Kujucev's canvas are in fact implosions of several radical
contrasts which turn them into the objects of condensed tension: first
of all there is an outstanding disproportion of dimensions - small dolls,
grow to gigantic dimensions. Carefully arranged light turns the figures
that are almost reflexively moving to the observer into suddenly frightening,
threatening ones. They become specters.
Finally, a contrast in the area of technology is present: photographs
made by a complex procedure on emulsions painted by brush on the canvas
and placed into "the frames" made of sticks, almost of whole
branches. Thus we find in circulation the relation of natural - artificial,
regular - amorphous. By mutation grown Disney heroes are only a part
of a more complex arrangement - they are a sign of a highly developed
civilization - they are "guests" in objects whose "ethno"
character is clearly stated. Canvases on which trace of light is recorded,
their contours, can be seen as stretched out hides tanned by Indians,
Eskimos, Siberian natives...
Disney's heroes have become, during the long decades of their everyday
existence, in themselves entities stuffed with different meanings, mostly
simple and easily legible. However, over them there always hover some
unsolved dilemmas, among them the greatest - how much are they humans
and how much animals. By a series of large photographs incorporated
into the objects of space Aleksandar Kujucev destroys stereotypes linked
to favourite children's heroes and by bridging different contrasts constructs
new levels that are to be read, the levels that are mostly oblique,