Collecting by Curating
Copenhagen-based collector and curator Tijana Mišković shares her private collection primarily of artworks from Thierry Geoffroy / COLONEL, Ismar Čirkinagić and Nina Wengel; three artists that she has been working with for years and as a result, close friendships have sprung.
“As a curator, I have been involved in the production as well as exhibition of many of the artworks in my collection. Sometimes the artists and I would exchange ideas regarding the conceptual and formal solutions as well as strategic planning prior to exhibitions. This position gives me a unique opportunity to gain insight knowledge about each artwork, the artist’s creative process and circumstances around the exhibition of the artwork.
Each of the artists have their own style and visual vocabulary. I collect their artworks because I believe they succeed in combining the aesthetic and conceptual strength in order to comment on important reflections about our society or the artist’s role in it. Thierry Geoffroy / COLONEL focuses on ultracontemporary and emergency art produced as immediate reactions on dysfunctions in the world. He has a unique ability to grab the moment and produced the art work in the now, before it is too late. Ismar Čirkinagić’s artworks often have a starting point in the tragic events from the war in his native Bosnia and Herzegovina, but they also reflect on human conditions and what we perceive as conflict with reality or disagreement with the conformist attitudes. Nina Wengel is using her painting skills and knowledge about colors to communicate her worries and reflections about what is happening around us. Her practice is based on a strong belief that art has a healing power.
I appreciate very much the close friendship relationship to the artists I work with and this special connection fundamental to my collection.” Tijana Mišković
“My selection of artworks by Thierry Geoffroy / COLONEL, such as “Can Being in the Now Become a Routine, What is the Difference Between Routine and Ritual”, includes poetic reflections on the artistic process and subjects like the role of the artist in the society, the notion of time and the routine versus the ritual.
“L’oeuvre c’est la Capacite de Synthese“ is a tent made on the beach in Rio de Janeiro. Thierry Geoffroy / COLONEL has been using tents since 1991, and his tents can be seen as paintings and as sculptures, with the sides of a tent acting as a canvas for painted statements. Some of Thierry Geoffroy / COLONEL’s previous tent artworks have been exhibited in The Maldives Pavilion, Venice Biennale (IT); The ZKM Museum, Karlsruhe (DE); Marta Herford – Museum für moderne Kunst, Herford (DE); Kunsthalle Osnabrück, Osnabrück (DE). The tents are also in the collection of Museum of Contemporary Art, Denmark as well as private collections in Paris, Copenhagen, and São Paulo.
Similar to the tents, the banner-like artworks, with text on pieces of fabric like “The Emergency Will Replace The Contemporary” are expressing artist’s statements in the given circumstances and situations of the moment. Often they are exhibited as installations at international events such as Manifesta, Cartagena/Murcia (ES) and Documenta, Kassel (DE).
“Too Late, There Is Nothing Under The Dead Volume” and “Too Late” were produced respectively in São Paulo and Johannesburg as part of a daily-changing exhibition, which had already been formulated in Thierry Geoffroy / COLONEL’s manifesto for moving exhibitions published in 1989. Since then, the format has been realized as numerous exhibitions and actions around the world as well as a spatial construction “Emergency Room” built in museums and art institutions such as MoMA PS1.
Both the canvas and the painting are used as symbols for contemporary art not reflecting on “the now”, but rather continuing to question the canvas, the pigment, and the frame. We can read some of these reflections in his artwork ”Too Late”, a broken canvas, that the artist destroyed during the exhibition by smashing it against the floor. The destruction is illustrating the frustration in connection to the feeling of being too late to have an impact or too change the world as an artist.“
“One of the best examples of Ismar Čirkinagić’s artistic research on the aftermath of the Balkan war is the series “Herbarium” – a project that’s based on the traditional way of making an herbarium and classifying flora, but with the difference that all of the plants used were collected from the mass graves in Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Since 2013, Ismar Čirkinagić has been collecting different plants that have been naturally growing on locations of the largest mass graves in Bosnia and Herzegovina, not far from artist’s hometown. The collected plants are neatly pressed as part of the traditional botanical preservation method. They are each accompanied with information not only about the Latin name and which plant family it belongs to, but also the names of the grave the plant was collected from as well as how many bodies were found in the graves. Conceptually the artist works with the poetic cycle – where the deceased human body becomes nurture for grass and the plants in order to take on a new form of life. Today the plant pressings form part of an ongoing herbarium series which has been exhibited in different occasions such as 2007 “At The End Of The Rainbow”, BM Suma, Turkey (Istanbul Biennale); 2008 “PULSE Miami”, Art Fair; 2008 Kunsthal Aarhus, Denmark; 2012 “City States” Liverpool Biennial of Contemporary Art, UK; 2014 Format Gallery, Malmo, Sweden, and will be exhibited in AROS Triennial –The Garden, The End of Times, Denmark planed to take place in 2017.
Another project by Ismar Čirkinagić that places itself between personal expression and political expression is “Ocean Europe” – a series that consists of 50 monochrome photographic artworks that are technically based on “camera-less” photography. Each monochrome print represents a flag of one of the European countries; in fact, it shows the average color value from the colors that were originally represented on that flag. The work deals with the notion of national identity and European values are being questions by a deconstruction of flags as national symbols and by putting them in dialogue with a universal experience that has no boundaries. “Oceanic Feeling” is a short and intense experience, where an individual feels limitlessness and where the boundaries of the ego are erased”
“Sunsets” by Nina Wengel is an on-going series of paintings on various materials that vary in size, but with the same motif of a sunset. As a backdrop for the sunset motif that appears throughout, the users various the materials such as wood, plastic and cardboard to submerge herself in her surroundings. The work not only reflects on experiments with materials and technical ideas, but also an artist’s dilemma on what is more important: the final result or the process. The repetition of the sunset pattern becomes a significant reason for the artist to continue with the work, but always asking herself “what is good work?” Is it the relation between perfection and efficiency and when is a work “done”?