A shattered human form advances through the space of a gallery, fiercely pushing through the ether while being remodelled by the tension of this pursuit. Tvrtko Buric‘s installation Post Human evokes the old Futurist dream of capturing the psychosomatic effect of the modern, progressive, accelerated age characterised by “universal dynamism”, a concept according to which objects in reality are never separate from one another or from their environment but interact and intersect with all that surrounds them.
“Let us fling open the figure and let it incorporate within itself whatever may surround it!” proclaimed Futurist Umberto Boccioni back in 1913 when he created then revolutionary bronze sculpture ‘Unique Forms of Continuity in Space’. Opening the figure so its surface (the flesh) flickers back in a fluttering, flame-like manner, Boccioni attempted to translate into the third dimension this dynamic relationship between the moving object (i.e. a progressive modern man) and its environment. The human body is reshaped as if the new condition of modernity was producing a new man. The calves melt as if moulded by the wind; the surrounding environment is imbedded in the figure’s muscular lines.
Buric’s installation conveys a similar sense of interaction between the body and the environment; the psychosomatic effect of the accelerated lives we live. Rather than seeing just an object, we sense the forces that act upon it; the forces of speed and restlessness of modern life (the pressure of capitalism and globalisation, for instance). Like Boccioni, Buric opens the figure and shatters its form suggesting both the balletic conjunction between the body and the environment (i.e. the body adopts) and the strain inflicted on the human body which results in its breakage. Buric’s work is an attempt to most faithfully express and represent the condition of modern life; the condition that traditional art-mediums such as painting and sculpture can no longer adequately express.
At the same time as he suggests the fragility of the human body and the calamitous effect of modernity, Buric also depicts a sense of human durability and rigour. In the midst of a chaos, we see a fist emerging like a phoenix, suggesting the figure’s desire to advance through the space, an innate passion for life. Perhaps one could speak of energy and a freedom of movement in technologically advanced, globalized world? Perhaps Buric’s figure is not a victim, but a ferocious warrior comparable to Boccioni’s gleaming hero who forcefully strides forward towards the progress, into a better future. One struggles to decide whether Buric’s vision of modernity is gloomy, dramatic or romantic. Or perhaps a mixture of it all. It is precisely in this ambiguous and uncertain reading that the beauty of Buric’s work lies. Never didactic, the work opens the space for interpretation, inviting the viewer to participate in its making by contemplating and completing its narrative.
While we are tempted to search for the storyline behind Post Human – for Buric leaves us with enough recognisable forms, such as the human torso or afore mentioned fist, to do so – in Buric’s other installation Line Life the narrative becomes entirely superfluous. Here, the representation gives way to pure abstraction and, as a result, rather than observing the work from the outside (unravelling its meaning) we are now pulled in, surrounded by the lines of force that again frenziedly advance through the gallery walls, moving in all directions.
Perhaps, one could draw a parallel between this work and Jackson Pollock’s canvases. Apart from the total reduction of vivacious colours – which Pollock was found off – it is possible to draw a parallel between these two artists if only for the similar ‘all over’ effect and the uncontrollable force of lines splashed in a spontaneous, expressionist manner. It is as if Buric has translated Pollock’s painting into a third dimension. As if the artist’s paintbrush has escaped the edges of the canvas, painting in space rather than being contained by a limited frame of a canvas.
Like Pollock, Buric creates work that is not preplanned or pre-sketched but a spontaneous and rapidly produced expression of his state of mind, a pas deux between him and his medium. But while the viewer of Pollock remains removed from the work, observing it from the outside, here s/he is entirely surrounded by it, moving between and underneath the suspended lines in order to capture the work from its various angles. Captured by and sheltered by the lines, the viewer becomes its performative part.
A desire to enter the work and move within it is also a desire to discover all the fine details such as the somewhat unexpected branches and delicate leafs, a living organisms that emerge from seemingly cold, inorganic graphic form (i.e. the line). The abstract, thus, intermingles with non-abstract, artificial with natural / organic and we witness a moment when inarticulate line gathers a recognizable shape; when the artist’s hand creates a recognizable image. Buric literally paints in space. Unlike Pollock his ‘brushwork’ results in concrete forms and the viewer gets to experience the creation of a representational painting (although here the painting is 3-dimensional, the lines frozen in space rather than dried on canvas). Buric’s line is alive – it breaths with possibility – hence, Line Life.
Text by Ira Ferris
9 December 2015