Opening: 22th of February at 6:00 pm
You can visit an exhibition till 18th of March
Place: „Titanikas“ exhibition hall
“Banal sentimentalism” – this is how the artist self-ironically describes her own creative approach. Obviously, this is just tongue-in-cheek cunning. It consciously and sarcastically imitates such deception, when a whitened artificial smile conceals entirely different, usually opposite intentions. Severija uses the camouflage of seemingly decorative flowers and motley butterflies to mask her reflections on the complicated human relationships – from everyday to Machiavellian political games.
The leitmotif of the exhibition is an ambivalent phrase. On the surface it is a banal and beaten cliché from postcards self-satisfied holidaymakers send their relatives from various exotic destinations. On the other hand, it acquires a macabre expression in another peculiar tradition of human amateur creativity. From WWI to this day, different countries’ soldiers practice the ritual of inscribing “love letters” and wishes on bombs and missiles before launching them to sow death on enemy territory. Paradoxically, these “postcards”, saturated with not just the atoms of lethal explosives, but also the chemistry of unfeigned sarcasm, resentment, vengeance, hatred and rage, carry a genuine human emotion. Much more genuine than the postcards of pretty sights multiplied by the tourists, supposed to demonstrate attention, but usually merely covering the sender’s narcissism and vanity.
The stream of negative messages and emotions dominates today’s tabloid news, splinters of which together with fragments of childhood memories become the link between Severija’s different collections. Morning coffee and the Molotov cocktail of shocking news reports are what the average contemporary citizen needs to fully wake up. Humans will always find a way and a medium for capturing the triggering current affairs: on the walls of caves or virtual social networks, written in letters on paper or embroidered in cross-stitches on decaying metal. The end of the Cold War and the new hot wars in proximity to Europe, coupled with periodic stabbings and bombings in its very womb, the global warming and the global cooling of relations, the fall of the Iron Curtain and the erection of new walls, migration as the greatest opportunity of free mobility and the biggest curse, the historical climate change accords and abrupt historical relapses – we are not inclined or ready to be bored. There will be more events, and the earlier proclamations of “the end of history” of antagonism between sociocultural formations and ideologies, as well as imminent peace, seem to have been vastly exaggerrated – in the end, they proved to be just another “fake news”.
Severija’s “news” on rotting, rust-ridden metal scraps are entangled with her own childhood and travel reminiscences. A collection of Donald bubblegum wraps becomes a symbol of the collapse of the Iron Wall she experienced as a child and an allusion to the “adventures” and infantile behaviour of contemporary politicians. Tin cans found on a mountain hike with butterflies embroidered on them turn into migration- and ecology-themed postcards. Manifestations of ordinary people’s everyday creativity, prompted by the Soviet scarcity, become the artist’s source of inspiration, while embroidery and irony are Severija’s soft powers which damp the cold and hard metallic world.