Lydia Pribisova (Editor of Flash Art Magazine, Czech and Slovak Edition):
The international exhibition of contemporary art I FOUGHT THE X AND THE X WON was held in April 2011 in the Museum of Art in Cluj. It was curated by Dr Raphael Vella from Malta, who together with artists Dionisis Christofilogiannis (from Greece) and Adrian Scicluna (from Malta), invited 22 artists from Malta, Romania, Slovak Republic, Albania, USA, Austria and Greece.
The title of the show sounds a little bit as moral imperative or a challenge to fight for our rights and it is talking about the possibility of substitution of variable entities and about different ways of interpretation of art works. It is trying to show us the categorization of artistic research and dividing the winners and the losers. It is a testimony of relationships of power in contemporary social and cultural reality. This kind of thinking is very close to the strategy of some of the present artists. The installation Still Fight (2007) of Michal Moravcik is dealing with the never ending fight, antagonism and resistance. It is referring to permanent hidden protest, it manifests the artist's skeptic attitude toward the affirmations coming from medial and political ambient which are usually understood as facts without the critical analyses. The banal themes are often the food for politically manipulated mass media and in many cases are pretence for the hidden games of power. The similar position is given away also in the video showing the boxing woman of Austrian artist Katharina Swoboda Betty and the Camera (2011). The irony and relativity of establishment are characteristic also of the works of Albanian-American artist Helidon Gjergji, whose video The Blue Danube (2004) showed the endoscopic registration of the house-tube accompanied by the waltz-music of Strauss. Works of many artists as Adrian Scicluna, Siebren Versteeg, Dionisis Christofilogiannis, Eva Mitala and Petra Feriancová are focused on the questions of contemporary communication and its vanity, which is created by long distances, by translations and by different coding. Petra Feriancová in her sound collage Itinerario (2006) mixed two texts from two different books, which meet and communicate in some points, but in another they are flowing to be lost. The video and prints of Adrian Scicluna are
reflecting the contemporary internet-based communication, where the real present is substituted by the virtual present, which lead to the feelings of loneliness and dislocation. The main contribution of this exhibition was the confrontation of the artistic discourses from different countries and finding un-expected parallels. The show will be held again during the summer in the National Museum of Fine Art in Valetta, Malta.
a project supported by
Malta Council for Culture & the Arts, Bank of Valletta, ARTACT, VODAFONE, Japan Foundation
media partners FlashArt SK/CZ, ArtActMagazine, Radio Cluj, Skylife, Modernism, TVR Cluj, Radio Romania Cultural A large group show with over twenty artists from several countries opens on 16th April, 2011 at the National Museum of Cluj in Romania. Organised by artists Dionisis Christofilogiannis and Adrian Scicluna and curated by artist-curator Raphael Vella, the exhibition is called I Fought the X and the X Won and is inspired by a rock and roll song called “I Fought the Law” with many cover versions, notably one by the band Bobby Fuller Four in the 1960’s and another by The Clash. The show proposes different situations in which one is faced by antagonistic forces and defeat or failure, and the work is extremely varied, with media ranging from video to drawing, painting and sculpture. The work included in the exhibition I Fought the X and the X Won rewrites assumed frames of reference, asking questions rather than providing answers. Some of it, like Helidon Gjergji’s, Petra Feriancova’s, Siebren Versteeg’s and Adrian Scicluna’s pieces, plays with contemporary information and communication technologies and their predicaments: translation, distance, coding, and dislocation. Katharina Swoboda’s and Vince Briffa’s videos struggle against time: they simulate, respectively, a three-minute boxing round and a race, but their time is fractured or fading away, like that of a boxer who gets knocked to the canvas, or a retired athlete, too old to be effective on the track of life. Gabriele Grones’s painting haunts us as it also maps out meticulously the traces of time on a face, while Tarohei Nakagawa’s black and white photographs and Austin Camilleri’s small sculptures are the antithesis of the portrait: they hide rather than reveal identities and make us wonder whether the hidden face belongs to a representative of power or a victim.
Understandably, the effects of the media and other globalising and political forces, advertising campaigns and stereotypes also play a central role in the works of a number of artists in the show, particularly Ewa Kuras, Gabriel Brojboiu, Michal Moravcik and Dimitris Antonitsis. Embattled political histories, art-historical references, cinematic and internet-based references merge in the images of Dionisis Christofilogiannis, Radu Comsa and Raphael Vella, while Ry Fyan, Artan Shabani, Dimitris Tataris, Sharon Engelstein and Eva Mitala direct their attention to personal and collective
memories and occasionally uncanny situations and anxieties.
DVD on TVR: