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Katarina Zdjelar solo exhibition at Oregon Contemporary

Katarina Zdjelar, Not A Pillar, Not A Pile (Tanz für Käthe Kollwitz), 2017, courtesy of the artist and SpazioA, Pistoia

Fri, Oct 29 - Sun, Jan 2  2022

Oregon Contemporary

Oregon Contemporary is pleased to present Katarina Zdjelar: 𝘗𝘳𝘰𝘹𝘪𝘮𝘪𝘵𝘪𝘦𝘴, 𝘢 𝘳𝘦𝘩𝘦𝘢𝘳𝘴𝘢𝘭, 𝘢𝘯 𝘢𝘳𝘤𝘩𝘪𝘷𝘦, the final exhibition in 𝘛𝘶𝘳𝘯𝘴𝘵𝘰𝘯𝘦𝘴, Lucy Cotter’s program as Curator in Residence 2020-21.The exhibition will be open to the public from October 29, 2021 until January 2, 2022 with a reception on Saturday, November 6 from 5—8pm.

Proximities, a rehearsal, an archive will be the first solo exhibition of Katarina Zdjelar’s work in the US. Working mainly in the medium of video, Zdjelar explores the ways in which the potential for transformation and change are held in the body. Several of Zdjelar’s works revolve around forms of rehearsal, an open-ended space in which things are destabilized or in a state of emergence. Voice, music, sound, language, body movements, and posture are focal points within her practice, often as explorations of social conditioning and how people reinvent themselves to assimilate to new and changed social and political conditions.

Proximities, a rehearsal, an archive will form a new iteration of an ongoing project by Zdjelar, inspired by archival documents from an all-women’s dance studio, founded in 1945 in post-war Dresden by Dore Hoyer, a choreographer and expressionist dancer, whose choreographies took the graphic works of artist Käthe Kollwitz as their departure point. Zdjelar proposes this artistic meeting between Kollwitz and Hoyer as a manifestation of shared affinities with (proto) feminist pacifism, solidarity, and collective transformation across the barriers of time, class, and social difference.

Hoyer’s company worked in a state of poverty and hunger in the single un-bombed room of Mary Wigman’s former studio. Little remains of Hoyer’s production today, except for some photographs and an incomplete music score. Zdjelar has developed a body of artwork around the fragmented material remains of Hoyer’s Tanz für Käthe Kollwitz in the archives of the Dance Museum in Cologne, Germany. The installation at Oregon Contemporary will consist of a number of new sculptural elements and an existing multi-channel video work “Not a Pillar not a Pile (Tanz für Dore Hoyer)” (2017). For this filmic portrait Zdjelar gathered together a group of dancers, activists, and performers to explore how the “archived bodies” in Hoyer and Kollwitz’s works might speak to living bodies in the present. The embodied language of human proximity is a potential source of alliance and agency across the boundaries of class, race, gender, and orientation. Yet nothing is taken for granted in this enterprise, which navigates the continuous possibility of its own failure. Speech is bypassed, as if the intensity and fragility of emerging solidarities are not ready to be spoken. The installation’s sculptural elements evoke the graphic lines of Kollwitz, recalling her work as a portal to empathy, to transgenerational concerns, to the frailties, regrets, sacrifices, and unexplainable ideals of people, living and dead.

Katarina Zdjelar: Proximities, a rehearsal, an archive is the final exhibition in Turnstones, Lucy Cotter’s program as Curator in Residence 2020-21. “Turnstones” is a word found in a poem that, being unfamiliar, might offer the freedom to imagine. Recalling how every structure that has sedimented over time contains another possibility, it hopes to evoke that which becomes the means to an act of turning. Cotter’s program brings together artists who refuse the readily available vocabulary and prefer to seek alternate frameworks for future thought and action.

Katarina Zdjelar grew up in Belgrade, Serbia and is currently based in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. Working mainly in the medium of video, her work explores the way one body encounters another as a site of resistance and possibility. Voice, music, sound, and language have been core interests throughout her practice, and her current works look at the potentials and legacies of pacifist (proto) feminist practices. Zdjelar represented Serbia at the 53rd Venice Biennale and has participated in solo and group exhibitions internationally at such venues as 11th Berlin Biennale, Stedelijk Museum Bureau Amsterdam; Metropolitan Museum of Photography, Tokyo; Frieze Foundation, London; Casino Luxembourg; De Appel, Amsterdam, MACBA Barcelona; MCOB Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, and Museum Sztuki Lodz. She is the recipient of several prizes, most recently the MMSU Award of the 24thZagreb Salon (2019), Dolf Henkes Prize (2017) and twice nominated for the Dutch Prix de Rome Award (2017, 2010). Zdjelar is also an educator at Piet Zwart Institute, WdKA Rotterdam; Royal Academy of Arts, The Hague, and Netherlands Film Academy, Amsterdam. She holds an MA in Fine Art from Piet Zwart Institute, she is a graduate of the University of Arts Belgrade and completed a two-year residency at Rijksakademie van Beeldende Kunsten, Amsterdam.

Lucy Cotter’s multidisciplinary practice explores aesthetics, politics, and the unknown through curating, art critical and experimental writing, and performance. Irish-born and formerly based in Amsterdam, she currently lives in Portland, where she is Curator in Residence at Oregon Center for Contemporary Art 2020-2021. Other recent curatorial projects include Undoing Language: Early Performance Works by Brian O’ Doherty at The Kitchen, New York (2021) and The Unknown Artist at the Center for Contemporary Art and Culture, Portland (2020). She was curator of the Dutch Pavilion, 57th Venice Biennale, with further exhibitions and events at Witte de With Center for Contemporary Art, Rotterdam; Stedelijk Museum, and EYE Film Museum, Amsterdam (2017). Widely published in books, catalogs, and journals such as Flash Art, Frieze, and Mousse, she is the author-editor of Reclaiming Artistic Research (2019), a book foregrounding the singular nature of artistic thinking. She is currently working on an exhibition exploring the legacies of Maya Lin’s Confluence Project (2022), and an experimental play entitled The Entangled Museum, which explores restitution, cultural beliefs, and the limits of acceptable knowledge. Cotter holds a PhD in Cultural Analysis from the University of Amsterdam and lectures in Critical Theory at Portland State University.

The 2020-21 Curator in Residence Season 10 is supported by the Oregon Cultural Trust, The Marie Lamfrom Charitable Foundation, The Dutch Culture USA program by the Consulate General of the Netherlands in New York and The Mondriaan Fund.

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