56th International Art Exhibition—Venice Biennale 2015 / Damir Očko

7 May22 November 2015, Venice, Palazzo Pisani, Santa Marina

Artist: Damir Očko

Damir Očko is one of the most prominent Croatian visual artists of his generation, whose main interest is film expanding, developing, and analysing space in a series of visual and graphic elementscollages, objects, sound installations, and poetry.

He has participated in numerous individual and group exhibitions. Extensive presentations of his work have been realised at individual exhibitions. The significant exhibitions include Human Scale at the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb (2019); DICTA at Jeu de Paume in Paris (2018), Museum of Contemporary Art in Bordeaux (2018), Amparo Museum in Puebla (2018); Desire in Language at the National Gallery in Prague (2018), Repeat After Me, Eastward Prospectus in Bucharest (2016); Studije drhtanja / Studies on shivering, KMHalle fur Kunst und MedienKünstlerhaus Graz (2014); Galerie Yvon Lambert, Paris (2013), Kingdom of glottis at Palais de Tokyo (2012/2013) in Paris; On Ulterior Scale at Kunsthalle Düsseldorf (2011).

He also participated in many group exhibitions in institutions such as OFF-Biennale in Budapest, MUDAM in Luxembourg, FRAC le Plateau, Württembergische Kunstverein Stuttgart, Kunsthalle Vienna, Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, Austrian Cultural Forum in NYC, Louis Vuitton Foundation, Centre for Contemporary Art Ujazdowski, Warsaw, etc., and his works are included in international institutional museum and private collections: MUDAM Luxembourg, Le Plateau, Louis Vuitton collection, CNAP Paris National Collection, MSU Zagreb, Lambert Collection, Avignon, ECB Frankfurt, etc.

Curator: Marc Bembekoff

Marc Bembekoff is the Director of the La Galerie Contemporary Art Centre, Noisy-le-Sec, Paris.

He was the Director of the La Halle des bouchers Contemporary Art Centre, Vienne (Isère, France). Before that, he worked as a curator for Palais de Tokyo (2011–2013) and Rodin Museum (2009–2010), as an assistant curator for the Regional Contemporary Art Fund FRAC Champagne-Ardenne (2007–2009) and an assistant curator for a Centre Pompidou’s film (1999–2003). As an independent curator, he organised many exhibitions, including projects with the Le Bureau collective. He is the author of texts in several monographies and exhibition catalogues. Since 2013, he has been a member of the artistic council of the Flag-France Foundation in Paris.

Project: “Studies on Shivering: The Third Degree”

The project designed for the Croatian Pavilion expands the poetics of Damir Očko’s two most recent films: “TK” (2014) and “Third Degree” (2015). Both films question social constraints imposed on the body as a physical and social being. By evoking moments of finding transition zones, such approach exposes violence in the foundations of today’s globalized world. Editing of intertwined shots of shivering bodies and images of an old man suffering from Parkinson’s disease in the film “TK” shows us the visual development of a poem in eight parts. The old man is relentlessly trying to write a sentence starting with: “In tranquility…”. In The Third Degree, almost abstract close-up footage of burned skin is intertwined with shots of the film crew itself in the filming process. The scenography, i.e., installation of broken mirrors, reveals what is usually hidden from view, and in that way, the viewer takes part in the artistic process.

By combining intellectual and emotional experiences, the audience comes to a turning point, which encourages viewers to become aware of their own role in the artistic process. While revealing internal structures of artistic creation, in order to analyse the relationship between the subject, the audience, and the artist, Damir Očko tries to create a rhetoric, a mechanism which underlines our position of witnesses and actors in today’s complex world.