Damir Očko

Untitled (Year Inflamable), 2016

Photocollage and ink on archival paper

99.6 × 79.7 cm

Between € 3000 - 10,000

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Damir Očko’s collages explore the effect of the human voice on the physical world and reflect the shifting relationship with material, action and identity as a response to space.

The piece “Year Inflammable” in particular recognises that the collage structure is made of several interrelated elements that constitute a specific fragmentary narrative which works to dissolve fixed constellations.

Očko’s combinatorial use of photography and sculpture within the work indicates perhaps the power of fiction; by transposing parts of reality into an image, Očko creates an interplay between the two. He processes and reshapes references, reminding the viewer that the essence of his work is hidden beneath layers of ambiguity. This ambiguity provokes fracture and discontinuity. These fractures build and dissolve the idea of the collage and represent new possibilities for radical subjectivity.

The title of the work, “Year Inflammable”, perhaps is a reference to the current political climate of global insecurity, uncertainty, injustice and turmoil. The tension evoked through the name is carried into the piece itself in terms of colour and lighting.

“Year Inflammable” is extremely performative, due in part to the heavy lighting as well as the presence of the lighting cameras themselves on the stage, lending layers of dramaturgical process. The performative nature of the piece also works in terms of the spatial awareness of the staging, which creates a triangle between the viewer and the three structures within the work.

The interplay between theatrical artifice and performativity delicately balances realisation through two series of elements: staging and semiotics. The relationship between the two is played out in a literal manifestation upon the lighted stage within the collage itself.

the artist

Damir Očko was born in Zagreb, Croatia in 1977, where he currently lives and works. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in 2003 and since has had artist residencies all over the world, most recently in Norway, Ireland and Germany. Očko has been involved in a variety of projects including the remarkable The Kingdom of Glottis exhibition at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris in 2012. Another of his more notable shows has been his representation of Croatia at the 56th Venice Biennale in 2015, with a solo show entitled “Studies on Shivering: The Third Degree”, curated by Marc Mebmbekoff. Damir Očko continues this exploration of the twists and turns of language and the ways in which speech can be poetically generated by the neurophysiologic system, as well as the potential in subjects in terms of conceptual and concrete attitudes toward spatial placement. Očko investigates language as expressed in sound and voice and that resonance within visual images through the medium of music, film, poetry and two- dimensional objects. His practice involves film, collage, photography, installation and artists books, which all work in between the edges of reality and fiction, whilst maintaining a critical distance from them.  “What I try to do is to better understand the ways of listening and looking, and how this intensity emerges… a cinematic intensity, when image and sound are working as a dense harmony,” Očko has stated in regard to his practice. Inspired by the likes of John Cage and Edgar Varese, Očko’s practice drives toward a primal sound that has both poetic and political ramifications. Očko, who was born into a period of major political transitioning continuously associates his work with the turmoil of international politics and the dissolution of Yugoslavia. The influence of Orwell’s 1984 on Očko is clear. Orwell’s Newspeak B vocabulary consists of words deliberately constructed for political purposes welded together in an easily pronounceable form. Damir Očko propounds this mindset throughout his projects.

“What I try to do is to better understand the ways of listening and looking, and how this intensity emerges… a cinematic intensity, when image and sound are working as a dense harmony,” Damir Očko

Damir Očko
on Artuner

Part of the

April 5th, 2018 until
April 24th, 2018
Curated by ARTUNER