NL Pop up Space, London
Jasmina Fekovic DOCUMENTARISTA
NL- The Dutch Cultural Space in London is proud to present Heyboer Revisited a solo exhibition by the Dutch artist Jasmina Fekovic. The presentation in London will see Fekovic reworking her solo exhibition at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Antwerp as a special presentation to fit the London Space. Heyboer Revisted was presented at the MuHKA in Antwerp in 2008, curated by Grant Watson, then the curator at the MuHKA who has recently been appointed as Senior Curator & Research Associate at Iniva in London.
In her project developed for the MuHKAs Lonely At The Top series focussing on emerging artists, Fekovic incorporated the work of the enigmatic and beloved Dutch artist Anton Heyboer (1924- 2005) who she had come to know during the making of a previous film work- into her exhibition.
The exhibition will remain opening to the public during the summer, from 12 until 6pm, Mondays to Saturdays. On Thursday 9 September, the space will host a finissage reception from 6 until 9 pm prior to the exhibitions last weekend of opening.
About ‘Heyboer Revisted’
“…in much more recent works such as ‘Heyboer Revisted’ (2008) in which she returns to the topic of Anton Heyboer, the Dutch artist whom she befriended whilst undertaking her film about Mathilde Willink.
Anton Heyboer died in 2005. In her more recent work, Fekovic takes his surviving dog as a starting point. Returning to visit Heyboer’s bizarre rural studio, she was struck by the way in which his dog appeared to be in a state of overt mourning. The poor animal, as Fekovic discovered from those responsible for taking care of him, would not settle or find any peace unless allowed to lie in Heyboer’s studio and listen to the tape recordings of his rambling stories that he incessantly recorded during his life.
Fekovic’s film, shown in a special installation that minimally suggests Heyboer’s studio, very simply and beautifully shows the dog alone in the studio listening endlessly to his deceased owner’s voice. In a second space, the white walls of the galleries are covered in wall paintings in Heyboer’s monochromatic palette executed in the characteristically primitive, childlike style of the artist. Rather than reconstructions of actual works by Heyboer, these are instead works made from Fekovic’s own imagination, filtered through a memory of Heyboer’s painting technique. In the otherwise empty galleries, the recordings of stories told by Heyboer in his particular dirge-like voice, fill the space.
From very controlled, fairly minimal, material, Fekovic creates a space that is strange and evocative. Even for those who are not familiar with the starting point for the work, there is a strange sense of a communication between the actual and the intangible. Perhaps it is too extreme to say that it constitutes an obvious communication between the dead and the living. In fact, without the background information, one could never be certain that this is what is implied. Yet, in the construction of the film and the presence of a very particular kind of voice telling a certain type of anecdotal story in a space with which we usually equate reverential silence, Fekovic’s work taps into something uncanny; Das Unheimliche. This is a work in which there is a very clear and discernable communication going on between entities – one, such as the dog, living and real; the other, in the form of the voice, uncertain- that seems to sit outside of the normative experiences of the daily world.
With surprisingly little information and a distinctive absence of obvious spectacle or conceit, Fekovic places even the most hardened atheist rationalist into a position in which the possibility of existence after death, the persistence of the ego - perhaps even a soul- cannot be ignored in the work. This does not mean that the work is not theatrical. On the contrary, it is akin to the research and experiments of the 1960’s and 1970’s that sought to strip theatre to its most basic elements in order that we might have a more refined understanding of exactly what mechanisms of communication take place between the theatre-maker and the audience. Like Peter Brook, Jerzy Grotowski or Judith Malin and Julian Beck, ‘Heyboer Revisited’ seems to question the exact mechanisms of transformation and possibly even epiphany in those engaging with art; between audience and artist. And, since like them, her whole approach and artistic quality is one that is thoughtfully rational and conscious, we follow even when it heads towards the more hippy-dippy end of the spectrum.
The contemporary rational audience often becomes uneasy when questions of spirituality are raised, especially when the questions are posed in such a way that they expose the cosmic uncertainties that all human beings experience. Yet, when these questions are posed in the right way that seeks to shatter the illusion that The Enlightenment or more recent developments in philosophy have entirely ruled out the need for human beings to hold more esoteric beliefs, the audience is placed in a position that, even if not accepting, might remain respectful. Like Brook, Grotowski or The Living Theatre, Fekovic’s work allows us to reconsider ritual and spirituality from a very personal point of view, partly because it is never presented in a form that attempts to negate the rational lessons of cultural theory or an understanding of the image and art in more allegedly scientific terms. “
Excerpt from “Jasmina Fekovic – Stereoscopic Biopic” Ken Pratt. Wound Magazine issue 7, 2009.