Recreating the original II – New series
The work of Lara Badurina will be shown through two series. The first is entitled Series and has been a work in progress since 2006, while the second series was named after the Croatian newspaper Jutarnji List, and was started as a work in progress in 2008.
The entire Series, a part of which is also presented at this exhibition, is formed by twelve repetitions of the same procedure. Each repetition includes a selection of three identical replicas of mass produced Chinese vases that the artist smashed into fragments which she then used to create three new unique vases. These vases were then categorised with a graphic scheme typical for the museology and archaeology classification. The series Jutarnji List consists of reproductions of the pages of the newspaper which tries to balance on the narrow line between being informative and yellow press. In the chosen page the visual and language part are separated onto two separate pages. On one page we can see the text with no pictures, while the other shows the mirror image of the same page with photographs and illustrations, but without the text. As the two series are created in different techniques (sculpture and graphic print) a formal border is created between them. As both series deal with the paradigm of reproduction and the meaning of the original in the production of objects this border does not divide them by the content. In contrast to the established sculpting technique of sculpting and building something new she smashes things and takes something away from them; in opposition to the technique of merging graphic elements she uses separation. In the industrial serial production Badurina recognises the nihilism of the material, which annuls the particularity of an object through mass production. Something similar happens to the text and picture that are the subject matter of media production. In the media world they are reduced to tools used for expressing the same meaning, even though they belong to two different categories.
The artist does not find a direct answer in the artistic production, which often inappropriately separates objects when merely stylistically imitating the existing state. She positions her manufacturing production of serial objects on par to other forms of work that use similar procedures. Even though we can not entirely neglect the content – that speaks about a series of socio-cultural implications of the consumer society, forced labour, mass production, manipulation and decontextualisation – within the aforementioned series, we should not get overly involved in the threads of social criticism, for the artist doubts the existing system (especially on the level of meanings, in which the work is burdened by a series of meanings and expressions that do not emerge from the work itself, but from its interpretation). With the series work in progress the artist observes and records the differences between objects, differences that are only possible to observe through the repetition and comparison of the seemingly similar objects within the series. In her art she always uses previously existing objects. The key reason for recycling existing objects is not only to show some sort of social engagement, but to express her belief that the artist cannot create from scratch or outside the spectrum of objects. The artist can merely create new contexts, in which the specificity / originality / uniqueness of each individual object becomes clearly readable. However, we are not confronted with the issue of an original aura of a work of art, but with a linguistic problem. With her sculpturing intervention the artist passes on an absurd statement: “Identical vases differ”. By separating objects in the newspaper she decomposes the mathematical equation language(A) = picture(B) and introduces a new equation language = language and picture = picture. A and B are groups. The values in group A are linked to similar values in group B. We therefore immediately make the connection between the picture of a child and the text: this is a child. Because the differentiation between the objects from group A in relation to objects from group B is obvious, we often fail to notice the differentiation within an individual group. At the introduction of the new equation Badurina shows the linear logic of newspapers, which in a period of networking and informational technology absurdly expects that we would link the picture of the child merely with the text: this is a child and not also with the text a bomb attack.
When creating her works in progress the artist typically uses various scientific methods. In the series Souvenirs made in…, that she has been developing since 1999, she uses a very restrictive archaeological method to document rubbish in previously defined areas in the large squares of the main cities in (former) socialist countries. As seen from the dates of her projects, she never completely finishes a project, for the end of a work would cause the subjectivation, the termination of the work process and consequentially the death of the work. With a clearly programmed work process she ensures that the series does not lose the formal frames and prevents the intrusion of her own self-arbitrariness into the work process.