Long Way Gone
November 5 - December 23, 2016
Awarded the prestigious Québec Studio in Paris, Gubash is currently completing a six-month residency with the support of the Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec. Inspired by his recent production, we take the opportunity of the artist being on the other side of the Atlantic to explore issues of presence, absence and embodiment in an exhibition featuring a selection of new works.
Embodied more tangibly than ever in the current exhibition is the artist’s fascination for the strange and the occult. Isolated on a base amid the huge empty white space of the gallery rests a modest receptacle containing the artist’s soul encapsulated therein by a Parisian witch upon his request. Superstition, belief, faith… Gubash leaves the visitor to face his own values and desire to believe in the mysterious transubstantiation that occurs in all art. Is part of the artist’s spirit really locked in this simple vase? The answer depends on the will of each, but the question of value we inscribe to objects made by artists remains less easy to assess.
The still very malleable relationship between reality and fiction, between research and invention, is central to the practice of Gubash. These boundaries are even more tenuous, given that he has voluntarily chosen to work from relatively common and accessible technologies, moving away from the nobility of materials often used in art. He is interested in bringing our look at what has been forgotten or ignored, magnifying through video or photography abandoned monuments, or tinfoil sculptures that emulate the distant outlines of buildings belonging to the former socialist enterprise of Gubash’s birthplace. The angle and dramatic lighting give the images of these sordid objects a triumphant look, making ambiguous their sense of scale, and imparting an imposing or threatening appearance to these quirky small scale objects.
The second exhibition space features some of Gubash’s most recent works that pursue his research on the tension between the universal ideal, the intimate, the trivial and the common elements. These new pieces – video, photographs, drawings, sculptures – all bring to light this profound search for meaning as the chorus of anthropomorphic figures express a deep desire to define a still elusive identity. Whose bodies are depicted, remembered, celebrated, forgotten?
Milutin Gubash’s transdisciplinary practice is defined through drawing, photography, video, performance and sculpture. Regardless the medium used, the artist mixes references, thwarts perceptions and shatters notions of time and space: the past and present intertwine in a fantasized future, populated with cultural references from any and all ages – whether real or imagined. With a keen sense of self-irony and a lot of humility, Gubash chooses to use his own existence as primary material for several works. By placing himself in a state of vulnerability in our eyes, he renews with refreshing authenticity the questioning of identity and perhaps offers us an opportunity to reflect on our own flaws, questions and contradictions.