[Venice biennale]
Screen and shadow

In the auditorium the observer’s body becomes an obstacle to the image. Proportional to the section of that image which the body has “cut off”, the body itself becomes a screen by casting its shadow onto the stage. This para-optic technological phenomenon functions almost as a scientific theorem. A body has become a planet; light has been replaced by projection. The Moon is the light, but through extinguishing the light it becomes an image. We no longer observe it as a planet but as an image of a planet. The real, huge, screen that constitutes a stage in fact possesses two faces. Two auditoriums create an impossible dual situation in which one and the same image is observed-an eclipse of The Moon. Tension, or rather, unease, is not being created through opposing but through the doubling of the same. A slowing down of time further strengthens the sense of unease and uncertainty, of levitation between the known and the unknown.

The two ostensibly opposing elements of the installation-the “laboratory” one, in which the author’s action is stripped bare, and the “narrative” one, through which we follow the simple story of the eclipse the Moon-in fact functions on the principle of joint vessels. The physical phenomenon and the narrative establish a relationship of reciprocity. Just as the image is indifferent to matter; so is matter indifferent to the narrative. Here, it is not possible to speak of a classic “spirit-matter” contrast, and certainly not of a domination of one over the other. If they are to have this position defined at all then, according to Derrida, it could be said that they occupy a marginal position with regard to the absent meaning. The author possesses no “reserve” truth or message that would remain concealed from the observer. They occupy the same plane; their territory is identical. And just as it is impossible to separate their positions, so it is impossible to differentiate external time from the interior one.

(excerpt from the essay “Harmonious and hazardous couplings” in the catalogue OBSERVATORIUM by Nada Beros)

In Observatorium Martinis goes a stage further, attempting to impose the sphere of the artificial (metaphysical, virtual) as the real (substantial, natural, material). Operating within this concept, which sees the “fluid of electrons being the matter of electronic light”, the author constructs a subversive situation which is no longer directed towards social reality (as was the case in the 1970s) but at artistic reality and everything that accompanies it (museums, galleries, reviews, theory...). it may be that this, colloquially put, subterfuge, was not a child of the conscious, the cerebral, but even in the sphere of the subconscious it imposes itself as an attempt to conquer one’s own inner inability to further perpetuate paradoxical situations in the area of language and meaningfulness. The basic principle of duplication deployed by Martinis in counterposing diverse kinds of dichotomy results in their growth in geometric progression, followed by perpetuation and then, somewhat later, by dynamic dilatation of meanings and senses, which crumbles and disappears at some unattainable point of the perspective “infinite”. Or, to employ a film metaphor, a wheel that has reached a certain number of revolutions appears to be stationary, the reason for this being the same (inertia of the eye) as a flow and not as a group of image, where one replaces another. And this is where the paradox occurs: an opinion which contradicts common sense, a work which destroys the conventional, whatever it may be.

(excerpt from the essay “From Space to Time” in the catalogue OBSERVATORIUM by Berislav Valusek)

In recent years, however, one can observe a new phenomenon, a new quality arises. A progressing process of overcoming and nullifying the oppositions, which until recently were fundamental for Dalibor’s works is appearing. The process does not lead to the abolishment of the structure variety and complexity of the works. On the contrary, we can see at present the antagonistic relation of a work’s elements or aspects yield to their co-existence. In this new, appearing paradigm, the relation between the material and virtual aspect of the piece is gaining ground and taking up the position in the centre.

Numerous excellent examples of the new Martinis’ stand are shown at the Observatorium exhibition. Installations presented in its scope represent various types of relations between the material and the virtual. Put together they create a paradigm of coexistence. The exhibition actually presents the possible forms of the meeting of the two spheres. In actual fact, the variety of forms the virtual can take: light, sound or/and image (e.g. sound installation “Stormtellers”, 1997), or presumably a narrative or presented world, is by no means less numerous than the variety of forms of the material.

Narration, by the way, spreads in Martinis’ work beyond the regions planned for it. It happens that it trespasses the borders of the piece’s structure. Martinis’ art addresses a belief that the story has not to be told even if we want it to appear in the artistic communication discourse. We can refer to stories each of the viewers carries inside of her/him, and that is what Martinis does. In such a case, a work of art functions as a factor liberating stories, it provokes their placement in the process of artistic communication. At the same time it is one of the ways of neutralising the conflict-bearing contradiction between the material and the virtual aspect of a work of art, the latter being represented by a story. Narration is perceived as a physical component of a work of art and it is incorporated into its structure in a way similar to and governed by the same rules as its material elements.

(Excerpt from the essay The Material Versus The Virtual in the catalogue OBSERVATORIUM by Ryszard W. Kluszczynski)

[Press release]