Exhibition Getting physical: STIER | ZEMKE | VOLIC
25 Bilder / Sekunde: Showcasing International Video Art, Mannheim, Germany, 2011.

The opening show „Getting Physical“ of the new – and first – video space for contemporary video art in Mannheim presents works by three renowned international artists.

The selected videos highlight different facets of the human body and the way it is perceived. In times of growing virtual networking and internet communication, the actual physical presence becomes marginal. Social networks, smartphone and the likes facilitate the exchange between people, yet the contact face to face grows more and more unnecessary. At the same time, an increasing, excessive cult of body modification is raging. Due to cosmetics, apparel and medicine, the realization of one’s very own ideal of beauty appears tob e within reach. Both sides of the medal? Does our need for a connecting physical anchor grow in a delimited virtual world?

The video works present different aspects of physicality and inter-human communication by mimics and gestures, of physical borders and their overcoming. They inspire thoughts and manifold approaches of interpretations. Furthermore the approaches are not limited to thematical questions, but sensitize for the means of the medium „video“.
Serbian artist Svetlana Volic’s work „Presence“ condenses characteristic elements of the other videos and expands them with a very personal perspective. The video shows a intimate, introspective study of human longing and vulnerability, spirituality and empathy, the need for touch and communication. Recorded in night shot mode, this video is black and white, too. Yet it opposes the clarity of „Con torso“ with a blurry dizziness, reflecting the protagonist’s mood. Of her, we only see parts – an eye which isn’t watching the viewer, a hand dancing in the dark and playing with feathers and little mirrors.

(curator Simone Kraft)



Interview with Svetlana Volic
Curator Simone Kraft
Exhibition Getting physical STIER | ZEMKE | VOLIC, Mannheim, Germany, 2011

© Svetlana Volic

Tell us more about your video “Presence”. How did it develop?

During several video sessions I have recorded myself in darkness, silence and isolation, using night shot mode on camera. I was the observer and the one who is observed at the same time, the subject and the object. Each session was an intimate ritual, a specifically meditative and emotional experience. During the editing process, some of the recorded sessions are slowed down. The main actor is the hand, a hand is “writing” a visual testament, playing with symbols and meanings. Recording that connects all the parts, and it was used as a refrain, as is the enlarged image of an eye. The work is aesthetic and emotionally intense, but the “beautiful” images are hiding a philosophical critique of modern society, in which the individual in particular experiences alienation.

© Svetlana Volic

Why video art? Which possibilities does it offer for you?

By looking through a camera, I am watching the world with an inner eye. For me, recording is a specific process of self-discovery leading to restoration of lost spiritual and physical balance. It is a philosophical process and video, for me, is a philosophical form. Moving pictures are closest to life, they are dynamic, contain rhythm and a component of time. This passage of time is very important for me in physical and metaphysical sense. I think that my video works are contemplative and meditative, they encourage the viewer to slow down. I insist on substantial investments of time: only by adjusting her or his schedule to the pace and subtlety of the work, the viewer will share the power that is human emotion – in intimacy and silence.

© Svetlana Volic

Which topics are you interested in in your work in general? Are you working with other medias, apart from video?

In my work I am always dealing with issues of perception, memory and self-awareness. I am interested in “great” themes such as love, hate, fear, life, death, spiritual life –universal human experiences. Maybe it is not so popular these days but I think these themes are unsolvable and mysterious in a positive sense for the world, and are therefore life-giving.

Light has always attracted me, it fascinates me when I paint, take photos, record videos or make video installations – even my name on Serbian means light!

In recent years my focus is on the creation of video installations. Video projection is also light that travels trough space, and on that road it transforms objects and surfaces it touches. It creates a transcendental fluid atmosphere. In different indoor and outdoor spaces I have created special environments and I have explored the possibilities of video projections on different materials.

I was an author or participant of many site-specific projects, too. The main aim was to stimulate interest in the environmental or architectural heritage of the specific localities, by asking the audience to re-look at sites in a new way, around ideas of society, community, history, private or public space. The works were created and presented in direct response to the social environment, transcribing histories, memories, textures and functions into art.

Furthermore, theatre is also my great love: I have made a number of video installations and VJ-ing for theatre performances.


Video by Svetlana Volic: PRESENCE