Businesslike 2009-16

Exhibition about all the jobs I’ve been working on.

My real job is photography

Looking at and being familiar with Western art has led me these days to the thought that there can be no art in the West. That is not to say that it does not exist. Why can there be no art in the West? The answer is very simple. Western artists are not lazy. Artists from the East are lazy, but whether they, now they are no longer artists from the East, will continue to be lazy remains to be seen.
Laziness is the absence of movements and thoughts, just empty time – complete amnesia. It is also indifference, staring at nothing, inactivity, powerlessness. It is sheer stupidity, the time of pain, of pointless concentration. All these positive characteristics of laziness are important factors for creating art. It is not enough to know about laziness; it has to be practiced and perfected,” Mladen Stilinović wrote in his Praise to Laziness some time ago, in 1993. He, of course, wondered what would happen to the Eastern artist in the times to come, and critiqued the principle according to which the artist is determined by a system of galleries, museums, competitions, the industry of art, i.e. market economy.
However, the real question of today’s time is what happens to the artist if she or he has another job? A job that is not art. Ouf of existential necessity. Or because they have to work. Because – one has to work, that is a well known fact. A small homo faber is in all of us. And we work. Work. And work. Even when we do not believe in work, we work.

Businesslike, doubtlessly, continues the autobiographical work written and rewritten by Nina Ðurđević in her other photographic series. Walls, Space In Between, Object(ive), Businesslike… these are all elements of becoming aware of one’s own existence. Within oneself, with oneself, with space, with society. In the series showcased in this exhibition Nina Ðurđević has revisited the last fifteen or so years in which she has had very different jobs. A great number of very different jobs. In 2009 she started to use photography to record herself in different workplaces. The jobs she had had before she felt the need to record her work were reconstructed after the fact. More or less successfully. In addition to captions she also wrote a little story to accompany every photograph. So, what did she face? What does she confront the viewer with?
We look at her photographs, we read the accompanying stories, and we laugh. Because Nina is witty. We are touched. Because Nina is romantic and likes Bela Hamvas. We are even startled a little. Because Nina is direct. She does not protect us from the sad part of the story, if there is one. And there is. And it is important. And then, perhaps unintentionally, Nina slowly leads us to the question: What does all this mean? What do the jobs we have mean? Hers to Nina, ours to us. Do we identify with them, do they take us over, or do we just play a part? Adifferent one every time, or always the same one?
“The how is important, not the what”, Nina will say.

But let us go back to the beginning of this text and the words of Mladen Stilinović. Let us try, time notwithstanding, to go back to laziness. Laziness as a metaphor for artistic work. Which cannot be measured unless there are results. And often, they are not there. Or, it might be better to say, an infinite amount of time can pass without results.
And let everything stop now, in this very moment. Let us allow ourselves some laziness. Out of respect towards all types of work, all types of jobs – let us go back to laziness. With a smile, self-confidently: let there be laziness!

Iva Prosoli