Location: Faculty of Philosophy in Split (Poljička cesta 35, 21000 Split)
Date: January 30 - February 20, 2024
Faculty of Philosophy in Split and the Croatian Association of Visual Artists - Split have the pleasure to invite you to the inauguration of the artistic intervention by Vice Tomasović titled "ABYSS."
Dalibor Prančević about project:
In the original project and execution of the former office building of Brodomerkur, where the Faculty of Philosophy in Split now permanently resides, on the basement floor, there was a shallow pool with goldfish. The building, designed by architect Danko Colnago and constructed in 1990 by the project-technological bureau "Lavčević" along with its collaborators, is now the home of the Faculty of Philosophy in Split. Drawing on this historical reflex, Vice Tomasović, through his intervention Abyss, today evokes the somewhat forgotten structural thread of the building. Through depictions of fantastic zoomorphic and anthropomorphic hybrids, the artist denies and metaphorically breaks the compactness of the floor, opening a platform for discussion on relevant contemporary topics, primarily on human beings and their relationship to the environment, ecological sustainability, other forms of life, genetic engineering, bioethics, and more. What is initially perceived as a strange, vibrant carpet is, in fact, an artwork that we immerse ourselves in through layers, contemplating the mentioned issues and questioning the possibilities of further development and cohabitation of biological species on the planet. It is worth noting that artificial intelligence, guided by the artist's previous work, was used in generating the artwork to ultimately provide a sample for the further construction of the complete composition.
Furthermore, it is interesting to focus on the etymology of the title "Abyss," which is found in the Greek word ἄβυσσος: without bottom. The online edition of the Croatian Encyclopedia of the Lexicographic Institute "Miroslav Krleža" interprets Abyss as "a place to which immense depth gives a frightening and mysterious property; abyss, bottomless pit. In an extended sense, ruin." One should wonder about the connotations that Tomasović's depiction of such a gap, whose bottom is truly indiscernible due to the disturbing and occasionally extremely horrifying content that evidently emanates, can have. Is progress actually contained in an impending end? And where to from here?
In its technical description, Abyss is conceived and executed as a large floor sticker, composed of 24 repeating scenes of a multitude of zoomorphic and anthropomorphic beings with divergent physiognomy. Some relations of fractal elements are subtly repeated, with subtle alternations, creating an ornamented representation that symbolically expands infinitely, although it is, in fact, limited by the dimensions of the former pool. In terms of media, the installation is phygital, meaning it combines physical and digital properties. The materiality of Abyss as an art installation at the Faculty of Philosophy is transient since, after the exhibition period, the stickers will be carefully removed and destroyed.
However, Vice Tomasović fundamentally interprets his work as a digital image, or rather, as digital preparation for printing, created on a computer. Here, the crucial role of NFT (Non-Fungible Token) technology comes into play, allowing a digital document to become unique. In this way, 24 digital works are tokenized, marked as unquestionably authentic, cryptographically protected digital assets. The dynamic between transience in the physical world and permanent authenticity in the digital realm creates an intriguing analogy about artistic creation and its sustainability in the era of contemporary technological innovations. This is another way in which Vice Tomasović experiments with new methods of engaging the viewer, inviting them to actively contemplate what they see, whose further extension articulates itself in the virtual space. In other words, exploring the work can be done using a mobile phone reading a QR code or one's own view from a safe distance on higher floors of the university, as well as by stepping into the strange crowd of emerging hybrids from the floor. Ideally, one should experience all of the above.
About the artist:
Vice Tomasović is a visual artist born in 1986 in Split. After completing high school in Omiš, he enrolled in the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of Split, specializing in art culture, where he graduated in 2009. He is the founder and director of the Almissa Open Air Festival of Contemporary Art in Omiš. From 2015 to 2023, he served as the president of the Croatian Association of Visual Artists in Split (HULU) and the head of the exhibition activity at Salon Galić. He has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions, art festivals, and events as an organizer, curator, exhibitor, and performer.
This work is part of the REPER project carried out in collaboration between the Faculty of Philosophy in Split and the Croatian Association of Visual Artists in Split, based on the principle of annual exhibitions produced to initiate critical thinking about targeted themes. The project was conceived and is led by Assoc. Prof. Dr. Dalibor Prančević. Through this project, the Faculty of Philosophy in Split assigns the role of an exhibition space to the building, serving as a new platform to encourage discussions about the role of contemporary art in a broader social context.