MARINA PAULENKA: FROM 9 TO 12
29/03 – 19/04/2018
The process of growing closer to the wary residents was slow and quiet, much like the residents themselves. in observing them, i looked my own future in the eye. The way they looked back and into their own pasts grew to become the link between us, and a spark of resistance against time in their tired bodies.
The starting point of Marina Paulenka’s one-year field work is the examination of the politics of institutional housing of the elderly in the era of the welfare state’s intense transformation. How is eldercare organized under austerity measures and intense re-traditionalization? What does it mean to be old and infirm? The artist explores these questions through the immediate experience of coexisting in a collectively organized care community – the only public retirement home in Trešnjevka. She visits the micro-location during the time designated for socialization and the creation of quality everyday life, from 9 to 12 in the morning, when the residents exercise, play instruments, knit, draw, and so on. Through her presence in the community, Marina Paulenka enriches its artistic activities and listens to the residents’ (often retold) stories during the fragile process of growing close to them.
Following her research, the artist portrays the interlocutors using a large format analogue camera, an object they are familiar with and whose technical limitation of long, multi-minute exposures is used for close-up portraits. The gesture reaffirms the phenomenon of old age, which is treated as a “blind spot” in our social and cultural context, a blemish we’d rather not display. Despite the fact that the processes of modernization have contributed to the prolonged life span and significant population ageing, the development of capitalism simultaneously glorifies the youthful body ripe to join the workforce, which has triggered an avalanche of practices with the aim of “keeping fit” and “staying in shape”, adding fuel to the impossible dream of eternal youth. Old age, which used to be associated with wisdom in some other social contexts and different times, has become taboo and the “Other”. Exiled from popular culture, fashion industry, mainstream media and other fields dominating the late capitalist landscape, old age is now undesirable even in contemporary art. As scientist Kathleen Woodward points out, two major body art overviews contain a single representation of an ageing body. In From 9 to 12 Marina Paulenka follows in the footsteps of those artists who have dismissed this tacit ban and produces a series of direct, striking portraits of women and men, devoid of pathos and pity.
OPENING:THURSDAY 29/03/2018 20.00
OPENING TIMES: 16.00 – 20.00 (EXCEPT MONDAYS)
Marina Paulenka’s exhibition and the Artists for Neighbourhood program are financially supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia and the City of Zagreb Office for Education, Culture and Sports. The annual BAZA for art and activism program is supported by the "Kultura nova" Foundation.