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Museum of Contemporary Art

Ušće 10, blok 15, Belgrade
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The exhibition 'In the Same Space' by Selman Trtovac & Vladimir Frelih, Salon of MoCAB

Programme | 01.09.2017

From the video In the Same Space, 2017, Selman Trtovac & Vladimir Frelih

The exhibition In the Same Space
by Selman Trtovac & Vladimir Frelih

The Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art (14 Pariska St.)
September 1 – November 6, 2017
Exhibition opening, on Friday, September 1, at 8 p.m.
Performances at the opening: Selman Trtovac, Spirit―Body I
Exhibition curator: Una Popović


At first glance, it is almost impossible to notice any major common points between the works of the artists Selman Trtovac and Vladimir Frelih since the two use different artistic agendas and different artistic languages. Through direct confrontation of their works in the Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art, they construct a space of dialogue, reflecting thus a model of fluid understanding of “art strategies”. The exhibition is titled In the Same Space, which is a name of their joint video work, made for the purpose of this exhibition. 

Except for the collaborative work, Selman Trtovac is showing the drawings from the series Consequences and Spiritus movens, the video work ConsequencesMagnetic Stimulation of Brain, and a series of photos; whereas, on this occasion, Vladimir Frelih showcases the web work Area, a series of photos/photo installations entitled Kat. No. 13 041 664. 

First and foremost, Selman Trtovac expresses himself in the medium of drawing, aspiring to define drawing as a primary energy for all of his posterior artistic endeavours. Trtovac's statement about him being in a “search for the truth in art” defines his practice as inclined to experiment, i.e. permanently inquiring about where the idea about realisation comes from, and also whether it is possible to perceive the content of a drawing as an autochthonous mechanism in a non-explicit way. The series of drawings and photos called ConsequencesMagnetic Stimulation of Brain (2016/2017) was made during a brain stimulation experiment at the Military Medical Academy in Belgrade. At the neurological lab of the MMA, with the great help from Prof. Dr. Tihomir Ilić and his team, Trtovac underwent a non-invasive magnetic brain stimulation used in the treatment of dementia, but also applied on the pilots of US Army as a part of the training aimed to improve the speed of reflexes and reactions. With this procedure Trtovac wanted to upgrade the mental process in terms of energised activity, and to reexamine the consequence of drawing in relation to this intention.                                             

The works by Vladimir Frelih include multimedia works which blur boundaries between media; and as a consequence of his practice, the products can be defined as installation-object-sculptures. Kat.No. 13 041 664 is the set of 183 photos where only red color is visible is an experiment within technological process of photo development. The artist asked numerous photo studios to develop certain code under the number Kat.No. 13 041 664. The result of the process is the interpretation of translating digital into analogous data. Thus came about the photos which considerably deviate from the pregiven code. Emphasising the incompatibility of the digital and the analogous through the working of man, machine and chemistry, the artist in a subtle way shows how thin is the line between understanding and state we feel as “lost in translation”. 

The collaborative video In the Same Space is a narrative on the dialogue of ambiguous message showing a repetitive, minimalist gesture of movement of the legs and feet on a white surface until its whiteness goes black. The title itself conceptualises the form, the scope of dialogue “in the same place” as another place that sees the exchange of energy through the node of heterotopia. The exhibition In the Same Space becomes a site of a specific ritual, meeting and realisation of a unique rhythm, it becomes a space of event where specific differences, but also similarities in the work of the two artists, converge and reach one another.        

Both artists studied at the same time during the 1990s at the Art Academy in Düsseldorf, Trtovac with Klaus Rinke, and Frelih with Nam Jun Paik, and later on with Magdalena Jetelová. During the studies they collaborated closely, not only in the field of art, but they also worked together on exhausting manual labour so as to finance their stay in Germany. They are united by several powerful bonds: years long collaboration, accumulated shared thoughts and existential struggle. This struggle took place primarily in the field of art. After studies their ways parted, to meet again 15 years later, and at that point their dialogue continued. Both artists are aware of the common cultural space in which they operate and come from, the drama that peoples of former Yugoslavia had experienced, and the necessity to confront many important issues in art, but in and outside of art.      


Selman Trtovac was born in Zadar. From 1990 to 1993 he studied painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade. In March 1993, he moved to the Art Academy in Düsseldorf (Kunstakademie Düsseldorf), to the class of Klaus Rinke, where in 1997 he was promoted into a master, and in 2000 he completed his studies. The same year he returned to Belgrade. Since 2003 he has been a member of the International Art Gremium. He is an active participant in the art scene. He is an initiator and a co-founder of the Free Art Cooperative “Third Belgrade” and Perpetuum Mobile Heterotopia. He received his PhD from the Department of sculpture at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade. His works are part of private and public collections and foundations of contemporary art (Stadt Düsseldorf, MSUV Novi Sad, H2 Museum Augsburg, Contemporary Gallery in Zrenjanin, etc.). He lives and works in Belgrade. 

Vladimir Frelih was born in Osijek. From 1994 to 2000 he studied at the Kunstakademie Düsseldorf in the classes of professors Nan Hoover, Nam Jun Paik and Magdalena Jetelová. In 2002, he became Meisterschüler and received MA in the class for expanded sculpture and installation. During the last ten years, he has been active in contemporary visual arts scene at home and abroad. He received several awards for his artistic work. His work is held by several public and private collections and foundations of contemporary art (Kunstmuseum Bonn, Stadt Düsseldorf, MSU Zagreb). He is an associate professor at the Academy of Arts in Osijek, at the Multimedia Department, and a visiting professor at the Academy of Arts in Novi Sad.