Starting reference of the artistic research based project Grand Tour: Age of Pyramid and Postcolonial Pilgrimage is tradition of Grand Tour. In late 18th and 19th century Nobile youth from Great Britain travelled to Continental Europe; Italy, Greece and Egypt. Origin of this travel was colonial idea these destinations represent the origin and base of Western (European) culture and arts. Grand Tour was based on research on architectonic, sculpture and painting heritage and ruins of old civilizations. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe stated that he count his second birth from the day he step to Rome. Hidden aspect of Tour was macho colonial imagination on promiscuity of southern woman. For such reasons Grand Tour was not recommended to Nobile ladies. According to Byron sexual education of macho youth included on Tour was based on sexual labour prices and perception that each Italian lady has several lovers. In his intimate life, Lord Byron proclaimed Countess Teresa Guiccioli ‘lady of my love’. One of the results of Grand Tour was fascination with the pyramids and sphinx’s, finally constructed as follies in the gardens of Nobile families in 19th century from Habsburg Monarchy to Germany and Great Britain. Grand Tour pilgrimages brought us on the other side mystic obsessions and relive of occultist ideas, contrary to Enlightenment ideas of transformation of the states through Social Contract and belief in History of Humanity as process of Irreversible Progress. Embodied presence in the real Great Pyramid in Giza of Napoleon or Richard Dadd shows us revival of esoteric tradition, started during Grand Tour and finally confirmed Year 1875 in New York City when Helena Petrovna Blavatsky established Theosophical Society.
In the project Grand Tour: Age of Pyramid and Postcolonial Pilgrimage artistic research and field work have been realised in real space, and due to the Virus restriction in virtual reality (Cyber Space, according to William Gibson). Participants created works in all direction; from Africa to North Europe, from Latin America to Europe, from North America to Balkan, and all other variety. Exhibition in Schau Fenster, curated by Josip Zanki, introduces art works by Manolo Cocho, Mexico City; Khaled Hafez, Cairo; Rimantas Plunge, Kaunas; Jovana Popić, Berlin; Suzanne Reese Horvitz and Robert Roesch, Philadelphia; collaborative practice Postcolonial Pilgrimage (Josip Zanki and Academy of Fine Arts student’s Lara Ana Kulenović, Ingeborg Reichel and Luka Tomić), Zagreb. All together they analysed, created and critically represented various aspects of Grand Tour through different media and platform as video, site specific installation, performance and performativity action, print and photography.
Manolo Cocho developed an artistic research Sphinx Pyramid (2020) in different archaeological sites in the centre of and along the Mexican jungle. Cocho observed pyramids and other constructions and many different representations of supernatural mythic beings or other natural forces. His work is recreating position of the mythic beings around the world as connection between human and nature, between ordinary and sacred, between local and cosmic.
Khaled Hafez video work The A77A Project (On Presidents & Superheroes), created 2009, is a 2-D and 3-D animation on video and still footage of a figure of his favourite ancient gods, Anubis. The figure dwells in the streets of urban Cairo today, intermingling with paradoxical citizens and situations; reflecting the social and economic challenges in Egyptian society. Mirror Sonata in Six Animated Movements (2015) is an animated video project based on six themes tackled within the painting practice of Khaled Hafez and
his research of the complex Egyptian identity. Khaled Hafez works is presented with
the courtesy of Nome Gallery, Berlin.
Rimantas Plunge photo-collage works Pictures Time Scroll 0, 1, 2 (2021) is an author-initiated discussion on a complex issue what happens in front of the camera lens, and what is behind in the process of cognition. Plunge is creating three iconic images based on a research of the Grand Tour concept of travelling; romantic city panorama, oriental moonlight and fairy tale landscape.
Jovana Popić in her work Morlachia (2021) developed out of the artist´s dialogue with Alberto Fortis, 18 century Italian natural scientist; by traveling north to Berlin´s provincial hinterland. The artist herself being a descendant of the Morlacks, spontaneously stepped into a dialogue with the writer´s gaze at her own culture, which is rebellious and romantic, but at the same time colonial and economically driven.
Suzanne Reese Horvitz in her video Sphinx (2020) deconstructs idea of metamorphosis and transformation of artist to mythological creature, deeply based in ‘Western’ culture as enigmatic gender representation and reflection of human subconscious. According to the artist this series started with a dream about the Greek Myth, Leda and the Swan, and shared political and cultural events of the pandemic (the horror and the isolation) have led her to question sensual, alluring images.
Robert Roesch video Brutal Solitude (2020) narrate position of Brutalist architectural structures embodied in various spaces, from ancient Giza to dystopian non-places. Artist states his work can be identified by heavy, poured concrete slabs becoming floors and walls, and polished stainless steel or polychromed material turned into slender spires.
Collaborative practice Postcolonial Pilgrimage (2020) created by Josip Zanki and student’s Lara Ana Kulenović, Ingeborg Reichel and Luka Tomić is based on artistic intervention in two historical sites in city of Zadar; Park of the Queen Jelena Madijevka and Sphinx. Josip Zanki recreated Caspar David Freidrich Kreidefelsen auf Rügen in Park, opening the question of Otherness and migration in post Virus Europe. Lara Ana Kulenović interprets history of Zadar’s Sphinx converting it to documentary fiction. Ingeborg Reichel initiated conversation with the Zadar’s Sphinx, gathering spectacular information. On the same site Luka Tomić performed stereotype of psychedelic British tourist in Croatia.
Exhibition Grand Tour: Age of Pyramid and Postcolonial Pilgrimage presented art works based on common platform: to re-construct and re-think colonial imagination of Others and Otherness as subconscious and mystical opposite to dominant Western Ego.
Laufzeit: 26.3.-18.4. 2021
Lobeckstr. 30-35 – 10969 Berlin