Bojan Šarčević

Kunstverein München

These days, spatial interventions are no longer anything unusual. They’re one of the standard modes of exhibition praxis. Since acts of displacement often play an important role in Bojan Šarčević’s oeuvre, comparisons to Michael Asher may suggest themselves; however, Šarčević, a Bosnian living in Paris, is hardly interested in reflections on the institution or on the function and history of its architecture. Gordon Matta-Clark, another important protagonist of spatial intervention, deconstructed buildings, but as a sculptor thinking in great and violent dimensions, and his works seem massive and powerful. Šarčević, on the other hand, does not see himself connected to an architectural discourse but rather works like an illustrator, in loosely drawn lines.

The title of his exhibition, “Verticality Downwards,” affected one’s perception of what was on view. Verticality per se is neutral and can be interpreted as movement either up or down, but Šarčević’s title limits the possible meanings. Thus the glass-and-metal cupola-like structure that Šarčević had built in the main hall of the Kunstverein, for instance, is to be seen as a construct originating from a point high above in a corner and fanning out in bowing lines that, meeting the ground, delineate a closed, impenetrable space. Its title, Where the Hand Doesn’t Enter, Heat Infuses (all works 2003), suggests how such a glass construction might act to retain hot air like a greenhouse without a vent. The idea of “verticality downwards” can also be recognized in the work The Entry Is Also the Single Exit, which spanned the room diagonally. Here it is gravity that drags this paper construct almost down to the floor—a construct that might be called rhizomatic: Even though the piece consists of only a few lines, or better, strips, these run about the room with such complexity, seemingly beyond any mathematical order, that one can speak of a multiplicity without a main thread, which is what characterizes the rhizome, according to Deleuze and Guattari. The strips are of Japanese paper, simply attached to one another, silver on one side and black on the other. When the sun shines in, the different layers of the installation’s effect can fully unfold. The black defines a structure, but the silver makes it flicker and lose coherence. If we take the title of this lyrical work seriously, then its form must be understood as a kind of labyrinth. A single point on the left wall would then be the origin and end of a dynamic system.

Šarčević had also taken a pair of sketches and blown them up as posters—a very direct route from sketch to finished piece. The drawing on the left showed a bowed architecture pointing downward; the one on the right, a freehand lattice structure. On the two posters, one could see not just the drawings but also their context—even the outlines of the drawings on the reverse are visible—along with additional captions (A REGULAR ROUTINE HELPS ME and SELF AVOIDING RANDOM WALK). In this way the quick sketch becomes a clear artistic statement—albeit in broken form, given the lines coming through from the other side. This ambivalence is characteristic of Šarčević in general: making formulations only to take back their articulation.

Justin Hoffmann

Translated from German by Sara Ogger.