Series of artworks entitled Subtle Subversion comprises of several works, between which one of the artworks is series of three sculptures entitled The Collection: She does what She wants, Untitled 1, 2 & 3. Subtle Subversion researches subtle methods of converting of the todays society into a society where the society becomes collectively open and responsible to reconsider the dysfunctionalities of many of its foundations and current practices. In the Venice edition leading topic is SOLIDARITY.
The three sculptures by Nada Prlja were inspired by a selection artworks from the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje from 60s and 70s. Both the museum and the art collection, containing 7150 artworks, are unique examples of international solidarity. The artworks were donated by 66 countries and numerous individual artists in an expression of support with the city of Skopje, following the devastating earthquake of 1963. Solidarity within the realm of political agendas and cultural policies is one of the key postulates of leftist thought and also a key aspiration of the exhibition Subversion to Red.
Inspired by the works of Olga Jevric (from the collection of Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje), I have created the sculpture ‘The Collection: She does what she wants, Untitled I‘ (2019), by incorporating a series of stone and concrete ‘lumps’, extracted from urban ruins in the city center of Skopje.
The sculpture is fragile, it hold 280kg of concrete, it bends under a wind and it is ‘outlined’ by the frame-like structure consisting of thinest industrial metal profiles, normally used in the building industry, referring to the fragility of the cultural heritage in the city of Skopje. The various concrete lumps and cast fragments that hang on, rest against or lie scattered around the metal frame of the sculpture, in a similarly somber manner as in Jevric’s work, alludes to the urban devastation caused by the earthquake of the past (1963), but also the current urban development that carelessly ‘plows’ the city in the relentless search for profit and political power, with no concern for the wellbeing of the city and its citizens
Prlja’s sculpture ‘The Collection: She does what she wants, II’ (2019) questions – do we have a possibility for a ‘doubt’, as an artist today, in the art world which has its own requirements, trends and directions? How much artist can explore, experiment and question its own ways of thinking and working.
The sculpture ‘The Collection: She does what she wants, II’ by Nada Prlja is inspired by work of Macedonian artist Boris Nikoloski from 60s, in which he extrudes and protrudes geometrical forms in order to create associative and asymmetric sculptures.
Between other things, the sculpture consists of fragments of photographs of Nikoloski’s sculpture (Composition 2), as offset prints on paper. The cut out of Nikoloski’s sculpture on the offset paper shows Nikoloski’s ultimate lack of belief in modernity and his return to figurative and realistic sculpture (‘He returned to old forms that rely on pathetic gesturing or idealised portraits, which usually resulted in an illustrative quality’*). By cutting the print, Prlja referring to Nikolovski’s method of adapting and reusing his own more abstract sculptures, towards creating new more figurative works, thereby reflecting Nikolovski’s doubts in his own creative stands.
* Marika Bocvarova Plavevska ‘Moments of the Sixties: Aleksandar Jankuloski and Boris Nikoloski’, Museum of Contemporary Art Skopje, 1997/98
The focal point of the sculpture The Collection: She does what she wants III, is a ready-made ball of stone, an object Prlja found displaced and neglected on the streets of Skopje, which was once used as a barrier prohibiting the parking of cars on the pedestrian sidewalks. This everyday object, still really beautiful, sculptured in strong stone from the Prilep region in Macedonia, by its indentations formed by heavy daily use, resembled to artist Prlja directly to Jordan Grabuloski’s sculpture Head (1966). This stark resemblance led Prlja to question the relative value of objects and to consider the question of over production, over consumption and human negligence.
This artwork, placed in the final room of the sequence of exhibition rooms of Palazzo Rota Ivancich, is intended as a request to all artists to recycle their works, reusing both ideas and materials in order to contribute directly against the impending global crisis.
The Collection: She does what she wants, History of Humankind, XX century
Metal profiles, concrete, 141x150x175cm.
Courtesy of Nada Prlja Photo © Ana Maljanovska at HO1000D