For the past twenty years Goran Bertok has been exploring the human body through the phenomenon of fragility and transience. Enchanted by the carnal decline and physical mortality of man, and by employing the strong iconography of death, the author invokes the primordial, suppressed human fear of the unknown, obscure and incomprehensible. Bertok portraits are thus uncompromisingly direct and somewhat stunning in their morbid hyperrealism. Miha Colner, the curator of Bertok’s 2004 Ljubljana exhibition Red and Black, which presented the public with the usually hidden process of cremation, says that Bertok successfully manages to explore human physicality by obsessively documenting the transience of human flesh, whilst avoiding the commonly pathetic and moralizing tone.
On the other hand, the images of the frozen bodies counterpoint the cremation burning process and display the artificial suppression of the biological decomposition process up close and in a freakishly frozen moment in time. The fascination with the physiological effects of rotting remains of once living human organisms is what motivates Bertok’s creativity - a fascination that has brought to the attention of our censorship-ridden, finely tuned eyes the explicit photos of partially decomposed corpses. Once overcoming the initial state of shock, followed by curiosity and questioning, "Still Life" will confront the Gallery Mochvara audience with the dark side of the human psyche, characteristic for all of us, and voyeuristically obsessed since the dawn of time with the mythology of death and dying.
organizers: Udruženje za razvoj kulture “URK” + Mochvara Club & KONTEJNER | bureau of contemporary art praxis
production: Cultural Society B-51, Ljubljana & Mochvara Gallery, Zagreb
curators: Ena Hodžić & Tereza Teklić
supported by: Mestna občina Ljubljana, Ministary of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Zagreb City Office for Education, Culture and Sport, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Croatia
media partners: Kulturpunkt, Radio Student, Vjesnik, H-Alter, idemvan.hr