Toni Mijač // Catharsis
Thursday, March 8th 2018 at 20 h
Toni Mijač participates for the first time in the NMG@PRAKTIKA program with his project titled Catharsis, which he has started in 2012 and continues until today. The project consists of a series of photographs and a text. The artist exhibits a part of the project, the so-called “Split-phase”, in the gallery of Split club Kocka, bringing the project full circle in a way by returning it to a place where it all began — Split.
By using the concept of catharsis as a starting point for his work, the artist questions the introspection of men. Namely, the artist finds the motivation behind Catharsis, which means the cleansing of one’s spirit in Greek, in the popular archetype “men don’t cry”. A series of photographs depicts male persons of different age, life stories and perceptions, performing a simple gesture. They sit on the floor, and in the moment of evoked memory, remove their shoes. Symbolically, the shoes in Mijač’s work represent protection and safety. Removing of the latter represents grounding of oneself and letting emotions take over. Before the act of photographing, the artist requested from his subjects a brief reflection on a lived experience of their choice which left an emotional impact. By doing this, Mijač makes his subjects face and cleanse themselves of repressed emotions, while recording their intimate state in a black and white technique.
The other part of the work is a textual intervention into the gallery space. The artist exhibits his personal account of the stories some of the participants chose to share with him. This brings another dimension to the work in communicating with the audience, while the artist’s approach to the participants with the text is transformed into a dedication to their memories. “Precisely in the activation of introspection lies hidden the final goal of this cooperation – the cyclical establishing of relation, towards ourselves, according to the author of the concept, and finally towards the visitors. (…) The raw emotion – embodied in the act of letting go, captured by the lens of the concept author, and finally, in the eyes (and hearts) of the visitors, becomes a means of a new, self-reflective and cathartic experience”1.
1 — Quoted from the artist’s statement
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Toni Mijač was born in 1988 in Split. He graduated from the Film & Video department at the Arts Academy in Split and got his MA at the New Media department at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. He has gained his work experience through different art and commercial projects. He participated in a number of multimedia works, films, workshops, festivals, happenings, along with a six year-long active mentorship in film schools for elementary and high school students in Split and Zagreb. He exhibited works in Klovićevi dvori, Greta, GMK, Pogon Jedinstvo, Kset, Art-Kino Rijeka and at the London Metropolitan University. In his work he mainly deals with everyday impulses in different fields of life, which he questions using language and means of different media such as film, video, text, installation, photography and social practice.