Interview: Ivana Butković
Luca Curci talks with Ivana Butković during Venice International Art Fair 2021 in Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello and THE ROOM Contemporary Art Space.
Ivana Butković was born in Rijeka in 1985. She graduated in 2015. with a Master’s degree from the Academy of Applied Arts (APU), Department of Sculpture. She has exhibited at several joint and solo exhibitions of which the notable ones are: Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijek (MMSU), exhibition “Art / War / Transition”, 2020; ULUPUH Gallery, Zagreb (52nd Zagreb Salon of Applied Arts and Design); Lamparna Gallery, Labin (exhibition “Vanishing points”, 2016.); Red Carpet Showrooms, Karlsplatz, Vienna (Red Carpet Art Award – International winners Croatia, 2016.); 8. ETNOFILM, Rovinj; MMSU, Rijeka, Gallery MC, New York (APU Student Exhibition “Razdvajanja/ Dissociations“, the University of Rijeka within the KvadArt programme and APU, 2013); Glyptotheque HAZU, Zagreb (11th Triennale of Croatian Sculpture, 2012); Palace of Diocletian, Split (exhibition “Chair/ Wall”), APU in collaboration with University of Split, Academy of Arts, 2011). As a student at APU (course Costumography and Fashion) she collaborated with the Postgraduate specialist study programme “Acting, Media, Culture Studies”, and university undergraduate study programme “Acting and Media” on productions as a costume designer (“Sisters”, 2013, “And…a lovely day”, 2014; “Antigone”, 2015; “The Stranger”, 2016). From 2005 – 2008 she is an active member of The Rubicon Theatre. Also participated in productions as a performer and costume designer, and on the international festivals with Theatre; CITF, Chuncheon, South Korea (Synergy 1, 2008); DAF Kochani, Macedonia (InterNetWork – second fractal, 2008); GIREP, Nicosia, Cyprus (InterNerWork – second fractal, 2008) She was awarded the “Award Academy of Applied Arts University of Rijeka as the most successful student in the year 2011”, and Austrian Award for Young Artists “Red Carpet Art Award Croatia 2015”.
LUCA CURCI – Which subject are you working on?
IVANA BUTKOVIC – I’m redefining the way I have been functioning through the years. This process was followed by a necessity of breaking the old habits and rethinking further direction, which was either lost or at many crossroads. Being involved in many different projects at the time, I had to stop everything I was doing before in order to continue. This has all been an inspiration. I have led myself to the point where I could accept the fact that it’s all ruined, but have learned instead that nothing is ever lost. This has served as a starting point for my upcoming video performative works. The precognitive, imaginative freedom that is navigated with personal experiences.
LC – How did you get to your current artistic practice?
IB – It started with revolt. It’s a blurry definition of what I was chasing at the time, but it was clear that I needed to be on my own. Fashion (design) performances took place in the period from 2005. to 2006. They were engaged with appearances of bodies in critical positions where models were seen literally as fragmented shells or moulds of the exact bodies (Black and White, 2006). At this time I have joined the Theater Rubikon (Corporeal mime and Biomechanics workshops) and started to work with my own body as a performer, sometimes also as a costume designer for the theatre. Rubikon was a non-institutional, experimental, independent theatre, close to my heart. Their transdisciplinarity was connecting art, science and education. We had an opportunity to participate in productions led by theatre professionals and in international productions with theatre (Korea, Macedonia, Cyprus, etc.). From 2009 to 2015 I enrolled at the Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka and had a Masters’s degree in the Department of Sculpture. I’ve continued my previous fascinations, experimenting with unconventional materials and ideas (workshops Invisible/Material, Edge of Spaces). The synergy of cosmography, sculpture and movement, enriched with the experience of performance, were combined to create a living picture (Tableau Vivant), and documented in a form of a visual essay in the medium of video (Non-Verbal Magical Story, 2015). This has helped me with my artistic practice, being a performer of my own narratives.
LC – Where do you find your inspiration?
IB – In personal experiences. In mistakes and the best circumstances that come along. In Love. In human nature. In Eros and Thanatos. In the Unknown. It is very important for me to maintain the inner flame and to handle the dissolving of impurities with clarity and strength.
LC – What is the most challenging part about creating your artworks?
IB – Overcoming obstacles–fears, admitting limitations and coping with personal duel. It’s a process of embracing the idea of progress, with many sudden changes. Let’s call it The way of the Lotus flower. Although its roots are in the mud, it grows to be one of the most beautiful and the most well-balanced flowers there are. This is soothing for me.
LC – What is your creative process like?
IB – For some time it has been about indecision. I had to change just to break the heavy mould of what has already been defined as a personality. It can also serve as a personal retreat. Depending on the intensity of emotions, my creative process usually takes its own direction towards defining it into a creation.
LC – Do you agree with our vision of art and what do you think about the theme of the festival?
IB – Water was the first association connected to your concept of liquidity. Water has abilities to adapt, create, maintain, nourish, and reflect. It also has the power of change. I think that your concept has a lot of these qualities. The festival’s theme questions the borders of body, mind and soul. I can resonate with that. Future landscapes are more than ever a central point of our vulnerability today, breaking the old concepts of general functioning as human beings. More than ever we need to redefine and reinvent ourselves.
LC – In which way the artwork presented in our exhibition is connected with the festival’s theme?
IB – Video Gravity was made in 2010., in cooperation with colleague Mia Vučemilović (camera, editing), having participated in a workshop on the theme of Invisible/Material. The idea was to exponent the connection of the two – Invisible and Material. With elements of movement and dance, in a rather stuck scenario – tapping in the glue. In correlation with the festival theme, I would say that it reflects our boundaries and is associated with a sense of freedom and infinite extension.
LC – What do you think about ITSLIQUID Platform?
IB – I was interested to see the Art Fair in different cities, curious about the similarities and obsessions in different cultural centres of the world. Especially during the past two years. Because of the historical cycle that is happening to the whole world, it is necessary to connect and explore other people’s ways of coping with the same situation. The reality we all know about is drastically and forever changed.
LC – What do you think about the organization of our event?
IB – The exhibition in Palazzo Albrizzi-Capello, and its representation of Time che fu, was inspiring. Artworks shown are merely commenting on what we are doing nowadays and who we are becoming. I couldn’t come to the exhibition and have no idea about its real outcome. I’m still discovering it in retrospect.
LC – What is your idea about ITSLIQUID GROUP?
IB – There is a lot of potential and qualities within.