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Repeat After Me: Damir Očko at Eastwards Prospectus

Eastwards Prospectus is pleased to present Damir Očko’s solo show Repeat After Me (curator: Branka Benčić), from October 13 through December 23. One of the most prominent Croatian artists working today, Damir Očko has represented Croatia at the Venice Biennale in 2015. Featuring a selection of four films along with a series of collages, sculptures, installations and scores, Repeat After Me is the artist’s first solo exhibition in Romania and one of the most comprehensive presentations of his work to date. 

Damir Očko creates constellations of works that revolve around his films and engage the audience in an intellectual and emotional experience. Through video, poetry, installations and works on paper, he explores the mechanisms of the human body, as well as its relation to the social and political context. Thus, the body becomes a critical space for thinking about violence, power, fragility or our interactions with the environment.   

The exhibition at Eastwards Prospectus includes the artist’s recent film production, ranging from We saw nothing but the uniform blue of the Sky (2012) to The Third Degree (2015). Produced for the Croatian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale, The Third Degree juxtaposes close-ups of scars left on the skin by third degree burns and images of the film crew reflected in an installation of broken mirrors. By integrating the subjects of the camera with the process of filming, Damir Očko develops a visual narrative that tackles the issue of collective responsibility and our position as witnesses and actors of the world we live in. Two other films, SPRING and TK, reveal the dialogue between the cinematic and the poetic languages. Both polyphonic works in which poetry and music meet movement and image, they emphasize the artist’s interest in the mechanisms of the body and in the themes of violence, oppression and resistance. In We saw nothing but the uniform blue of the Sky, black-and-white scenes of everyday life filmed on a beach are contrasted with more abstract images in warm shades depicting three methods of signaling: light, smoke and sound. As the images file past, a man with a speech impediment recites a poem with an extraordinary effort that comes to stress and amplify the meaning of the words.

„Aesthetic, conceptual and formal frameworks of Damir Očko’s artistic practice are mainly shaped around a central position of a moving image based work, exploring complex cinematic relations to create visually and intellectually immersive works”, says curator Branka Benčić. „His exhibitions usually unfold as apparatuses by which the artist questions his approach to the process of artistic production itself, establishing a subjective space where film and poetry meet.”

Damir Očko (b. 1977) lives and works in Zagreb. In 2015, he was selected to present the project Studies on Shivering: The Third Degree in the Croatian Pavilion at the 56th Venice Biennale. His films, installations and works on paper have been exhibited at Galleria Tiziana Di Caro (Naples), Dazibao - centre de photographies actuelles (Montreal), Temple Bar Gallery (Dublin), KM - Künstlerhaus Halle für Kunst & Medien (Graz), Yvon Lambert Gallery (Paris), Palais de Tokyo (Paris) and Kunsthalle Düsseldorf. He also participated in numerous group exhibitions with institutions such as Mudam - Musée d’Art Moderne Grand-Duc Jean in Luxembourg, Kunsthalle Wien and Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb.

Damir Očko’s works are part of prestigious public collections, among which Fondation Louis Vuitton (Paris), FRAC Le Plateau (Paris), CNAP - Centre national des arts plastiques (Paris) and Mudam (Luxembourg).

Partner of the exhibition Repeat After Me at Eastwards Prospectus is BRD - Groupe Société Générale.

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