Miran Šabić / Memory archiving
The ability to remember is one of the most important attainments of man’s development that differentiates him from other living beings, and is the basis for acquiring diverse knowledge and mastering it. The concept of human memory or remembering evokes something that has been frozen in time and which exacerbates the reminiscence of a past event. In this way, remembering something that has happened in the past i largely affects our present and our future. That’s why a man is a set of personal memories, and our experience makes us as we are. Memory thus represents the synthesis of time and identity.
The imagination of Miran Šabić, since childhood, has been captured by the experiences and memories that he absorbed through storytelling of the closest family members as they selflessly recounted interesting historical and family stories. Following the artist’s work from the beginning to present day, we can perceive the continuous question of identity, memory and life after death. Miran Šabić interprets these topics within certain cycles, avoiding the literal interpretation and illustration of the subject, people or events. In the depictions of simple everyday moments in life we often forget (though they shape us subconsciously), and by recording seemingly ordinary objects that carry a remarkable memory of the loved person we have lost, the artist finds similarities and links to his own life. The notion of remembering, recollection and memory is also represented in his doctoral thesis, in which the artist has conducted a complex research on memory archiving at the boundary of life and death.
This exhibition – “Memory archiving” – is the visual part of a doctoral work which started as an exploration of memories at the boundary of life and death, or re-examination of the way in which the visual memory of a healthy human being appears at this boundary, defining one’s life values. Since remembering and memories are building man and his identity, Miran Šabić based his research on personal memories through pictures that an individual store during life and which appear in bulk at the time of transition to clinical death. Driven by difficult moments experienced during the illness and death of his grandparents, Miran Šabić decided to investigate what kind of influence we have on our environment, i.e. how much our lives and deeds shape our memory in the consciousness of other people.
Performing the artwork is conceived as a multimedia installation of the visual reconstruction of the artist’s own life as told by his close friends. The concept of archives in Šabić’s work refers to the recorded moment and supported by certain documentation, thus creating the whole network of events related to that moment. Spatial installation consists of three equivalent units. Each whole is made up of a video work and a group of drawings that directly refer to the content of a particular video work. The videos record the testimonies of people close to the artist, about events that, in their opinion, defined the relationship with him. The documentary record in which the interviewed person is placed in the center of the picture in front of neutral background allows the observer to build the story through the content that is heard but also the accompanying elements such as speech, tone, and emotions offered by the narrator, which rise to the surface when recalling a certain moment from past. The video work is a display of individual memory through the presentation of one’s own memories, while the drawings add the artist’s knowledge and remembrance of the same event, thus forming a set of different memories of the same experience. The nature of the event can be read through the face mimic, focusing on the details, the mood and the emotions of the interviewee, which rounds off the story and gives a complete experience of the situation interpreted from two different positions of the two people involved in the same event.
Three featured video works are the starting point of the installation, while the main practical part is a group of art drawings that the artist points out as evidence of the stories told in the video works. Presented objects are sort of traces of a split moment. Instead of the literal narrative view of the event, Miran Šabić chooses to portray certain objects that were part of the story. Larger drawings drawn with a lavender shower and a feather allowed the author an authentic display of objects. The wrinkles of the shirt and the sleeve fit contribute to the vitality and the reality of the objects that seem to have passed all the experience, so the observer easily connects and identifies with them. The subjects that the artist interprets are all close and familiar, and visual language is accompanied by a story from a video. These objects, shown in full size with plenty of detail, seem to mark a certain period of time, which is furthermore accented by the use of black and white. This encourages the idea of transforming certain objects into important symbols, which were often separated from the real timeline in movies, by applying black/white effects in certain moments. Certain objects in the drawings were mentioned by the person from the video, while some objects have been added by the artist and they are part of his personal memory of the same event. In this way, we recognize that this is a subjective and ultimately individual impression of each person involved, but together they provide a more complete story of the memory. Exposing video works and drawings leads to the synthesis of the memory of the person who describes the event, and the memories of the artist who was included in the event. In the context of the work, the drawings take on the function of photography and in the form of mental images follow certain memories from the past. While each object can be a direct association and a link to the artist in the context of the event, it also represents a universal symbol, so it is up to the viewer to decide whether the object will help them visualize the moment described in the video work or they will recall their own memories initiated by the perceived object; in order to get into the area of personal experience.
Interestingly, Miran Šabić most often selects the view of objects instead of people involved in the story. Though close people are key carriers of this and many other cycles, the objects in his work take on the function of the guardian of a certain memory or moment. Each person experiences a particular event in a special way and stores it in their memories, and with each viewer, the presented work receives a unique interpretation, experience and ending, which keeps the exhibition permanently open and constantly changing within the basic guidelines and settings of the video testimonies and accompanying drawings. By involving a larger number of viewers invoking their own memories, we come to the notion of cultural memory as a type of collective memory shared by a number of people in the same society and refers to the cultural identity of every person.
By further analyzing the collected and interpreted materials, Miran Šabić realizes that his beloved people, instead of logically expected, important events, spontaneously chose and recounted everyday common moments marked by a positive atmosphere, which prompted the artist to wonder whether it is possible for those little memories which make our lives (so often and easily remembered) actually make the key memories that shape our lives?
Sharing a very personal story and experience, Miran Šabić breaks the illusion of an unmistakable artist and allows the observer to feel close and associate with him on the basis of similar everyday life experiences deprived of great expectations. Contextualizing the events from his own childhood, evoking the tradition of narration and unifying his memories, as well as his friends’ and family members’ memories of the same event within the multimedia installation, Miran Šabić points out that memories, lived experiences and moments are the essence of life itself, thereby confirming the thought of Spanish film director Luis Buñuel, concluding his doctoral thesis: “We need to start losing memories, even fragments, to realize that memories are what makes life. Life without memory is not really life, just as intelligence without the possibility of expression is not really intelligence. Our memories are our coherence, our feelings, even our actions. “
Sonja Švec Španjol, mag.hist.art.
Was born in 1986 in Brežice, Slovenia.
2010 Graduated MA at the Academy of Fine Arts in the class of prof. Frane Paro.
2017 PhD at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, mentors: prof. Ante Rašić and prof. Leonida Kovač PhD.
He participated in residency programs at VCCA Residency in Virginia in USA, St. Mary’s College of Maryland in USA, Frans Masereel Centrum in Belgium and I-A-M Residency Berlin in Germany.
He held artist talks and lectures in South Korea (Seoul), USA (Maryland, Leonardtown, New York), in Latvia (Riga), Belgium (Kasterlee, Arendonk) and Croatia.
Since 2009 he has been exhibiting in Croatia and abroad. He had 15 solo and over 100 group exhibitions. The most important are: World Youth Art Festival, Seoul, South Korea 2017. / The 22nd Seoul International Festival, Chosunilbo museum, Seoul, Korea / Neo Print Prize 2014, Neo: Gallery, Bolton, UK / 8th International Printmaking Bienal Douro 2016, Douro, Portugal / The 3rd and 4th Graphic Art Biennial of Szeklerland, Sfântu Gheorghe, Romania / 1st Expression of World Art (NEWA) 2011, Henan Museum, Zengzhou, China / T- ht nagrada, MSU, Zagreb, Croatia / 7th Biennale of Drawing, Muzeum of West Bohemia, Plzen, Czech Republic / Print art fair, FMC, Kasterlee, Belgium / DI CARTA/PAPERMADE, Schio, Italy…
He won several awards for his work. The most important are The Award of South Korean Government – Congresman Award, World Youth Art Festival, Seoul, South Korea 2017. / The Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb Award, 33. Youth Salon, HDLU, Zagreb, 2016. / IMAF award, OSTEN Biennial of Drawing, Macedonia 2012. / Big diploma for graphic art, “XIV Interbifep”, International Gallery of Portrait, Tuzla, BiH, 2011. / HDLU award, 6. Triennale of Croatian Graphics, HDLU, Zagreb.
Since 2012 he has been working as an asisstant, and from 2018 as assistant professor at the Graphic department of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb.