Nikša Čvorović / Nick A.T. Knotman / PROJECTION OF ALIENATED HYPOTHESIS Scenes from the Life and Little Deaths of Nicolina Di Groppollo, Conscious Activist
PROJECTION OF ALIENATED HYPOTHESIS
Scenes from the Life and Little Deaths of Nicolina Di Groppollo, Conscious Activist
In the exhibition entitled „PROJECTION OF ALIENATED HYPOTHESIS / Scenes from Life and Little Deaths of Nicolina di Groppollo, Conscious Activist”, Nick A.T. Knotman/Nikša Čvorović presents series of A3 size prints thematising, according to the working title of the exhibition, the author’s alter ego – conscious activist Nicolina di Groppollo.
Čvorović is an artist that draws his inspiration from the hypocrisy of everyday life and that certain “YES” as the ultimate form of negation; he does not hesitate to create different alter egos, thus changing perception of himself, yet leaves his true self intact.
Once, he worked on a project “Geronimo”, for which he had identified himself with the indigenous people of America in order to carry it out successfully. His neighbours were Lakota Indians who showed him how to make artefacts using materials found in the woods. After he set out to search for the materials, the artist got bitten by a tick and contracted borreliosis shortly afterwards. High temperature caused him to fall into delirium in which he saw himself as a rope in a knot, or perhaps a knot in a rope; Indian knot used to tie eagle’s feathers together. He understood this intense, almost unbelievable affair to be a kind of initiation and a way of discovering of his own name “To Stumble upon a Tick In the Midst of Winter … the Will of Gitchi Manitou… Knot…”
The author’s first alter ego was Ivan Schwab, a writer who turned up in 1986. He was known for writing exhibition forewords and explaining the author’s ideas about paintings. Schwab wrote concisely and clearly, and collaboration with him lasted until the onset of American economic crisis in 2008.
The author’s second alter ego is the founder of Depressionism, Kašpar F./1956*1999+/ He is a character that can be viewed as a mirror of transition. Kašpar eventually committed suicide and there is even a graduate thesis on him at the Prague fine arts academy, entitled “Reason Lost between Immanence and Transcendence”.
His third alter ego is Nick A.T. Knotman, among other things the author of this exhibition. Knotman appears on public demand in order to erase the artist’s personal history. After long term abuse on behalf of Persistent Somebody (continuous devastation of the artist’s studio and its glass windows and doors, destruction of artworks…), in 2000 Čvorović organises an exhibition in Salon Galić entitled “Culture Morte/Trogir UNESCO/ Kill the Croatian Artist”, where he displays photographs depicting consequences of vandalism, police decisions, court calls, verdicts, medical reports, letters to president of state, prime minister, minister of internal affairs, UNESCO etc., and the Manifest of Demoncracy. Shortly after, the case ended up in the court because he apparently overly exercised the right of self-defence, exceeding it by the sheer force of images and words as opposed to poor and weak physical and psychical violence and permanent vandalism Atelier Margo Liber was exposed to. Čvorović then got sentenced to a three months on probation. He considers most cynical the explication that states that the accused demanded some rights he thought belonged to him – basic human rights: rights to work undisturbed, peaceful sleep, human dignity… Then, in the spirit of neo-colonial culturism, Nikša Čvorović of Trogir breaks up with Deperessionism, and decides to replace his provincial artistic name with its optimistic European version, Nick A.T. Knotman.
His fourth and, at least for the time being, last alter ego is an Italian version of this name, mentioned at the beginning of the text and premiered at this event, Nicolina di Groppollo, conscious activist. Therefore, she is the alter ego of Nick A.T. Knotman, Nikša Čvorović’s alter ego. Čvorović is a graduated printmaker, Knotman an engineering technician, and Di Groppollo is a lesbian and a conscious activist.
Nicolina di Groppollo creates series comprising over 30 prints in dominantly dusky tones, heavy, dark palette based on nuances of black, purple and blue colour. Background depicts the forest during sundown or dawn as a stage where the heroine experiences her big and little successes and failures. In powerful contrast to light, yellowish bodies of naked women, it becomes a mystical, idyllic ambient, a place of imagination and dreams, a playground. Women’s bodies are frequently bright – sometimes moonlit, sometimes pale like ghosts, apparitions. In some of the scenes, Nicolina Di Groppollo is completely by herself; accompanied only by her reflection in the mirror, while in other situations she can be found in the company of one or several other naked women. They are always depicted as gracious, slightly austere, yet clearly playful, simultaneously enticing spectators’ interest and making them become voyeurs in this ambient. Cool tones of the forest in combination with pale, mostly naked and extremely eroticised female characters can make more sensitive spectators feel uncomfortable, which is not unusual as Nicolina Di Groppollo sometimes uses her posture unambiguously and rudely to inform us that we perhaps do not belong here, disconnecting us from the story.
The author hints at thematic interpretations of his works through their titles: Awakening of the Nation, Restauration of Feudalism is Unquestionable, Spreading Good is Merciless and Frightening, All Roads Lead, Legalisation Opens a Path Towards Appropriation, Amnesia or a Filter of Unpleasant Scents, Forensics of Innocence, EUgenics Greets the Absentees, Everybody Satisfied But the Sheep, Slavery is the Foundation of Democracy, Lie in the User’s Head, Lustration etc. The works document scenes from the life and little deaths of Di Groppollo that are, according to the artist, sacred future, same as the already accomplished unthreatening and undemanding utopia. The author deliberately makes them repeatable and uninventive, having in mind that everything new has to become old eventually, and that the old does not grow older, therefore his dead artworks cannot die anymore – mors immortalis. He states: “A paradoxical situation in simultaneous affirmation and denouncement of the positive world, a metaphysical demystification of deceptiveness typical for every culture and every positive work. Positive actions lead to a discovery of Nothing, as in the experience of uselessness of the very positivity that needs to remain with itself to bare its futility over again. There we come to the very essence of religious experience… in scenes as illustrations of the life and little deaths of Saint Nicolina Di Groppollo…”.