Tajči Čekada / "... and what do these performers actually do?"
What is performance and what do these performers actually do? – “forum-goers” asked not so long ago in 2013, in the sub-section of Forum.hr called “Male Corner – For worshippers of beer, remote control, verbal chavinism and other male stuff …”, and the artist, Tajči Čekada, used their comments as a screenplay for performing the performance bearing the same name in which 21 people participated, as well as in this forum “talk”. Just like Internet chat participants conceal their personal names under a nickname, which then gives them the freedom to insult others without linking their words to their name and surname, performers wear costumes that hide the true identity of the actor. Performed in public space in the very center of Rijeka, this act of art in some way depicts the general misunderstanding of performance, as well as the artist in general, who, as the “forum-goers” say, mostly “fiddle around” and live very well, parasiting upon the state budget.
I would like to relate this statement immediately to the other performance by Čekada, which is also presented in this intersection of her works in the last 10 years, called „Šunka-sir, kulen-sir, samo sir“(“Ham-cheese, sausage-cheese, only cheese”), in which the artist states: “I’ve decided to do this sort of performance because although I’m doing things like costume design, fashion design, photography, performance etc, sometimes I need to help myself with some extra work, and that’s already – each summer for the past 8 years – making sandwiches that I’m selling at various beach bars.”
Tajči Čekada is a part of a powerful and always provocative Rijeka art scene, and in her many years of work she uses various forms of artistic expression, from photography, fashion design and costume to performance where she is most often an actor. With this exhibition in Salon Galić, we wish to present the intersection of her artistic activity over the past decade through nine video performances and / or documentation of artistic works.
In her performances, there is often a kind of transformation of a person, or artist, performance actor, into some other creature, an animal, or even a mythical, imaginary, fantasy being. Put together, they form an imaginary that Branko Cerovac has pronouncedly called a “cultural bestiary” and they present the artist’s desire to transform real life into “life in art”. The question is how much this desire is conscious or unconscious, instinctive, because the artist herself recognizes the reason for the emergence of performance F to H, in which she realizes the trans-species and transgender transformation from man (so-called female) into rabbit (so-called male): “The need for transforming into a rabbit has been with me since 2010, when it just ‘hit me’ and began to gradually and systematically besiege me. The desire was primordial, unrelated to any thought or quotation.” In this performance, for which the artist upgrades his own teeth and masks into a hare, but not a bunny and certainly not a girl bunny, which draws an inevitable comparison with Joseph Beuys and his famous performance “How to Explain Pictures to a Dead Hare” from 1965, the artist does not accidentally dive into the problem of gender identity and its transformations. Namely, F to H is an allusion to the Internet abbreviations for sex transformation (F to M for transformations from woman to man and M to F for transformations from man to woman). Čekada’s transformation is a transformation from woman to hare, a forest hare, and a male forest hare.
The recurring theme of transformation is repeated in Čekada’s work several times, as if the artist, consciously or unconsciously, is trying to escape into her own fantasy world that has completely different laws from this reality that we share with her, fleeing into nature, transforming into a snail and staging a picnic with a boar, as in “The picnic” performance, or even transforming into death, as in “Post-mortem high fashion”, but always with a dose of humor and self-irony, and with careful attention to each detail of costume design and scenography. Thus rises the conclusion that she is partly trying to escape those characters from the Man’s Corner from the beginning of this text, who call themselves chauvinists and are obviously proud of it. I would really like her imaginary and idyllic artistic worlds to be real, and that this reality in which such people exist and sow hatred of everything else and different, was not real.
 Alluding to Playboy’s bunnies.
Tajči Čekada works in the field of costume design, design and fashion design, performance, photography and video art.In the period between 2004 and 2013 she actively participated in the work of the Multimedia Centre and O.K. Gallery, often on creating joint projects in collaboration with various artists, especially in the field of performance art. Since the beginning of her career she has also created various engaged, conceptual and/or avant-garde collections, mostly presented in unconventional fashion performances and locations. She designs and creates costumes for numerous concerts and music videos of various music groups and individual performers, for feature films, various theatre performances. As of late, she has created a number of photographic projects, although in the past couple of years performance, that is, video performance, has been the primary focus of her creative work. She has exhibited in numerous group and solo exhibitions in the country and abroad