Božica Dea Matasić / Bottomless bags
Focusing our attention to the colloquial use of the phrase ‘bottomless bags’ in the Croatian language, there is a conceptual branch opening for associations such as ‘that which devours money, seeks endless investments, bottomless pit, abysmal pit ‘. If this syntagm is accompanied by a visual interpretation suggested by Božica Dea Matasić, in which an ambiental installation comprised of five oversized objects with the skeletal form of quotidian shopping bags takes over the symbolical exhibit space, they give way to fortifying the artist’s primal thesis of the consumerist abyss within us, not just surrounding us.
The visitors can pass through the objects, stay inside of them or, eventually, inhabit them, as they are made from welded iron pipes (intentionally painted as black ‘negatives’) and, with their size, they surpass the modular anthropometric measure of comfortable 226 centimetres. It is not a surprise that the ambiental scene itself , viewed from afar, seems as a funny metaphor of the symbiotic relationship between men and shopping bags, but is also a cynical display of the consumerist giant-whale, devouring a naive and illusion-driven Pinochio wihin us, whose personal credo is filled with seemingly easy life choices.
Philosophical-psychological readings of the globalized consumerist culture of the late liberal capitalism (such as Tyranny of Choice by Renata Salecl), point to how strongly this consumerist spirit rooted in our lives is manifesting through reflections of our life pleasures which emerge from buying new Gazelles, and is building control over our own femininity using the new, ultra-pigmenting Lancôme lipstick. Everybody gets what they deserve, depending on their pocket size. What matters the most is that we possess.
Wanting to be unique – visible, attractive and outstanding – it is as if we keep forgetting that these ‘free choices’ separate us from the collective body and some social ideas different from those contained in masses of plastic bags collected at the last seasonal sales, made to detach us from the real, collectively lived realities.
“Who cares, I got my new iPhone7!”
Salecl will demonstrate through various examples, how, despite all these repeated everyday freedoms of choice, our background lives are total emptiness and guilt – mostly because of lack of imagination, be it individual or collective, social. It is because the real change, not the cosmetic one, is trapped within us, and it suffers for dialogue, not necessarily with things, but with people.
Still, is it really possible to escape the conditions caused by our own social/contextual frameworks (bags)? That question can be answered through another work, a movie which marked the past two centuries by its two sequels, Trainspotting. Even its protagonists are facing multiple choices: “Choose life. Choose Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and hope that someone, somewhere cares… And then… take a deep breath You’re an addict, so be addicted Just be addicted to something else Choose the ones you love Choose your future Choose life”.
But, if you have seen the movies, you know how this (fictional) life scenario ends…
Going back to Božica Dea Matasić’s work, which can be defined in the post-conceptual, post-pop and the widened post-Internet sculptural form, whose essence holds multimediality as a sketch, but also the way of disseminating the virtual-real picture, we can easily see the art history references which the artist is building: quoting Warhol’s obssession with shopping or the ready-made heritage, which are seen through the reflections and traces of its post-object picture. Matasić thinks about all this with a dose of asceticism, unlike some contemporary artists, such as Sylvie Fleury, who built installations with luxurious objects and packages (before the global economic crisis in 2008), cinically fighting the world of consumerism, but also supporting the system exactly as it is.
Additional value of the installation lies within the ambient, built through the dialogue with the basement halls of Diocletian’s palace – they are also denied of their heritage aspect and their cultural value as tourism pressures all capacities and resources of Split. This dialogue alludes to the bottomless bag of the city, which is trapped in the fast accumulation without long term public planning of its sustainable development.
“To present a work doesn’t mean to introduce the audience to the dead piece, but to activate the symbolic mechanisms through gesture and articulation, and its two main fuels: moment, and place”, as Paul Ardenne wrote in his Contextual art; through this specific moment in time and context, the presentation of Božica Dea Matasić’s “Bottomles Bags” has received new energetic value, as well as a thought agenda.
 HJP. URL: http://hjp.znanje.hr/index.php?show=search_by_id&id=f15mWRV9 / (5.8.2017.)
Renata Salecl, Tiranija izbora. Faktura Zagreb, 2012.
 Danny Boyle, Trainspotting 1 (1996.). Trainspotting 2 (2017.) Film.
 Paul Ardenne, Un art contextuel, Flammarion, Paris, 2002, 47.
Božica Dea Matasić received her M.A. degree in Art Education, from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb at Teaching department, specializing in Sculpture. Since 1992, she has been exhibiting at more than 20 solo and over 50 group exhibitions. From 1998 to 2003 she worked as a curator at the Student Center Gallery in Zagreb. She is one of the editors of the Student Center Gallery’s 40th anniversary monograph. She was selected among 17 Croatian artists for the exhibition Contemporary Croatian Sculpture under the auspices of the Ministry of Culture that was presented at Budapest, Berlin, Pecs, Trieste, Bratislava, Vienna and Ljubljana. In February and March of 2012, she had a solo exhibition in Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MAMAC), in Nice, France. She presented her award-winning project of interactive kinetic objects Panacea. She was chosen as a representative of the Croatian sculptural scene by the international jury for the exhibition Dialogue with Emperor Qin – China Eu sculptures show. Since 2014, the exhibition visited Tallinn, Tsinandali, Sofia, Bucharest, Lisbon, London and Edinburgh and continues the tour of European cities. As part of the Mediterranean sculpture symposium held in 2016, she realized the public sculpture The Tower of Views, and within 37th Goran Sculpture Workshop in the same year a public sculpture The Forest Guardian.She received Award of the Mediterranean sculpture symposium Dubrova at the XI Triennial of Croatian Sculpture, Gliptotheque HAZU, Zagreb, 2012, Award of the public, T-ht, Museum of contemporary Art, Zagreb, 2011, the Jury’s Recognition of VIII Triennial of Croatian Sculpture, and the first prize at the competition for the design of the sculptural-architectural solution of The Memorial to Žarko Kaić, with the co-authors B.Sc. Bernarda Silov and Mag. Arch. Davor Silov. Since 2006, she has been teaching sculpture at the Art Academy in Osijek. She is currently a full professor. Her monograph by Feđa Gavrilović was printed by the publishing house Kontura in 2016. She lives and works in Zagreb.