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ETC.: Fever Dream
2. 9.–10. 9. 2023
GMK, Zagreb, Croatia

Artists: Enej Gala, Øleg&Kaśka, The Witch Twins

All photos by Jan Krek
Waking up in a dream means entering worlds where everything is possible. The topography might look foreign at first glance, but one can quickly realise that the contours are familiar, reminding us of worlds we have already heard of and that we have, in fact, already seen them in a slightly different rendering – perhaps on an evening walk through the city, in old history textbooks or as children, enchanted by puppets in a darkened theatre. It might be the reminiscence of daily events placed among the hills and valleys of dreamlands, soft and welcoming as pink cotton candy. The familiarity of these worlds is kind of soothing, and their abstractness stirs up thoughts of new possibilities, of new stories based on different, magical words for describing already known feelings.

Exhibition Fever Dream opens ports to strange dream-like universes. Selected projects merge elements of the past and current zeitgeist, forming imaginary worlds where even at times when unbearable feelings of anxiety and hopelessness creep upon us, there is at least a promise of a silver lining – an armoured hero, a magical coat, a possible exit door to another world where humanity is not yet doomed but only presented with an epic quest. These stories are implausible and remain anchored in fiction; they are aware that they are not necessarily factual descriptions of real events, yet we can catch a glimpse of the real world reflected on the shiny surface of the dreamscapes.

And just like that appears a surreal world of The Witch Twins, where a mysterious duo is wandering the empty landscape on their magical quest. Videos saturated with big shiny headpieces, bold makeup and unknown alchemist symbols, merge styles of homemade VHS records and sci-fi movies before the CGI times, evoking bitter-sweet memories of fantastic stories we forgot about while growing up. A mystical world that sprouted and evolved among four walls of a Predanič brothers’ student dorm consists of different elements, influenced by drag culture, 60s and 70s aesthetics and their own childhood memories, forming a refuge, perhaps kinder and more accepting reality, welcoming all those misfits who don’t conform to the norms of our society.
Enej Gala creates an imaginary world filled with characters merging into one another and occupying structures that are subverting their real-world roles, taking advantage of the ambiguity of the materials they are made of. He refers to Richard Teschner, a puppeteer who worked in Prague and Vienna in the first half of the twentieth century, creating an artificial world that enables us to rethink our time, its shifts, tensions and paradoxes. The figures he creates leave room for interpretation, their expressions or a lack thereof revealing an internal struggle, perhaps not assumed at first glance. Whimsical at first, they always appear more complex as we take a closer look at their existential situations.
Everything I Knew Has Become Yesterday's Dream (2022) by Øleg&Kaśka is a story about fear and uncertainty of the future in the context of today’s world crises. The narrative of the story includes possible scenarios of the future, which Øleg&Kaśka envision as an escalation of violence. Rooted in the symbolism of war, medieval times and religion, two works, Where the Future Grows and Banner of Rebirth, talk about escapism and fatality while also addressing the current and predicted condition of society and the environment in general. Artists use storytelling to create a complex environment in which every work is interconnected and has a symbolic meaning, creating an immersive setting reminiscent of a fairy tale.

Curated by: ETC. with guest curator Lara Reichmann
Visual Identity: Zoran Pungerčar
Exhibition Design: Dorijan Šiško

Partners of ETC. Magazine: Galerija Fotografija, Kino Šiška, Look Back and Laugh, Ravnikar Gallery Space

The project is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.

Etc. is a annual magazine, dedicated to showcasing current artistic production from the Baltic to the Balkans.
Based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, each issue is dedicated to a relevant topic in art and life. Founded to promote emerging artists, its goal is to initiate a dialogue, inspire collaborations, and challenge set views.