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ETC.: Fever Dream
Improper Walls, Vienna, Austria

Artists: Dan Adlešič, Maruša Uhan, Līga Spunde, Nikolá Balberčaková & Marketa Slana

All photos by Michaela Nagyidaiová
The group exhibition Fever Dream explores how the feelings of anxiety, disorientation, discomfort, and disbelief culminate in artistic projects by uncanny depictions of the everyday. Through a variety of media and spatial installations, the artistic projects in the exhibition highlight the bizarreness of our everyday lives, questioning various forms of commodification and our desire to influence situations that seem impossible to control. Artists Dan Adlešič, Maruša Uhan, Līga Spunde, Nikola Balberčáková & Markéta Slaná frequently employ stories and fictional narratives to make sense of the zeitgeist and explore whether they can be used to reflect the time we live in.

The idea of Dan Adlešič’s Furniture Pets brand is to spark a debate about technology and everyday life. By developing provocative artefacts, the brand aims to engage people through humour, surprise, and wonder. Although they might appear as pointless objects with bizarre functions, their value goes beyond the applied function and offers an opportunity to stimulate our imagination. The project follows the form of a product presentation and promotion with a clear aim of selling it to us for a well-defined price - its usefulness and our utter need for novelty seemingly uncontested.

The boundaries between the marketplace and the private sphere are more blurred in the performance I See Everyone Getting All the Things I Want, directed by Nikola Balberčáková and Markéta Slaná who transformed a private apartment in Bratislava into a space for a collective experience of live acts resembling YouTube beauty and lifestyle vlogs as well as other internet content for the duration of one evening. By combining different contents, such as dancing challenges, positive affirmations, TikTok trends, YouTube tutorials, and karaoke singing into at times unusual and hectic performance narrative, the project captures the ways we receive information while scrolling through social media networks and reflects an emotional landscape of a younger generation by presenting themes of commodified self-care, feminism, queerness, and identity crisis. This artificial content produced by the desire for commodification and control over one’s emotions, body as well as constructing of a lifestyle is mirrored to an extent by the High-maintenance video installation by Slovenian artist Maruša Uhan in which she deals with the phenomenon of weather. As uncontrollable as it may be she attempts to place it in an artificial habitat that can mimic and contain it, thus addressing the desire for its demystification. In that way, the weather no longer appears as mighty or frightening, but almost mechanical, more easily controlled.
Addressing fear and the desire for control pushed to an extreme is There’s No Harm in Any Blessings, a multimedia installation by Līga Spunde. In addition to her personal stories, the artist used motifs from David Vetter, “The Bubble Boy’s”, unusual life. Since birth, he suffered from severe combined immunodeficiency, which made his survival impossible outside a sterile environment. As soon as David was born, his parents decided to put him in a special germ-free chamber until a solution for his acquiring immunity could be found. Instead of just a few months, David spent twelve years, i.e. his entire life span, in the chamber, which to this day continues to raise questions about the ethics of the experiment. Līga Spunde’s work is thus a reflection on relationships, a sense of security, overprotection, and faith in the supernatural as a defense strategy.
All of the artworks coming together in the Fever Dream exhibition are therefore specific examples of controlled environments - marketable objects transforming the traits of house pets to be commodified and sold as indispensable, carefully constructed narratives of lifestyle influencers selling in a manner that is just a couple degrees more subtle, an attempt in controlling the uncontrollable and in fighting the illnesses we do not yet have the means to fight, placing our hopes in closed sanctuaries and the power of our will.

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 and Slovenian Cultural Centre SKICA.

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.