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“Babel We Are not Mad with You”

“Babel We Are not Mad with You” 2011- 2016…

By using a name that evokes the picture of the legendary Tower of Babel, seen by many as the place where all existing languages originate from, the project aims to ask several artistically articulated questions about personal attitudes towards languages, our blurred collective memory and its reliability, as well as towards cultural heritage and our awareness of it…

I initiated the project in February 2011 as a contribution to the joint presentation of a number of artists taking part in a three-month artist-in-residence program at Rondo Studio in Graz, and it has been developing ever since…

As a guest artist, surrounded by artists of different artistic expressions from all over the world, I have come to realize that what defines us as individuals is our prospective idea and how we perceive ourselves.

What I have also come to realize is that we can create nothing that is not already within us.

Even though we use it on a regular basis, we are not aware of a great deal of our inherited and acquired knowledge.

During my three-month stay, I visited numerous exhibitions, openings, concerts, and lectures by foreign authors, which all took place in an environment that likes to be called “multicultural”.

The gathering propensity of those around me and my need to look at the situation with hindsight, motivated me to start collecting.

Writers, photographers, painters, sculptors, multimedia artists, choreographers…

Not understanding the language of the people who surround you for a long period of time can make a person fall into despair… or it can inspire them to make something out of it…

Trying, initially without success, to understand the languages  spoken by people (artists) around me, I began to observe those languages from another angle.

By deliberately neglecting the fact that I don’t understand a particular language, I focused on what we have in common – the pursuit of art.

I started collecting artistic statements{1> from artists from different parts of the world that I had the opportunity to meet (Armenia, Iran, Bulgaria, Finland, Belarus, Congo, Japan, Colombia, South Africa, Austria, Germany…)<1}

I received some statements in electronic form, and some in handwriting.

The statements were various, from very official ones, to quite personal, and some were even written in the form of poetry.

The artists spoke about their overall artistic creativity and life, or they presented specific projects.

I kept the original fonts and manuscripts, as part of their identity.

I noticed that the “shadows” of words that can be recognized in different languages create certain impressions about their authors.

From “artistic statements” I made panels (80 x 100 cm) that use my understanding and misunderstanding of languages as a template for artistic composition.

By analyzing artistic statements and transposing them into an independent, typographically shaped piece, the coloristic relations of words in a sentence were established. Namely, the words and phrases that are known and comprehensible were in color red, while the more obscure parts were emphasized in black.

Sometimes it’s good not to understand everything, since it leaves room for enjoyment and imagination…

In the next phase, I recorded speakers talking in their native languages, as well as their audience. The intention was to catch people’s gestures and facial expressions when they find themselves in a situation in which they don’t understand the language of the speaker.

By doing so, I wanted to create the atmosphere of the Tower of Babel, in which I found myself in those days. (Video 6` 18“: Graz, 2011)

Artists who made their artistic statements in the first phase of the project and thus helped in the realization of the first part of the project:

Jeni Noltcheva – Bulgaria, Tuuli Sunden-Uusimäki – Finland, Dragos Olea – Romania, Azusa Kuno – Japan, Juliana Atuesta and Raul Saldarriaga – Colombia, Wolfgang Grinschgl – Austria, Arpi Voskanyan and Hambaradzum Voskanyan – Armenia, Igor Savchenko – Belarus, Fiston Nasser Mwanza – Congo.

Zagreb, 2014

The next part of the project is the result of collaboration with the Austrian Cultural Forum in Zagreb.

In constant search of an answer to the question “how much did we really understand each other?”, I was joined by artists who were at the time students of the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb.

Nancy Etienne-van Schilt – Netherlands, Rui Pereira and Ângela Ferreira – Portugal, Anatoliy Chernyavskiy – Russia, Ji Suk Baek – South Korea.

The artists that gathered provided me their artistic statements, and allowed me to “translate” them into my panels. Then they presented them in front of the audience in their native languages, thereby contributing to the Babel-like atmosphere.

The project then continued in Ljubljana and Dubrovnik, 2016…

American photographer Nicolò Sertorio, joined by contemporary Slovenian artists, sculptor Janez Pirnat and sound artist Petra Kapš, provided their artistic statements.

The project was presented in:


Rondo Studio Graz, Marienplatz 1/4.

Group exhibition of artists during the artist-in-residence program

2011, Čakovec, Defragmenting Personality, group exhibition

Koprivnica, City Museum and Gallery, solo exhibition

2013, Vinkovci, solo exhibition


Zagreb, Austrian Cultural Forum, solo exhibition


HDLU Dubrovnik, Flora Gallery , solo exhibition


Varaždin, Gallery Center Varaždin