Being a Man, Kluže Fortress, Slovenia, 2007

 

"Being a Man – Biti moški – in 1917 and 2007 "

(Kluže fortress, Aug.4 – Sept. 10, 2007)

 

           Does XX equal XY? Certainly it does not in a world that is governed by solid mathematical laws. But it certainly may in a world without strictly defined borders, in a world of shafts and dim passages, in a world of shadows… in the shadow of the fortress… in the world of shadows in the fortress.

         The Kluže Fortress, the place of my present exhibition, is certainly more "masculine" than any other. And certainly during WWI the Kluže fortress was more masculine then ever before.  How did it feel to be a part of this place in 1917? To be a man in a war amongst the walls of the fortress?

           Being in the fortress Kluže in 1917 I experience as if being in my darkroom. The darkest parts of my negative in the magnifier become the brightest spots on the paper bellow it. Similarly, amongst the walls of the Kluže fortress, the most "masculine" features in soldiers during the most critical of moments reveal themselves as being the most "feminine". As the letters that remain behind from the difficult time of 1917 show, often the feminine side of men surfaced in  the critical, the most expected to be "masculine" of moments. Thus placing myself into the shoes of a man, into an XX, reveals to me really what it means to be a woman, an XY. It reveals that XX often equals XY.

              Men and women therefore do not differ as much as it may seem. We are not simply XX or XY, but rather we are shadows. Here, in the Kluže fortress – we are one and the other. In the shadow that I see as pure esthetic, XX and XY are joined together, fusing into one naturally and artistically.

          My exhibition therefore is not about man or woman, about XX or XY, but about shadows. I see this place and its atmosphere most personified through shadows.  Shadows personify captivity – each one of us is alone when being with their shadow. And when one is alone, the shadow becomes even more visible, more present and  as such becomes the expression of everything that was, or that is or that it could be – it becomes the mirror, reflecting more than simply what the surface has to offer.

            This is why I placed my shadows amongst and along the walls of the Kluže fortress. From there they observe us and wait for us from around the corners, trying to convey the retrospective of the most intimate experiences of individuals, captured amongst these walls and their mission in the most difficult of times.                                                                                                                                   

 

Eva Petrič

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