Igor Juran,Thirteen

THIRTEEN

Bearing in mind that video and experimental films are media that Igor Juran most commonly use, the name of the exhibition might suggest finding a new film format located roughly between, in the past very popular, then a bit forgotten, today again modern, ‘eight’ and almost professional ‘sixteen’.

Taking into account that one of the two works is the video made by stop animation, it is possible to think that the name does not refer to the new format of the film, but the new number of frames per second, which would, therefore, be almost exactly half of the classic twenty five.

However, regardless of the author’s previous expressive preferences, the other work confirms that, in general, there is no doubt that a film, or more accurately the idea of a film, is the main theme of the exhibition.

It is, in fact, a series of photos that will, at the very entrance of the gallery, produce a frieze. The initial impression would suggest that this is an enlarged piece of  a film or celluloid, primarily due to the characteristic frame with semi-rounded corners comprising those pictures. True, at the top and the bottom of the tape will not be those little white holes which are used for winding a film on the collet,and after all,the tape is not black but blue, and coming up closer it will become clear that the content of frames is not  a kinogram of the movement in the shift, which would be expected from the enlarged piece of the tape. So, this is not a film, but the mimicry of a film – the illusion of the film format is based on the typical frames, that is, on the organization of the frieze,  and on their content which, considering the cadre points to still camera and always the same perspective. Pictures in sequence suggest movement in front of the camera, although that movement hasn’t really happened during  the photo session; the content was still, but afterwards, by making a sequence of the photos and giving them a frame, as photographers usually do add frames to give the photographed cadre the authenticity, illustrate the idea of the  movement. That frame, however, in this case, plays also an important content role  as it informs on the context:

the photos represent passengers on the tram, photographed from the outside, always from the same spot, in cameraman’s language “same target, same distance”, where the film frame is actually the tram window frame. But it is not any tram’s window, as we know, in traffic there are different types of trams which all have different windows, and the only one that has the appropriate windows drives on the line number 13. The title of the exhibition, therefore, undoubtedly refers to the film’s space, but not towards the format of its tapes, nor on the number of movie frames, but on the line on which the tram with windows like film frames runs.  Only that line gives an opportunity for the realization othe idea of the representation of a tram as a film. Therefore, universally speaking, thirteen could symbolize categorization of the form of the film expression defined by finding film language beyond the borders of the film space.
After all, doesn’t the number 13, in  metaphorical sense, generally indicate something that in fact does not exist (Eg “thirteenth rib”, “thirteenth month” or “thirteenth apostle”), although it is well known what is meant by that?

On the level of the exhibition layout, putting the photos with  the tram frames in sequence, with somewhat similar, but, then again, always different content, the illusion of the film is achieved.

That kind of illusion has its strongpoint on the experiential level, the passing of the lightened tram is very similar to cadre of a film, which we   watch on screens in dark cinemas. And, just as  when watching a film, we do not see those vertical lines which divide pictures on the tape, on the rolling by tram we do not see those  vertical frames of the windows; but only  its interior.

When a film tape is stopped  those frames are uncovered, and this is the situation in which Juran intervenes – in that moment, on the level of  expression of the medium, film is equaled to photography, which opens the possibility for medium meta-language to achieve the illusion of a film as something in motion, by a photography defined by time  that came to standstill.

And that kind of illusion is enabled by the frame of the photographed content, tram 13 window. That window is used as a platform suitable for medium cooperation –frieze made of photographs we watch as film. With the difference that it doesn’t move in front of us but wein front of it. It’s time stays still while ours is flowing. It is unusual that, on the content level, it is achieved by the model in its essence completely opposite: the experience of watching  tram is that it moves while we watch it passing. That confirms that stopping of the tram is identical to film’s stopping and that the tram is, in its structure film allegory.

If we  use Tarkovsy’s definition that “film is mosaic made of time” and that “no other art form can fix time as it happens in the movies”, it seems that Juran had taken microscope and by looking through this definition, realized that it was possible to stay within it if the time was fixed in just one picture.

And after we open the door and pass through tram frieze, inside the gallery film made by this recipe, composed of still portraits of the tram 13 passengers (whom we  have just met at the entrance) awaits us.

Film in front of us is made of series of stopped sights which, by their content, prove that this is a sequence of, at different times, fixed moments.

Which means that in fact there is nothing moving anymore, nor we, nor the content that we see. Only the movie is still running.

So that , at the end, and conceptually fully justified, it spins in loop, because trams themselves go on the same track again and again.

And the tram 13, by the way, has its turnstile in Žitnjak.

Boris Greiner

 

Igor Juran was born in 1981. He graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. From 2006 to 2011 he was a member of the art group Projekt6 which he co-founded. He is a member of the Croatian Association of Artists. He has exhibited in more than twenty group exhibitions in Croatia, Serbia, Bosnia, England, the Netherlands and Germany, and participated in several festivals, residences and workshops. He deals with experimental video, photography and film and uses video as a part of his site-specific works. He worked as the assistant director on two documentaries and one short film. He is one of the founders of the artistic organization AAMF. Currently, he is preparing several films and projects. He lives and works in Zagreb.

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