Sixty Seconds Party
June 9th to 20th 2022
Gallery Display Window
424 center – Prizrenska 9 Belgrade, Serbia
June 18th 2022 to 20th 2022 424 center – Gallery space
Alina Melnikova & Fabrizio Contarino are two visual artists based in Barcelona, working together in design, sculpture and painting. They use a collectively engaging process to create installations and performances combining these mediums. The starting point of their work is a hybrid collection of visual material, found or produced that they mix, manipulate and transform. They constantly deal with visual memory related to pop culture.
During the stay at Belgrade AIR artists worked on an installation “Sixty Second Party’’ created through a collectively shared vocabulary of motifs and ideas that zooms the imagery related to local visual culture, folk, traditions and music. It was the first time the duo presented a project in Serbia in which sediments of memories found in the streets of Belgrade were displayed.
A shop window in Belgrade downtown was converted into an open experimental room where one could listen to music, dance, draw or just watch the passers-by for ten days. Artists usually start their interaction with the space by looking into stereotypes related to the place and play around with its visual appearances and contradictions. This time their focus slid on Belgrade hyperactive life which is boiling in alternative art centers or clubs in the suburbs and on floating boats on the Danube river. They invited the visitors to perform for 60 seconds in the space covered with foam and graffiti replicas they found visiting these places. Tags and signs drawn on the gallery window, like scratches on the surface of the buildings, create a thin net that connects them to each other.
The creation process was dictated by collected stories from visitors and heard in the streets. The structure of the space was naturally influenced by the uncovering procedure. Emptying the vitrine they found a bunch of randomly saved building materials which organically composed themselves into a rhythmical base of the place inside the gallery space. Like the chains of damaged concrete buildings stretching through the city.
The whole installation consists of two conceptual parts. The center of it is a vitrine. Its structure echoes the architectonic view of the city. A column inside is a ready-made sculpture wrapped in foam. This material smoothens the angles of the column and absorbs the sound. On the other hand, it reminds inside-out of the furniture and a sponge. The subtly falling down curtain that reveals and veils the inside content.
The synthesis of revealing and veiling is soaked into various layers of this installation. The other part is called “Cherry Tales”. It was set in a gallery space and became a lab that merged the imagery provided by urban archaeology and yet undiscovered symbolism of a cherry tree. Totem-like sculptures made from multiple old announcements and posters that were coating street lights and the walls of Belgrade. Parallelly, images of cherry trees that grow spontaneously in the city are looped in a slow motion video. The fruit that unites and invites to share and communicate. Only a far aftertaste of this flavour recalls a Yugonostalgia and that these berries can be found as a symbol that represents revolutionary movements.
Overall, it was a turbo residency. Not only because it was compressed into a ten days time frame and accelerated deep dive into the city’s personality. Underneath the installation, as if from behind the scene, you could hear the integrated voice of nowadays Belgrade. Interviews with locals on turbo folk and turbo-tronic, a theme that does not yet leave indifferent talking about the historical legacy of this city portrait sketch.
Photography: Fabrizio Contarino