Bold colourfulness announces the vibrating presence of the new series of pictures by Vanja Vukovic. Abstract areas and stripes cover the photos. Only few spots are discernible as reproductions of reality. Individuals with raised fists, helmeted policemen in green combat uniform, people with colourful wigs and banners can be distinguished here. Once we read the word “democracy”, elsewhere the name of a left-wing party. Signs with the inscriptions IWF and EZB in front of the star of Hörl’s monument to the Euro, by now in itself a symbol of the EU’s debt crisis and the excesses of capitalism, allude to the time and place of capture of the photographs. Vanja Vukovic conceals a large part of the visible area by deliberately placing disturbances that look like data errors during digital cinema and television broadcasts. The artist thus achieves to turn her photographic snapshot into a picture that hides a large part of reality, appearing like defective pixels in a film still that will disappear again a moment later, as we are used to from temporary image disturbances. When Vukovic states that she regards these computer-generated images as “faults of the system”, what does she thus aim to achieve with those picture disturbances? Is this a form of artistic censorship of the photos? Are they a means of capturing the vitality and the dynamics of the Occupy movement including the Blockupy demonstrations, the protests in Frankfurt in the early summer of 2013 where the reactions of the police forces were out of proportion? Does the artist even allude to the many channels like the state, press, social media, or analogue communication, each of which only conveys a detail of reality – and never “the whole truth”?

Either way, the photographic objects that only measure 10 x 18 cm also remind of artistic, quasi-iconoclastic processes, like e.g. those of the Danish artist Peter Bonde (*1958), who uses large, rough gestures to paint over photographs as well, though their dimensions are far greater. Moreover, digital distortion processes that celebrate accidental and intentional pixel disturbance under the heading “Glitch Art” are also akin to Vukovic’s purposeful image editing, since they add aesthetic qualities to a digital fault.

© Isa Bickmann, Frankfurt am Main