Zizic/Kozul, Inflatable Realities in front of the Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Croatia:

The collection in public space comprises installations by eminent local and international visual artists: Mrdjan Bajic, Miroslaw Balka, Ivana Franke with Petar Miskovic and Studio Up, Igor Grubic, Carsten Höller and Ivan Kozaric.

The iconic masterpiece Surrogate may be recognized as a background reference in the work Inflatable Realities. Surrogate is a 1961 animated movie by Dušan Vukotić, author of the Zagreb School of Animated Films. His simplified animation accompanied by a nervous jazz tune tells the simple story of a…”weird triangular fatty who comes to the beach and simply inflates everything he needs, including his own partner. In the end, all of the things that he came by so easily are gone in an instant, he simply deflates them. In a time when surrogates or substitutes for the things we really want had just begun to make their appearance, the movie seemed to anticipate the current times, where the division between reality and the virtual surrogate for reality seems to be slowly disappearing.”

Half a century later, the supermodernized viewer stands in front of Inflatable Realities (2014), an installation exhibited in the public space of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb. The installation comprises various stranded objects, including lilos, swim rings and other beach toys, which are all made from concrete. This solid, monochromatic material is in contrast with its shape and the expectation of softness and suppleness suggests dichotomy as the key to understanding the post – transition reality. This discrepancy between the country’s official image and its real situation offers shiny tourist propaganda on the one hand and a truly concrete and plastic coastal area on the other. The inflated story about inclusion in a society of prosperity which circulated during the 1990s has shown itself to be an illusion. Something like landing on a concrete surface in whatever way one can…

The metaphor of the bursting bubbles also reveals the beguiling logic of neoliberalism, the conservation of the illusion of the ready availability of an easy existence, aided by the spectacle of visual communication. We encounter the loose boundary between reality and surrogate, promotional photos and the parallel struggles caused by unstable production conditions and the accelerated rate of consumption which hides marketable methods behind promises of good times and leisure time filled with activities.

Numerous authors point out that the millenial or so – called financial capitalism, which entails a growth in the power of financial institutions and bankers and leaps in stock market values, is characterized by fictive capital, speculation, ephemerality and momentariness. [3] (#_ftn3) The race for earning money as fast as possible seems to be transcending the conventional limit of common sense, multiplying whimsical manners of making money which are separated from the grey economy and malversations by a very thin line, while membership in the society of prosperity becomes unattainable for the majority of people.
Reality that resembles a stage on which an uncertain game of chance is taking place is an important stronghold in Damir Žižić and Kristian Kožul’s work.

The starting point of this intensive collaboration is the exhibition 0’50 which was held in Karas Gallery in Zagreb at the beginning of 2014. Through their surprising approach, they map the division of layers within the society in a post – transition setting, the gloom of the majority’s constant indebtedness and the perkiness of the select few. Anxiety and poverty as a normal state are set against exalted hedonism. We stumble against curves in the social biography where, paradoxally, resignation and arrogance go hand in hand. At the same time, objects and installations focus on contemporary surrogates for public spaces, from shopping malls and consumer necessities to resting – places and their accompanying tourist props and the way they influence social relations. The language of marketing contains a system of elaborate procedures of collective conviction, the calibration of different desires according to the rules of the marketing game. Methods of branding top destinations,
desirable pictures and products are laid bare. Their dissolution into parts starts from specific patterns, magnified details of the advertising panopticum – accompanied by the artists’ inevitable biting humor.

The duo’s independent exhibitions include Karas Gallery (Croatian Association of Artists), Lauba House, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Mali Salon (Musem of Modern and Contemporary Art Rijeka) and Gallery Koprivnica in Koprivnica. They have participated in various group exhibitions, including the 53rd Porec Annale, Industrial Art Biennale in Labin, T-HT@MSU.HR in Zagreb and Rohkunstbau in Potsdam. They have won the T-HT@MSU.HR Award, having their installation 0,50 acquired for the museum’s collection.Their works are also represented in private collections, while their works from the Filip Trade Collection are publicly exhibited in Lauba House in Zagreb.

** Organized by Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb
** Partners: Nomad and Studio Priredba