Marko Kovacic

When I met with Marko he told me about a new civilization he had discovered. It is a civilization not of the past, but of the future, a post-apocalyptic colony discovered in 2223. These beings, or organisms, are called Plastoses, and they live in Catastropolis, which they discovered in 2049. They came to settle there from different parts of Europe, because it was the only safe place after “the disaster.” The Plastoses are, according to scientists, not mutants, but are made up of a “combination of human organs with organic parts of other living beings and often also from the combination of organic and mechanic parts.” Marko has dedicated himself to studying these beings, their lifestyles and their ways of living. For example, in an exhibition entitled “Surviving City” at Kapelica Gallery in 1999, he presented reconstructions of their homes and habitats.

When I met with Marko he told me that he had two interests: the last 50 years, especially the socialist period, and the future. His studio resembles that of a tinkering scientist, with machines, constructions, and a horror vacqui installation of stuff. He experiments and puts different things together to come up with, for example, a Hrupophone, or noise telephone (hrup is Slovenian for noise).

 

Inside Marko's studio

Inside Marko's studio

In the 1980s, Marko was part of the Anna Monro Theater, a street theater group that staged performances in public spaces, on outdoor stages. Their performances mixed comic elements with serious themes, for example political commentary and criticism. At that time he was also part of IRWIN, the artistic collective that also had as its focus the past, namely in their principle of “retro avant-garde,” which sought to examine history and the past through its visual culture – not only the artistic avant-garde, but also folklore and local culture as well.

In line with this examination of the past, in 1983 Kovacic presented Cassus Belli, which was both a performance (initially) and later a video work. In this multi-media presentation, the artist projected Constructivist imagery onto a screen, behind which Marko adopted poses from traditional socialist realist iconography. The performance examines the relation between these geometric shapes and the human figure. Later in the performance, Marko added an expressive element when he wound Scotch tape around his head. As he described it, this was “about a kind of self-destruction, perhaps also about helplessness in the face of the institution, the art system which you can’t or won’t accept and integrate with.”

Even though this early performance presented an examination of past motifs from art history, it shares the same dystopic feeling that is present in his more recent examination of the Plastoses.