ALL WORKS       

Public intervention, durational performance, public installation, 2016

Islands which have
never existed
have made their ways
onto maps nonetheless
Nicholas Hasluck

The island represents one of the oldest metaphors, linked to the ideas of escape, shipwreck, being lost, solitude, rest, autonomy, exile, imprisonment, purity, nostalgia, idealism, personality, adventure, discovery, utopia, dystopia, colonization, possession, society, minorities, exclusion, all the way to sunken treasure islands, islands that disappear and reappear, fantastic monsters and noble savages. In this array of concepts, it maintains the status of the chosen representation, the potential transformation and reflection of (forcedly or voluntarily) truncated communication, thus building a bridge between the real and the imaginary.
In the imaginarium of visual artist Mark Požlep, the island joins the concepts of a journey and a boat as the universal and personal symbol of isolation and the individuum. In December last year, the artist spent five days on a constructed raft/island in the middle of a channel in Antwerp, as part of the Belgian initiative BRDG. His only contact with the outside world was limited to occasional repetitive radio transmissions of his own diary entries, broadcast in a nearby underpass that connects two parts of the city. The island was conceived as an exit from reality, a purposeful escape, while at the same time examining the constant alienation in today’s society via the inability for communication and the limitations of movement. The exhibition project will serve to round off and showcase the durational performance.
In his work, Požlep searches for places of communication and creates stories, entering a variety of situations that he often conceptualizes as projects structured between two (geographical or temporal) points and oriented towards the conceived goal. As part of his methodology, an important role is played by the experience itself, diary entries and an openness towards the unexpected. It is the unexpected that reaches the setup for creating meaning and the promise of the real, which grounds the almost romantic narrative of rich iconography, makes it accessible and places it in the context of real social criticism. Požlep’s residence on the raft was interrupted by the arrival of police officers, paramedics and firemen, who in the cold winter night sought to save a person trapped in the middle of the river channel. However, this person neither needed nor wanted their offered assistance. During the subsequent negotiations, the artist persisted on his island, (un)expectedly rounding off the project in the elucidated necessity for the autonomous operation and existence of the modern individual, particularly a newcomer who is looking for their place on the map.

Text by Lara Plavčak

brdg-mark-pozlep-donderdag-22-2-b39b4233fc3b7fc962a06d00ab1dca22 Island, performance documentation, photo by Mark Rietveld

brdg-mark-pozlep-donderdag-05-789ebf64859b4dddea9619c0fca8ca94 Island, performance documentation, photo by Mark Rietveld

brdg-mark-pozlep-vrijdag-07-0327a88461d5762d5e3cfb7ea0024579 Island, performance documentation, photo by Mark Rietveld

brdg-mark-pozlep-donderdag-47-178c6a9a58013a98377c9783102ba1b2 Island, radio transmission in the tunnel, photo by Mark Rietveld

d1-21ecb581f006c3ff5b4b93adc3f3baa4 Island, performance documentation

d9-8f81265bf97d1311732970ab5f0e48df Island, performance documentation

d15-6f599457e64b34ffb47eee3970f672af Island, performance documentation

d14-aa8f0c33feae171a28676c388b019c81 Island, performance documentation

dscf7819-05c857e1a69813ac200076b45d0e2c05 *Exhibition view*

dscf7818-eae6d26eee9ce78fd6020b7bc7f567f5 *Exhibition view*

dscf7813-f42c08d396e0efc9e26d939fb4a7e409 *Exhibition view*

dscf7808-89111181ee4a61a81cd379a2e9389b88 *Exhibition view*