Ceramic Installation Exhibition
City Guardians / Lana Rakanović
October 2–19, 2013
Opening ceremony: Wednesday October 2, 2013, 7.00 PM
Programme: Mistik Cello Quartet: Mima Vrbanić, Ana Ristić, Milica Grujić i Sandra Grujić; ballet dancers: Jelena Nenadić and Marko Sebi
Curator of the exhibition: Jelena Popović, curator of the Museum of Applied Art
Organizer: Mueum of Applied Art, Belgrade
The Museum of Applied Art will open its autumn season by the one-artist exhibition of the ceramics artist Lana Rakanović: she will present her works at the exhibition titled City Guardians. Lana Rakanović is a member of the young generation of artists and she belongs to those artists who show a high level of social awareness and engagement. City Guardians is a story about heroes and anti-heroes in which the artists elaborates the theme of the modern city and presents a harsh critique of globalization, alienation and social lethargy.
Lana Rakanović has created unique and very expressive spatial installations through the use of diverse styles and materials. She shapes her characters drawing inspiration from Gothic art and the architectural element known as gargoyle. Her protagonists are surreal ceramic sculptures placed in a contemporary urban context. By negating the limits between ceramics, comics, prints and pedestals, Lana Rakanović creates the atmosphere of an imaginary city and its architecture. In this theatrical and scenic work, ceramic sculptures are inseparably tied to the space of the Museum of Applied Art.
Figures are rendered in stoneware and decorated using grey and brown engobes or white and grey glazing. A restricted colour scheme and dark hues of ceramics further stress the dramatic tension. As opposed to the colours of ceramics, the artificial materials used by the artist as decoration, feathers, sponge and plastic materials are usually coloured in vibrant hues. The figures’ hairstyles identify them as members of particular groups: Luchador, Bece, Gargoyls, Psychobilly, Hammer in the Head, The Clash, Life –Hands and Beak.
In her text in the exhibition catalogue, Lana Rakanović says:
„…Nobody can remember when they stopped leaving their homes at dusk, and nobody remembers who suggested to engage the “guardians”. The guardians lived at roofs of buildings and, having been bored (as there was no one to protect the city from), they had to find some amusement. Humans were often the victims of their fun: humans were ridiculous, they often shuddered, and they were hiding, sneaking, slipping out, slinking, frightened that someone would catch the sight of them. Humans never liked the guardians but they did not dare or care to tell them this Sooner or later, fun becomes boring and then one has to invent another amusement. The guardians organized themselves into various groups, which eventually grew into gangs. These gangs are now ravaging the city and they are doing things which real gangs usually do. The only difference is that the guardians do not operate in the underground but can be seen through the window, at a considerable height. So this is how humans became captives in their own city. This seems not to bother them. They are unbelievably adaptive!”
Using internet, newspapers and films (A Clockwork Orange, 1971; The Warriors, 1979; Labyrinth, 1986), comics (Mike Mignola) and music (punk and rockabilly), Lana Rakanović creates bold characters by combining human and animal elements, thereby building her recognizable style. Lana Rakanović’s City Guardians are also inspired by her collaboration with the sculptor Sandy Kumalakanta, as well as by their shared interests in film, music, illustration and photography.
Lana Rakanović (1979) graduated from the Faculty of Applied Arts in Belgrade, Department of Ceramics and Glass, in 2005. In 2012, she completed her MA studies in cultural policy and management at the University of Art in Belgrade. Lana Rakanović has been a member of the Association of Applied Arts Artists and Designers of Serbia (ULUPUDS) since 2008. Along with being a ceramics artist, she is also active as a stage designer, body artist, make-up artist and a jewellery designer. As a member of the special effects Studio Mad Squirrel, Lana Rakanović gained affirmation in this field and she is currently working as a special effects artist on the set of the film Everly, starring Salma Hayek.
Dragana Kostica is the Belgrade-based editor in chief and founder of Still in Belgrade art, culture and club scene magazine. She holds a Master of Arts in Cultural Policy and Management in Arts (MA of Arts) and a Bachelor degree in Archaeology.