Phantom Pain is a portrait of Zagreb, which through its layers reveals the complex infrastructural levels and state of a society, pieces of collective faces that fall due to encounters with a network of natural impulses beyond human control and turn into squeaks and shots underfoot. Since she lives in the city center and follows the course of earthquake rehabilitation, the artist witnessed numerous fragments of facade decorations scattered on the streets, their otherwise unnoticed existence suddenly difficult, transformative and traumatic. The face of the exhibited object is one of such massive "en face" portrait stuccoes that ended up scattered on the road and in cars, some crushed, some turned to dust, but in the end with other bricks, rubble and dust destined for growing layers of urban fabric forgotten on Jakuševac. 

The artist generally, but also personally, connects the experience of the earthquake with the bigger picture in the context of capitalism and its implicit disease, observing the earthquake within the same ecology as the virus. The inevitable impending economic collapse will in part be a freak of the established and distorted dialectic of such an order, and the elements to be discovered within the wider network, the economic processes to be activated, and the furrows uncovered at infrastructural levels have yet to be dissolved and defined. The earthquake can thus be seen as a short physical manifestation of the emptying of a much wider collapse of society, which with its total capacity can no longer withstand its own internal tensions and antagonisms. A face symbolically but also literally assigned to fears and inability to control can be seen as a common mask of falling due to muffled thunder from the earth, but also as a bearer of the potential to transform collective rhetoric in the process of reflection, crisis and renewal.

author: Vesna Salamon
izložba: Phantom pain
text: Marija Kamber
foto: Valerija Djanješić
12. lipnja 2020.