Ilija Šoškić (b. 1935, Dečani) is one of the most important artists of conceptual tradition in ex-Yugoslavia, a pioneer in performance, video and installation art. His work combines critical elaboration of cultural and political myth and dramaturgy of nature and metaphysical fiction in order to illuminate philosophical themes of the Other, absence, and nothingness. Ilija Šoškić’s artistic practice spans more than five decades and his work encompasses action, performance, tableau-vivant, guerilla art, the art of behaviour, cultural and political mythology, mathematics and the metaphysics of nature.
For the project, Ilija Šoškić shared with us his thoughts on the current situation.
In 24 hours I'm in isolation for the full 23, and for an hour I'm "in action". Then I take the bike, ride it for 50 minutes and go home, put away the bike. I don’t wear a mask, but I wash my hands constantly and paranoidly.
If I had to describe life closed like this, I wouldn't know how to do it. In fact, here's probably the point: I'm not doing anything, television on, the little things that make time pass.
Everything has been jumbled. And we know nothing!
Today is Saturday, April 25, Liberation Day in Italy, six weeks of my isolation. Not much to say. I sleep a lot, I dream like never before. My intuition tells me that this pandemonium (and the difficulties that science finds itself in) must be dealt with calmly.
I feel a lot of loneliness, but also that I'm like everyone else, in the clutches of something unknown. And I'm not so surprised.
The days are long. Like in a haze, a city without anyone. People are gone. There are times when you see only seagulls flying across the sky. They fly and launch into the sea. And do the birds look upset? Or so it seems to me, as with all other things I probably see beyond reality.
Since my last years in Rome, since moving to Split, I have been trying to continue working radically changing everything, with a tendency to find peace and creative coordination. And everything was fine ... And then, all of a sudden, I find myself this way, with no idea how long it will take and what lies ahead. I maintain contacts, both with friends and those working, electronically. Even with my daughter, who stayed in Rome, only the telephone voice connects us. I don’t know if we will meet in real life, so I try to believe that it’s not too dramatic either. For now, I'm not ruling out a happy end. Not said? Still, I don't think Noah's ark is waiting for us ...”
Artists Respond project was started by the Institute for the Research of the Avant-Garde and the Marinko Sudac Collection. Addressing the current global pandemic, the project aims to virtually present the thoughts and attitudes of neo-avant-garde artists, their energy and the message they have for the present moment. This is the moment in which the world as we know it is on hold and the moment in which we need optimism and solidarity more than ever. We wish for the public to welcome the creative energy of these artists - artists who are ready to point out the state of things, to respond with art and creativity, as they have done in all difficult times in the past.
Ilija Šoškić was a participant of our Artist on Vacation project in 2012, organised by the Institute for the Research of the Avant-Garde and the Marinko Sudac Collection, with Valamar Riviera d.d. in whose facilities they reside in Poreč.
See more: Artist on Vacation