The White Columns Curated Artist Registry is an online catalog of digital images documenting the work of artists who are not affiliated with a commercial gallery in New York City. Each submission is reviewed by our curatorial staff; in order to be considered for the registry, one must submit work digitally via this website.
JADRANKA KOSORCIC, Blind Date
Painting or drawing the portraits of common people in the streets, cafes, markets, and public spaces or at homes as nameless, but characterized and characteristic witnesses of certain epoch or historical situation, belongs to the well-known artistic theme historically known as the “genre scene”. Today such works are often viewed as recordings of a certain moment in time. In the case of some grand events and exotic places it is obvious why that particular moment was important; in some other cases where this is not clear and the scene or the people appear as too common, we have to trust the artist that importance was there, and we look for it throughout the image. And sometimes it appears that the moment became important for no other reason but because of being recorded.
My series of portraits named Blind Date translates and deconstructs this historical genre within the contemporary social setting, re-arranging the relations between the portraying and the portrayed and opening up the larger space for different personal and social experiences. Recordings are, certainly, important. But my aim was to try to create the recordings as the starting, rather then an ending point of the work.
The very title Blind Date reflects the capturing of the sociality of the commons, of those "unknowns” of contemporary times. This is the name I gave to the process in which the painter, the artist, the portrait-maker steps down from an all-seeing stage of the voyeur of the world and becomes the participant and the partaker, the one who shares and inhabits the space of a “genre scene”, which now becomes the scene of life and togetherness. "The art is space of encounters", states the art critic Nicolas Bourriaud in his Relational Aesthetics, the book that speaks about artistic platforms and podiums for participatory public. In my encounters I speak about the people and about the possibility to see them from the close distance, to meet them through and within the process of portraying; to capture their existence in a traditional medium, but in the novel social arrangement.
If art itself is the space of encounters – in history, present and future – then I aim that my portrait series Blind Date be the witness of that, including all the vulnerability of contemporary culture of blind-dating people as the consequence of alienation and solitude. Although I am never in the image, I’m always part of the image as artist-as-traveller, as researcher of the contingent and constructed experiences, as ethnographer of the familiar situations from contemporary life. From my side of the image the Blind Date presents a meta-project, a life performance of the painter, drawer, portrait-maker, although each time it (re)appears through a concrete situation, as a depiction of the concrete and particular.
Blind Date With Hum (2016), my most recent cycle of portraits, was made in the medieval town of Hum in Istria peninsula (Croatia). Hum is officially the smallest town in the world. It exists since the 11th century and currently has only 25 inhabitants. I chose to visit the people there during the wintertime, when the tourist season and vigorous summer life is over, and Hum really settles down to this small group of residents.
I portrayed each inhabitant and captured his or her life story as the audio recording of the conversation while drawing. Our exchanges were always at one point addressing the cultural-political changes within the recent history of the city and their influence to individual and social life. Blind Date With Hum, with each of its citizens, became a kind of collective portrait of the city, an individual and collective reflection of the community and communal life. The stories about the city were told from different perspectives creating together an archive of the past and present life of the town, outlining the life that is otherwise hidden behind its historical facade and remains invisible to all other regular visitors. Sometimes I like to think that Hum now has another place to hide: behind the 25 portraits I made of its residents.
The Blind Date series is dedicated to the encounters with persons unknown and inspired by the thought of Sören Kierkegaard from Either/Or, which reads: "You are nothing, you are only a relation to others, and you are what you are only by this relation."