Title: Strategies and Tactics
Date: 30 July –31 August 2015
Venue: National Gallery of Albania
White House Biennial and the National Gallery of Albania present:
Strategies and Tactics / Exhibition of Slovak videoart
On 30 July 2015, 19.00 the National Gallery of Arts is pleased to open to the public in its temporary exhibitions wing the exhibition “Strategies and Tactics / Exhibition of Slovak videoart”. The exhibition reflects an ongoing collaboration between the National Gallery of Arts and the White House Biennial, an international artistic platform based in Athens, Greece.
The White House Biennial (WHB) was launched in 2010 in Athens, among dozens of demonstrations and austerity protests as an artistic reaction to the continuing period of the deep financial and ethical crisis in which the country where Democracy was born is going through. Exercises on Democracy, the current edition of the WHB, questions the revolutionary role of art and its power to affect sociopolitical changes, posing the crucial question of the definition and remodeling of Democracy.
Within the conceptual framework of Exercises on Democracy, the White House Biennial is going to present at the National Gallery of Albania, a multi-layered international program of activities, extended in two separate exhibitions. Strategies and Tactics, the first show, focuses on a wide range of Slovak video artists, under the curating of Lýdia Pribišová.
Strategies and Tactics
Artists: Anton Čierny, Pavlína Fichta Čierna, Iva Durkáčová, Oto Hudec, Martin Kochan, Daniela Krajčová, Tamara Moyzes, Ilona Németh, Lucia Nimcová, Tomáš Rafa, Shlomi Yaffe, Anabela Žigová.
One could say that today artists are experts of a sort in conceiving new alternatives and finding inventive, unconventional ways of surviving. Our neo-liberal society, based on the dynamics of capital, hardly recognizes the symbolic or “intangible” value of art, artists being forced either to ally with the market or occupy a marginal position in society that does not allow them to make a living from their very profession, art. This situation compels artists to employ and develop innovative structures of existence. This topic appears in the work of many artists in a broad range of forms. They look for creative ways and tactics to find their way in society. In their works, they often relate to and thematise the tactics of survival of minorities and powerless people, such as immigrants, Roma, people persecuted by totalitarian regimes and so on.
The main theme of the exhibition, a selection of Slovak contemporary video art, is based on the contraposition of strategy and tactics. Distinctions between them were proposed by the French philosopher Michel de Certeau in his book The Practice of Everyday Life (1984).
Strategy, in military terminology, is the domain of established superiority and of influence that is already partially affirmed; it is the program of leadership of the collective towards major conquests; it is the long-term plan of those who have the time and general knowledge to create a theoretical formulation. Strategy is the identification of key campaigns that are necessary to accomplish the main objective. Strategy means control (of a city, of an institution etc). According to de Certeau, the development of strategy emanates the purview of power. The exercise of strategy is connected with a place that can be circumscribed as a proper and thus serves as a basis for generating relations with exterior subjects. He argues that tactics are opposed to strategy. The place of tactics belongs to the other. So since the user of tactics has no base, tactics depend on time. That means flexibility, a combination of heterogeneous elements.
In contrast to strategy, de Certeau claims, tactics are the purview of the non-powerful. Tactics are more an adaptation to the environment, which has been created by the strategies of the powerful. It implies the creative processes as sharing and cooperation. Tactics are more partial, more contingent, consisting of adequate negotiation of the moment; they are the methods of the minority, actions that are intentional yet intuitive, and often more elastic and exploratory in relation to the objective. They are in a permanent and constant state of reassessment and correction.
The artists in this show use tactics of their own invention to detect and expose the strategies of mainstream society, and especially its utilitarian strategies. The artists’ counter-actions show empathy, humor and flexibility. Through these instruments, various political strategies are shown to be empty and self-referential. As the control of strategy is never perfect, art is helping to find these gaps in the system.
Curator Lýdia Pribišová
Thursday, 30 July 2015, 11.00 am, there will be a press and media conference in the National Gallery with the curator.