Seed Keepers – Jiri Kočica


by Jiri Kočica 

curated by Vasja Nagy


In Kooperation with Skica

Die Ausstellung “SEEDKEEPER” im Schleifmühlgasse 12-14, contemporary artist collective* vienna,  ist ein Teil einer Reihe von Jiri Kočica, die sich mit Wissenschaft in der Kunst beschäftigt. Die Serie wurde mit einer größeren Show “SIGNS OF SIENCE” im Chemischen Institut der Universität in Ljubljana eröffnet.
Die gesamte Reihe beschäftigt sich mit prähistorischen Archetypen, die natürlichen Zyklen unterliegen und sich trotz enormer technischer Entwicklungen und Innovationen in den letzten Jahrhunderten nicht großartig veränderten. Der erste Eindruck impliziert, dass die Skulpturen den klassischen Ansatz weiterführen.
Wir können den Gebrauch der einfachen und klaren geometrischen Formen, wie Zylinder, Würfel in der Kunst (Minimal Art/ Geometric Art) einerseits als Repräsentationsformen des Abstrakten, andererseits als eine Verbindung zwischen Natur und Technologie seit dem Beginn des 20. Jahrhunderts verfolgen.
Diese schlicht geformten Skulpturen bestehen aus Polymer, einem neuen Material aus recycelter Industrieasche und natürlichen Baustoffen, das  nicht invasiv und nicht toxisch ist und sich durch einen hohe Haltbarkeit auszeichnet. Diese Voraussetzungen machen die Objekte zu einem Behälter für etwas Wichtigeres.
Das, was der Rezipient betrachtet, ist nicht alles, was das Objekt ausmacht. Der Künstler hat sich entschieden, in Anlehnung an alte Rituale mit Wachsfiguren oder Amuletten, Samen von Weizen, Roggen, Gerste und anderen Pflanzen einzubauen und somit deren Wert für die Zukunft zu speichern.


Seed is a never-ending story

Let’s start at the end. Let’s try to imagine the primordial fire of creation burning everything and causing the world to end. Or let’s try to imagine someone playing God. There were already many accused of this in the past, but what I am aiming for at this point is intentional production of non- reproducible seeds. At least for a decade, we have been discussing the impact that organisms genetically modified by humans might or might not have on other organisms. The debate about all thinkable effects involves very pragmatic concerns about some human societies and long term survival of the species. Corporations keep repeating the story of always better results in selective productivity and denying any considerable negative effect. On the other hand, there are people claiming the damaging of the environment can already be noticed. Whatever advantages this way of seed control may have in the sense of productivity, it feels quite scary being aware that genomes are someone’s property. Imagining that this property may one day allow them to decide on weather reproducing or not reproducing virtually every creature on Earth. But let us not be carried away by this image. This exhibition of Jiri KocÌŒica is not really about some kind of Armageddon, but brings forward progress, preservation and continuity on the symbolic as well as the aesthetic level.
The exhibition Seed keepers at Schleifmühlgasse 12-14 is part of a bigger project Signs of Science that connects installations in Vienna and at the Institute for Chemistry in Ljubljana. Both dig profoundly into the prehistoric archetypes that are based on natural cycles and don’t change through time. At first sight, one would assume that all sculptures simply continue the classical plastic appro- ach. However, each one bears a strong influence of contemporary science in terms of the medium that presents the past legacy. We can track the use of simple and clear shapes like cube, cylinder and sphere into minimalist art or geometric art from the beginning of 20th century as representatives of abstraction, and on the other hand the connection between nature and technology. Essentially in their conceptual aspect these shapes were always used in classical thoughts of mathematically exact
urban cultures like ancient Egypt, Greece and Rome, through Renaissance to Hollywood – which particularly involves straight realistic mimicry of the visual /visible world. These simply shaped sculptures are made of polymer, a new material composed of recycled industrial ashes and ground construction materials, mixed with non-invasive and non-toxic solidifying substances of high durability. All this makes the sculptures perfect containers for something more important. The artist decided that what you see is not all that you get and stored inside them other little wax sculptures in the shape of ancient amulets that hold seeds of wheat, rye, barley or other plants to cultivate. This way, the sculptures are turned into little containers that can save humanity from starvation. When it may be needed one day in the future. The information about the internal content is now accessible to us only through new technology of tomographic visualization, just as we would scan some archaeological findings. The sculpture made of glass plates, stainless steel and pieces of a particular kind of gel, brings us even closer to classical art. The realistically executed human figure is constructed from pieces that tell little or nothing about the whole. But the application of gel, which is used for sequencing DNA, creates the strong link to human existence. It is a conceptual twist that, through representation and use of symbolic language, turns a human being, or any creature if you wish, into a seed.

                                                                                                                                                             Vasja Nagy