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Photos: Damir Zizic 

Ivana Franke. Waking Background

Lauba, Zagreb, February 14 – March 13, 2012.

The exhibition Waking Background features the installation Seeing with Eyes Closed (realized within the interdisciplinary project Seeing with Eyes Closed, collaboration with neuroscientist Ida Momennejad concieved with Alexander Abbushi and The Association of Neuroesthetics, Berlin), as well as the series of prints Waking Background and the artist book Distant Feeling.Feeling will take place at Prozori Gallery (Zagreb, Croatia), which will later be exhibited at Lauba. (…) In the installation at Lauba, once again and with her constant analytic thinking, the artist accompanies the observers on a journey inside the mind, on a “quasi-hallucinatory” experiment of visualization and urges them to become a living medium, in order to discover themselves as the carriers of unknown and mysterious images. Always interested, in her sophisticated artistic research, in questioning the subtle liminal horizon between the visible and the invisible, between the real and the unrepresentable, with Seeing with Eyes Closed, the new drawings elaborated in the artist book Distant Feeling, and the series of prints Waking Background, Ivana questions and attempts to loosen the borders between sense perception and imagination, between visual reality and the realm of mental images. Like a speleologist, with the use of light she penetrates into the mysterious caves of the human cerebral cortex, into the folds of memory and of the visual. In the long-term project developed in constant dialogue with neuroscientist Ida Momennejad, Ivana conducted a series of experiments with a stroboscopic light. She chose a topic that has fascinated scientists and artists for more than a century: the “flicker-induced” perceptual responses studied by neurophysiologists such as William Grey Walter and John Smythies, which in the 1960s, with the explosion of psychedelic culture and the desire to explore “the doors of perception”, fascinated an entire generation of artists. Notably in 1961 these researches were carried out by artist and writer Brion Gysin to conceive and build the Dreamachine – an inexpensive instrument capable of simulating an electronic laboratory stroboscope and that can be visible with eyes closed. Fifty years later and far away from these dated interests and speculations, Ivana Franke has elaborated a stroboscopic machine capable of stimulating visions and accompanying the observer on the unique experience of “transfiguration”, in the shady and luminous abyss of mental images. The new series of prints and the artist book, which are on view in Lauba for the first time, are translations of the temporal sequence of flashing light used in the “machine”, and they transfer the immateriality of ephemeral images generated by it to a traditional medium. Another time however, alchemically, these images transform into afterimages, fleeting and shimmering in our minds like transient fireflies. These poetic interferences appear as intimate subjective experiences, as the secrets that the artist invites us to take away to our personal stream of consciousness.

From text by Elena Agudio

Panel discussion: with Ivana Franke, neuroscientist Ida Momennejad, neurosurgeon Ulrich-Wilhelm Thomale (AoN), curator Sunčica Ostoić.

List of exhibited works

Distant Feeling, 2012
Edited by Irena Bekić, Ivana Franke.
Texts Ida Momennejad and Ivana Franke.
Published by Zagreb City Libraries.
Artist book. 80 pages, silkscreen on paper 14.7 x 21 cm. Ed. 40. Frequency of rectangular wave gratings: 12 - 50 cpd, the length 560 cm. Duty cycle (r) 0.2 mm, the width of one cycle 28 mm.

Seeing with Eyes Closed, 2011.
Wooden construction, polystyrene panels, white LED-lights, micro-controller, pillow. 122 x 60 x 110 cm. Frequency range of flickering lights: 12 – 50 Hz. Each flash duration 6 mins. Duration of the sequence: 3 mins 18 secs

Waking Background, 2012
Pigment print on paper, aluminium support 500 & 100 & 10 cm

Floor, collaboration with Silvio Vujičić and Damir Očko, 2006.
Fabric, glass pearls, nine light bulbs. 2000 x 250 cm.