“Take seems to be providing a significant platform”

Dobrila Denegri

“Take seems to be providing a significant platform”

Dobrila Denegri is an art historian and curator, born in Belgrade and living and working in Rome. Since 2002 she is the artistic director of nKA / ICA (Belgrade) – an independent cultural association. At this years Take Festival she will be a jury member at the Austrian Fashion Awards. We asked Dobrila to tell us more about her artistic life and sent some questions to beautiful Rome.

What do you like most about working in creative industries?

Having access to innovative thinking and new creative approaches. It’s good for sensing the pulse of the current zeitgeist and even more for imagining and envisioning the future.

The Take Festival is all about fashion and art and it’s interfaces. Do you think that there are any confines and when do you indicate a project as pure fashion or art?

Duchamp gave us a great lesson: It’s all about convention. If you claim to be an artist and place an object in the art context, you immediately redefine what art is. So for me now it’s not so much about borders between disciplines as much as about ways in which all those productions which fuse elements of art and fashion can be defined, conceptualized and legitimized. Creatively this productions are always most intriguing and provoking, because they put us in condition of uncertainty – we don’t know what they are, to which category they belong, or how they should be named. I think it’s easier to say what is pure art or pure fashion but we lack names for all those things which are in between. Lacking this vocabulary and categorization means that this creative people, who do challenging things, have to struggle more to carry on their work and get, not only legitimized, but also sustained. They need more platforms, and Take Festival seems to be providing a significant one.

What are you looking forward to experience during your stay in Vienna? Any favorite places?

Galleries and museums are a must for me! Vienna always has some good exhibitions and I like to wander around fourth and fifth district. I like the atmosphere there.

Which one was your most exciting exhibition/project you have ever curated?

I’m always most excited with what I’m on at the moment. Right now I’m curating a project which evolves from one presentation to another, including new productions in every new exhibition. It is entitled “Transfashional” and its entirely process oriented. We started last year with collective collaborative sessions in Vienna with Hussein Chalayan, José Teunissen, the new artistic director of Arnheim Fashion Biennial, Susanne Neuburger from MUMOK and Barbara Putz-Plecko and Beatrice Jaschke from “Die Angewandte”, as well as a group of young artists and designers from various cultural and professional backgrounds. After the latest show held in London, we are now preparing a next one for Warsaw, in the “Centre of Contemporary Art Zamek Ujazdowski” in May with people like Anna-Sophie Berger, Maximilian Mauracher & Bernhard Eiling, Ana Rajčević, Anna Schwarz, Lara Torres, Christina Dörfler-Raab, Lisa Edi, Afra Kirchdorfer, Manora Auersperg, Kate Langrish-Smith, as well as a huge group of Polish young creatives which move between fashion and design.

What I find interesting is that this generation highlights the need for a profound revision of the processes of production and social relations which derive from them. They turn away from the fashion industry and it’s super-accelerated rhythms of production. Their quest for alternatives drives and they are totally into new productions – not of goods but of ideas. What they produce, more than wearable and functional, is a kind off critical, engaged and conceptual statement. It’s very much about creating a tabula rasa and than starting from the scratch – with new paradigms and new operative and relational structures.

Do you have any suggestions for young artists?

Sol LeWitt’s advise to Eva Hesse is one of those that functions always, for both young and less young: “Learn to say “fuck you” to the world once in a while. You have every right to. Just stop thinking, worrying, looking over your shoulder, wondering, doubting, fearing, hurting, hoping for some easy way out, struggling, grasping, confusing, rumbling, tumbling, scrumbling, bitching, hutching, itching, moaning, groaning, honing, horse-shitting, hair-splitting, nit-picking, piece-stickling, no-sticking, ass groaning, eyeball-popping, finger-pointing, alley-sneaking, long-waiting, small-stepping, evil-eying, back-scratching, scratching, perching, best-smirching, grinding, grinding way out of yourself. Stop and just do. Don’t worry about cool. Make your own un-cool. Make your own world. You must practice being stupid, dumb, unthinking, empty, then you will be able to do. Try to do some bad work. The worse you can think of and see what happens. But mainly relax and let everything go to hell!”

Foto: © Dobrila Denegri

Christoph Jelinek

Journalism and New Media Student, Editor, Fashion and Culture Enthusiast