Bojan Šarčević – Vieille Lâcheté
Vieille Lâcheté is the name of Bojan Šarčević’s new art project and solo exhibition at Pinksummer gallery. These works represent what we call “existential formalism,” a big term that basically means Šarčević often explores the idea that life’s true essence lies within the limitations and boundaries we face. These boundaries are like the foundation of life, including all its ups and downs.
When we talk about transcendence in Šarčević’s work, it’s not about anything divine. Instead, it’s about this vivid awareness of emptiness or nothingness. This awareness brings him to create things that seem impossible or give form to things we can’t touch or see.
Lacan once said that the real world is like a bird of prey that feeds on meaningful actions, even though the world itself doesn’t have any built-in meaning. People who live in the real world, in space and time, often feel their existence is constantly at risk.
In this part, Šarčević isn’t so much into making existence a big deal or some grand plan. He’s more about how our existence naturally leaves its mark on the world without us even trying.
Way back when he had his first solo show at Pinksummer in 2002, Šarčević said something interesting. He basically talked about how our way of being becomes complete when we stop thinking of something bigger (the transcendent) as this mysterious thing and start seeing it as just a regular part of life (immanent). He also mentioned that true, absolute stuff is all about the present moment and being spontaneous. But don’t mix up spontaneity with being naive; it’s something you get better at with practice.
In this solo exhibition, Šarčević gets creative with fashion clothes. It’s not the first time he’s played around with clothing. Clothes are super close to our bodies, like a second skin, which, by the way, is actually the biggest and heaviest organ in our bodies. Our skin is the first thing that feels what’s happening in the outside world, like whether it’s hot or cold or if something feels good or hurts: In Vieille Lâcheté, Šarčević tinkered with a special type of clothing that’s quite interesting when you compare it to our skin. We’re talking about leather jackets, like the ones made from animal that people have used to stay warm since ancient times. But in modern times, they’ve also become a symbol of rebellion and defiance.
In this exhibition, Šarčević did something unique. He basically “dehumanized” old leather jackets by taking them apart and adding glassy, lifelike eyes to them, like what you’d see on a taxidermied animal. He turned these jackets into a form of art, a representation of sorts. It’s almost like he wanted us to look at these jackets and think about what they mean to us and the scary feelings they might stir up – like old fears and anxieties.
And, just so you know, this isn’t the first time Šarčević has played around with clothing. Think back to 1999 when he had those boots worn by an Irrigation/Fertilization worker. Those boots mysteriously leaked liquid, soaking everything during the worker’s busy day.
Think about what Šarčević did in 2000 with Favorite Clothes Worn while S/He Worked. He got 15 workers, like bakers, mechanics, and domestic helpers, to wear fancy designer clothes while they were on the job. Then, he displayed these worn and dirty clothes like museum exhibits. It’s almost like he wanted to celebrate manual labor and how our jobs shape who we are.
And let’s not forget his more recent exhibition in 2020 at the Frank Ebalz gallery in Paris, called L’Extime. There, he had three muscular, manly-looking plastic mannequins with stone-carved heads wearing these soft silk blouses that had a super classy 1980s style (kind of like “Homo Sentimentalis”?). It was as if these clothes turned emotions into something valuable. But remember, our feelings don’t always follow our will.