Imagine yourself on a trip around the world. Everything is sorted out so you can fully focus on upcoming life experiences. How would this event impact your personality? How meeting different cultures affects your overall perception on the world? What’s really important to you and how this trip would reflect it? Recently we were on such a trip. Gabriel Glid, one of Potatomike’s curators organized an exhibition at one of South East Europe’s cultural centers. So we decided to pay him a visit. Beside being an artist, Gabriel is also a professor on the local Belgrade University, and few other art schools around the globe.
Another of Potatomike’s artists was also present at the exhibition. Zdravko Joksimovic, sculptor and a professor on art university as well, prepared a kind of tutorial that helps us to better understand the complexity and the beauty of the art we came to see. Gabriel Glid's latest work could best described as "reduction to the essence". For many years we have been aware of Gabriel's inclination toward formal reductionism which finally reduced these artworks to signs. The space between the signifier and the signified has been decreased and cut down so it has remained only what is obvious and unambiguous. Glid's disposition toward minimalism challenges even the paradigm of understanding standard modes of expression. The way in which Gabriel utilizes, directs and controls them shows a distinct conceptual development within his poetics, and confirms his creativity maturity and fine taste as indispensable conditions for establishing harmony and balance. So accurately formulated artworks seek for the high level of sensual perceptiveness in order to define a proper semantic platform, which is also a subject to utmost rationalization. To say that these artworks are reduced to the essence does not necessarily mean that they should be approached only with logic, although they thrive to it. Such strategy calls for special caution. It is obvious that a visual "sign" is by nature a product of reduction, or abstraction, and what is more it is a signifier, which is to say that it is more potent and capable of storing free associations and references to the processes that have constituted it and contributed to it's creation, the more concise it is. As refers the materialized sign its degree of deciphering and the horizon of interpretation is embedded in the contemporary practice of visual arts which furnishes a responsible artist who does not resign from the quest for the adequate formal order that could replace the chaos around us. With the aim to problematize his sculptural practice and so to define its theoretical framework we must admit that the poetics of Gabriel Glid present a complex task which could be summed up in four questions. Do simple geometric figures still offer opportunities to explore problems of form. To what extent does the utilitarian side of common objects influence the semantic discourse related to them? How does the selection and treatment of material attune to the main idea? And finally, in what manner does the technological treatment influence the process of manufacturing and completing the artwork? The most recent work of this author give adequate answers to these questions and emphasize that Glid's sophisticated poetics is ready to address the challenging and demanding contemporary sculptural practice.
We should say that is is because of its subdued disposition, and an extreme reduction of the poetical paraphernalia, because of its reduction to only necessary and crucial, Glid's "esthetic perfectionism" outstands in the realm of this extremely complex and structured art.
Gabriel Glid's work has always been strongly focused on form, volume, colour, surface and rhythm striving to offer a free interpretation of the visual essence of objects.
In this cycle of artworks the union of thoughts, material and technological procedure is accomplished and summarized in their respective meanings which masterly reveal a specific sculptural strategy that, through the technological styling of material, conceptualizes the form itself and in turn influences the reception of the work. This seemingly reversible road toward the realization of a sculpture actually reveals the contemporary understanding of sculptural practice that does not insist on the usual order by acknowledges impartially and simultaneously all possible strategies to realize a certain idea. In other words, by welcoming new technologies which bring about faster realization Gabriel Glid adapts the original idea which in the process of understanding the procedures of realization could be reshaped, accustomed and attuned.
To conclude, we could add that these artworks are a result of an exclusive section, that is, a view of reality that reveals a superb personal taste which is no meticulously and laboriously employed in his work. There originates the elegance and refinement of Gabriel's work and its unique intellectual aura.
The humanlike Drill as immortalized in its perfect cloth and arrested in a spiral move establishes the constructivist order without abandoning its functional integrity. Laminated wood with its linear structure increases the dynamics of movements which introduce with its spiral twisting the round perspective of the cubist painting, which like in the case of Brancusi's Endless column leads the way to some imaginary space far beyond us. It is like a well of desire that needs to be liberated somewhere "high up" in the offer to be fulfilled or like a recycled remnant of the Futurist manifesto which was dislocated and revived after a hundred years. This "centennial celebration" expresses a renewed faith in technological innovations in memory of a drill that changes the world.
"Mi svendo a pezzi"- a monumental cartoon cloud with a phrase, "Sells in pieces" is a neo-pop art criticism of consumerism, an existential cry, a moment of truth, and also a moving, almost melancholic contemplation of the position of artist. The title which is usually associated with the used car market is here placed within the sculpture of a cartoon cloud to create another visual paradox. This spectacle which leaves out the unwanted sentiment shows the powerlessness of an individual admitting that it is inertia that leads to the state of anguish without hope. This work shows in the first place how one can welcome the inevitable ephemerality of life without grief and fear of fear, with a just a statement and nothing more.
"Barcode" is, in fact, objectified and verticalized barcode from a box of cigarettes. Certainly, the barcode was only provisionally and partially transferred in order to adapt to its new environment of the artificial stone and be duly processed. The artificial stone implements certain rigidity and artificiality which corrupts its uniqueness and brings consumerist implications ot the semantic discourse which in turn asks of a consumer to give up his or her uniqueness in order to be able to consume in peace everything which is in offer.
"The Beginning" is a sculpture which was constructed as a vertical transposition of oversized ECG amplitudes transforming this cubic wall into an opaque curtain, which constructs and simultaneously divides the space into the front and back half. When you face this shield, the only available exit is upwards along these grooves which, endless as they are, seems to lead to the eternity. So the circle closes at the beginning as it is emphasized in the sculpture's title. The tangible surface which is "unsettled" by the vertical waves sophisticatedly governs the whole structure of the artwork thus transcending the materiality of the object and reaching a higher intellectual sphere.