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With Matter Through Time

With Matter Through Time, 2020, Photographic series: 20 photographs, 100 x 70 cm, 100 x 126  cm, 124 x 90 cm, 150 x 190 cm, 200 x 140 cm and 280 x 130 cm

With Matter Through Time is a photographic series of rather abstract subjects, predominantly images of surfaces at different stages of deterioration, showing the passing of time in a physical form. It is through these processes of ageing and transformation that time takes on a materiality, allowing us to “see” it. By focusing on the temporality of matter and the impermanence of life, Čirkinagić positions civilization in relation to nature and human life in relation to the much greater cosmic cycles. One might therefore say that With Matter Through Time is not simply about matter and time, but also about humanity, even though the majority of the works in the exhibition are nearly devoid of human figures, or merely hint at a person’s form, activity, or presence.

In With Matter Through Time, Čirkinagić worked exclusively with a digital camera, which enabled a more spontaneous and instinctive choice of subject matter compared with the analogue camera he tended to use. Digital technology sustains a more dynamic mode of picture taking, with the opportunity to experiment with various shutter speeds. For example, one of the works exhibited is shot with a shutter speed of 1/8000th of a second, showing a nearly microscopic universe of flies frozen in motion, so that it looks as though time has stopped. Another work, conversely, is photographed with a shutter speed of seven seconds in order to be able to register the movement of a plane mid-flight in a macrocosmic star-covered night sky. In the former piece, the photographer attempts to capture a single moment, and in the latter, to stretch out time.

Čirkinagić has referred to the series as an ‘aesthetic safari’ — a type of visual exploration of the surrounding world. He exhibits the photographs in the series as a rhythmic juxtaposition that reveals ‘between-images’ as one moves from one work to the next. In that way, the viewer comes to ‘read’ the artist’s open narrative and maybe the viewer will deliberate on some of the same questions that absorbed the artist: the questions that relate to our lives and the reality that surrounds us, which at the same time can seem both mundane and narrow and exceptional and great.

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