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Sergej Vutuc: In the Presence of Absence

During his time at The Growlery, Vutuc explores the importance of San Francisco in the skateboarding scene and its evolution as a city where public space is increasingly becoming private. This work lends itself to an exploration of the body in dialogue with the urban environment; a transformation of city and skateboarding, blending the physical and mental phenomena of modern society. Vutuc uses an analog photo process, scratching and altering the surfaces, creating something between surreal poetry and nonfiction narrative.


Sergej Vutuc makes his own prints putting garbage between the light and the paper, scratching and interfering with the image. Just as the images themselves, many of the dilapidated buildings depicted bear scrapes, scratches and wheel traces; signs that the structures have been put into "good use,“ appropriated and re-invented by skateboarders.
Since the mid 1990s Vutuc has been engaged in the punk and skateboarding community and the aesthetics and philosophies of these DIY-cultures have granted his work a distinct character. Skateboarding is an undeniable part of all this, but the board here might better be understood as a vehicle, than a sporting tool or past time.

Vutuc’s work reaffirms that the skateboarder is not a detached voyeur of urban modernity. He has to constantly engage with his environment, re-invent and make new use out of it. His gaze, like Vutuc’s, is a nomadic one. It is always searching for things that are usable, beautiful or just plain fun, things he can invest himself in. These fragments become the raw material for stories the "mouth can never say,“ stories privileged for the eye.

The work of Sergej Vutuc is about observing the development of the modern society; a privatization of the public space and conquering the nature with concrete, on one side, and the natural human urge to expand one’s consciousness, to be in between, to exist playfully and live through imagination, on the other side. Skateboard culture is just one of many contemporary social subcultures whose philosophy is based on the aspiration for playfulness and urge to use the open space in the context of freedom of expression. Sergej researches this phenomenon and participates in it through his position of the modern nomad, whose radius of movement includes specific places such as Fukushima, Detroit, Israel and Palestine, strong symbols of on going human mistakes and wrong directions in social and economic development. Through his work, he grasps a surreal feeling of a new or parallel existence, and, even though it can sound utopian, moments of the shift of perception in the human and the society in general.
Dunja Jankovic, Skver



Earlier Event: February 17
Tania Houtzager: Without Within