Milovan Destil Markovic
Markovic lives in Berlin and Belgrad. Exhibited among others: 42. Venice Biennal, 4. Istanbul Biennial, 46.Venice Biennial, 6. Triennial New Delhi, 5. Biennial Cetinje, Sao Paulo Biennial, Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin, Contemporary Art Museum Kumamoto, P.S.1 New York, Moderna Museet Stockholm.
The colorful and bright stripes on Markovic’s canvases signify written words. Every text can be translated into a bar code and thereby enter the system of global trade. Bar codes are the product of a systematic process of codification, at the end of which only a rhythmic series of vertical lines remains. This abstraction allows for an internationalized, rationalized system of merchandise management that offers the appreciable advantage of cutting down the length of waiting lines in supermarkets.
By transferring a digital structure to the canvas, Markovic pushes the system ad absurdum: as artistically demanding and laborious oil paintings the Barcoded Paintings are anything but mass products; they don’t offer any possibilities for rationalization or optimization of labor – the more so as they don’t serve to translate product names and prices, but contain citations from mostly pornographic literature, politics and banking sector. Short text quotations from the world of power and suppression shape the basis of Markovic’s Barcoded Paintings. On the side of barcoded painting is printed one usual barcode, by doing this Markovic plays with meaning of art as product.
Markovic’s bar codes veil their obscene content, hiding it behind a normalized form. In effect, they can be understood either as an impish joke of their maker, or as a critique of the intransparent structures of markets that similarly conceal global deficiencies and injustices.
Text fragment by Benedikt Stegmayer
Photo Portrait by Claudia Chaseling