Mia Štark: New Human Comedy
February 3rd - March 3rd 2023
Mia Štark’s New Human Comedy is a triptych consisting of three works: “NOT EVERY DISEASE MAKES YOU SICK”, “Touch / As little as possible / Departure”, and “With IT, I can DO EVERYTHING!”. Štark created the works in 2020 and 2021 during the pandemic - a time which we have already begun to observe from a distance. The artist was inspired by the closures, media coverage, and instructions which became part of our daily lives to create numerous performances which are captured in video as well as graphics, photo books (a collection of anti-postcards) and text including poetry. Utilizing mass media formats, Mia Štark uses the media context to overemphasize its elements to the border with the absurd, thus bringing a newly created situation into the comic domain.
“Not every disease makes you sick” is modeled after a television program reporting about the life of the artist given the current circumstances as well as the meaning of our actions and expressions more generally. “NOT EVERY DISEASE MAKES YOU SICK” is a gentle and mild form of video satire that presents an acceptance for the cultural and artistic situation as it stands today and before which the pandemic has brought even more challenges.
From this Sisyphean moment, we continue to the next work which invites us to be present in the moment, read, watch, and listen carefully. It is necessary to pay close attention. The work “Touch / As little as possible / Departure” starts off with the numerous instructions and slogans we have followed in recent years. An interactive video reminiscent of guided meditation videos asks the viewer to participate, listen, watch, remember, and observe. The washing of hands turns into a common dance while poems on graphic sheets of paper invite careful reading and thoughtful viewing. Mia uses a highly personal approach in the graphics by combining her personal experiences and key words from the mentioned instructions into haiku poetry.
Finally, “With IT, I can DO EVERYTHING!” is a continuation of the idea of cleanliness from the previous work. The video satire advertises a product which is simultaneously banal and timeless but which became by chance a crucial object for modern everyday life. The work is completed by a series of photographs shown in the form of a creative photobook, so-called anti-postcards. The author “captures” in her photographs the small details that she encounters in her environment like the glitches which surround us daily but which we often do not give any attention to. The banalities of daily life were further amplified during the pandemic period. The artist tackles the seriousness in art and daily life and collects the absurd from her own environment. The absurd is portrayed most directly on the wall of photographs entitled “The Circle of Life.” The artistry and performance in Mia’s work complement each other. Performativity is often in the background of Mia’s graphic works. The photographs presented in the exhibition act as their own “performance.” In the domain of a true comedy, New Human Comedy is a cathartic report of the times in which we live. It is a display of banality but also coexistence with it because sometimes refuge is found, precisely, in laughter.
Mia Štark (b. 1992, Osijek) is an interdisciplinary artist who expresses herself through media including drawing, graphics, contemporary dance, performance, and video. She graduated from the Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek, Department of Fine Arts, with a focus on graphics. She also holds an BA degree in contemporary dance at the Department of Dance at the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb. Mia actively participates on the art and performance stage and her works have been shown in Zagreb, Osijek, Varaždin, Berlin, Taipei, and Cluj-Napoca among others. In 2021 her work “NOT EVERY DISEASE MAKES YOU SICK” received an award by the jury at the exhibition “They are Here” in Vinkovci and received recognition at a juried group exhibition GRISIA youth. Štark works as an independent artist. She is a member of the Osijek HDLU and Association of Professional Dance Artists “PULS.”
The exhibition is part of the “Spaces of Play” program led by the Platform “Culture Hub Croatia” in conjunction with the creative hub Prostor. The program is financed by the Kultura nova Foundation and the Republic of Croatia’s Ministry of Culture and Media. The work of the Platform “Culture Hub Croatia” is supported by the National Foundation.
Curator: Jasmina Šarić
Technical Setup: Mia Štark, Marino Vukasović