Danica Dakić

 Danica Daki?, Grand Organ (video still), 2010

 Danica Daki?, Grand Organ (video still), 2010

Danica Dakić’s (b.1962, Sarajevo) practice and approach to art-making twisted during the war in Bosnia and the siege of Sarajevo (1992-96). At the time of the conflict Dakić, who had studied painting in Sarajevo and Belgrade and then film and video in Germany, was only remotely – if at all – in touch with her home country, family and friends.

In a series of paintings entitled White Pictures she translated the sense of loss and disconnection she was then experiencing by devising constructivist-inspired and architecturally-structured compositions. These were almost an exercise of self-discipline, as she says, a means for keeping her grounded and steady in a moment of uncertainty.

In 1996, after a period of self-imposed isolation, she presented Blaues Auge, an installation comprising thousands of newspaper cuttings concerning the war in Yugoslavia collected over a period of several years. Applied to windows and kept together by a transparent film, the news and images from the war impeded any visual dialogue between the outside and inside of the gallery space. The piece not only highlighted the lack of communication with her motherland throughout the conflict, but suggested the opacity of the information provided by the media. Ever since, although her work can still be arguably defined as pictorial, the artist has gradually abandoned painting in favour of other forms of artistic expression, including video, photography, performance, sound and text.

The artist’s Touched commission was initially inspired by the majestic organ located in St George’s Hall. This polyvalent space, a nineteenth-century tour de force, was designed as a court of justice as well as a place for civic leisure and entertainment. Throughout production, Dakić visually elaborated on the notions of polyphony and childhood, besides investigating the relationships between justice and spectacle, language and music, individuality and collectivity.

Solidly bonded to and rooted within local history, pride and heritage, this video installation transcended the particularity of the place by bringing to the forefront the element of ‘performance’ implicit in the legal system. The analogies that the artist conjured between the virtuosi of the law court and the talents expressed by both the composer and the performers act as an allegorical reminder: each one of us is only a key on a board, an isolated note in a much broader composition.

Danica Dakić at Liverpool Biennial 2010

Grand Organ
, 2010
Single channel video installation,
Original music by Bojan Vuletić.
Director of photography Egbert Trogemann.
Commissioned by Liverpool Biennial 2010
Exhibited at Liverpool Cathedral

Supported by

Goethe-Institut Manchester
Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation