Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts

Nataša Kokić


August 13th – 29th

“Behind every man now alive stand thirty ghosts, for that is the ratio by which the dead outnumber the living. Since the dawn of time, roughly a hundred billion human beings have walked the planet Earth.”
2001: A Space Odyssey, by Arthur C. Clarke

Thirty charcoal drawings represent the destruction of a comet. It is a highly symbolic image that presents today’s struggle of the individual to resist the pressures of different social circumstances in an effort to remain true to the self. The accompanying sound piece in the exhibition is a recording of spoken word taken from the book “On the Nature of Things” (“De Rerum Natura”) by the Roman poet Lucretius. Written in the 1st Century B.C., the book explores Epicurean physics using poetic language and metaphors – it talks about the principles of atomism, the nature of the soul and mind; speaks about the development of the world and the diversity of celestial and terrestrial phenomena. The part of the book that is presented at the exhibition explains the mechanisms of pressure and gravity and, together with the drawings of the comet, raises questions about the ambiguities and contradictions of our time. My fascination with natural philosophy came from an attempt to connect two seemingly unrelated stories – one is of the contemporary world and it refers to the lack of interest on the global level for solving the pressing questions, together with the neglect towards the individual; the other is from the ancient world and it describes the true and now known to be incorrect theories about the universe as a whole. In ancient times, the link between the functioning of society and the flawless design of the universe was important – people found their instructions for life by looking at the sky. The contemporary world, on the other hand, tends to lean towards disorder – liminality. Entropy and uncertainty have become the norm. The importance of the position of the individual is therefore lost and today we are floating in between layers of reality.

Photo: Nataša Kokić i N. Ivanović