25 February - 25 June 2020
Dead Dogs Walking
Curated by: Penesta Dika
“Dead Dog Walking” exhibition presents the works of artist Gazmend Ejupi in the different media. From the one hand we see works made in traditional mediums like painting and sculpture, on the other hand we see a video performance that includes a live performance of a choir (“Siparantum Choir “).
The exhibition mainly focuses on presenting the stray dog and it’s fight for survival, in their dramatic momentary state. The dog is often treated in traditional art and is usually presented as a symbol of loyalty. This is how the Roman scholar Gaius Plinius Secundus Maior (23/24 – 79) described them in his earliest times; saying that beside the horse, the dog is man’s most faithful companion.
Then in mythology dogs also appear as a symbol of hunting gods, while in the Middle Ages we also find them as a symbol of loyalty by presenting it on a woman’s lap.
In this exhibition “Dead Dog Walking” since it is a topic that artist Gazmend Ejupi has been tackling for years now, the approach is different. Dogs in the paintings appear as very beautiful and magnificent creatures, attentive, or ready for action, occupying the entire surface of the canvas. They are in different positions-creating moving but balanced compositions in both mass distribution and in the scattering of scarce colors used here and there.
However, since the artist in these performances uses a technique which is reminiscent of the glitch-art recognized by digital works, the beauty and the magnificence of these creatures is extinguished, dissolved, erased.
In this way the artist emphasizes not beauty, goodness or greatness but their suffering for survival.
Thus, deforming their shapes and contours, we are presented with dogs in critical life conditions. Through these appearances the artist gives us a glimpse of how loved and valuable these creatures are and how happy it makes us to look at them with precision in how they behave and look.
On the other hand he wants to engage the viewer to help, by presenting the dogs in a dramatic manner with any hopes of life lost thus visualizing an unfortunate reality that is current for stray dogs.
A part of this exhibition is also a video performance of Dead Dogs Walking, which was performed on collaboration with the Siparantum Choir which is an emotional piece that outlines suffering, grief as well as the alarming condition that stray dogs live in from their birth to their demise.
The chanting sounds and voices performed by the choir in question are attached to the video, which treats another point of view: the life of stray dogs in shelters. As if these creatures didn’t suffer enough, when they are sent to the shelters an even more difficult life awaits than the one on the streets.
The suffering, the pain, the grief, the weeping of the dogs, but also their protest against such treatment are very clearly reflected from this work in a strict, uncompromising tone and with great creative sensitivity. The war of animals for survival as well as inhumane practices are put to the fore. Dead Dog Walking expresses revolt and seeks support, describes suffering and expects awareness of the people.
With an understanding of visual, acoustic and haptic language, which is very sophisticated, artist Gazmend Ejupi presents us with a theme that most of the time requires artist mobilization.