Video still from “Maria dos veces”

Geska & Robert Brečević

Shadows – hold their breath –  2022

We are thrilled to present artists Geska & Robert Brečević / Performing Pictures' solo exhibition Shadows – hold their breath –.  The duo’s ‘pictures that perform’ will be displayed in the enigmatic 18th-century belvedere in the secluded Spökparken, in central Stockholm.

The exhibition features ethereal transfigurations of wooden Baroque sculptures of saints, angels, and monks, which the two artists have rescued from oblivion. Like elusive and enigmatic shafts of light, they reach out across the pavilion, illuminating the interior as the chill winter light slants across a landscape of imminent decay.

The sculptures, housed in various village churches in the countryside of Oaxaca, México, have been captured through a laborious procedure. The “slow-animation technique”, an aesthetic manifestation devised by the artists and refined over years of work, merges analog photography with digital imaging. The essence of the moldering sculptures, distilled through a homebuilt pinhole camera, was exposed directly onto 4x5-inch sheets of photographic paper. Requiring exceptionally long exposures under unpredictably diffractive conditions for each image, each animation cycle took a full day to capture the trajectory of the light. The photos were then hand colored and transformed into cinéapparitions. In the exhibition, these decomposing icons of religious practice are now recomposed for posterity as the haunting phantoms of ephemerality itself.

Shadows – hold their breath – the exhibition's title is borrowed from Emily Dickinson’s poem There’s a certain Slant of light. Like the poem, the exhibition offers a somber meditation on the emotional weight of time’s passing and the sense of passing pain—a grand, even beautiful pain, gilded with spiritual significance.

About the artists

Performing Pictures consists of Geska Helena Brečević (born 1975) and Robert Brečević (born 1971), established in 2004 as an artistic research studio within The Interactive Institute. Since 2009 Performing Pictures has operated as an institutionally independent platform for artistic research and practice, primarily geared towards the manifestation of moving images (film, video, animation).

The duo's practice is expressed in various hybrid forms; video, installation, and performance. The artists have tasked themselves to generate choreographic figures – cinéapparitions – or ‘pictures that perform’. These figures are linguistic revelations that express ritual gestures and utterances in an attempt to not only stand outside but also alongside time. Mathematical precision during capricious situations and an obsession with Euclidean geometry are some of the elements Performing Pictures borrows from ritual-magical practice to produce the "historical weightlessness" required for a re-entry into secular time.