Sweet Conceptual Artist

SWEET CONCEPTUAL ARTIST / SLATKA KONCEPTUALNA UMETNICA / SÜßE KONZEPTKÜNSTLERIN 2017 / 2013 – Process artwork / installation / platform /

This project operates on the borderlines between art, anti art, non-art and contemporary advertising. Following the thesis of Joseph Beuys, that every individual can be an artist, the project is inspired by grotesque collectivism of Situationist International (SI), but also builds on tradition of artistic ads, mail art, as well as absurd development of conceptual art practices.By questioning the meaning of authorship and originality SCA subverts the institutional system of art. SCA is at the same time a conceptual artist as well as an engaged participative project, group identity and finally an advertising campaign and brand.

The first stage of the project (2013-2015) was creation of (a textual) hybrid that was supposed to present (virtual) artistic identity – Sweet Conceptual Artist, (in serbian female artist - Slatka konceptualna umetnica). This identity asks for communication and collaboration, by using simple paper ads. Made of an accumulation of opposites, Sweet Conceptual Artist suggests a collision of terms sweet and conceptual, as understood in society. The term sweet suggests – dear, acceptable to all, while conceptual means hard to understand, serious, strict, and pretentious.

‘Sweet Conceptual Artist looking for a job’ (‘Slatka konceptualna umetnica traži posao’) – the ad (with email address slatkaumetnica@gmail.com) was shown for the first time as guerrilla intervention in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Vojvodina (MSUV), during group exhibition SITUATIONS. Installations in Vojvodina. Simple pink-paper ads were placed randomly in the museum, in the exhibition spaces, but also in various places in the building (garden, toilets, hallways, entrance...). Opposed to the destiny of historical conceptualism and neo-avantgarde movements, which ended up in the museums, after fighting against them, Sweet Conceptual Artist started from the museum and then moved to the streets and various public spaces, until she became viral. Two years long conversations based on the first paper ad are printed in the two-language SCA (srb SU) book. During this period, one of the participants / clients / consumers produced the artworks – amateur drawings based on his imagination of Sweet Conceptual Artist. The artworks and the book were presented at a group exhibition in the same museum where the first ads were shown (Museum of Contemporary Art in Vojvodina). This event guided the project to the next stage ‘Sweet Conceptual Artist looking for artworks’.

In the second phase, while looking for artworks, SCA made a collaboration with ELLE magazine, showed up on their website and in September (2015) issue. In that way, SCA directly penetrated into the real mas-media environment. The new announcements were visually supported by two pictograms (male and female) and their transitions (in animations and posters). The main reason for collecting artworks was the big solo exhibition of SCA ‘Sweet Conceptual Artist looking for support’. In the new email correspondence with participants, SCA encourages them to play symbolic authorship game. They could choose one of three options for artwork authorization: N.N. for Sweet Conceptual Artist; Collaboration between N.N. and SCA; Sweet Conceptual Artist. If they choose the third option - Sweet Conceptual Artist, which means to renounce their authorship in favor of SCA, they are rewarded by Sweet Conceptual Artist diploma / certificate.

Besides numerous artworks (collected through ELLE open call) and Diploma award ceremony at the opening, the first solo exhibition ‘Sweet Conceptual Artist looking for support’ also presented the very first phase of the project – book, artworks, sound - in the separate room, but it also announced the third phase – through various promo materials (videos, t-shirts, stickers, catalogues) and activities. Also there was additional event ‘Sweet Conceptual Artist looking for comprehension! Conversations about Sweet Conceptual Artist’ - discussion guided by art historians, theorists and curators: Vladimir Bjeličić, Milica Pekić, Irina Subotić and Marija Ratković.

In the third phase, SCA is using contemporary advertising tools in order to present herself worldwide and generate new materials. In the beginning of 2017, Balkan artist Slatka Konceptualna Umetnica is her luck in Western Europe while promoting her new Austrian identity Süße Konzeptkünstlerin in Vienna. The notorious ads with request for support, now translated into german, as well as the open call for new videos, were spread around the city and online. Promo text reflected the difficulties that she faced in her own country and in general played with the whole Western stereotype on artists coming from the undeveloped, war affected countries. On 22nd of March 2017 in the art space Kulturdrogerie in Vienna, within solo event Süße Konzeptkünstlerin sucht Unterstützung, new body of work is shown including new logotype, pictograms, and new videos from the contest. The idea that everybody is asked to participate and eventually become Sweet Conceptual Artist just extends the whole idea on a new level, since at the Kulturedrogerie show she inaugurated her transition into identity of a newly born Austrian artist Süße Konzeptkünstlerin.

"Therefore, at stake is an art hybrid that develops through stages and its installation in real space suggests the constant questioning of social function and the meaning of art; the mode of presenting an artistic idea, what kind of job artists need and what kind of support they request are only some of the questions that the Sweet conceptual artist proposes. (...) Not only anyone can be the “Sweet conceptual artist”, but their ideas can be hers and vice versa. In that endless game, the hierarchy of relations is broken and the possibility of communication, as a trigger of social processes, becomes explicit as it should be. That is exactly the task of an artwork that wants to be an active element of society." (Vladimir Bjeličić, Conceptual identity – a naive game, a quest for utopia or artist's fate? for Sweet Conceptual Artist exhibition)

Sweet Conceptual Artist exhibitions / presentations: April 2017 / Slatka Konceptualna Umetnica 2013-2017, National Museum of Contemporary Art, Ostavinska Gallery, Belgrade, Serbia March 2017 / Süße Konzeptkünstlerin sucht Unterstützung, Kulturdrogerie, Vienna March 2017 / S.U., KulturKontakt AIR exhibition, Concordiaplatz 2, Vienna July 2016 / Sweet Conceptual Artist looking for comprehension! Conversations about Sweet Conceptual Artist, discussion, Art Space U10, Belgrade June 2016 / Solo exhibition Sweet conceptual artist looking for support / Slatka konceptualna umetnica traži podršku, Art Space U10, Belgrade August 2015 / ELLE magazine, September issue July – August 2015 / banners on ELLE Serbia website March 2015 / Sweet Conceptual Artist 2013-2015, Art in the expanded field / View on the art scene of Vojvodina 1995-2014’ MSUV, Novi Sad, Serbia February 2013 / Sweet Conceptual Artist looking for a job, guerilla intervention in MSUV, Novi Sad

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