EXIL, Örebro Konsthall 22.4-21.5 2006
Text: Aase Berg

When you sit on a train and gaze out at the landscape as it rushes by, it’s easy to be gripped by cosmic paranoia: all of this is just rolling scenery, like when Donald Duck and his friends park their camper at a dump and open up a picturesque screen. The train travels fast. The landscape is sucked in the other direction, as if someone is pulling on a gigantic projector screen. You’re caught in the draft between the two movements. All you can do is pull yourself together and wait.

The train is stuck at a moving image. The train pulls and tugs at the moving image. The clock ticks. In a few hours’ dream time, the train will suddenly stop at the destination and everything will return to normal. Hopefully. What actually happens with body time during the superhuman speed displacement that – after years of subliminal acclimatisation – has started to feel like a societal norm?

The ability of cars to drive extremely fast has increased. Speed limits have been adjusted. Just a few years ago the X2000 was science fiction and the name was intended to point to the future. The whole trip is really just one great longing for immortality – by risking your life at high speeds, you try to circumvent death. Speed theorist Paul Virilio writes that the need for motion is just a need for inertia; a need to see something happen that remains. There is no reason to moralise over speed and long back to the time of horse-drawn carriages. But, the extensive shift in perspective that man has undergone over the last centuries as regards the perception of time and geographical and cyber distances has certainly left its tracks in man’s soul and thoughts. These tracks must be examined and Emir Krajisnik is, among other things, just such a researcher.
 Emir Krajisnik’s art eliminates the screen delusion. It’s not more fun because it goes fast and it doesn’t stave off death either. In Emir Krajisnik’s film world, time often passes very slowly.
 In the film “Timeline E”, a boat travels excruciatingly slow along the horizon behind a tree. It is most likely real time, but who has the patience for real time in an age when it feels like an unreal retardation? It’s creepy. The time detail is unbearable. Each second is agony. The subject needs time to appear and that time is tough. It hurts. The plodding time causes pain, just like a child with growing pains when cells grow on upon cells.
 And through whose wide-open eyes do we experience this slowness? The slow and plodding view permeates the surface of the image and generates “an inner picture that is too fragile to be visible in the exterior”, in other words, the shadow of the image. If the tree in the film is a shadow, am I in the eye of the original?
 Emir Krajisnik has spent much time amongst trees. At first glance, the tree is the opposite of the exile alluded to by the small Exit sign above the door of the little room at Örebro Konsthall. Trees guarantee stable roots in the earth, pretty much the same wherever they grow on the planet. But, with Emir Krajisnik, trees are also busy with other things. They are individuals. They occupy their time. There is no security in trees, even if they appear to stand still. Trees don’t give a damn about us. They wish us not harm, yet have no well wishes for us either.
 I begin to ask myself how much patience a man can have with trees. It’s one thing to be out enjoying them in nature, but how often do you get up close and personal with a single tree? How many times have I looked at a tree for more than five minutes – walked around it and really took it in from different angles? The closest we come is when it’s time to pick out a Christmas tree. But, then the purpose is home decoration – the procurement of an unusually quiet, temporary pet – an accessory for family contentment. The sudden interest in a specific type of tree around Christmas doesn’t have much to do with mutual communication.
 Emir Krajisnik has the patience to stand still. If one of his pen-and-ink drawings is rained on, the miserable weather is not enough to make him call it quits for the day and go home. The result: an unclear, smeared picture of the seemingly stationary – of nature’s constant changes.
 The little exhibit room in Örebro Konsthall contains an inverted tree beacon, a spinning beacon tree. The projector turns the tree into another being from all angles since the tree is a composite of pictures of the tree from every direction – 360 degrees. This is no normal beacon. It is a beacon that is not to be seen – a negative beacon. I am inside something this is normally aimed outwards. I am inside the tree and the light source. Sound: monotone rain. An owl hoots. Nothing happens, and yet the experience is teeming with details: each raindrop is unique, each tree branch is individual. Each line does its own thing and the monotone proves to be made up of boundless, conglomerated chaos. Reality is seriously unreliable.


In the second room of the exhibit, the solid floor is softened by sliding wheat. It’s hard to believe the room was once a bank vault. If nothing is where you put it and the apparently stationary is turned upside down, at least money must be some sort of security. We invented the concept ourselves. Now it flies around and is global between continents like an invisible grid of a universal desire for order. Here I now stand in the gallery, in the centre of a stable, former bank. But, my body’s presence in the bank is no guarantee of fellowship with it. If you really want to commune with it, you must anchor your root system of cash deep in the digital account vaults. Unfortunately, I’m broke. And I’m not alone. An overwhelming majority of the Earth’s population has never set foot inside a bank, much less opened an account.The total “at home” feeling is unattainable. It is always somewhere else – the possibilities of the nostalgic memory or the dream of a future in a flashier domicile. Home always has an exit and every exit is an emergency exit… an exile.

The question is how much should one dig into Emir Krajisnik’s Bosnian background. Does one have to think “multiculturally” as soon as one hears an unusual name? I feel like an outsider. You feel like an outsider. At any rate, the tree is a little more of an insider than you are. Where is inside and how do you get there? How far can one come in and what does the miracle out there look like from deep within? For Emir Krajisnik, this is naturally tied to a past geography, otherwise the “svemir” (which means universe in the Slavic language and is, of course, a blend of the artist’s name and Sverige (Sweden)) would never have shown up in his art. But I, who live where I was born, must ask myself where my Bosnia lies when I stand there in the bank in the heart of Sweden and feel like an outsider even though I’m right inside the building.

Exile’s emergency exit is at more locations than just the most obvious ones. The textile circles in the ceiling are copies of frottage from the cast iron rings around a number of Parisian trees. The axis mundi thinking found in many mythologies, where the world’s axis is a mighty tree, feels completely natural here. The hole could suck me in. Whose eye is it? Who is it that’s looking? Can you, who see me, help me achieve perfection? Beam me up!
 Or a hallucination/association in the opposite direction: trees grow from the top down – like capillaries eventually turn into arteries or raindrops become brooks – until they finally flow into a thick, inert unit: the trunk. The crowns of trees are also a root system – the branches are air roots, an intake in the tree. The roots in the earth could just as well be the outlet.
 One can always hope. But, no one is saying that an actual tree that generates a shadow with its swaying limbs could actually be a type of Platonic ideal tree.
 There really is no hierarchy between the copy and the original. A hallucination is no truer than reality, but the often overlooked point is that it’s no falser either. Another hallucination/association: The stone pulses from within, raises and lowers its surface as if it contained a lung. The mineral breathes in the inertia time of the other reality. The shadow if an impression of the material’s individuality – the frottage from the tree rings also consists of an endless number of bumps and differences in the surface. The material is alive. How long does one need to look at Emir Krajisnik’s alabaster sculpture “Pigna della Bosnia”, which associates cone seeds with the tears of Bosnian refugee children, before its surfaces starts to become damp?
 One doesn’t need to take drugs or be schizophrenic to start to hallucinate. All you have to do is sit still in the same spot for longer than you can take. The actual tension is not found in outward action. It is found in the extended, creeping boredom. Or perhaps, like Emir Krajisnik, in four months of total isolation, living as a hermit on the Greek cape where the lights slowly glide along the horizon.
 I will never be beamed up in that desire spaceship of obvious belonging above the rooftop. I nonetheless receive signals of slow motion walks through Emir Krajisnik’s works. The signals I receive are just shadows of what he sends out. But, these experiences just might overlap one another somewhere. So, the shadow communicates only just, but still sufficiently with that which obscures the light for it: jerky, dark, intermittently lit by rare streaks of lightening. That is how humans and aliens communicate.

© Aase Berg 2006


©Emir Krajisnik 2017