Davor Sanvincenti: inhabiting consciousness

Two years ago, we covered artist Davor Sanvincenti’s Cleveland exhibition Before the First Light. Recently, we caught up with him to learn more about that ongoing project, his interest in audience and perception, and his current projects.

Sanvincenti, who studied psychology in Rijeka before obtaining visual arts degrees in Milan, draws from scientific and artistic research on audiovisual perception to create ambient and experiential environments and situations. While Sanvincenti’s personal interests guide his work, his audience is at the core of it.

How did you become interested in human perception as a focus for your work?

From my personal experience, starting from the simplest not understandable input when I was a kid, such as light striking the eye and the after effect of it, to the other more complex aspects, such as the perception of time or pain.

Who or what inspires or influences your work?

The list of creations and people I admire is quite long and is constantly supplemented. One of the first works that for sure moved me was the Headphone Table by Laurie Anderson. My inspirational source mostly comes from the restless quietude of being in nature, the closest sensation that can expand my inner landscape.

You’ve described Before the First Light as an “ongoing life project.” What is its role in your life and work?

There is a strong unrelenting wish that arises from this project, a confidence in the invisible. In different places on the globe, I am making quiet records of the moment just before the first ray of light falls on the landscape and starts filling in the blanks of an as-of-yet unwritten day. The world is just being born.

All these instant black and white pictures are transpiring poet Stéphane Mallarmé’s phrase, “The virgin, vivid and beautiful today.” Each unique image reflects the search for natural surroundings on that unique day, and is treated as a record of the presence and life.

The real work of the piece lies in the encounter with the viewer, when the vulnerable images and the poem inhabit their consciousness. In the contemplation of the whole series we glimpse a mark of our unpredictable existence.

Second Moon - 2014; Škver Art Project - Mali Lošinj

Second Moon – 2014; Škver Art Project – Mali Lošinj

Your creative practice seems to be less about you, and more about constructing a memorable, shared experience for your audience. Can you say more about the role of audience in your work and your goals in constructing experiences?

Yes, as the true event of the exhibition, consciousness and experience are the driving core. There is no way to prove that all of us can experience a blue color or a specific tone in the same way. However, according to different indicators, we come to the conclusion that our perceptive apparatus is functioning in a similar way. The given possibilities of our perceptions are what exists; they are the ones creating fringe fields. By expanding this limitation, there is a chance to “see” more, to draw ourselves into a broader cognitive process. I do not hesitate to play with the physical inputs towards the audience, such as in the work I listened myself closing my eyes and open them back again or Invisible landscapes / Space.

Our being is the center of sensed experiences, a unique creature. Through the construction of perceptual scenarios the sensation of the visitor is somehow “isolated,” accenting his uniqueness, the uniqueness of his presence. And from there the awareness that we are equal because we are different.

Invisible landscapes : Space - 2011; Meštrović Pavilion, Zagreb

Invisible landscapes : Space – 2011; Meštrović Pavilion, Zagreb

Are you currently working on any new projects that you can tell us about?

Currently I’m preparing two major solo shows for the upcoming year, a continuation of my research during the last decade. The first one is called Solo for the Plants, an interactive intersection between bio-science and audiovisual forms, which will be presented in April during the 28th Music Biennale in Zagreb.

The second exhibition, titled Traversing the Wilderness of Time and Media, will be presented at the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka. It is a crossover investigation related to the anthropology of different mediums, obsolete machines, found footage and interconnected narratives.

El Tiempo, en reposo entre la Tierra y el Cielo - 2013; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca, MX.

El Tiempo, en reposo entre la Tierra y el Cielo – 2013; Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Oaxaca, MX.

Interview by Elaine Ritchel

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