MILOŠ TOMIĆ 2017
Microcosmos of curious collections
Written by: Irena Borić
To classify an object means to place it in its designated class. Sometimes the class is already inscribed in the process of production, use of skills or materials and sometimes it is acquired through the »life« of the object and the traces left on it. Considering the value attributed to an object, it can end in a museum, covered by a glass box, perfectly illuminated and exposed to the gaze of visitors. Or, in contrast, if left to oblivion, it can sit in a forgotten corner covered by dust and spiderweb. In the museum, the story of its »life« can be told for centuries, while the dusty corner covers not only the matter but the background story, too.
Miloš Tomić also classifies objects but his interest doesn't concern well valued well-represented objects. Instead, he is interested in poor objects, objects one step away from the dissolving into the trash. For him, the visible traces of time passed on unwanted or forgotten objects have a value that interests him. Even if they are packed by history, Tomić’s primary interest lies in finding details familiar to him, rather than to rediscover a historical side of it. When he exhibited a family collection of everyday items (2004) it included personal collections of his family members such as buttons, erasers, and doodles. He arranged those collections shedding new light on them by exhibiting them as artefacts, as important as they would be if meticulously collected by a known museum.
Moreover, items in question are no longer relevant for their previous function as buttons or erasers, but rather as peculiar, playful and colourful objects who indirectly represent his family members. But what is intriguing about Tomić’s approach towards collected or just weird objects is he uses them as raw material which eventually becomes a part of the language of art and in that way, it crosses over designated class barriers. This idea is underlined in his doctoral thesis in which he researched the discarded objects as material for film and photography. Starting from these ideas, during the residency programme GuestRoomMaribor, Miloš Tomić continued with his preoccupations. Among other spots he got to know, he got particularly interested in Modrinjak Photography Museum – a private collection of photographs and photo equipment (ranging from the end of the 19th century) which was built by Dragiša Modrinjak, a photojournalist and a photography lover. The collection is displayed in GT22 and it adds a very special contribution towards local photo history. Even though it is the biggest private collection of photography and photographic technology of the 20th century in Slovenia, it was relevant to Tomić not only as intriguing cultural sight but as an opportunity to use some of its items and bring them back to life. For example, he used some of the available equipment and did a stop-motion animation. The movie doesn’t
really function as a finished artwork, it rather pinpoints his research and interest, and it allows to see
dissolving photographs as interesting visual material. Of course the the visual language brings in Tomić’s art practice while the animation functions as a raw material that may become something more in the right conditions. The screening of the animated film, therefore, was not only about the film but also about drawing attention to the Modrinjak museum and its collection, which allowed a broader public to get familiar with it. Moreover, he also used some of the found photographs to build an installation in the street windows of Salon of applied arts (Salon) in which there was a continuation of the presentation of his residential work. Namely, within the residency, Tomić held a workshop about stop motion animation and in Salon there was a public presentation of the final films. The workshop took place on Drankovec farm, which kind of resembled mini-residency within residency when it comes to the remoteness of the place, and it was about getting together and think in terms of photography and motion. In that sense, Miloš Tomić was more focused on research and practice than on the final production, we could say he was more interested in finding objects first than making an art piece of them. And even though, they are still not art, they are elevated from the dusty corner of forgetting. At least for a little bit.