Siniša Labrović (HR) Love of spitting into the bowl from which I am eating

Installation (gold plate, burnt trees), 2019

In the First Epistle to the Corinthians, St Paul the Apostle talks of love (or charity), as a value that is above hope and faith, and says that “love is kind…envies not, deals not perversely; is not puffed up; Is not ambitious, seeks not its own, is not provoked to anger, thinks no evil; Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices with the truth.”

Although all this sounds marvellous, is it possible to apply all these virtues in our relations with our neighbours, in the whole of our social and societal life? In our attitude to nature – if we love venison, do we love the deer? Can we apply them in our attitude towards ourselves? Can we identify ourselves with our state, country, class, sex and gender, and is this identification the same as or close to love? Love is a relation, it always involves the other, even when it is about ourselves. The sea in which the fish of our social and societal relations swims is called capitalism, and its most recent version is neoliberalism that “tends to translate the whole of human actions into the domain of the market”. Slavko Kulic discusses neoliberalism as social Darwinism, which extirpates ethics from thinking and behaviour and threatens liberty and democracy. If we turn these abstractions into everyday terms and if we are a worker who has not got his pay packet several months while the bank enforcing loan repayments, can we at the same time not seek our own and rejoice in the truth? If we work in a place where for the sake of productivity we can’t go to the toilet and wear adult diapers into which we have to crap and piss, can we at the same time bear all and hope for the better? Hasn’t he who has driven us to crap into our pants excluded us from the field of humanity, haven’t we become just a bare machine for the sake of his profit?

Can we love ourselves and other people if we are not people at all? And if we want to get our humanity back, isn’t this inimical to the interests of profit and the profit seeker? Can we get back our repudiated humanity differently if we do repudiate the humanity of the profiteer? Employers, as they like calling themselves, often think they are the benefactors of their workers, the ones who feed them. If they do feed them, and at the same time ask them to crap into their pants, isn’t it the worker’s first duty to bite the hand that feeds them and spit into the bowl from which they eat?

Isn’t hatred for the oppressor a sign of regained health and love for oneself, for our neighbours, for justice and freedom. The previous sentence might sound dubious, but I left out the question mark for the answer seems self-intelligible, and I hope it is going to become effective again.
Sometimes hatred is the first act of love.

Co-production: KONTEJNER
Technical associate: Ivan Goldin
Special thanks to: Nenad Stipanić and Forestry Senj

Siniša Labrović (HR)

Siniša Labrović was born in 1965 in Sinj. In 1997, he took a degree in Croatian language and literature at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. He began to go in for the visual arts in 2000. He had his first solo show in the Otok Gallery in Dubrovnik. He has shown his work at numerous collective and solo exhibitions, carried out actions and performances as well as urban interventions, in Croatia – in Dubrovnik, Zagreb, Zadar, Pula, Rijeka, Split, Šibenik, Osijek and Poreč, and abroad – in Novi Sad, Belgrade, Ljubljana, Graz, Carlisle, Reykjavik, Regensburg, Dundee, Istanbul, Paris, Copenhagen, Brussels, Venice, Budapest, Berlin, Dresden, Vienna, Bratislava, Prague, New York, San Sebastian and Lodz. In 2005 he attracted the attention of world media (such as Reuters, BBC, Ansa, New York Post, Guardian, Times, NBC, ABC) with his work, a reality show in which the contestants were sheep. In 2007 he won third purchasing prize at the first T-HT/MCA Competition in Zagreb for Family Diary. This work is part of the permanent display of the MCA.

The paper Slobodna Dalmacija proclaimed the performance Gloria done on the Split waterfront one of the five best cultural events in Dalmatia in 2007. In 2010, at the 16th International Theatre Festival in Pula he won the Vjetar prize for the performance of Gloria. His work is kept in the collections of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb, the Museum of Fine Art in Split, the Museum of Modern Art in Dubrovnik and in private collections. In 2009 he exhibited at the 11th Istanbul Biennial. He represented Croatia at the 13th Venice Architecture Biennale with the Pulska grupa, Hrvoslava Brkušić, Igor Bezinović and Boris Cvjetanović.