The exhibition In touch with presents twelve artworks from the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art accompanied by interpretations made specifically for blind and visually impaired audiences. The interpretations were conceived and realized by the students of the Sculpture department at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade.
The students worked in a variety of artistic forms and media (from tactile, audio works, to performances and spatial, ambient installations) with the intent to faithfully convey the stories, meanings and experiences of the artworks from the Museum collection. In this way, the Museum in accordance with contemporary museological standards, aims to make its collection accessible to people who are visually impaired, and to anyone who is ready to explore the artistic heritage of the 20th and the 21st century in an innovative and interactive way.
So far, artworks presented to the blind and the visually impaired were usually tactile diagrams or replicas – reliefs and objects meant for touching, that are produced mechanically, through 3D printing or with a CNC machine. Due to preciseness of linear mechanical production, the produced reliefs and objects usually represent artworks by abstract artists. The exhibition In touch with breaks through this established model by highlighting the experience and the interpretation. The works are observed, felt and interpreted through the subjective experience that has no mould or template. Every viewer has the freedom to interpret and experience the artwork in their own way.
The interpretations of the artworks from the Museum collection are a result of intense interdisciplinary research that was conducted by the students, their professors Mrđan Bajić and Radoš Antonijević, MoCAB curators Katarina Krstić and Senka Ristivojević, and librarian and studio editor of the Library of the Union of the Blind of Serbia “Dr. Milan Budimir”, Boris Dončić, together with the help of the colleagues at the Union of the Blind in Serbia. Their main inquiries were: How can one interpret and present a visual creation to a person who is visually impaired? This brought about related questions: How can the collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art, that contains over 8,300 artworks – paintings, drawings, graphics, sculptures, objects, installations, photographs, video works and many educational resources become accessible to blind and visually impaired audiences.
For this modest experiment, the selected works from the collection deal with the concepts of social transformation. By highlighting these ideas, the aim is to create a space in the Museum that emotionally resonates with the viewer, reminding them of their ability to act as agents of change for themselves and for their environment. The student’s works refer to the artworks of authors that helped shape the artistic scene of this region, and they are Kosta Miličević, Rihard Jakopič, Vane Bor, Pivo Karamatijević, Ivan Tabaković, Petar Lubarda, Radomir Reljić, Bora Iljovski, Petar Omčikus, Zoran Popović, Tomislav Peternek and Vladimir Miladinović. The young artists took on the roles of mediators, offering a unique way to observe the artworks from the collection. They offered new ideas and new perspectives. Therefore, this exhibition does present an explanation of the artworks from the collection, rather it is an invitation to explore and experience these artworks through other senses, through touch, smell and sound. The sensory, tactile and audio aspects of the exhibition encourage an intimate dialog with this artistic heritage, allowing the audience to activate their “inner eyes” and open their minds to new perceptions.
Along with the interpretive artworks, the exhibition is accompanied by labels designed for the visually impaired, as well as labels printed in Braille. Additionally, every exhibited artwork is accompanied by an audio description that is available on headphones, or through the application Guide Me by scanning the QR code next to each artwork. This form of vivid audio description for blind or visually impaired people is known from the classical era as “ekphrasis”. For the exhibition In touch with, the descriptions were prepared by Violeta Vlaški, and were recorded at the studio of the Library of the Union of the Blind of Serbia “Dr. Milan Budimir”. In addition to these didactic tools, the exhibition space is marked by tactile paving in order to make it easier for blind and visually impaired audiences to navigate and walk through the exhibition.
In touch with is an inclusive exhibition that proposes a new approach to the adaptation, mediation and interpretation of artworks. This exhibition emphasizes the importance of art – its ability to serve as a guidepost, that can help audiences realize their own abilities and potential.
The participants in the exhibition are the students of the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade: Katarina Bošković, Luka Cvetković, Bogdan Đukanović, Filip Đukić, Katarina Jovanović, Ana Marinković, Jelena Mirković, Konstantinos Patelis Milićević, Andreja Prokopijević, Marija Tomić, Sabine Vedege and Nikita Živanović.
During the exhibition there will an accompanying programme and an event promoting the exhibition catalogue.
There will be two performances during the opening
Curators: Katarina Krstić and Senka Ristivojević