Damir Očko

Damir Očko’s focus on the word ‘dicta’—plural of the word ‘dictum’ meaning a formal pronouncement from an authoritative source, offers a conceptual starting point for his second exhibition at the Kasia Michalski Gallery. Presenting the artist’s most recent film, Dicta, along with a series of new works, the exhibition reveals a multiplicity of layers inherent to the production and the core topics of the artist’s research.

The film features a radical reading of a poem composed by the artist based on fragmented cut-outs from Bertolt Brecht’s “Writing the Truth: Five Difficulties” (1935). Originally recounting the importance and difficulty of telling the truth in the times of turmoil, Brecht’s views on fascism and its relation to capitalism touch upon topics that are painfully echoing today. Očko not only revisits the text, but, by cutting word after word out of it, composes a randomized, radical, dadaist speech that by means of its own structure proposes a critical commentary on the construction of meaning in the age of “alternative facts.”

Dicta, the linguistic core of many words in Indo-European languages such as ‘dictate,’ ‘dictator,’ ‘dictatorship,’ provides the main stage for the exhibition. Spanning around the notions that question our perception of authority in the age when principles are crumbling at a hitherto unseen pace, the exhibition showcases new works made specifically for this occasion.

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Stach Szabłowski in Magazyn Szum (in Polish)