Remember When You Said – This Is It, It Is Only A Question of Whether We Will Withstand. We Didn’t.

27.01 - March 2024.

Here’s What Our Famous … Looks Like Today

It has been 50 years since the publishing of Susan Sontag’s essay “The Double Standard of Aging” and the first ten clickbait headlines such as the one opening the text, present on almost all online platforms today. The number implies, for instance, the achievement of life’s maturity of a woman even though one might say she is still “awakening” while the maturity of her midlife sexuality is suppressed by shame and taboos still dominant in the world around us. The intimate and important questions of relating to oneself and others in maturity, as well as facing one’s body and its changes, are at the heart of the exhibition Remember When You Said – This Is It, It Is Only A Question of Whether We Will Withstand. We Didn’t by Mia David. Mia often stresses how the personal is also the political for her and she has, in that context, instrumentalised over the years, the field of her most intimate emotional events as inspiration to curate and lead Navigator gallery’s programme. Exhibition texts and their titles served as guidelines for reading the works of numerous artistic doubles intuitively linked by Mia into wholes based on personally told experiences. These texts now liberated in the form of chyron messages form the bloodline of this exhibition, slithering and disappearing around us in cold digital writing sequences of ultimately warm-blooded content. Mia creates a matrix of “excessive thinking” abundant in passions, attempts, demises and resurrections in search of fulfilment, acceptance and acknowledgement, love for oneself, others and life. Courageously coming to grips with her own needs and anxieties, Mia leads us into the vicious circle of overthinking and invites us to find ourselves in the lit rows of expressed thought led by a flood of “urges and hormones” – belief that stirs primal fear! Our wish to be chosen as worthy of dedicated and true love undoubtedly leads us back to ourselves. Are we, and to what extent, ready to accept or own aging and our own bodies surrounded by incessantly dilapidated but repeatedly upgraded pressures and manipulations of a patriarchally established system. This is where Mia’s gaze unto herself takes centre stage, struggling for independence and becoming personal, free and one’s own. In a series of images which are also part of the exhibition, Mia feels her own body, wandering between what she sees and feels, what she fears and what comes out onto the surface of the canvas. The challenging and emotional questions about how we experience our own body and ourselves in our own or the reflections of others, may be equally provocatively answered using artistic language. When we stand before the mirror and read a chyron message from the stories that formed Mia and pushed her forward or if we look at ourselves in her paintings, we will understand how true the cliché statement is that what throughout life threatened to destroy us, actually made us better. We will understand how important it is that we had chosen such an unravelling, believing more than doubting. And just like Mia opposes with this exhibition the chain of shame and closing in, and looks straight into her own ambivalences, it is important to remind ourselves that it is up to us to prevail in, above all, liking ourselves.

Curator and author of the text: Ivana Ivković