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Artist – Milica Tomić

I am Milica Tomic, 1999

z2o Galleria | Sara Zanin
Via della Vetrina 21
Rome, 00186

T: (39) 06 70452261

This work particularly explores theoretical consequences of identification. Everything evolve around Milica’s appearance and the series of statements she pronounces. The statements proceed in the following pattern: “I am Milica Tomic, I am Korean”, “I am Milica Tomic, I am Norwegian”, and so forth. Initially, one can observe that every sentence contains a true and a false statement: yes, that is Milica Tomic, but she is neither Korean nor Norwegian, nor Austrian for that matter. What is explored here is the very formation, the very making of an identity. It is now almost commonly accepted that linguistic experience governs our “inner structure’, that this structure maps linguistic conceptualizings. Therefore, to state, to pronounce one’s identity makes one’s identity. We acquire personal identity by acquiring the name, and it is significant here that Milica Tomic does not dispute that form of identity in all its arbitrariness. On the other hand she problematizes the making of an ethnic or national identity, which she sees also as an arbitrary declaration. Also, this identity does not belong to any category of “feeling”, which is usually a way to exceed one’s original/inscribed ethnic identity by saying “I may be Korean if I feel as a Korean, even if I am originally Serbian”. On the contrary, she has rejected any ethnic feeling and explores the whole issue as a rhetorical formation. In other words, to paraphrase Laclau and Zac, every identification is constitutively incomplete and will have to be always re-created through new identification acts. By amounting identification acts to arbitrary declarations she is creating an identity through agglomeration of declared identities, i.e. creating an imaginary community out of her primary narcissistic identification, in so far as “community always exists through the imaging of the group of which one conceives oneself a member”. Therefore, in Milica’s work different identities are not projected upon herself but her image is projected upon these identities, she is not making some kind of a ‘new age’ statement about her participation in a harmonious ideal of the global community of nations but aiming at the very split within an act of identification, and the very agglomeration of identities as a hysterical symptom. In one and the same process this work questions both paranoiac spaces of particular national identities (leading to xenophobia, discrimination, violence) and hysterical spaces of new globalization (representational over excitation that turns the world into image). However, what has been here overlooked so far, is the very action which occurs when one of her statements is spoken or spread over the screen: at all these instances a different bleeding wound appears linking the act of identification with assertion of a lack at the root of any identity.