The elevator doors open up like a curtain. Behind them is neither an opulent show nor a grand narrative. Instead, behind them are other, open elevator doors. When the doors slide open yet another time, they reveal a view of a curved staircase, an escalator, or an ordinary elevator setting: the interior of a strictly structured, rhythmic, aestheticized world. Yet, an exterior—and thus, possibly, an exit—cannot be seen in Anuk Miladinovićs video, access (2012).
Space is a construct, a composition. A setting. This is made obvious in the artist’s videos and installations. At the same time, the composed spaces seem like disturbing worlds, especially in the newer videos. You can descend into them, as if into the subconscious. They contain, however, no emotional depths in epic form; rather, what is revealed is a complete emptiness, which seems all the deeper. The observer is thrown back upon himself. Some fill this void with laughing, others with a sense of unease. Far from any clear moral or symbol, Miladinovićs videos present an emotionless world, which provides room for emotions—but they remain indistinct, teetering, a little stuck in the throat.
In the films ordinance (2014) and access (2012) figures are added to the environment. Like extras, they are similar to architecture, empty shells in gray suits, homogenizing with their surroundings in a highly aesthetic way. Most of them are waiting, apparently trapped in trivial, everyday acts. Miladinovićs videos could be called “non-narratives”. Just as the architecture she composes has no exterior, these “non-narratives” have no beginning and no end. A “non-narrative” can only take place, however, if there seems to be a possibility for a story. Allusions can be found in the brief, irritating, human motions made by the figures, such as a stiff hug, but they avoid any context, any sort of before or after, and thus, any kind of narrative.
In her new video, košava (2013), which Miladinović is showing as part of the exhibition Die ersten Jahre der Professionalität (The early years of professionalism), the artist also alludes to a narrative set in front of the backdrop of Belgrade’s industrial architecture, but the story remains mysteriously unresolved. The dialogue is cryptic; it seems to be about the ways that machines and systems function. It remains unclear if the characters are the creators of these machines and systems, or their prisoners. Perhaps they are both, simultaneously, for, as one figure says, “Every system is somebody’s sub-system.”