Pavle Pavlović - "Paralelni protokol"
“In ancient days, men looked at stars and saw their he- roes in the constellations. In modern times, we do much the same, but our heroes are epic men of flesh and blood.”1, said President Nixon on the occasion of the Apollo 11 crew landing on the moon in July 1969. The conquest of the moon, an event of potential historical significance and iconic images it produced are imprinted onto the collective memory of the twentieth century. However, the landing celebrated in his speech never happened. This statement does not refer to numerous conspiracy theories that have disputed this event from the very beginning and even attributed the memorable scenes to Stanley Kubrick’s directing, among others. These are President Nixon’s statements from the speech prepared in case of the mis- sion’s failure. Parallel protocol in case of emergency includes a per- sonal phone call to the widows of the written offs, short and digni- fied address to the nation and a ritual closing down communication with the stranded astronauts. In the absence of something more ap- propriate, priest’s blessing would also follow these maritime meta- phors, and along with following the ritual of burial at sea, he would recommend their souls “to the deepest of the deep”.
Pavle’s heroes also come from the depths, those more or less documented areas of information cosmos and vortex of network of all networks. He creates a repository, landfill of scenes, images and memes collected from social networks, digital channels and obscure and dark corners of the Internet. In the following painting process, he is the one who rewrites their stories. Digital tides often bring bizarre motifs, devoid of any background stories, and the only thing that is left are parallel protocols that rearrange the compo- nents according to need and convince us of the truthfulness of the scene before our eyes.
In this connection, bizarreness is a completely arbitrary category of questionable quality. Like the determination of reality and realism, it largely depends on the given social determination of standards, on the one who controls the narrative and his/her consideration for the potential Other and Otherness. Undoubtedly, many of his protagonists began their career in front of the camera, unaware of their own clumsiness and their own very low position in the general social ladder of, if not acceptable, then at least decent behaviour. In Pavle’s work, standards and definitions of normal do not exist in any case and he freely rearranges and incorporates these social losers into a completely new and convincing world.
Gorgona’s archives in the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb contain one of the most beautiful, and at the same time most moving letters I have ever had the opportunity to read. Ra- doslav Putar, a member of Gorgona, an art historian and critic, de- scribes a slow and relentless spread of disease that was about to tear his memories and mix up images. “as it is no more just an ordi- nary failure ... It is probably – the fragility of the spirit exhausted in the nonsense and superfluous, unnecessary efforts; illusions” 2.
The ruthless and unstoppable process of losing control over one’s own narrative is repeatedly emphasized in today’s age of digital image. Pavle’s method of taking the motifs and images from the Internet and collaging them is also a method of a broken memory. However, he continues where the broken memory stops, fills the resulting gaps, whereas the series of his paintings populate a common universe that has its own rules and laws. This consisten- cy gives credibility to his scenes and from abandoned documents of nonsense and superfluous creates new heroes of flesh and blood.