Urtica, art and media research group (c) 1999 and Beyond
profile and biography =
UME-Symbol-b

Urtica Medicamentum Est

Installation, Print, TV & Radio ad, CD-ROM, Website, Brochure
1999-2000

click to artWork
  • Photo doc
  • Ratioremedium
    TV ad
  • CD-ROM
    The Departments of Urtica
  • + more
  • Essay by Darko Drašković (eng)
  • Esej Darka Draškovića (srb)
  • Tekst Miška Šuvakovića (srb)
  • go to -> Andersen’s
    Fairy Tale:
    “The Wild Swans”
  • Art and Mass Media

    Social therapy of voluntary weaving or treading on stinging nettles

  • Keywords / Tags

    • Social therapy,
    • Yugoslav society,
    • War,
    • Disorder,
    • Mind-body interaction,
    • Arte Povera,
    • Advertising,
    • Logo,
    • TV and Radio,
    • Victim,
    • Behaviour,
    • Storytelling,
    • Ontological insecurity,
    • Unconscious,
    • Mass media
  • Art-Bio:

    Awards
    2000
    Award of IV Yugoslav Biennial of the Youth, Vršac, Yugoslavia
    Award of The Contemporary Gallery - Pančevo at IV Yugoslav Biennial of the Youth Artists, Vršac, Yugoslavia
    1999
    Award of 28. Novosadskog salona, Novi Sad, Yugoslavia
    Solo Exhibitions
    2001
    “Urtica Medicamentum Est” / installation, Cultural Center Pančevo, Yugoslavia
    1999
    “Place for Two” / installation, “Dom omladine”, Belgrade, Yugoslavia
    Festivals and Group Exhibitions
    2002
    Belgrade, Yugoslavia, “Grifon”, Gallery “Grafički kolektiv”
    Budapest, Hungary, The MAMU Gallery
    2001
    Ljubljana, Slovenia, “Break 21” 5.International festival of young independent artist
    2000
    Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, “Video Medeja”, Video summit
    Portorož, Slovenia, “Golden Drum”, Advertising festival
    Vršac, Yugoslavia, “IV Yugoslav Biennial of the Young Artists”
    1999
    Belgrade, Yugoslavia, “IV Belgrade’s biennial of drawing and small plastic”, Yugoslavia
    Novi Sad, Yugoslavia, “28th October Salon” Novi Sad, Yugoslavia
    Presentations
    2001
    CD-ROM “Urtica Medicamentum Est” / presentation, Video summit “Video Medeja”, Novi Sad, Yugoslavia
    Presentation of Urtica’s WEB site, Club “Izba”, Novi Sad, Yugoslavia
    2000
    CD-ROM “Urtica medicamentum est” / presentation, “Media Center” Belgrade, organized by independent artistic association “Remont”

Site-specific installation “The Place for Two”, Dom Omladine Belgrade, 1999 (photo: Želimir Gvojović)

place for two 01

The Place for Two in Dom omladine

Urtica “brand” had its first appearance at Vršac Youth Biennial in 2000

urtica logo

Urtica brand

Site-specific installation “The Place for Two”, Dom Omladine Belgrade, 1999 (photo: Želimir Gvojović)

place for two 02

The Place for Two in DOB, 1999

Site-specific installation “The Place for Two”, Zrenjanin, 1999

place for two 03

sarkofag 1999

Site-specific installation “The Place for Two”, Zrenjanin, 1999

place for two 04

Zrenjanin 1999

Photo action at “Dom Zdravlja” Novi Sad, 2000 (photo: Miša Keskenović)

photo action at Dom Zdravlja

Dom Zdravlja Novi Sad

Installation “The Rehabilitative Department”, Biennial of Youth, Vršac, 1999 (photo: Miša Keskenović)

rehabilitative department 01

Biennial of Youth, Vršac, 1999

Installation “The Rehabilitative Department”, Biennial of Youth, Vršac, 1999 (photo: Miša Keskenović)

rehabilitative department 02

Rehabilitative Department

Installation “The Rehabilitative Department”, Biennial of Youth, Vršac, 1999 (photo: Miša Keskenović)

rehabilitative department 03

Art Installation 1

Installation “The Rehabilitative Department”, Biennial of Youth, Vršac, 1999 (photo: Miša Keskenović)

rehabilitative department 04

Art Installation 2

Site-specific installation “The Place for Two”, Dom Omladine Belgrade, 1999 (photo: Želimir Gvojović)

place for two 05

DOB

Voluntary Victim’s Society membership card, 6th Biennial of Miniature, Gornji Milanovac, Yu, 2000

voluntary victim

Victim

U.M.E. depicts ontological insecurity and the turmoil of Yugoslav society in the late 90s. It consists of Arte Povera hand-made nettle-objects featured in The Departments of Urtica and an art-advertising campaign The Ratioremedium broadcast on TV and Radio.


Urtica’s statement:

Urtica Medicamentum Est originated during the NATO bombing of FR Yugoslavia in 1999. As an after effects of war, hyperinflation, impoverishment, political terror, cultural and economic isolation during Milošević’s era, Yugoslav society was characterized by six psychopathological phenomena: depression, fear, apathy, incipient madness, indicated schizoid split, and severe moral disorder.

In order to treat these disorders we invented the virtual institution Urtica under the motto “Urtica Medicamentum Est” (Nettle is The Cure). The main product of Urtica was the social therapy of voluntary weaving or treading on stinging nettles whose outcomes were Arte Povera hand-made objects: a nettle-beds “The Place for Two”, a male and female nettle-shirts, a nettle-brooms and napkin. Production of these irrational, meaningless and useless objects was an artistic attempt to overcome traumatic existential condition of Yugoslav society. As psychiatrist Ronald David Laing stated: the symptoms of schizoid behaviour should be understood as a defensive strategy that a person invents in order to live in an unlivable situation. The nettle-objects were presented to a public as installations within the gallery spaces during 1999 and 2000. Since contemporary art was on the margin of Yugoslav society we began to wonder whether the art in gallery format still had an impact and ethical justification to exist. That triggered us to make socially engaged art products for mass media consumption. The first step was to create virtual institution Urtica, its visual identity (logo) and products. The Departments of Urtica was made as a brochure, CD-ROM, and Website, while The Ratioremedium was produced in a form of art-advertising campaign (TV and Radio). It was first broadcast at winter 2000 at B92 TV and Radio, after the collapse of the Milošević regime.

Weaving and treading on stinging nettles is mind-body interaction designed to break a spell. The method was taken from a fairy tale “Wild Swans” by H. CH. Andersen (1838):

… Your brothers can be released, if you have only courage and perseverance. True, water is softer than your own delicate hands, and yet it polishes stones into shapes; it feels no pain as your fingers would feel, it has no soul, and cannot suffer such agony and torment as you will have to endure. Do you see the stinging nettle which I hold in my hand?… These you must gather even while they burn blisters on your hands. Break them to pieces with your hands and feet, and they will become flax, from which you must spin and weave eleven coats with long sleeves; if these are then thrown over the eleven swans, the spell will be broken. But remember, that from the moment you commence your task until it is finished, even should it occupy years of your life, you must not speak. The first word you utter will pierce through the hearts of your brothers like a deadly dagger. Their lives hang upon your tongue. Remember all I have told you…