Kafka: World of Absurd multimedia exhibition

Why Franz Kafka as a subject of the exhibition and performance? In a great number of aspects that the whole writing of Kafka could be seen, hardly, the most interesting would be the aspect of his mental illness – neurosis. More precise, it would be an aspect of seeing his artistic work through illness as a product.  Using the text of professor V. Jerotic „Franz Kafka. Fear and powerlessness of being“ as a base of a project, we marked off the neurotic aspect of Kafka’s personality, as a motivational and artistic strength. Illness on one side, art on the other.

Would Kafka ever become such a great writer and author of very significant literary work if he has never had suffered from any psychological or mental disease, or on the contrary, writing helped him to carve out with it? Neuroticism provided writing to Kafka. Maybe it even ruthlessly forced him to write. How would he make his own world of absurd in which he is waking up one morning as a bug, live like an artist that starves, or is hiding in a den, being afraid of his own breathing? Unresolved feelings of fear from life, fear of a father figure as the biggest authority, Judaism, successfully provided material for Kafka’s literary work, the same as the fact that he tried to live through characters he imagined and made them alive in his stories. Could art be some kind of psychotherapy and could a neurosis be productive in art itself?

Multimedia exhibition „KAFKA: World of Absurdity“  trough form of photography, word and animation represents a narrative of eight works, including some novels, letters, diaries and short stories, such as: The Metamorphosiz (1915), The Judgment (1912), Artist that starves (1922), Little woman (1923/24), The trial (1925), Letters to Milena (1920), Letters to a father (1919), The Castle (1926). Photos visualize the act of stories, emotional stages of characters and authentic spaces in which stories occur. Impressions of darkness, moisture, and atmosphere of the basement contribute to the „Kafkaesque” atmosphere which dominates in all of his short stories and novels. The aim of an exhibition is to tell stories trough form of photography, to represent the most important segments of stories and novels trough view of absurd. Original quotes and fragments from Kafka’s writing contribute to the impression of stories revived on photographs.

Audio projection about the work of Franz Kafka represents short audio guide that tells about his personality, fears and his thoughts and writing that came up from all of that. There are two used texts: „Franz Kafka. Fear and powerlessness of being“ by prof. dr. Vladeta Jerotic and „Kafka’s short stories“ by Tijana Kondic. Scenography includes four mirrors that stand on the floor making circle which refers to Kafka’s famous quote: „Limited circle is clean“. Placed mirrors have the role of reviewing the personal freedom of a recipient. Also making curve perspective of photographs that reflect in mirrors.

Using Kafka’s original drawings, symbols, and themes for a short animated film in a free form, Iva Kabiljo signs the conceptual solution for an animated film called, „Kafka trough view of I.K“

„KAFKA: World of  Absurdity“ trough form of photography, word, and animation has the aim to represent the work of a great writer Franz Kafka, trough aspect of his neurosis. The world of absurd is the world of Kafka in which, with a constant reversal from sense to nonsense, he tried to come to the point of his personal dismissal. Everything he couldn’t resolve in a real life, he tried to resolve through his writing. Literature as the process of self-approval.

Absurd as a consequence of neurosis.

Probably there isn’t art itself without neurosis and probably every art piece in its base has some kind of compensation. Anyhow, for Franc Kafka, neurosis was a motivate and artistic power for writing. But, at the same time, it was a weakness. 

Author: Tijana Kondic

Photography/Design: Milan Tesla

Animation: Iva Kabiljo

Associates: Nemanja Saric, Igor Nedeljkovic, Dimitrije Markovic, Ljubomir Jankovic, Ana Stojanovic, Jelena Radjenovic, Marko Radonjic

Photos from the opening of the exhibition