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It's Okay to Cry
UGM, Strossmayerjeva 6
27 October 2023—3 January 2024
opening: Friday, 27 October 2023, 19:00

artists: Christa Barlinn Korvald, Aurélie Bayad, Marin Håskjold, Mara Jenny, Matej Jurčević, Sara Pukanić, Jelisaveta Rapaić, Lucija Rosc, Sonja Vulpes, Nicole Maria Winkler and Karolina Wojtas

curators: Barbara Gregov, Lovro Japundžić, Lea Vene (Organ Vida)

The exhibition It's Okay To Cry* explores the social dimensions of emotions and presents artworks by eleven artists that address various manifestations of feelings and emotions in contemporary society and affirm new affective perspectives in the fields of photography and contemporary art.

The increasingly prevalent feelings of frustration, anxiety, or dissatisfaction today are the result of the social and political uncertainty and insecurity that characterize the times we live in. We are all, in some way, trying to specify, verbalise, structure, fit into familiar frameworks, connect with previous experiences, or completely rethink this "affective disorientation," as theorist Sianne Ngai describes it. We invent mechanisms and tactics to cope with frustration and trauma, design tools and discourses to organize our free time, exercise, love life, or daily life in general. Some nostalgically idealize childhood or times that seem, from today's perspective, simpler and more authentic. Others escape into nature, explore spirituality or utopias, while others seek meaning in the metaverse.

Affective disorientation may be an individual feeling, but it is a collective experience.

Feelings of collective exhaustion, frustration or disappointment may be normalized in contemporary society, but this does not make them natural or unalterable. As the title suggests, the exhibition It’s Okay to Cry is an attempt to confront, acknowledge, and come to terms with the sensitive or even painful emotions we all experience, and to artistically explore their transformative potential. Curators’ aim was to establish a space not only for critiquing the prevailing sense of hopelessness, but a space for imagining and creating hopeful, affective alternatives.

The exhibition expands on the conceptual frameworks of the 12th edition of the Organ Vida festival entitled No Tears Left to Cry which took place in summer of 2022 in Zagreb, Croatia and marks a second iteration of a successful collaboration between UGM and Organ Vida.

*The title is a quote from the song It's Okay To Cry by the musician SOPHIE.

International Photography Festival Organ Vida is a biannual international photography festival (Zagreb, Croatia) that gathers international young contemporary artists with the common pursuit to advance the art and practice of contemporary photography, and ignite conversations about critical and global socio-political issues.

Co-production: Organ Vida International Photography Festival
Support: Municipality of Maribor, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Ministry of Culture and Media of the Republic of Croatia, Zagreb City Office for Culture, International Relations and Civil Society, Office for Contemporary Art Norway, Flanders State of the Art