(Zero Painting – Zero Waste)
In December 2018, single-use plastic products were banned in the EU. The list of prohibited items includes a product that is particularly harmful to the environment: cotton swabs. The market quickly reorganised, replacing the shaft of swabs with more sustainable materials such as paper or wood. Nonetheless, cotton swabs are still available, albeit to a lesser extent, in countries outside the EU. The impact of plastic on our environment is disproportionately more devastating in relation to the production and disposal of other fossil-based materials. Jelena Micić’s work investigates the ban on disposable plastics in an ongoing performative action. She archives and transforms the material she collects, creating modular, painterly, installative net structures using processed cotton swabs; this takes the material out of the cycle and preserves it as an art object. Her work highlights sustainable consumption, responsible manufacturing, and the social value of art.
The On the Road Again programme was begun before the Russian attack on Ukraine. The jury selected the artwork presented here, but an exhibition at the Kyiv Cultural Forum was not possible due to the given circumstances. However, the project organisers hope to invite the artist to Kyiv as soon as possible to realise a project there.
Untitled (detail), 2019, cotton swabs, nylon thread, approx. 80 x 80 cm
Untitled (detail), 2019, cotton swabs, nylon thread, approx. 20 x 20 cm
Process photo, 2020, cotton swabs (detail)