Gloria Oreb's video installation Red Book comprises five video works playing in loop, placed inside exhibition space according to a very rigidly devised concept. Four of them constitute a whole entitled Book. These are actually animated pages from the artist’s book (aBook), Red Book, imbued with drawings of forest and sounds of birds singing. The fifth video, Forest, represents an actual forest and movement through it, accompanied by audio background and the author’s voice that, similarly to birdsong, has synesthetic effect on the senses, visualising images using sound. Moreover, it is articulated as oral, poetic verbal description of spending time in nature, using words (text) in order to accompany images and emphasise their tautological relationship. In using sound, image and text, the author wanted to merge gallery space and Red Book with the latter’s content – the forest. To transform static and one-way reading into contemporary, all-encompassing and dynamic visual experience. Here, image functions in its expanded meaning (Belting) and visual media (video) are not only means of visibility, but generators of new reality. We experience represented reality not as real, but media mediated image, therefore as transformed reality. Through video, spectator is able to physically enter a parallel reality – imaginary space of book and imaginary forest ambient.
This work is a continuation of Gloria Oreb’s research in the area of multimedia approach to painting, as well as in that where book is considered a visual medium and artistic object. This problematic has been in the centre of this multimedia artist’s focus since 2014, closely following contemporary strategy of interdisciplinarity, media networking and transdisciplinary approach.
So far she has completed several artist’s books: Book about the City, Book about the Nature, Book about the Light, Green Book, Encyclopaedia of the Dead, and the first version of Red Book, where she demonstrated her contemporary – multimedia approach to image. One that does not treat “medium simply as means of doing something (…) or a tool or a social platform. An environment where pictures (…) and embodiments live and communicate with us, and with whom we can communicate (…). From that perspective, video, speech and sound are merely different aspects of the phenomenon of image – a part of total visual iconosphere and visual content, where at one moment it (the image) embodies itself acoustically and at the other visually “ (adapted according to W.J.T. Mitchell and Ž. Paić).
Based on its title – and partly its ideas and content, Gloria Oreb’s Red Book refers to its namesake book written by Carl Gustav Jung, famous Swiss psychiatrist and psychologist, founder of analytic psychology and one of the most important thinkers of the 20th century, whose interest did not span only theoretical psychology and clinical practice, but also alchemy, mysticism, Eastern and Western philosophy, astrology and many other fields that could answers the questions about the meaning of human existence”. Because of this, he also influenced art, literature, anthropology and history, especially because he defined archetypes, after studying myths and symbols. His Red Book – Liber Novus is one of the most intriguing, even mystical, books of new ages, written and illustrated by Jung from 1916 to 1930, and published only after his death in 2009. It contains around two hundred pages, with calligraphically and manually transcribed texts and artistically drawn illustrations that speak about Jung’s internal “digging” both in words and images, about his nocturnal visions and dreams and his struggle with the subconscious. In her Red Book, Gloria Oreb conceptually draws upon some basic ideas from Jung’s book that were close to her and inspired her, but she develops its contents in her own way, in harmony with her own character and artistic nerve. For example, in her book she turns Jung’s introspective inspection of internal “landscape of the soul” and heavy clash with the unconscious and the subconscious into poetic recognition of the “landscape of imagination”, and the motif of the forest in her work represents a metaphor of life activity – and spirituality. Still, she basically agrees with Jung and, in the same way as he, she aspires towards the balance of internal and external, towards achieving wholeness and completeness, as well as rounding of her character.