Gatanje (2005)

Let me describe Gatanje, another video by Devlin. Again, two figures are seated at a table, drinking coffee. One of them is the Devlin himself, who is conversing in Serbo-Croat with a middle-aged woman. It soon becomes clear that the woman is a fortune-teller who will shortly try to read the artist’s future in his coffee dregs. When she asks him what  he wants to know, he says he is wondering whether he will  be successful as an artist—or should he just give up?

After a little gentle banter to the accompaniment of cawing seagulls in the background, the two finish their coffee and the woman examines the patterns formed by the dregs at the bottom of the artist’s cup. First she sees an ostrich, later a dinosaur; and as she disserts encouragingly on his future, it slowly dawns on the viewer that Devlin, while expressing doubt about his prospects as an artist, has quietly staged in the video something akin to the creation of a drawing or painting. After all, images appear in the bottom of the cup and the fortune-teller, who expertly interprets those images, looking for hidden truths, is in some (hilarious, outrageous) sense a stand-in for the critic.

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