FROM COMMUNITY TO PARADISE
CSU Collection - New Acquisitions, 2011 - 2016
Jure Cvitan, Matej Čepin, Tomaž Črnej, Andreja Džakušič, Borut Hlupič, Maja Hodošček, Robert Hutinski, Narcis Kantardžić, Bojana Križanec, Tomaž Milač, Željko Opačak, Iza Pavlina, Mark Požlep, Franc Purg, Ana Straže, Manja Vadla, Dalibor Bori Zupančič
Guests: Miha Kaučič, Peter Koštrun, Simon Macuh, Iva Tratnik, 24. 3. - 24. 4. 2016
Gallery of Contemporary Art, 28. 1. - 6.3.2016
Evolution, the title of the exhibition, in which Rajko Bizjak places recent and older works into a dialogue, offers a number of considerations, including the author's relationship to the photographic series produced to date. The body and corporeality represent the central position in his creative work. He uses them to address particularly sexuality, desire and pleasure, social and moral constructs and prohibitions, the comparability of man and the universe. But the main guiding principle of his photographic gaze is exploration. How to look at the things that we usually only see in a certain way, in a different way. In the breadth of three decades, his photographic series speak about the external and the internal, about the distant and the nearby, about the intertwining between the conscious and the unconscious, familiar and foreign, about the similarity of patterns and structures found in nature, the body, the universe. His work is at once the depiction of beauty in the sense of pleasure, and the attainment of an uncomfortable and anxious feeling. He finds beauty in the female body, like in the Hommage a Eikoh Hosoe series (1991, referring to the cultural differences in defining pornography), and achieves the effect of discomfort particularly with total closeness as he brings the gaze at and into the female organ so close that it turns into a foreign, unknown, almost scary scenery. Bizjak plays with the viewer's knowing of what he is actually seeing, with a similarity between the forms in nature and parts of the body, reaching the pinnacle with the photos inside the body, as in the series Stardust – Incarnation (2007). With his latest piece, a large photograph entitled Evolution (2016) derived from Michelangelo's depiction of the Biblical Genesis and the main scene of The Creation of Adam in the Sistine Chapel, with all the meanings and associations that it triggers, he rounds off the stories of the series produced so far. Contemplation on man and creation, desire and pleasure, prohibition and control (as a tool for the existence of the system) is connected with the idea of God, its meaning along with all the scientific discoveries and astounding theories, with the question of whether the contemporary subject still needs God, where is the driving force of humanity, history and progress.
Bizjak's series of photographs always stem or relate to one another, build upon each other or expand into new spaces that he foresees or establishes on the basis of chance. They may seem as opposites, as a break, but there is an essential link between them, a focus on the body and the erotic, on a view into the veiled and concealed.
Rajko Bizjak, Archetype, 2016
Exhibited series: Blossoms (2002), Archetype (2016), Stardust – Incarnation (2007) Stardust – Comparison (2016), Hommage a Eikoh Hosoe (1991), Hommage – 23 Years Later (2013), Evolution (2016), Solar System triptych from the Short Stories series (2011–2015)
Rajko Bizjak (1963, Postojna) graduated in 1990 from the Academy of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb, majoring as a film and television cameraman. He works as a cameraman and photographer and is a lecturer at the Academia Maribor Vocational College, FAM Faculty of Media in Ljubljana, School of Arts in Nova Gorica and the VIST Higher School for Photography in Ljubljana. His works are held in national and international collections. He lives and works in Ljubljana.
SHAME ON YOU!
Libia Castro & Ólafur Ólafsson, Matej Čepin, Robert Hutinski, Staš Kleindeinst, Aino-Marjatta Mäki and Jaakko Karhunen, Luiza Margan, Paula Muhr, Pleurad Xhafa, Adrian Paci, Ana Pečar and Oliver Ressler, Ana Nedeljković and Nikola Majdak jr., Vahida Ramujkić (together with: Aviv Kruglanski, Dejan Došljak), Zgodovinski arhiv Celje (Historical Archive Celje)
Curator: Maja Hodošček
Locations: Gallery of Contemporary Art, Likovni salon and Chapel of St Elisabeth
26. 11. 2015 - 17. 1. 2016
Shame on you! is an interdisciplinary project spanning over four years, produced in concept and programme by the cultural institutions Celeia Institute – Centre for Contemporary Art in Celje (Slovenia) and the Miroslav Kraljević Gallery in Zagreb (Croatia).
The project functions as an artistic and theoretical platform, focused on analysing the affect of shame. As part of the project, and alongside the lectures and presentations, an art residency programme also took place in the period between 2013 and 2015. During their residencies, the invited artists produced the works that will be shown in the exhibition for the first time. Anna Dašović, Paula Muhr, Aina-Marjatta Mäki and Jaakko Karhunen, as well as Miloš Trakilović were hosted in Celje.
The starting hypothesis of the Shame on you! project is based on the assumption that feeling shame is a symptom that reveals various forms of social inequality since this is in its core a socially conditioned affect. In the process of coming up with the concept for the exhibition, we focused on the area of the economy and its division of labour as it is an essential producer of sociality (through work we enter into relationships and form a variety of social ties). It is worrying that in the contemporary times a singular form of economy is becoming established that is based on massive exploitation of the work force, which presents itself as the only possible social reality that should be adapted to. Theoreticians Julie Graham and Katherine Gibson write that it is precisely the naturalization of the economy, which has established itself in the public space to a totality after the demise of socialism, that has led to a shift from understanding the economy as a field of transformation, or at least as a field which can be communally managed, to exercising the latter as hegemonic formations of governing. The governing of society from the standpoint of the interests of the economy, new production processes and changed forms of labour have a significant impact on social relations, creating new subjectivities and various social classes. As part of the project, we were predominantly interested in what type of working conditions, within situations where neo-liberalism appears as the fundamental discourse, the affect of shame occurs and the relations that it discloses.In doing so, we took into account the mentality of the neo-liberal ideology which spreads awareness that economic and social success depends on our own capacity for action on the labour market and that the individual is solely responsible for his own social status. Tomaž Flajs, Gestalt psychotherapist, stresses that shame is experienced by the individual in an intimate situation as something painful. This experience is inextricably linked with the external environment since by humiliating certain identities or ways of living, society establishes the mechanisms of control, thereby allowing the reproduction of socially acceptable norms. Conformism is therefore essential for the maintenance of shame given that this affect appears as the individual or the community no longer has the ability or wish to adapt to the given norms of reality.
By establishing different relations to the concept of work in the present times, the works presented in the exhibition demonstrate that multiple diverse different identities are not able to adapt to the existing economic reality. The inability to achieve economic independence is experienced as personal guilt and shame.Such an intimate experiencing of one’s own inadequacy or failure significantly contributes to maintaining the system aimed at continuously exploiting the available resources in order to create surplus value. Through the artworks, the exhibition seeks to deconstruct the ideological idea which proposes that the social position in the economic division of labour taken up by the individual is his own fault. It draws attention to systemic violence that does not offer any, or else barely minimal, social security to the individual, yet demands increasingly more impossible ways of working, by which it has a fundamental impact on the reduction of the quality of life.
The works highlight precarity (Luiza Margan), which is, according to recent sociological research, becoming the most widespread present-day form of employment. It is defined by a continuing state of uncertainty and is realized through the manifold forms of irregular working relations. Transnational capitalist action requires a global market and the countries that had in the past ensured at least the minimum social protection of the workforce due to national interests, have been abolishing this minimum security measure and are cooperating in spreading the neo-liberal discourse. The political decision-making system has completely distanced itself from citizens and is taking place separately, independently of the needs and will of the community (Matej Čepin).
The works in the exhibition address the increase of labour migrations (Adrian Paci) and link the exploitation of the labour of the global south to the historical phenomena of state racism, which is still exercised today through invisible mechanisms (Robert Hutinski).
They deal with the consequences of privatizations in rural areas (Vahida Ramujkić, in collaboration with Aviv Kruglanski and Dejan Došljak) and point to the proliferation of the so-called “working poor” (Pleurad Xhafa) in which workers do not earn enough to survive in their paid employment. They expose deviant practices (goodbye letter kept by the Historical Archives Celje) and activist situations that oppose the profitable mode of governing society (Ana Pečar and Oliver Ressler). They disclose capitalist strategies that are used to try and influence political decisions (Libia Castro and Ólafur Olafsson) and cast a doubt in democracy as a form of governance (Ana Nedeljković and Nikola Majdak jr., Staš Kleindeinst).
They wonder what kind of subjectivities are produced by capitalism (Aino-Marjatta Mäki and Jaakko Karhunen) and look for connections between the demands of the economy and an increase in all kinds of mental illness (Paula Muhr).
But they also offer different ways of thinking and living, such as the proposal to step out of the system of labour and into life (Dalibor Bori Zupančič).
WE MEET AT SIX. Proposals for communal practices and green areas in Celje
Andreja Džakušič, Daniela Krajčová, Simon Macuh, Estela Žutič and Gilles Duvivier
Gallery of Contemporary Art, 11 September – 18 October 2015
You are cordially invited to attend the opening and tour of the exhibition on Friday, 11 September, at 6 pm at the Gallery of Contemporary Art. The exhibition tour will be conducted by the participating artists. At 7 pm, you are welcome to attend the performance Initiati ti ti ti by Estela Žutić and Gilles Duvivier.
Co-producer of the exhibition: KUD Mreža, Alkatraz Gallery, Ljubljana
Curators: Irena Čerčnik, dr. Mojca Puncer
A group of artists from the Association of Fine Artists of Celje, together with many colleagues and supporters, presents the proposals for community action and a greener city by changing the gallery into a space for raising awareness and discussion on the problem of the degraded areas and the untapped potentials of the urban area within Celje. The exhibition reveals the results of previous artistic research in the form of live events, installations, documentary material, drafts, sketches, photographs, video, as well as natural materials, relocated from the urban environment into the gallery space. The artistic research concerns topics related to specific city locations that stand out by their topical nature since they are subject to broad civil initiatives, among which four are highlighted in the exhibition – the Kare 9 initiative, the Tree Park initiative, the Urban Gardening initiative and the Let’s Preserve the Trees initiative. The presented initiatives confront the city with sustainable, continual challenges that involve a miscellaneous use of space that is friendlier to the people and the environment, as well as awareness of the protection of the local tradition. The exhibition plans for a series of activities in its accompanying programme that will take place outside the gallery framework, under the guidance of the members of the Association of Fine Artists of Celje with invited guests.
The need for sustainable development of the city does not only include the environmental aspect, but also economic and social sustainability, which assures the quality of life in the city. This should take into account the contribution of the contemporary art practices that enhance community awareness of the importance of environmental protection and cultural heritage, as well as the protection of natural resources. In pursuing real, sustainable impact within the local community, the artists are acting according to the principles of urban regeneration, social integration and participatory urbanism. The artists appear in the role of co-initiators in establishing communal urban gardening as well as in the conservation and expansion of green areas as an opportunity for sustainable development for the city. They are approaching the debate by means of artistic research covering experimental and educational workshops and campaigns for all ages, by which they are encouraging the exchange of experience and knowledge of all participants. In this way, they are contributing to the identification of the needs and potentials of the urban area and its inhabitants, as well as encouraging a quest for solutions in the broader context of the city by actively advocating changes in the public space. The objective is for the community to organize itself as a civil initiative that addresses a large untapped potential and for the residents and users to become actively involved in the sustainable development of the city of Celje. Certain proposals have already come to life among the citizens, and numerous individuals and associations have already joined the existing initiatives.
The exhibition deals with the life lived in the city of Celje as a network of interconnections within which artistic creation is only one of the sensitive layers among all the others. With this awareness, the exhibition offers a reflection on the local urban environment, which concerns ecology in its broader sense of connectivity within the community.
The project was supported by: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Celje, Okolje Consulting and KOB David Koželj.
A research exhibition of abandoned, discarded, alienated and found photographic images
Exhibition curators: Peter Koštrun, Peter Rauch
15.7. - 23.8.2015
A collection of vernacular photographs exposes those without a caption, those, who more than anything else, served their purpose well among the people: they represented companies or informed potential customers about a product, or else served as a reminder of the good and bad times. All these photographic mediators somehow found their way to marketplaces, into cellars and, in one way or another, into our hands. Then they stood still for some time, forgetting about their mediating function, and began to build collections of curiosities. Now we would like to revive their function again, whilst not completely eradicating their old one at the same time. If we are talking about transcribing memory, then this transcription should be very superficial, unscrupulous, leaving a sufficient degree of dust and clues on the surface for the photograph to lose itself between the new and old context. An advertisement is an advertisement, and at th artefact. In the aporia between a useful product and a collection object, some sort of photographic form should be detected therefore, to which no specific value can be attributed – not social, economic, commercial, artistic, familial or technical. All these values are extremely boring, and to top it all off, they bypass photography and reduce it to the level of a photocopier’s. The ontology of reproduction, this is therefore the subject of our interest – the essence of which is primarily a bet that what is beyond function is something extremely valuable, worthy of all of our time and study – the hope that there is a core, which is at the same time always only a product of this hope and the ambitions of these kinds of exhibitions. We are therefore trying to force all anti-photographic values to waiver, to make a lapse or error, and to blush in their banality. So what should remain? Nothing – perhaps a fundamental dilemma that will weigh the surface of the image and its use to such an extent that it will not be clear what is the essence and what is merely appearance.
The exhibition has been organized in cooperation with the Zavod FOKUS.
Time, Mood, Identity
3rd Triennial of Young Artists – PREMIERE 2015
Nevena Aleksovski and Ana Makuc, Nina Čelhar, Katja Felle, Jasmina Grudnik, Andrea Knezović, Gašper Kunšič, Maša Lancner, Ana Legčević, Jure Markota, Erik Mavrič, Iza Pavlina, Petra Petančič, Tejka Pezdirc, Adrijan Praznik, Urška Savič, Kaja Urh, Jara Vogrič
Gallery of Contemporary Art, 29.5. - 5.7.2015
This year, the Center for Contemporary Arts Celje is opening the third edition of the Triennial of Young Artists. The ambition of the Triennial is to make ongoing presentations of those young artists whose sovereign engagement in the contemporary times is made through their own language both visually as well as in terms of meaning. The selection of participating artists takes place on the basis of a call for submissions, which was first published in 2009. Out of 45 applications this year, 17 artworks were selected. The only criteria of selection were quality and contemporaneity, which is why this exhibition represents a field of diverse contents. Its significance – beside drawing attention to the young artists – is that this type of concept affords a view into how young artists, who are about to enter or have only just entered the world of art, are responding to the realities of today, the aspects of the diverse and changing present that come to the fore, as well as the internal and external impulses that act as starting points for their language and message passed on through their artwork.
Time, Mood, Identity are three chapters that cover the directions of the young artists at this year’s Premiere. These broadly outlined chapters present a discourse on contemporary migration and the hybrid identity of immigrants, gender roles, sexuality and relationships between the genders, as well as the contemplation of the role of the artist within society. The problems of identity and their related diversity of feelings are joined by consideration and reflection of other prevailing moods in contemporaneity, from alienation and isolation, feelings of meaninglessness and grasping for the tangible, to sensing the tiny moments that take place in everyday life which are simple, but nevertheless important for the individual. The critical look at the facts of social reality extends into the issue of violence against women, media-mediated reality and the gap between the expected and the real political and economic situation in the country. Besides social time, this year’s Premiere addresses the phenomenon of time as such, from the systematic identification and measurement of time, to highlighting its elusiveness. Noticeable is the use of the Internet as a work space, from the appropriation and transfer of a wide variety of images from the Internet to painting and the reflection on the relationship between the source of the image and its new status, to using online chat rooms, the randomness of contacts and the multiplicity of encounters enabled by the Internet.
Premiere 2015 questions the present through the identification of contemporary conditions, through the expectation of the future, as well as through memory and history. The current time of constant movement, flow, quantity, temporariness, variability and uncertainty is expressed through different artistic means, installation, painting, drawing, object, sound, words and photography; through various methods of work that also include dialogue and collaboration, and through diverse contents that often spring from one’s own experience.
The exhibition Time, Mood, Identity is accompanied by a catalogue (44 pages, designed by Studio Kindin, translated from the Slovene by Arven Šakti Kralj Szomi, with texts by the participating artists and Irena Čerčnik).
18. 12. 2014 – 1. 2. 2015
Gallery of Contemporary Art and Likovni salon Gallery
The Gallery of Contemporary Art presents the artist’s oeuvre spanning over thirty years of creativity, whereas the Likovni salon Gallery hosts a display of works by the Zvono group (1982–1992), in which Narcis Kantardžić was actively involved for the entire ten years of its existence.
Narcis Kantardžić came from the strong creative circles of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and was active in the 1980s throughout the former Yugoslavia. During the last Balkan war he moved to Celje, where he still lives and works.
The art produced in the studio of Narcis Kantardžić is not usually associated with street actions, outdoor exhibitions, pioneering video experiments, conceptual performances, scenographic investigations, painting installations, OHO-style artistic holidays, or café curatorship. Yet a look into the documentation of his work, and many of the artist’s memories, talk of the fact that he tried out everything that was topical and available, and at the same time marginal and innovative, in the times before the war. The Zvono group, which is being presented as part of the exhibition at the Likovni salon Gallery, was founded by a group of colleagues from the Sarajevo Academy of Fine Arts on 2 April 1982, three years after the opening of the unusual set-up for the time – a café combining a gallery, after which the young students named themselves. Its members: sculptor AleksandarSašaBukvić, painters SeadČizmić, BiljanaGavranović, SadkoHadžihasanović, NarcisKantardžić and the later addition of photographer Kemal Hadžić, woke up the Sarajevo cultural scene of the time with their self-organisation, creative passion and wide-ranging activity. They began to prepare street exhibitions, organized various events, actions, carried out performances, travelled and tried to remain artists regardless of the established legitimate paths to attaining this status. From their position of collective action, as well as everyday life to a large extent,Zvono used the principles of the avant-garde, with each member maintaining their own art language despite their group projects.Zvono became and remains one of the leading Yugoslav art groups of the 1980s.
Narcis Kantardžić was as connected with the group, whose members never abandoned their own art practice, as he was individualistic in his painting. Soon after completing his studies at the Academy of Fine Arts, Kantardžić found his world in painting, which he strolls around regardless of social, political or economic circumstances to this very day. Kantardžić moved away from modernist abstraction early on, looking for challenges in landscape, romantic and metaphysical handling of nature, as well as architecture. Initially he was interested in the objecthood of the painting, which is why he expanded its surface with frames made of different materials. Motifs of man gazing into the distance and fantasy scapes remained enclosed into white wooden and concrete structures. A more sombre aspect was achieved with the images caught into gray boxes under glass, in which solitary towers and factories appear. Kantardžić’s step outside the painting was upgraded with installation and by adding tower sculptures made out of clay. The climax was reached with the performative moment – the burning of the tower at the large-scale Yugoslav Documenta exhibition in Sarajevo in 1989. Since the 1990s, the artist has increased the size of his canvases, simplifying his frames, whereas his landscapes have become more sophisticated and precise. Post-apocalyptic sublime spaces with strong references to the period of Romanticism in addition to the painting skills of the Renaissance masters appear as a consistent line within his painting practice. Since the mid-1990s and up till the present day, the central motif in his paintings remains the tower, be it a monumental fortress, a fairytale turret, a precisely shaped Tower of Babel or a burning factory.
The paintings of Narcis Kantardžić can be interpreted as “classical”, contemporary and timeless at the same time. The undefined vast landscapes, symbolic remnants of civilization, architecture that has survived man, isolated human figures, the sublime feeling of nature, metaphysical spaces, apocalyptic moments of destruction or silence, give the images a direction, limitation and simultaneously a mysterious timelessness, where the aesthetic note does not predominate over the message and feeling of the observed. The exhibition is a disclosure of two histories, artistic activities, which represent making and living. And with it, also the present moment that, in the face of the disclosure of Kantardžić’s artistic personality, still reflects something that remains a mystery in its quiet repeating rhythm.
Narcis Kantardžić was born in 1958 in Derventa and graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Sarajevo in the class of Professor MiloradČorović in 1982. In the same year he founded the Zvono group with four other graduates, which operated successfully until 1992. At the end of the 1980s he became assistant professor to Ratko Lalić, and enrolled on a postgraduate course of study in Painting and Restoration. In 1992, he moved to Celje, and then to Stuttgart for a year, returning to Celje in 1994, where he has lived for the past twenty years. He is a member of the Maribor Association of Artists and joined the Association of Artists of Bosnia and Herzegovina as a member in as far back as 1983. He has exhibited in almost all the leading galleries and overview exhibitions of contemporary art in the former Yugoslavia. He has presented himself in many venues throughout Slovenia, as well as in London, Budapest, Ravenna and Trieste. He has regularly attended painting and sculpture colonies, and has received numerous Slovenian awards for painting. In the first decade he worked in video, installation, set design and performance in addition to painting and sculpture, whereas his focus of attention in the recent years has been devoted to painting and printmaking. Kantardžić has been an important part of the Celje art scene for more than ten years. He continues with his teaching work, which he performed at the painting school and the Academy in Sarajevo in the late 1980s, in the newly created school of drawing and painting, not far from his studio in the art quarter near Gosposkaulica and Na Okopih in Celje.
Curator: Maja Antončič
The exhibition is accompanied by the catalogue NARCIS KANTARDŽIĆ, published in January 2015.
The exhibition and catalogue are supported by:
Thanks: Robin Bolić, Saša Bukvić, Jure Cvitan, Tomaž Črnej, Niđejm Djukić, Vili Einspieler, Marjan Furlan, Anton Jošt, Izidor Krivec, Kristina Ljevak, Andrej Pavlič, Iztok Pikl, Rade Spasovski, Nevenka Šivavec, Katica Trajkovska Abjanić, Manja Vadla, Stanislav Veniger, Marko Založnik, Jožef Žgank
Umjetnička galerija Bosne i Hercegovine, Galerija Škuc, Ljubljana, SCCA – Ljubljana
Affect and mood through photography
Goran Bertok, Rajko Bizjak, Brane Božič, Tomaž Črnej, Luka Dakskobler, Jon Derganc, Andreja Džakušič, Luka Gorjup, Severin Hirsch, Robert Hutinski, Ciril Jazbec, Jurij Korenjak, Peter Koštrun, Borut Krajnc, Arven Šakti Kralj Szomi, Jure Kravanja, Borut Peterlin, Boštjan Pucelj, Small but dangers, Tomaž Tomažin, Šimen Zupančič
Jon Derganc, from the Chasms series, 2010-2011
The exhibition focuses on that sort of photography that can bring about strong emotional reactions in the viewer with its image and context, particularly a sense of unease and uncertainty through nature and the workings of man, the authorities, politics and the economy. Through its individual parts, it talks about how we feel about the world here and now, a world in which death, persistent wars, encampments and killings, the unscrupulous ideology of neo-liberalism, the economic crisis, unemployment and exploitation of people, irresponsible attitude towards nature, climate change and violence against animals, have become a fixture, which builds an increasingly omnipresent experience of despair, exhaustion and helplessness in modern man without respite, as one finds it almost impossible to have a direct impact on the situations and developments in the world, yet at the same timebears a crux of the responsibility. It talks about a world in which it is obvious how the systems and centres of power maintain a sense of powerlessness and uncertainty because of their own interests, and intensify the perception of the present, in which it seems as if a break and a different choice that would disrupt the continuity of what exists are not really possible. By composing external, impersonal sources that predominantly live in the reality of capitalism and largely give rise to unpleasant emotions within society and the individual, the exhibition talks about a world in which anxiety is becoming one of its fundamental sentiments. (In the recent article, We Are All Very Anxious, the Institute for Precarious Consciousness claims that the dominant affects of the various stages of capitalism follow each other from a general feeling of deprivation and misery from the nineteenth to the mid-twentieth century, a feeling of boredom that prevailed between the 1950s and the 1980s, when the standard of living rose, to the widespread feeling of anxiety in contemporary capitalism.)
The photographs address the viewer at various levels. Some force open the feelings of the dark side of reality and the complete collapse of ethics, others speak at a symbolic level and visualize the unknown and the unimaginable, justlike the new demands, forms, rules, conditions, provisions and experiences of the impending worldremainunknown and uncomfortable.The suggestive address of the photographs, rather than capturing spectacular and shocking scenes, is built on a subtle yet at the same time eloquent delivery of contents. Some images even have a pleasant air to them at first glance, a comfortableness, it is the story and context,however, that have a powerful effect on the viewer,causing a sense of emotional discomfort,which are placed and (through the title, text, knowledge) disclosed to the viewer behind the surface. The common quality to all of the works is the way in which they use language to hold onto the viewer, engage him and in no way leave him unscathed. With their intensity, they are able to trigger off an affective response (let us disregard the apathy arising from the constant feeling of helplessness and passivity), and more – shed agitation into the complex emotional mood that remains in the viewer for some time to come and blends in with the generallydisagreeablefeel encompassed by contemporaneity.
At this point, the exhibition poses the viewer a question: not so much about the necessity for change as principally about the belief in change and the possible strategies of resistance, at a time when unease and anxiety so persistently inundate society.
Stranger Than Paradise
Gallery of Contemporary Art, 21.6. – 24. 8. 2014
Celje visual artist Mark Požlep is presenting himself at the Gallery of Contemporary Art with a solo exhibition of his most recent projects. All three include travel as a key moment of reaction towards the dichotomy between reality and utopia. What changes here, is the way in which the idyllic situation within a real environment is sought. Searching for symbolic heavenly oases is accompanied by the question of how reality can become a positive image, not only of space, but also of one’s own thinking and insight.
The projects Whatever Happened to Major Tom (2012), Homelands (2013/2014) and Stranger than Paradise (2014) appeared one after another just like the artist’s travels and desires for the realization of even the most incredible ideas. With these journeys, the artist tests his abilities to create spaces, mental images and actions that can take an effect on generally achieving positive goals. In the first project, Požlep transported a palm tree from a gallery to a Croatian islet in a yacht that he had bought and renovated. He planted it there and gave it a new lease of life. In the second project, he worked with children and adolescents in Holon (Israel) and built a sand mountain, by which he wanted to create, at least for a certain time, a symbol of cooperation and integration between the people, regardless of gender, age, origin and religion. In the last project, the artist held a concert tour across the republics of the former Yugoslavia, and sang popular Yugoslav songs from the 1950s and 1960s to the elderly in residential homes, who had once experienced the tracks in their perfect(ed) image. In a time span of three years, Požlep therefore moves more and more from experiencing adventure personally to creating a path on which he implicates the social environment and creates a positive situation with the help of predetermined or spontaneous cooperation.
The artist’s first medium of painting, within which he travelled through a personal development of principles tied to expression, content and form, later changed into a “multimedia” journey across fictitious spaces through his installations, and finally into specific journeys that are at times almost epically planned adventures. In parallel to the artist’s personal life stories, memories and imaginary situations, each of these journeys aims to search for the utopian, potentially heavenly moments within different environments. It is therefore an exploration of the creation of symbolic and actual images or situations. At the same time, searching for, also means finding, a time loop that is not only dependant on the artist’s action, but also on the social, historical and political seal of the “conquered” regions.
Požlep’s projects have in his past artistic practice been marked by superhero figures. The artist frequently adopted the superhero figure himself, especially in his performative pieces, only that it was usually presented as an antihero or given a humorous character. The heroes in the projects this time have positive connotations; they are colleagues, children, the elderly or are materialized and cultural symbols of searching for an oasis in a world where ideas are less and less attainable: boat, palm tree, mountain, song. A story weaves around these in the exhibition Stranger than Paradise, which is closely linked to the artist’s “archetypes”. Their implementation is the merger of life and art, of research and process. Stranger than paradise does therefore not imply a naive browsing for hidden treasure, but a gray zone of searching as a goal, discovery in the process itself. It also means building experience through collaboration with people and no longer with symbolic figures.
The exhibition presents three stories through video, photography and installation that are tied into an entity of visual messages. Each story is encompassed by a diary of entries that allow the viewer to take a step into the artist’s personal discoveries.
Mark Požlep (1981, Celje) graduated in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana under Prof. Herman Gvardjančič in 2006, before going on to complete his postgraduate studies with Prof. Srečo Dragan. He recently completed Advanced Master in Transmedia at Sint-Lukas art school in Brussels. He has been showing work in solo exhibitions since 2000. His works have been presented in many European cities: Berlin, Toulouse, Bratislava, Venice, Belfast, Belgrade and he has exhibited in almost all major Slovenian galleries. He is concerned with exploring the field of painting, drawing, video, installation and performance. His current focus is on projects that explore and actively involve different populations through travel.
He first attracted attention in the Slovenian arena with the multimedia installation Superheroes Last Supper at the U3 triennial exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art (Moderna galerija) in Ljubljana. He received an Essl Award for his multimedia installation Break Through. The project Whatever Happened to Major Tom was presented in several solo and group exhibitions in Slovenia as well as in Rijeka and Venice. He has published an artist’s cookbook entitled Drunk Cook Book and has participated in many collective projects.
Mark Požlep first introduced himself independently at the Center for Contemporary Arts Celje in 2006 in Likovni salon with the piece Purple Volvo Valentine, and then in the Gallery of Contemporary Art in 2008 with the successful projectUrban Savage as part of the exhibition Mark Požlep and Jaša: Against History for a Bit of Good Old Love.
The exhibition Stranger than Paradise presents two of the artist’s projects for the first time. Homelands was created in a residency in Israel under the auspices of MGLM, City Gallery, Ljubljana, The Israeli Center for Digital Art, and the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Tel Aviv. His latest project, Stranger than Paradise was produced in a co-production between Celeia Celje Institute and Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana.
Curated by: Maja Antončič
Mark Požlep, Homelands, Gallery of Contemporary Art Celje, 2014
Photo: Tomaž Črnej
In 2013 Mark Požlep was selected for an artist’s residency in Israel. He worked with children and adolescents from Jesse Cohen neighborhood in Holon, Israel, and built a four metre high sand mountain/sculpture, by which he wanted to achieve a cooperation and integration among the people, regardless of gender, age, origin and religion. With the help of an iron wheelbarrow, some shovels, a hoe and many hands, a temporary site-specific work was created as a symbol of the unification of the local community.
Mark Požlep, Aia, Oz
MGLM/Mestna galerija, Ljubljana / MGML/City Art Gallery, Ljubljana,
The Israeli Centre for Digital Art, Veleposlaništvo Republike Slovenije v Tel Avivu / Embassy of Slovenia in Israel
Mark Požlep, Whatever happened to Major Tom, Gallery of Contemporary Art Celje, 2014
Photo: Tomaž Črnej
The piece Whatever Happened to Major Tom was created after the artist produced the Close to the Clouds project for Maribor Art Gallery (UGM), where he placed a palm tree as the only living element into a scenic setting with a sunrise. He then transferred the same palm tree to the real environment. For the artist, the journey began with the purchase of an old Cayuco yacht in Hamburg, and continued with its restoration and the preparations to move the palm tree from the gallery space to a real islet near Unije in Croatia. What had existed before only as a visual image and a metaphor for the realization of a utopian idea got itself a new story, which turned into a personal and project-oriented adventure.
Director of Photography
Damjan Švarc / Visual DPT
MGML, Kulturni center Tobačna 001, Ljubljana
Mark Požlep, Stranger Than Paradise (Čudnije od raja), Gallery of Contemporary Art Celje, 2014
Photo: Tomaž Črnej
The concept for the project was to do a concert tour of the homes for the elderly in seven days, in the seven newly established republics of the former Yugoslavia, with a music programme composed of seven songs that marked the Yugoslav popular music of the 1950s and 1960s. The artist, accompanied by keyboard player Igor Feketi, sang to the elderly in six homes in the cities of: Maribor (Slovenia), Opatija (Croatia), Risan (Montenegro), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Skopje (Macedonia). A concert in Kosovo was not approved. Through song, the artist entered the closed world of a generation that has seen the rise and connection of the different states into a single nation, as well as its disintegration.
The concept for the project was to do a concert tour of the homes for the elderly in seven days, in the seven newly established republics of the former Yugoslavia, with a music programme composed of seven songs that marked the Yugoslav popular music of the 1950s and 1960s. The artist, accompanied by keyboard player Igor Feketi, sang to the elderly in six homes in the cities of: Maribor (Slovenia), Opatija (Croatia), Risan (Montenegro), Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) and Skopje (Macedonia). A concert in Kosovo was not approved. Through song, the artist entered the closed world of a generation that has seen the rise and connection of the different states into a single nation, as well as its disintegration.
Maria Lucia Cruz Correia, Jure Cvitan, Mark Požlep
Igor Feketija, Mark Požlep
Galerija Škuc, Ljubljana / Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Zavod Celeia Celje, Center sodobnih umetnosti / Zavod Celeia Celje, Center for Contemporary Arts
Ministrstvo za Kulturo RS, Mestna občina Celje / Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Celje
Mark Požlep, from the exhibition Stranger Than Paradise, Gallery of Contemporary Art Celje, 2014
Photo: Tomaž Črnej
Acknowledgements: Zveza kulturnih društev Celje, Šolski center Celje
Fokus Grupa, IC – 98, IRWIN, Borut Peterlin, Nives Sertić, Jonas Staal, Hito Steyerl
Curated by: Irena Borić
Borut Peterlin, Flower Power, photo serie, 2008-2013
Center for Contemporary Arts Celje, 17. 4. - 8. 6. 2014
Locations: Gallery of Contemporary Art and Likovni salon
"Meanwhile, with this programme, as with all programmes, you receive images and meanings which are arranged. I hope you will consider what I arrange, but be sceptical of it."
John Berger, Ways of Seeing
When John Berger made the Ways of Seeing, a BBC television series, back in 1972, he introduced a new set of ideas about meanings and the ideological framework of historically acknowledged artworks into the mainstream media discussion. He exposed possibilities of manipulation with the ways of seeing and interpreting art, as well as issues of value, commercial images and institutionalised misogyny. These ways of thinking contradicted the common understanding of art history in which art is seen solely through the categories of style, form and genre. By outlining the effects and consequences of representation, Berger recognized the political as already inherited within the art field, and it is precisely this that makes his contribution so relevant today.
Referring to Berger's thoughts on politics of representation the exhibition Politics Within emphasises two main assumptions. The first one deals with the context of art practices, regardless of whether it has already been set up and defined by various political, economic and social elements or, created anew. The second assumption has to do with the politics of display inherent to the processes of exhibition-making and the mediation of its meanings. Despite of the ambiguity that allows negotiations between various readings, the construction and production of meaning is conditioned by a specific, often ideological, context. For this reason, the exhibition Politics Within tackles not only the meaning of artwork, but its ideological constructions as well, by posing questions on the effects and consequences of representation, its origins, content, intentional and hidden meanings, and the specific usage of visual language and message. Based on Berger's understanding of the context: "Everything around the image is parts of its meaning, everything around it confirms and consolidates its meaning.", the exhibition presents different positions artists take in relation to the ideologies of the image, its representational role, and the strategies of its deconstruction (subversion).
Furthermore, the essential question that the exhibition tackles is what is the political within art, and how political are the ways of seeing today? For instance, at the time when Ways of Seeing were broadcast on BBC, Berger used the most popular medium of television to be critical of the media manipulation of images. Which contemporary media are to address political urgencies today?
The photo series Flower Power (2008-2013) by Borut Peterlin shows that meaning is not simply given, but that it can be subverted, deconstructed and recreated. Working as a photo journalist for years he shot various political meetings in which the scenography and dramaturgy were set in advance. All he needed was to find the right angle and light, and the image was ready for repository. The politicians, as the assumed main actors, use defined codes of style, speech, tone of language, smile (if needed), handshake gesture. The scenography of these events entail visual codes as well, since their design is conceived for an image that is supposed to be spread around the news. There is nothing extraordinary about the images, except for the flower arrangements that bring some colours to the dark suit scene. However, even though the intended meaning had been already arranged, Peterlin denies the politicians the right to power by transferring it to the decorative flower arrangements. Sharpened by the camera focus, the flowers have become the main protagonists of the scene, whereas the politicians remain passively present and their political importance irrelevant. They have become empty signifiers, as the alleged power they represent has been given to the flower arrangements.
The politicians ceased to bear meaning in Borut Peterlin's Flower Power, whereas in the Art, Property of Politics by Jonas Staal, politicians have the role of mediators, communicating the meaning of art to the public. The work Art, Property of Politics was originally presented in the form of a classical exhibition within another exhibition called The People United Will Never Be Defeated, which took place at Rotterdam’s Tent Gallery at the time of the City Council elections (2010). Perhaps there would not have been anything odd with this exhibition if the owners of the exhibited artworks had not been political parties, the candidates for the City Council of Rotterdam. Staal interviewed the politicians on the meaning of the exhibited artworks and on the relationship between art and politics. All of them found that art should be free and that the task of politics is to ensure this, although none of them questioned their own ideological partake on understanding the role of art in society. Just like the artworks from party “collections”, their opinions on the relationship between politics and art in fact reflect their parties’ ideological positions. Moreover, the original context of the artworks integrated in Art, Property of Politics were the party quarters of Rotterdam City Hall, but as they were shifted from the political into the art gallery context, their meaning changed as well. Interestingly enough, the works placed in a political context function as art, while in an art context they function as representations of particular ideologies.
But what happens when an image with clear ideological purpose gets deprived of its meaning? In Kapital 1986-2013 the artist collective IRWIN use socialist-realist, Nazi art and folk art images in a very precise, repetitive and programmatic way. Yet again, these visuals are chosen because of their implications and the propaganda role they had in specific historical circumstances. Coming from contexts loaded with ideological connotations and as such composed in a single composition, these signs are deprived of their original content even though this very content is the reason of their selection in the first place. Assembled as icons, they frame a familiar repository creating at the same time the context of its representation. As Igor Zabel wrote: "The reconstitution of the notion of the icon represents, then, a reflection of the group’s own practice and development as painters, a redefinition of the icon, and the establishment of a frame that delineates in a new way the territory of the icon. The territory of the icon is in this case emphasised with flanking animal trophies. As they were often symbols placed on government buildings, their new position between the icons gives the icons the legitimacy of holy presence, which cannot be doubted.
Newly established state ideology needs a new historical legitimacy, which often implies the process of creating new archives of events. Through a careful selection – the existing materials can perhaps be re-arranged only through casting shadow or shedding light on certain events from the past. As this pattern of social behavior was in practice in Croatia, the Fokus Grupa framed an archive of events offering a different reading of the materials used. In a case study of Croatian nationalism of the nineties, they relate the language of nationalism to the discourse on nature and sexuality. The point of departure for the work P.H.S.H.N. (2014) was a monument Altar of the Homeland by the Croatian sculptor Kuzma Kovačić, erected in 1994 by the medieval fortress Medvedgrad above Zagreb. The monument reflects romanticism and delusions of grandeur by using the iconography celebrating the Middle Ages and by referring to the Altare de la Patria built in 19th century Rome. Conceived as an assamblage of cubes made out of various kinds of stone, the monument at first appears minimalist, but its total shape is that of the Croatian coat-of-arms inscribed with historical iconographic elements. The Fokus Grupa transforms the shape of the monument into plywood cubes of the same size, altering its function into furniture that opens up an ideological dispositive of an image of Croatian nationalism. The newly formed archives not only archive certain events, but produce them as well. Stored into the furniture set, organized in piles and caches, not all archival materials can be seen. Hence, the presented materials are just fragments, and as such they cannot be grasped at once. Therefore, this unfinished line of thought functions as a raw material of meaning.
Whereas the Fokus Grupa uses documentary material, IC- 98 take off from a myth and build up a fictional narrative. In their work Abendland: The Place That Was Promised (2013) the artist duo confronts the mythological past with a future fiction. When thinking of the past one, the reference is a myth on the Garden of Hesperides, where the evening nymphs resided somewhere in the West, the place of the sunset. While this place is often depicted as a beautiful, fruitful garden, in their idea of a possible future, IC-98 depicts a very old, crooked tree that exhausts rather than nourishes its surrounding environment. The dream of the West as a place of wealth is confronted with its darkened future. The decayed, barely alive ecosystem is situated at an old nuclear fuel repository site. Depicted as a rotten, forgotten place, it proposes the idea of Western Europe with a future of a parasite, resting on what we could hardly call the leftovers of a failed economy.
Hito Steyerl in video work HOW NOT TO BE SEEN A Fucking Didactic Educational .Mov File. (2013) gives out a set of instructions on how to be invisible in an age swarming with images. The video was partially shot at one of the aerial photo calibration targets in the USA, land-based two-dimensional optical artefacts used for the development of aerial photography and aircraft. The targets function like an eye chart at the optometrist, where the smallest group of bars that can be resolved marks the limit of the resolution for the optical instrument that is being used. Hito Steyerl's work brings to mind Monty Pyhton's sketch How Not to Be Seen, in which the narrator attempts to explain the importance of not being seen, since those who are seen end up being shot. On the one hand they are the targets of the camera, while on the other hand as they are shot they disappear out of the picture. Furthermore, in Hito's work the unseen are not only pixels of an image; she also refers to pixels of an image that represent people. She poses a question on today's invisible people: of the discrepancy between the extremely powerful ones, and the ones completely underrepresented in power. However, the proposed instructions on being invisible seem like a rather utopian objective in the given context, and yet the form of a moving image allows various kinds of visibilities. When shown in art designated venues, the video has a high resolution and distinct visibility, while when this video is transferred into a so-called "poor image" due to the lack of resolution, it easily travels all over the digital media.
Unlike digital media that allow reproduced, low resolution images, white cube spaces still tend to follow a museum model that plays safe on what is displayed and how. When thinking of the politics of display within a white cube there are often certain predictable models to follow, and it is not often the case that such settings invite experimentation. And to see is the most important tool for understanding the displayed works. Nives Sertić approached the issue of seeing by transferring it into some sort of a choreography. Can ways of seeing physically become (path)ways of seeing? While doing performance Everything I See, It Moves, she explores the designated space for the first time, even though the instructions on the desired movement are set up in advance. The movement and the view are intertwined in a set of given directions that result in a ludic choreography of imaginary pathways, forms and geometrical shapes. Later on, the viewers are invited to follow the instructions coming from the headphones and repeat the choreography. In a sense, the viewer becomes the visible one.
ŽELJKO OPAČAK: The Return to the Kingdom
Željko Opačak, Feel, 2008, intervention in the public space
Gallery of Contemporary Art and Likovni salon, 6.2. – 30.3.2014
The first overview exhibition by Željko Opačak (Banja Luka, 1962) presents his creative path spanning over almost thirty years. It is characterized by its diversity of medium and the way it interweaves the personal, social and spiritual. During his early period in the late eighties, as he moved to Slovenia after completing his studies of Painting in Belgrade, he soon became one of Celje’s more prominent artists, with painting being most potently present in his image-making in the early nineties. These expressive, flatly formed compositions of intense, dense and luscious applications of paint do actually closely resemble the build-up of abstraction, yet their starting point predominantly rests with the landscape and the figure. The artist’s paintings are a sort of intimate record of his observations, memories and states that came about particularly through his constant journeys between Bosnia and Slovenia, his sentiments over the disintegration of Yugoslavia, the death of his father, as well as interest in the ideas of Taoism and Zen Buddhism (Memories series (1998) and Lovers in the Japanese Gardens (1991). In the nineties, he focused on installations, which were filled with symbolism and a mystical atmosphere (The Dreaming Machines (1991–1993), House (1995), mainly utilising materials such as wood, iron, brick and including candles and mirrors into his pieces, which are their most visible and most powerful element. Through a symbolic language, they spoke of the soul, the connection between the visible and the invisible, the worldly and the transcendent. Another important part of his creative work is represented by the works characterized by a critical stance towards the mechanisms and nature of contemporary society. Opačak used the process of appropriation in these works so as to comment on the commercialization of life and art (The Famous Works of an Unknown Author, 2001, installation with paintings and drawings depicted in the manner of Claude Lorrain) and social manipulation, which is carried out in contemporary society in various ways by the agents of power (in The Famous Stories, a series of prints that use the motifs from The Passion, the artist used the famous painting masterpieces, placing his own image where the main protagonists should have been depicted.) From the end of the nineties, especially in conjunction with the annual festival Admission Free run by the Association of Fine Artists of Celje, performances, interventions and actions in the public space, as well as collective work prevailed. A focus on audience participation, hospitality, attention to the world within and the spiritual dimensions of being (Eat a Piece of My Heart (1999), The Artist Loves his City (2006), Veni Veni Sancte Spiritus (2007) were typical for this period, as well as a sharp criticism of the system and state of the country in his collective projects (Commemoration (2013), Look Look (2012).
With the selection of 40 works from the artist’s oeuvre, which are more than chronologically juxtaposed in terms of the content of the individual units, the exhibition aims to outline the main stations of Opačak’s creative thinking.
Željko Opačak lives and works in Polzela near Celje. He is a professor at Velenje gimnazija. He graduated in 1986 and completed his postgraduate studies in Painting at the Faculty of Fine Arts in Belgrade in 1988. He came onto the Slovenian art scene in 1989 with his exhibition of paintings at Likovni salon Celje. In addition to taking part in group exhibitions and festivals, he has also held solo shows at the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Mostar (1990), ZDSLU Gallery in Ljubljana (1993), Likovni salon Celje (1995 and 2001), Gallery of Contemporary Arts Celje (1998), Museum of Contemporary Arts in Banja Luka (2006) and Velenje Gallery (2007).
The show has been curated by Irena Čerčnik, with the texts for the catalogue due to be issued in April, contributed by Alenka Domjan, Petra Kapš and Irena Čerčnik. The exhibition belongs to the cycle of retrospective presentations through which the Center for Contemporary Arts Celje (CSU) wishes to provide the first comprehensive information on the work of artists who, with their artistic oeuvres, make an important mark on the Celje region, and as a result on the Slovenian art scene as a whole. So far, CSU has accomplished the debut major solo presentations of Dalibor Borij Zupančič, Lilijana Praprotnik Zupančič, Franc Purg, Andreja Džakušič and Borut Hlupič. The overview exhibitions of Narcis Kantardžić, Ervin Potočnik, Konrad Topolovec and Manja Vadla are in the pipeline for the next four-year cycle.
The realisation of the exhibition and the publication of the catalogue have been made possible by the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Celje
THE AIR OF SONGS
Jaroslav Kyša, HR–Stamenov, Susan MacWilliam, Momu & No Es, Nika Oblak & Primož Novak, Mark Požlep, Franc Purg & Voodoo Mule, Helen Stratford, Iva Tratnik, Katarina Zdjelar
6.12.2013. – 24.1.2014
Curator: Maja Hodošček
The international group exhibition The Air of Songs is the materialized portrayal of the bonds that have sprung from the activities surrounding the AIR CELEIA artist's residency programme at the Center for Contemporary Arts in Celje. The year 2014 will see the 10th anniversary of its implementation, and with it the aspiration to meet up again with the foreign artists that were hosted in Celje, bringing together also the Slovene artists that were given, through the joint partnership, the opportunity to live and work in Ireland as part of the artist's residency at Flax Art Studios in Belfast.
Presented in this year's exhibition (the Center is planning a series of exhibitions that will be sequenced every three years) are the works of eight artists and two art collectives.
The AIR CELEIA programme was initiated due to the changing production conditions in making art, primarily since more and more artists are giving up studio practice in order to replace it with work in the social arena, within national borders as well as beyond. Networking and making connections with the space as a defining factor in the production of art demands a mobile and flexible way of working from the artist. Studio practice is expanding into artistic research, which emphasizes processuality, a way of working that encompasses a co-operation with different social communities, study of historical and political contexts of a particular area, a direct involvement in the local environment or the response to specific processes that occur in a given area. Residency programmes also allow for the dimension of time, which is required for this kind of work.
The Center for Contemporary Arts did not wish to establish a residency programme with a strict institutional character, but a friendly environment with close links to local events. Such an environment creates trust and reciprocity, it is important for creating lasting ties that go beyond the time frame of the residency. Exposing the forms of cooperation that allow for a continuity of functioning is one of our basic policies.
The Air of Songs is therefore an exhibition that is primarily conceived with the aim to re-actualize the existing international links. This includes work created after the residency in either Celje or Belfast, hence offering an insight into the most recent art practice of the participating artists.
The works which are diverse in subject matter (from addressing scientifically unprovable phenomena such as the paranormal field, to the reinterpretation of events from the past or exposing the topical issues of today, the power of the entertainment industry in forming a collective consciousness, the effects of consumerism on individual subjectivity and the natural environment ...) all share an explicit use of sound, various ways of using the voice, music, singing . And this is also where the title of the exhibition comes from.
In the video One Dog, a Man and an Island Mark Požlep sings the Santianna sea shanty. Franc Purg is preparing a performance in cooperation with the Voodoo Mule heavy metal group, which will last several hours. Using painterly means, Iva Tratnik depicts singing and dancing animals. In her piece How to Sing in Public, Helen Stratford invites the viewer to make a personal space for their own voice in public space.
Katarina Zdjelar presents the process of a voice modulation in her video Stimme, highlighting the use of the voice as a technique that can lead to the self-empowerment of the individual. In the video Variable Physical Status by HR-Stamenov, where sound is replaced by silence, we observe the "speech" of a Bulgarian politician. Talking as an expression of creative thinking is present in Susan MacWilliam's piece F-L-A-M-M-A-R-I-O-N. In parts of the video we observe the Irish poet and writer Ciaran Carson reciting his poetry together with words from a filmmaking glossary.
Nika Oblak and Primož Novak invite us to the cinema by offering us a parody of the trailer for Pulp Fiction, in which pop music contributes significantly to the atmosphere of the work. In the video Mohai by Spanish collective Momu & No Es, pop music appears in the form of a song on playback, which mainly serves as the reason to bring together two fictional subjectivities lost in the middle of an urban city. We can eavesdrop to the sounds of the urban city in the work of Jaroslav Kyša.
The Spirit of Ecstasy, 2011
Intervention in the public space
On the bonnet of the prestigious Rolls Royce car there is a small statuette of a female figure leaning forward with her arms outstretched that resemble a bird’s wings. The statuette is called The Spirit of Ecstasy. The sculptor’s inspiration for the choice of motif was the love affair between British politician and pioneer of the car movement, Lord John Walter Montagu and his secretary, Eleanor Velasco Thornton. Due to class differences, their love affair remained hidden, yet imprinted forever in the statuette, for which Eleanor posed.
With his intervention into the public space of an urban city, Jaroslav Kyša gives the original background a new meaning. We observe the artist kissing and licking the figurine, an erotic relationship taking place between subject and object. Exposing the relationship between live and dead matter points to a modified form of lust, which has occurred with the rise of consumer culture. Objects of prestige have become objects of desire, which are mostly unattainable because of their high financial value. They are symbols of power and success, as they possess an identity which expresses a belonging to a select social class.
Slovakian artist Jaroslav Kyša lives and works in London. He works in installation, video and sculpture, with interventions in the public space constituting a major part of his art practice. He has shown work in solo (Alchemy inside of you, Plusminus gallery, Zilina, 2012,We are All Heroes, Nitra Gallery, Nitra,2011,…) as well as group exhibitions (The Emperor’s New Apparel, Trafo Gallery, Budapest, 2013, Mor Ho!, Red Gallery, London, 2013;…).
Variable Physical Status, 2011
Variable Physical Status, video still, 2011
Courtesy of: Art Project Depot and HR-Stamenov
In astrophysics white holes are described as the opposite of black holes, their existence is questionable. White holes have the property to suck matter into the space-time tunnel and release it later into unknown space. It is believed that the first white hole on planet Earth, somewhere in Bulgaria, swallowed up a train. Scientists from the IMFR Institute believe that from the moment of its disappearance the train could reappear in a particular space away from the railway tracks, which could lead to disaster. After the disappearance of the train, some white holes began to swallow up people! One of the disappeared persons is a young but successful Bulgarian politician who was too concerned about himself and allegedly changed the state of his own existence. As if out of nowhere, in the middle of a speech, he was enveloped by the sudden light which swallowed him up. Even though he could supposedly reappear in different spaces, he will never again appear in normal physical form. (HR-Stamenov)
Bulgarian artist HR-Stamenov creates sound works, installations and interventions in the public space, videos, book projects and experiments, in which he is always referring to the events of the past, paranormal phenomena and scientific investigations. He has participated in international group exhibitions (Die Kunst der Intervention, Galerie im Ratskeller, Berlin 2012, Why Duchamp?, Sofia Arsenal – Museum for Contemporary Arts Sofia, 2012 …) and has presented his work in solo exhibitions (The Phenomenon of W24°58’59,43”N42° 07’55,29”, Lab for Electronic Arts and Performance, Berlin, 2013, Water, Suppositions and Urbanism, Likovni salon Celje, 2012, Presence, Studio Tommaseo, Trst, 2011 …).
In 1931 a ‘teleplasm’ spelling out the name Flammarion appeared on the wall of a cabinet at a séance in Winnipeg. Camille Flammarion, 1842–1925, was a French astronomer and psychical researcher and his name appeared at Thomas Glendenning Hamilton’s sitting of June 10th, 1931. F-L-A-M-M-A-R-I-O-N features a reconstruction of TG Hamilton’s séance cabinet, the Belfast poet Ciaran Carson, Atlanta-based Danish-American poltergeist investigator Dr William G Roll and Arla Marshall, Canadian granddaughter of Hamilton’s Scottish sitter Susan Marshall. Recorded in three cities across the globe Carson, Roll and Marshall come together in F-L-A-M-M-A-R-I-O-N and respond to the image of the teleplasm. (Susan MacWilliam)
Susan MacWilliam’s video works have been exhibited internationally and are held in the Drama and Literature Section of the British Library’s Sound Archive. In 2009, she represented Northern Ireland at the 53rd Venice Biennale with her solo show Remote Viewing. Solo exhibitions include: NN Contemporary Art, Northampton (2013), Open Space, Victoria, BC (2012), aceart inc, Winnipeg (2010), Gimpel Fils, London (2008) …Group exhibitions include: NGBK, Berlin (2013), Kunsthalle Krems, (2012), Deichtorhallen, Hamburg (2011), Kino Kino, Sandnes (2011) … Susan MacWilliam is a lecturer in Fine Art at the National College of Art and Design, Dublin.
MOMU & NO ES
Video, 13' 29"
The video Mohai presents the moments of the lives of Nane and Carina, who do not meet the norms of western society with their appearance and behaviour in any way. Their clothes are wacky, and their living space and way of spending time is also out of the ordinary. They seek to appease the spiritual emptiness that they feel in their everyday lives in the midst of the urban city. Their search for happiness does not follow the endless possibilities of choice offered by consumer-oriented society. Instead, they sway towards mystical forces and ancient beliefs. They buy a huge totem in a pawn shop, believing that the permanent presence of this magical object in their lives will bring them good fortune.
The art duo Momu & No Es consists of Lucia Moreno Murillo (Momu) and Eva Noguera Escudero (No Es). They have been working together since 2005, creating multimedia installations, videos and performances. A selection of recent exhibitions: Los Logrados, MAS, Museo de Arte Moderno y Contemporáneo de Santander y Cantábria, 2013 (solo exhibition), Three Artists Walkinto a Bar, de Appel, Amsterdam, 2012, POP POLITICS: Activism at 33 Revolutions, CeCentro de Arte Dos de Mayo, Madrid, 2013, etc.
NIKA OBLAK IN PRIMOŽ NOVAK
The video Shund is a reenactment of the trailer for the cult American film Pulp Fiction (1994) directed by Quentin Tarantino. The artists perform all the film parts that appear in the original trailer themselves. With the help of costumes and make-up, they create a copy of the external appearance of the performing characters. By making film props, with the help of found photos from the web, and by using the Chroma key technique in the studio, they also create a copy of the scenography. It is an ironic depiction of a product of the Hollywood film industry, which successfully exports the ideology of media stardom around the world. Media recognisability brings a certain social status. The increase in the widest variety of reality shows proves just how massive the desire for fame is. In their trailer, Nika Oblak and Primož Novak at least seemingly become film stars in a non-existent film.
Nika Oblak and Primož Novak have been working as a duo since 2003. They have both completed their postgraduate studies at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. They have presented their work with acclaim in Slovenia as well as abroad, in solo (Absolutely Fabulous 5, MC Gallery New York, 2011, Saetchi Collection, Zero Gallery, Berlin, Germany, 2008 ...) and group exhibitions (EMAF – European Media Art Festival, Osnabrueck, 2012, Robot Museum, A plus A, Venice, 2012 ...). They have attended several artists’ residencies around the world, including the ISCP studios in Brooklyn (NY). They live and work in Ljubljana.
One Dog, a Man and an Island, 2011
The artist sings the sailor folk song Santianna, which dates back to the 19th century, to the times of territorial war between Mexico and America. The title of the song refers to President Antonio Lopez de Santa Anna, who was in charge of the Mexican rebellion against the U.S. forces at the time. The video translates the historic geopolitical conflict into an isolated quest for the space of the ideal. Požlep understands this as a sort of indeterminacy, as a stream of changing identities, processes and ways of living. He is primarily interested in the unpredictable journey of life, which forms with its own experiences as a way of acquiring knowledge about the present. Achieving the desired state represents a constant struggle with the various structures of society, as it is almost utopian to think about a space without historical, political and economic contexts, which significantly influence one’s subjectivity and way of life.
The Celje artist Mark Požlep received his master’s degree in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana and is currently pursuing his postgraduate studies on the Transmedia programme at the LUCA School of Arts in Brussels. He works in painting, installation, video, artists’ books and performance. He likes to take on group projects (The Gods Came for Dinner Last Night with Jaša, U3 – 7th Triennial of Contemporary Art – Resilience, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (+MSUM), Ljubljana, 2013, Queens & Criminals with Meta Grgurevič, Kibla, London, 2010 ...). He has presented his work in numerous exhibitions (Almost Spring / 100 Years of Slovene Art, Maribor Art Gallery, 2013, The Event, 29th Biennial of Graphic Arts, International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, 2011 ...). He is currently on an art residency at the Israeli Center for Digital Art in Holon.
Franc Purg & Voodoo Mule
20. 118 / 7.000.000.000
Performans and video animation, 2013
Fotografija: Andraž Purg
Purg has addressed environmental issues already in some of his previous projects, however, in his new piece he has put his attention to the list of endangered species of animals and plants that is getting longer with each passing year. The artist was reading the list of endangered species in Latin, whilst with every read word the group Voodoo Mule is responding in heavy metal manire. Part of the performans is a minimal video animation that visualizes the question of appearance and disappearance.
Celje artist Franc Purg lives and works in London and in Celje. His practice is diverse, comprising of sculptures, installations, videos, sound works, installations in the public space, performances and collective actions. He uses his work to explore social reality, responding to it in a critical manner. His has presented himself in solo shows (Coming Back, The Future!, Center for Contemporary Arts, 2012, Privileged Tactics I, II & III, P74 Gallery, 2008 …) and numerous group exhibitions (The Event, 29th Biennial of Graphic Arts, International Centre of Graphic Arts, 2011, Consume, Exit Art, New York, 2010 …). His work has won numerous awards (UNESCO Digital Arts Award, 2007, Jakopič Award, 2005, International Media Art Award-Zentrum fur Kunst and Medientechnologie, Karlsruche, 2003 ...). Purg’s works are included in the collections of Moderna galerija Ljubljana, Center for Contemporary Arts Celje, Maribor Art Gallery, New Media Collection of the Centre Pompidou, Paris, etc.
How to Sing in Public, 2013
How to Sing in Publicis a sound recording that takes the listener through the seven preparatory exercises for singing. The exercises focus on the relationship between the listener and the space in which he is situated. The public space, not intended for singing, thus becomes a place where anyone can sing their favourite song, bestowing the gift of their voice to passers-by. This act can become transformative since it interrupts and changes the rhythm of everyday life for a moment.The idea for How to Sing in Public came out of a workshop with students from Gimnazija Center – Celje, who were asked to develop a series of instructions for ways the public market building in Celje might be performed differently to its everyday use. One answer was singing. The voice of the audio is Gea Gračner, a student who took part in the workshop. The piece was developed in collaboration with UK Mezzo-Soprano singer Lucy Taylor and translated by Slovenian Mezzo-Soprano Mojca Vedernjak.
English artist Helen Stratford completed her studies in Architecture.Her art practice explores the expanded spaces of architecture. She is interested in the performative aspects of architecture and how built structures dictate the behaviour of the individual. She is preparing a solo show for Likovni salon for 2014. Group exhibitions include: A State of Unplay, Atelje 35, Bukarest, Romania, 2013, CUBEOpen 2010 in collaboration with Diana Wesser, Manchester CUBE Gallery, England, 2010 …
Posthuman / Mantis Tango, 2013
Iva Tratnik has prepared a new painting especially for the exhibition, in which we find dancing and singing animals in a dynamic composition. Tratnik’s usual motifs, such as moths and mantises, reappear in this painting, only to be joined by boisterous cats.
Iva Tratnik, an artist from Celje, works in the field of painting as well as performance and contemporary dance. She is a member of the SIVA group (with Andreja Džakušič and Simon Macuh). She is a regular participant of the Free Admission festival, organized by the Association of Fine Artists of Celje. Her most recent solo show entitled Blackboard was presented at Likovni salon Celje (2012). She has presented herself in group exhibitions (Sarajevo Winter, Sarajevo, 2013 …). Together with painter Marko Jakše they produced a series of paintings entitled Battle Dance on the Bombarded Moon (Gallery KIbla, Maribor, 2011).
Video, 16' 56"
The video piece Stimme focuses on the training between a voice coach and her client, a young lady who fails to speak with her own voice. Focusing on the instances on having and receiving voice and its pitch, the piece opens up the questions around political and historical implication of voice modulation and its pitch (bringing to mind for instance Margaret Thatcher), its economy and the politics of anatomy.
The piece considers when voice becomes our personal property, where does the voice begin and where does it? Who is speaking when we speak and who is entitled to speak? The body of a trainee is akin to musical instrument. (Katarina Zdjelar)
Katarina Zdjelar lives and works in Rotterdam.She works in video and sound, book projects and educational platforms. Zdjelar has presented her works in numerous solo (Of More than One Voice, Museum of Contemporary Art Artium, Vitoria-Gasteiz, Spain, 2013, My Lifetime (Malaika), SpazioA, Pistoia, Italy, 2012 …) and group shows (HIS MASTER’S VOICE: On Voice and Language, HMKV, Dortmund, Germany, 2013, Time, Trade, Travel, Nubuke Foundation, Accra, Ghana, 2012 …). She also represented Serbia at the Venice Biennale (2009) and has won many awards. She is currently an MA Fine Arts tutor at the Piet Zwart Institute (Rotterdam) and a tutor on the Master Artistic Research programme at the Royal Academy of Art and Royal Conservatoire (The Hague).
Exhibition The Air of Songs is supported by:
SCULPTURE TODAY: Performative Bodies and Spaces
Maša Jazbec, Apparatus Monolith no. 2, 2012
Martin Bricelj Baraga, Vadim Fiškin, Tomaž Furlan, Maša Jazbec, Andrej Kamnik, Theremidi Orchestra (Simon Bergoč, Tina Dolinšek, Luka Frelih, Ida Hiršenfelder, Dare Pejić, Tilen Sepič, Saša Spačal, Robertina Šebjanič, Dušan Zidar), Luiza Margan in Miha Presker, Primož Pugelj, Tobias Putrih, Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec, Borut Savski, Saša Spačal, Tanja Vujinović
Gallery of Contemporary Art and Likovni salon, 26.9. – 24.11.2013
Exhibition curators: Tomaž Brejc, Irena Čerčnik, Jiri Kočica, Polona Tratnik
This year’s exhibition and publication, which have focused mostly on the performative dimension within the field of sculpture, conclude the Sculpture Today project spanning over several years, a study and overview of sculptural activity within the Slovenian arena. The project began in 2010 when the Center for Contemporary Art Celje introduced contemporary sculpture as an expanded field that goes beyond the definitions of the medium and enters the field of the social, scientific, technological and interdisciplinary. The project continued in 2011 with a focus on the issues of the figurative and the relations between the sculptural body and the body of the viewer, and in 2012, with a focus on the interplay between art and science. The fourth and this year’s edition of Sculpture Today entitled Performative Bodies and Spaces brings together works that contain movement, aliveness and changeability. By using the elements of the dynamic, unexpected, interactive and performative, the crossing of the viewer’s role from that of the performer in interactive installations, to that of the viewer of performative objects and sculptures, we wanted to offer an experience of sculptural installations as performance spaces, which are capable of leaving a trace of the event with the visitor.
The exhibition features 14 artists, including new projects prepared specifically for this occasion by Martin Bricelj Baraga and Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec, whereas Maša Jazbec has produced a third set-up of her interactive projectApparatus Monolith, in which she has used bit fields to connect the Monolith erected at the Gallery of Contemporary Art Celje with the Monolith in the Church of St Nicholas in Trbovlje. She has also set up the Apparatus Monolith web portal for the duration of the exhibition. Bricelj’s installation entitled Nine, by which the author refers to tense and conflicting political situations, features performative objects that suddenly increase in their body size, creating an atmosphere of the presence of something living and threatening. In the Untitled Time installation by Sambolec, the viewer becomes the performer that sets off the event, which will take place in the indefinite future. The viewer also takes on the performative role in the piece entitled Concert by the Theremidi Orchestra, when he has the option of becoming the user of the do-it-yourself instruments and a creator of sounds. Similarly, also in the Wear series by Tomaž Furlan, if he is willing to risk using his devices and “dangerous prosthetics” (Brejc). Besides Bricelj’s, also Fiškin’s balloons are performative sculptures, which dance to a waltz by Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky in the installationtour en l'air. Such are also the dynamic and moving sculptures of Borut Savski, which function as “living” organisms, named by the author as Being, The Tree of Life and The Flowers of Evil. The ant colonies, which Luiza Margan and Miha Presker settled into the installation Formication, constantly create changeable forms in the projected image of the building site. Aliveness, movement and changeability are present in the responsive installation 7K: new life form by Saša Spačal, a technological biosphere inhabited by plants, microscopic organisms and constructed nano-creatures, as well as in the responsive installations by Tanja Vujinović (Oskop) and Andrej Kamnik (Wind Code Image). With Oskop, movement is present in a variable audio-visual composition, whereas with Wind Image Code, where the author explores the possibilities of interactive facades, it shows itself as the changes on the building and in the digital image. All three installations react to the presence of the viewer, who triggers off the dynamics in the pieces with movement. Hence the viewer holds a central position and role in most of the works, whose implementation actually begins with his presence. The reactions of the pieces are sometimes more and sometimes less obvious, taking place completely unexpectedly, like for instance in the interactive piece Apparatus Monolith by Maša Jazbec, who explores the relationship between real and virtual identity. Dynamics and movement are also present in the sculptures of Tobias Putrih and Primož Pugelj. Putrih’s monumental Maculas, an ingenious intertwining of collaboration between people and technology, are the result of the repeated errors of those collaborating, who have tried to follow the author’s original perfect geometric form in their drawings on paper. Pugelj’s heavy, but seemingly light sculpture (mask) Divided, is built up into an optically variable surface with the movement of the viewer through the alternation of material substance and blank space.
The four-year project Sculpture Today aimed to showcase certain aspects and developments within the field of contemporary sculpture, highlighting its complexity, breadth and boundlessness, particularly in terms of its abilities to interconnect and upgrade with other mediums. Even though we have tried to embrace into the project as many artists as possible whose works can be classified as belonging to the field of contemporary sculpture, its nature is by no means comprehensive, and many artists have been omitted due to one reason or another, and particularly due to the number of editions being limited to four, as well as the limitations of available space.
A catalogue has been published to accompany the exhibition, which has been issued on this occasion by the Celeia Institute – Center for Contemporary Arts Celje.
Martin Bricelj Baraga
(study – part of the 99 project)
Technical design: Igor Vuk
3D Visualisation: Erik Margan
Sound Design : Olaf Bender
Production: Center of Contemporary Arts Celje and MoTA
The project 99 by Martin Bricelj Baraga is inspired by "99 Luftballons" (Neunundneunzig Luftballons, "99 air balloons"), an anti-nuclear protest song by the German band Nena from their 1983 self-titled album. While at a June 1982 concert by the Rolling Stones in West Berlin, Nena's guitarist Carlo Karges noticed that balloons were being released. As he watched them move toward the horizon, he noticed them shifting and changing shapes, where they looked like strange spacecraft (referred to in the German lyrics as a "UFO"). He thought about what might happen if they floated over the Berlin Wall to the Soviet side.
tour en l'air, 2009
Courtesy: artist and Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlin
Production: Association DUM, Ljubljana
tour en l'air is a spatial installation with helium filled star-shaped balloons floating in the air, synchronised to a waltz by P.I. Tchaikovsky.
Wear series, 2005 – 2013
interactive sculptures and video
The Wear series has fifteen parts so far. It is a kind of analytical reflection on the simple use of the interactive pieces. The pieces, or should I say sculptures, proved to be extended functions of the body in some forced process. In The Wear Project videos they are used as scene props in the form of clothes for the simple function of doing something. The name Wear derives from this, which suggests that these pieces are actually clothes, but they are also functional objects made for a certain production or ritual action. As I was alone when making them, I also tried on and used these pieces. It feels pretty silly to wear these “hard-wears”, use them, and explore their purpose. So why not make it even sillier by recording it on camera? Therefore, the videos are not representations of the function of the pieces, but a live way of using the pieces in action. (Tomaž Furlan)
Apparathus Monolith no. 3, 2013
Galerija sodobne umetnosti, Celje - St. Nicholas Church, Trbovlje
The Apparatus Monolith appears in a set-up of two or more Monoliths in different locations. The faces of the visitors that enter into the interaction with the Monolith on site A, at the same time appear in the Monolith on site B. The newly created individual’s entity travels via bit fields to a different location where the turnaround takes place. If the entity in the first Monolith has been sucked up, it is spat out by the other to an unknown destination. The work raises questions as to what is going on with the identity of modern man, who increasingly exists and functions in a digital world.
For the duration of the exhibition the Apparatus Monolith web portal has been set up, which shows the faces of the visitors and their newly formed digital entities. Anyone from anywhere can monitor the activity of the Apparatus Monolith over the portal.
Andrej Kamnik and Marko Pihlar
Wind Code Image, 2008
Concept and implementation: Andrej Kamnik
Software design: Marko Pihlar (Xlab)
Wind Code Image is a prototype of an interactive façade and interior walls in an interaction with the wind, draft or the air currents of air-conditioning systems within a building. The mechanized wall that separates the interior from the exterior transforms any windy occurrences on the one side of the wall into animated images on the other. The computer programme connected to the sensors on the façade encodes the dynamics of the outside in such a way that the inside becomes a visual attraction. The Wind Code Image project aims to explore the possibilities of sensory, responsive and interactive architectural elements that could be incorporated into new buildings or used on existing structures. In the way that the exterior is creatively translated into the interior, the wall of the building changes from the usual caesura and surface for hanging traditional decorative elements into a “transparent” membrane that allows a different consideration of the overall architecture of the building.
Theremidi Orchestra (Simon Bergoč, Tina Dolinšek,
Luka Frelih, Ida Hiršenfelder, Dare Pejić, Tilen Sepič, Saša Spačal, Robertina Šebjanič, Dušan Zidar)
The Theremidi Orchestra (verb) was founded after a three-day theremin and theremidi physical interface workshop at Ljubljana Digital Media Lab – Ljudmila in May 2011 under the comradeship of Cirkulacija 2’s Borut Savski, who later also joined the line-up. The fascination for the electromagnetic sound waves grew into an exploration and production of sounds with the help of DIY gadgets, antennas, conductive ink, umbrellas, wire ducklings, air tubes, flowers and scrap metal. The live acts – indoor and outdoor – are more similar to experiment-seeking interventions, ongoing workshops or performances rather than conventional music concerts. The hands-on electro noise ensemble exists in the eternal present although it also refers to the history of electronic music, while the number of members varies from eight to ten, sometimes even twelve. The Theremidi Orchestra has its very own Female Section. The Theremidi Orchestra released its début double EP 4011 under Trivia Records in March 2013.
Luiza Margan and Miha Presker
The installation Formication adresses the role of the individual and the group within the social system of constant progress. It explores the structure and meaning of the image through the layering and merging of its parts. Six layers of drawings on transparencies are positioned one above the other on a structure on top of an overhead projector and merged into one image – a construction site – in the projection. This structure is connected with plastic transparent tubes with an ant colony nest on one side and the ants' food chamber on another. The ants pass from their nest through the layers of drawings to get food, producing an uncontrollable movement and functioning like a kind of error within the image. The overhead projector projects the image together with the ants' motion on a large scale wall. One can follow the process of sculptural change in time, since the installation is an unpredictable and ongoing process, changing as the ants carry food and sand over the layers of the drawings, daily altering the perfect image of the construction site.
Divided, 2012, black concrete and black iron
In the piece Divided I would like to warn or remind the observer that we are still one person, even if we are split into several personalities. The consequently upset inner balance of the individual, the sense of worthlessness, dispensability, the lack of any sense whatsoever, and the general state of nihilism takes away the human ability to make sound judgments and usually leads to irrational behaviour and consumption, which makes life seem meaningful in the short term. (Primož Pugelj)
Macula K/15, 2013, cardboard
Courtesy: Galerija Gregor Podnar, Berlin
The artist draws a square and starts to make variations of it on one sheet of paper after another by covering the first drawing; during duplication, multiplication, the original figure is changed. In each consequent variation, the geometric solidity loosens, stretches and contracts as if we were using the drawing to reach into the unknown. The first 21 variations of the moving square are his. After that, recognised and random draughtsmen take part in the production. Each only sees the final reshaped, free “interpretation” of the square of his predecessor, which is increasingly biomorphous, misshapen, and then draws his own version upon the version. This is followed by another 360 drawings and the last draughtsman can but assume what the original figure looked like. These drawings are transferred to a computer programme, which guides the cutting machine with sharp needles in cutting out the card. They are then assembled in order from the bottom up (the entropic part is at the top). The thin cardboard cut-ups that look translucent and corrugated from the side, are not stuck, nor are they moistened, but are placed one on top of another and so the sculpture of contours grows to its top. Through the small slits in the outer “coat” towards the light we can also notice the inside “model” made in the same way, but in a counterpoint relation with the outer rim. The massive, architecturally formed sculpture is in comparison with its appearance almost featherweight (10 kg). It is such also when viewed up close. Series after series of filigree cuts creates a fine optical beauty that forms a considered and light aesthetic form out of a simple substance. (Tomaž Brejc)
Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec
Untitled Time, 2013
Untitled Time is a work consisting of a set of identical postcards with written instructions:
Write this postcard to yourself and send it now
You will receive it sometime in the future"
The postcards are displayed in an installation which invites the visitors to follow the instructions and activate the work. The act of sending the postcard to oneself and being aware of receiving it sometime in the unspecified future triggers the visitor's expectation and imagination of her/his future memory of "now". Receiving the postcard at a later time recalls the memory of the moment of sending it as well as the past imagination of its (then future) reception. As the work develops in time, it slowly spreads beyond the confines of the exhibition space, extending to the private homes of the visitors, dissolving into a multitude of unique and personal messages. Through these processes, Untitled Time destabilizes the relations between the visitor and the artwork, memory and expectation, time and materiality.
Strained Structures, 2008 - 2013
The project deals with the relatively fundamental research of autonomous structures/systems – namely (but not exclusively) the mechanic moving organons. It is about previously strained – and after that in a special way interconnected basic elements that in the final stage – as intertwined – make up a structure, onto which all the strains of basic elements are transferred. I tried to create a kind of twisting body – a morphologic object. The secret is in the use of torsionally twisted plastic elements that, when fixed (at least two together) on one end, create a transfer of torsion energy to the whole of the structure. The condition is that on the other end, the elementary structure is rooted to the point that is not directly connected to the first end of the basic structure). It is, however, desirable that the final combination of these elements creates a structure that is self-contained – and “strained” as a whole. The result is an interesting cybernetic system that has a built-in energy – and a number of properties, that make it “more body-like, more organic, more alive”. All the systems have sensors to scan the surroundings and respond to it with a non-linear movement. Of course we are in the domain of building autonomous machines popularly known as robots, although we much prefer the term dynamic structure. (Borut Savski)
7K: new life form, 2010
Concept, research, visual and spatial realization: Saša Spačal
Processing programming, system of sensors: Joby Harding
Max/msp programming, sound design: Tadej Droljc
Scientific consultation and micrographs: dr. Aleš Kladnik (Biotehnična fakulteta, Univerza v Ljubljani)
Production: MMC Kiberpipa
7K: new life form is an interactive audio visual art installation in which visitors find themselves immersed in a unique techno-eco system. A world also inhabited by plant life, microscopic organisms and a strange new class of engineered nano-beings. 7K’s vision of future reality features a custom-built photosynthesis chamber, electronic sensors and purpose-shot footage of life under the microscope to create an autonomous system in which visitors become active participants.
As human beings we have lived in an organic environment which we classified as biological, sorting all of its beings into six organic kingdoms. With our will to survive and procreate we became the origin, the maker of another kingdom, a kingdom much less ecological, biological and organic; a kingdom of various material tools, mental concepts, social organizations, new ways of using concepts from nature, in short, a kingdom of technology. This kingdom has been evolving alongside us and has formed new life which grows by its own accord. Technology has a life that we explore, use and learn about just as with the organic kingdoms. We also use it to explore, communicate, upgrade and cultivate biological life that by now requires our intervention in order to survive and prosper. The two have become so intertwined that technology itself has become nature.
Production: Ultramono, 2011
Executive producer: Jan Kušej
Oskop is a black textile “creature” that mirrors and transforms our presence into a continuous formation of a dynamic sound sensitive “living” digital organism. The black totem-like object contains a video camera which emits a signal that is processed in a custom-made patch, and the result is displayed in the space as a real-time audio-visual composition.
I WHO/JAZ KDO
In collaboration with Maj K.V., Faruk Pašič, Sub-i-Magos live (Sinkronics) and visitors
Gallery of Contemporary Art, 25.4. - 16.6.2013
Manja Vadla is one of the more prominent artists from Celje, who has been on the art scene since 1992. She works on her own, but also takes part in collective projects, combining a wide range of artistic practice in her work, from painting, printmaking, video and installation, to intervention and action in the public space. Her creative process is essentially characterized by self-referentiality, social criticism, establishing situations that offer the viewer an experience, as well as the concept of recycling, which can also be seen in the repetition and use of individual elements or entire sequences of a project in the work that succeeds it. Up till now, she has presented herself with several solo exhibitions (among the most recent ones are the multimedia series It's time for revolution at the Ivan Grohar Gallery in Škofja Loka (2012) and at Plevnik-Kronkowski in Celje (2009 and 2010), where she also presented the painting installation You’re the same whenever I see you, apart from last time held last year, as well as her multimedia installation Pandora at Equrna Gallery in Ljubljana in the same year). She has also taken part in numerous group exhibitions and art colonies at home and abroad and is one of the key figures of the Free Admission festival of artistic interventions, actions and performances, which takes place annually in Celje’s city centre.
Vadla’s latest project I Who/Jaz Kdo, presented in the Celje Gallery of Contemporary Art, is a multimedia spatial installation, which she uses to discuss personal reality and the actuality of building personal identities through the presence of three subjective worlds (with all their complexities, inclinations and experiences, interests, relations and social engagements). The reason for it came in the form of an invitation from the gallery, requesting the artist to prepare a project for the exhibition venue in collaboration with another artist or individual from the non-art world. The author’s fascination with the creativity of the individual, especially that which she sees as a product of one’s own search for a position in society and as a product of internal distress in confrontation with social norms, has resulted in the creation of a project in collaboration with her son and partner.
By organizing the installation as an open or closed space, saturated or passable, chaotic or orderly, as the individualisation of single units that follow one another, but at the same time encroach into each other, connect, with a multitude of elements – things, recordings, notes, images, directed or scattered gazes, self-referential and socially critical, bearing in mind the viewer, to whom she has dedicated the social space at the end equipped with armchairs and instruments that he can use and thus pass from being an observer to being a participant (a co-creator of sound in particular), the artist has composed with dramatic precision a complex, multifaceted environment in which, as in reality, individual subjectivity is built up through difference and through a network of connections.
Displaced world, deplasiran svet.
Uroš Weinberger, Video Control, 2012, oil on canvas
Gallery of Contemporary Art, 28.2. - 14.4.2013
Painter Uroš Weinberger has always been met with a warm reception in the environment of his origin, a proof of which has been his perpetual presence on this visual art scene in the area, among other things. Already as a fresh graduate from the Ljubljana Academy, he presented his work masterfully at the third biennial exhibition, A Look 3, at the Lamut Visual Arts Salon in Kostanjevica na Krki. Since then, he has been invited to all the consecutive exhibitions, including the latest, where he was the winner selected by curators from all over Slovenia. This award strengthened the artist’s recognition at home, and his presence abroad is growing.
Relentless research, which has led the artist to carry on along his path, and an extensive opus that Uroš Weinberger has created in mere ten years of making art make the observer realise that this is a painter whose exhaustive creativity denotes not only his calling, but a primal need of vitality. His creative action is always based on making something new. And as we can see, his creative path always follows a particular aim in his effort to achieve the appropriate visual articulation, which is to function as a message, and last but not least as the truth, so meaningful to Uroš Weinberger. What I am referring to is the joining of the autonomy of the medium of painting with a creative attitude dependent not only on fleeting mental flashes or associations; moreover, it is about deliberate, thorough research into the appropriate visual formulations of meaning.
It is a fact that this is a studious artist, who has, however, never let himself be seduced by the abundance of available modern media of expression, like some of his generation have. From the beginning, he has been profoundly convinced of the choice of a single medium of expression, making painting his consistent and, as it appears, his definite creative path.
Nevertheless, it is with the exhibition entitled Displaced world, deplasiran svet., it appears, that Uroš Weinberger is finishing the era of youthful eagerness to find his personal expression. The works, with which he has chosen to reach us this time, were made in the manner, which he has used and perfected for a long time, and which practically characterises his entire opus, the principle of collage. Frankly, he has chosen various means of expression. He concentrated on the classic collage initially using his own drawings and sketches on paper, transferring over time to painting compositions, which allude to the collage, while in this kind of concepts he has recently been using carefully chosen documentary photographs, or their details, taken out of different media and contexts, which he interprets in paintings creating in this way his view of the world.
As we know, the principle of collage as such is not a very innovative manner of expression in visual arts. Owing to its exceptional possibilities of relating meaning, a number of artists have used it since the beginning of the previous century (Dadaism), for instance Robert Rauschenberg as a prominent representative, and Sanja Iveković or Sigmar Polke among the most recent artists, and it is not a rarity among young artists of today after all. It is tailor made for Uroš Weinberger, as we say, with a number of his creations belonging to the top achievements of Slovenian visual arts scene. Standing out are those packed with narrative.
We can sense certain bivalence in his opus manifested in two extremes. Some of his works are of an explicitly monumental nature. They are characterised by clear borders and a minimum number of scenes in undefined environments. Meanwhile, others are packed with narrative, which makes their readability highly intricate. Although a presence of the artist’s fear of the empty (horror vacui) comes to mind, we can recognise a principle made plausible by the topic itself. Uroš Weinberger relates his topic by listing and intertwining carefully chosen metaphors and quotations.
Uroš Weinberger has reacted plentifully to everyday problems in recent years. Interpretive perceptions of intense impulses of our increasingly cutthroat living that we experience in our immediate environment and follow through the media every day, which is generally difficult to avoid, have become his priorities. In his attitude of deep social involvement, he has directed all his creative passions into a charge of powerful eruptive expressiveness. Attracting the observer with their allure of highly aesthetic ideals, his works actually cut deeply into the core of the problems singled out. It is the artist’s goal to seduce the observer and corner them immediately in order for them to recognize the issue. He wants to trigger a switch in their minds, so that they would rethink and change their established points of view.
Uroš Weinberger has designed a highly thematic display. Its name, Displaced world, deplasiran svet., tells us graphically where and what its message is. This is reinforced by purposely writing the title wrong. We live in a world, which under the cover of virtual order is essentially deformed, full of confusion, nonsense and contradiction. We are becoming more and more passive, uncreative, and thus more easily controllable. Individuals recognizing and confronting this are exposed to omnipresent mechanisms of control, which contribute to their taming.
As an artist, he stresses this exhibition was meant in its very design as an extremely personal statement. We can imagine the presence of the artist in individual images going through all this since his naive, perceptive childhood. He also refers to the present statuses of an artist and the arts in general. He says that an average day will leave a void filled in by the mass media that are becoming increasingly aggressive in trying to take over the control of material arts.
Of course, Uroš Weinberger does not mean the once utopian Orwell’s Big Brother, supposedly omnipresent and all-seeing, and sending the disobedient for reeducation, or the eye of God, who can apparently secretly punish our sins. The artist forces us with his representations to face the reality and makes us confront the base methods of monitoring control, and uncompromising methods of persecuting people who violate the order and are ill-adapted to our environment. The persecution progresses to beating with truncheons or to simple elimination. At the same time, he reminds us that these methods are not new. They come from the days of our ancient, and not so ancient, ancestors, and they are popular even today with all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes.
Entering the exhibition, we are distracted by sound impulses enveloping the display area as they are coming from tubes snaking through the entire room – from paintings through all places and forword outdoors. They seem to insist on involving us in the events on the canvasses, so that we become part of this displaced world, willingly or not.
ANDREJA DŽAKUŠIČ: Encounters
Andreja Džakušič, Lunch, 2011
Gallery of Contemporary Art and Likovni salon, 20. 12. 2012 - 21.2.2013
Andreja Džakušič is one of Celje’s most prominent artists, and among the few in the Slovenian arena who express themselves mainly through performative practice. She mostly articulates her work around three pivotal points which are self-referential, inter-subjective and socially critical. She appeared on the art scene in 1999 with the multimedia installation Drawers of Memories that already encompassed some basic definitions that have marked her continuing artistic practice: the use of her own body as a means of communication, and making reference to personal situations as well as those within general society. Her next milestone direction occurred in 2002 with the exhibition Unusual Pairs (with Radivoj Mulić), when she stopped producing formally purified, aesthetic objects and focused her attention on the participation of viewers, as well as investigating and generating interpersonal relations, which become the essence of the artwork. Such artistic strategy, in which the visitors are those who make sense of the exhibited dispositive, can be found in her later works like Picnic on the Grass (2004) and Lunch (2011). We also come across it in the performative works like Washing Feet (2006) and Bloody Mary (2007), in which the significance of the piece depends entirely on the viewer’s willingness to cooperate, since only then is the real content and value of the work disclosed to him, through his own feelings and reactions. The majority of her production over the last ten years or more has therefore focused on the non-material and the creation of social spaces imbued with an atmosphere of spontaneity, or in the creation of thought-out situations that offer a certain experience to the coincidental passer-by, particularly in a street context.
When her work stems from the everyday situations of her life, she pours life itself into her art and that which she is surrounded by at a certain time – family, housework, motherhood, death, grief. This way of working can particularly be found in the pieces Developing Compassion (2006–2008) and Woman and Artist, Artist and Woman (2010). When she reflects and comments on the social climate and the state of the world – for example attitudes towards the environment (Hanging Gardens, 2012), cultural policy and the position of the artist (Survival Tactics, 2011), local reality (Cel'e 'as a deaf ear, 2010) – her engagement and critical stance are never coloured by aggression. She engages with her subtle, soft and precise presentation, which unobtrusively coaxes the viewer into reflection.
A significant number of her performative pieces have been produced as part of the Admission Free festival, organised for several years now by the Association of Fine Artists of Celje. Her openness to networking and cooperation, as well as the tendency to self-organize and function outside institutions, are reflected in her collective work: her participation in collective interventions and campaigns on the Celje art scene and beyond (Present, Teambuilding, Public Readings, Look Look) as well as the collaboration with the SIVA art group (Andreja Džakušič, Simon Macuh, Iva Tratnik).
Andreja Džakušič presented her work for the first time at the Celje Centre of Contemporary Arts, at Likovni salon to be exact. The cooperation between the Centre and the artist continues up till this day, as we open a retrospective exhibition of her work and a monographic publication that will be published on this occasion. The artist will present her art practice to date in the Gallery of Contemporary Art, while she is preparing a brand new piece for the Likovni salon venue.
After completing a Master’s degree in Design at the Ljubljana Academy she undertook further study at Vysoká škola Vytvarnych Umeni in Bratislava, Slovakia, and the Akademia Sztuk Pięknych in Krakow, Poland. She has also attended the Flaxart International Artist in Residency Programme in Belfast. Additionally, she works in the field of theatre, interior furnishing and design, as well as lectures on art, and organizes and conducts workshops for children and adults.
The realisation of the exhibition and publication of the monograph have been made possible by the support of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Celje.
Nevena Aleksovski, Boris Beja, Matija Brumen, Maša Gala, Jernej Jemec, Meta Kastelic, Nataša Košmerl, Stojan Kneževič, Matej Pečnikar, Adrijan Praznik, Saša Šuštar, 3kolektiv, Sanja Vatić, Brina Torkar Križaj, Tadej Vindiš, Klemen Zupanc
8. 11. – 9. 12. 2012
The Premiere show is not limited in theme and represents a diverse range of artistic practices and ways of thinking. The exhibition presents both traditional (painting, drawing and sculpture) and contemporary (video, photography, installation and performance) mediums.
An overview of topics shows that the works encroach upon the political field, embodying a committed response to recent government decisions that have led to changes in Slovene cultural policy (3kolektiv with their interactive installation and performance, Boris Beja with his object in the space). The works question social inequality by focusing on economic and social differentiation (Sanja Vatić in her installation No One raises issues of social stratification and the unjust distribution of capital seen through the depiction of the masses of exploited construction workers) and through the position of the individual in contemporary society (in his sequential stories Violent Lives, Adrijan Praznik draws attention to the plummeting power of bureaucratic mechanisms that are affecting rising violence in society due to the implementation of policies of inequality). The works point to the illusion of the dominant neo-liberal ideology (the melting Sugar Castle by Meta Kastelic as a symbol of apparent happiness brought by economic success), its transience (the paintings of Jernej Jemec) and absurdity (the astonished gazes of anonymous individuals caught in the photographs of Maša Gale). They also tackle the issues of social identities (questioning established social identities in the video by Nevena Aleksovski) and make visible the individual’s inner feelings (the photographs of Tadej Vindiš and paintings of Matej Pečnikar). They touch upon the processes of remembering – by addressing its characteristics (the installation by Saša Šuštar), dealing with memory as space (the series of photographs entitled Shine by Matija Brumen), or the space of reliving experience (the paintings Crash by Klemen Zupanc and Medicine by Stojan Kneževič). A segment of the featured pieces is motivated by intimate experience. Artists Nataša Košmerl (with her series of photographs entitled Finlandia) and Brina Torkar Križaj (with her painting Mercury Sea) spring from the experience of motherhood, bringing it closer to the viewer in a subtle and poetic way.
The works in the exhibition show that they have not merely been created for the purpose of being presented within art institutions. They are united by a tendency to interact with the wider environment in which they have been created. They particularly point to the fact that contemporary art is not neutral, but engaged in social, political and economic relations.
A catalogue has been published to accompany the exhibition, which has been issued on this occasion by the Celeia Institute – Celje Center for Contemporary Arts.
Project was supported by:
SCULPTURE TODAY: A New Renaissance and Transhumanism
Arctic Perspective Initiative (API); Špela Petrič and Robertina Šebjanič; Maja Smrekar; Polona Tratnik with colleagues (Andrej Gregori, Mirjan Švagelj, Ajda Marič, Marin Berovič); Zupančič :: Turšič :: Živadinov
Center for Contemporary Arts Celje, 20.9. – 28.10.2012
Exhibition curators: Tomaž Brejc, Irena Čerčnik, Jiři Kočica, Polona Tratnik
The third edition of Sculpture Today (the series comprises four exhibition projects, followed by the final one next year) is focused on the presentation of projects at the intersection of science and art. Combining the two fields – which are essentially marked by creativity, the surpassing of boundaries and exploration of new dimensions – has up till recently been an endeavour embarked upon solitarily and individually, while it is today one of the most vibrant, lively and exciting goings-on. The connections between artists and scientists bring forth new ideas, concepts, visions and solutions that complement and upgrade each other, and in particular the collision of different ways of thinking, which can open up new possibilities and unexpected pathways.
In the recent decade, practices at the intersection of art and science have consolidated, and contemporary art centres continue to stimulate artists to work in laboratories and collaborate with scientists in transdisciplinary projects. The New Renaissance and Transhumanism project has been conceived experimentally: artists and research groups were given the chance to carry out joint research and present their results, which could take on diverse forms and did not necessarily need to follow the notion of “purified” aesthetic installations. The extent and method of the scientific contribution, as well as the degree of emphasis on the artistic part of each individual project and its presentation, was therefore a question that was left up to the individual groups. We are well aware that by doing so we have opened up a series of topical questions, such as: how do we understand art today and what is its meaning, what constitutes authorship, what constitutes scientific research, how can an artist contribute to a scientific project, etc., which will need to be posed in continuance. There are no easy answers to these questions and one of the purposes of this project is to provide a platform that will allow or even force some of these out into the open. We will have the opportunity to discuss these issues, at least to a limited extent, during the course of the project: artists, scientists and curators, as well as aestheticians. Hence, we have linked the project with a related project in the field of aesthetics, the colloquium of the Slovenian Society for Aesthetics entitled Surplus Art: Art – Science – Philosophy. The symposium will be held on 13 October in the gallery, where the groups will also present their projects.
Zupančič :: Turšič :: Živadinov / 14::VERTICALIZATION::MG.
Dragan Živadinov, Miha Turšič and Dunja Zupančič have spent years working on the culturalisation of space, and this is precisely the year in which their efforts have seen significant effect. The Cultural Centre of European Space Technologies (KSEVT) in Vitanje opened its doors. The aim of the longstanding endeavours of the Živadinov–Turšič–Zupančič artistic threesome in the culturalisation of space is an initiative to promote an understanding of space, not only in terms of militarization and commercialization, but also otherwise: as a place of multiple possibility, including as a place of art and the reflection of various activities within space.
Špela Petrič and Robertina Šebjanič / Towards the Human Spore: Reminiscing Algae (2012).
Robertina Šebjanič and Špela Petrič, an artist and a biologist by basic education, suggest a subversive creation of a trans-species of the human and alga, humalga, which would provide humans with better conditions of survival on Earth in circumstances that may be difficult to predict. The project also discusses the biotechnological feasibility and conceptual implications of the new organism, as well as assesses the project within the current ecological anxiety, considers the implicated bioethical issues and envisions future scenarios involving the humalga.
Maja Smrekar / Human Molecular Colonization Capacity (2011 – 2012).
Questions on the politics of life and the body are also addressed by Maja Smrekar. The question posed by this project is whether there may be a possibility - considering the consequences of a potential global food deficit and the drastic reduction of the value of material goods - that the human molecular production capacity in DNA, as one of the few uncolonized biotechnological materials, could become a trade tool (based on a system of genetic credit), which could become one of the next stages of evolution.
Polona Tratnik / Nomadology (2012)
In 1980 Gilles Deleuze and Felix Guattari defined the concept of the rhizome (non-hierarchy, decentralization, heterogeneity) as the basic model for the existence of contemporary society. The Nomadology project is investigating the life of fungi and is observing the evolution of a rhizome. Its aim is to establish a rhizome on a literal level (as the literalness was actually also requested by Deleuze and Guattari). In such a manner it will establish a living biological system of a philosophical concept.
Arctic Perspective Initiative (API) / ᓯᓄᓂ SINUNI
In 2010 and 2011 API developed and for the first time experimentally deployed a robust open hardware sensor network and communication system SINUNI. The system was developed in conjunction and collaboration with the communities in the North. Traditionally within many Arctic paradigms, there is a history of research conducted in the North, with the community having very little, if any, access to the results of the research conducted on their own land. The SINUNI proposes to allow communities to conduct their own research, and own their own data. Within this framework, the data would be validated, vetted, and ‘owned’ by the community, thereby further empowering the North.
The project was supported by:
Situation Report No. 2
Duba Sambolec, Drawing, 2010. Curtesy of the artist.
9. 3. – 26. 4. 2012
Gallery of Contemporary Art and Likovni salon Gallery Celje
The exhibition will be featuring a comprehensive selection of works by Duba Sambolec, created over the last four years. Following the first edition of the exhibition at the Škuc Gallery, which consisted of sculptures and a selection of drawings, Situation Report No. 2 on view in Celje will be extended to include works in other media. Through sculptures, objects, drawings, digital prints, printed banners and object painting, Duba Sambolec will present us with engaged, critical, (self)reflective and poetic reports about her own existence and the turbulent times and passive society in which she lives.
Exhibited at the Gallery of Contemporary Art will be sculptures created over the last three years: Balkans on My Mind, Temporary, ½ Volume Hanging, Lug-gage and This & That/Unplugged as well as a selection of drawings created between 2010 and 2011. The ambience Entertainment Place that Duba Sambolec will set up at the Fine Art Salon in Celje is a space of imaginary pleasure, since object paintings within it on the one hand seduce the spectator, while on the other hand prevent him/her from slipping into ease. An apparent opposition or the inverted side of the glowing inscription Entertainment Place will be represented once again by the exhibited printed banners that function as textual and visual labyrinths built from key words and free associations that deal with conformity, resignation, social repression, control and exclusion.
If on the one hand the exhibited works speak about the need for a critical response to the current social, economic and political situation as well as about the artist's questioning of her own identity that oscillates between different anchor points (gender, cultural space, art, …), on the other hand they testify to the interest and an almost physical need of the artist to explore the various materials and their artistic and semantic language. But above all, Duba Sambolec's works express a certain confidence in the power and need for art that rather than falling into a simplyfied slavishness of social utility, remains faithful to its own language.
Duba Sambolec (1949) graduated in sculpture and in 1978 finished her MFA studies at the Ljubljana Academy of Fine Art. Between the years 1992–2007 she was Professor of Fine Art and The Head of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Art in Trondheim (Norway). Since 2008 she has worked as Professor of Fine Art at the National Academy of Fine Art in Oslo, Norway. She has exhibited extensively in numerous solo exhibitions (among other at the Gallery of Contemporary Art Celje, the Zagreb Museum of Contemporary Art and the Mala galerija in Ljubljana, 1998; at the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana, 1988; at the Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, 1983) as well as in group exhibitions, amog other at the National Art Gallery Zacheta in Warshaw (2010), Museum of Modern Art Vienna (2009/10), at the Aperto / Venice Biennial (1988) and at the Sao Paulo Biennial (1985).
The exhibition Situation Report No. 1,2 & 3 is a co-production between the Škuc Gallery and Centre for Contemporary Arts – Celeia Celje. The exhibition will also be presented at the HDLU & PM Galleries in Zagreb.
More about the artist's work:
Coming Soon, the Future!
Franc Purg, from the installation Global Debt, 2011
Center sodobnih umetnosti Celje / Center for Contemporary Arts Celje
December 15, 2011 – February 19, 2012
Locations: Gallery of Contemporary Art and Likovni salon Gallery.
The Center for Contemporary Arts Celje is pleased to announce the publication of an extensive monograph on Franc Purg’s artistic production.
Franc Purg’s artistic practice is mainly characterized by a clear perception of social phenomena, processes and relations, a prompt and direct reaction to the world in which we live, a critical view of the status of contemporary society as well as poignant and intensive representation of reality, which hardly fail to leave the spectator untouched. There are a number of works, among others the performance and installation Where is the Line? (1998) and the video Leon (2001), that have occasioned reactions and uneasiness among spectators, as well as repudiation and condemnation because of the artist’s intransigence and word-for-word presentation of reality, including theirown. The installation What Makes Me Look Like This? (1996), dealing with hypocrisy of religion, has gone so far as to prompt a censorship incident. In his recent works, the artist is opening up questions about relations of power and social justice, touching with great sensitivity upon the position of marginalized social groups, their everyday reality and the capability of inventing creative strategies and tools for the needs of survival (a series of projects, Priviligirane taktike/Privileged Tactics (2006–2008), in collaboration with Sara Heitlinger). He speaks about the margin of society and at the same time about the nature of society that makes possible the existence of the margin. As a careful observer of the relationship between the center and the margin, he considers the margin not as something frail and remote but as a creative and present cell capable of exercising an active influence on the center. His engaged and continuous research of the margin is the distinguishing feature of all of his works made after 2001 (the turning point in his work is represented by the video Kids (2002) about the suburbs of Belfast), which has contributed to the creation of his artistic statement according to which the margin is more important than it might seem, for it is more intensive and faster than the center towards which it is advancing – unnoticed, but with firm resolution – telling of its future.
The relationship between the margin and the center is as well the conceptual framework of Purg’s present extensive exhibition with the telling title Coming Soon, the Future! Featured at the exhibition, which is taking place in two locations, at the Gallery of Contemporary Art and the Likovni salon Gallery, is his recent work Global Debt, as well as the most emblematic projects, or parts of them, that have defined his artistic production to date. By placing them into new relationships and through the visual and above all content-related connections thus created that impart a special atmosphere to the individual spaces, the exhibition speaks about the dark side of our society and our existence, about transience, the urgency for changes in relation to the environment, to our fellow human beings and to life, about the creative solutions brought about by the social margin and the marginal situation, about when a criminal act becomes legitimate and about how we can read the future on the basis of our understanding of the margin.
Purg’s artistic practice dates back in the period of modernism. He set out on his artistic career as a sculptor and has been mainly engaged since the 1990s with video, photography, performance, sound and intervention into public space. He has participated in many international festivals and has exhibited his works in numerous museums and galleries, such as Museum of Modern Art Ljubljana, Grand Palais Paris, Le Fresnoy Lille, Hamburger Bahnhof Berlin, ZKM Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie Karlsruhe, E:vent Gallery London, Kunsthaus Graz, Essl Sammlung Vienna, Exit Art New York, Moderna Museet Stockholm, etc.His works are part of the collections of the Museumof Modern Art Ljubljana and the MariborArt Gallery, Okolje Consulting Art Collection, New Media Collection Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris and the Israeli Center for Digital Art in Holon. He was awarded the Unesco Digital Arts Award, the Rihard Jakopič Award for the year 2005, the first award at the competition for Slovenian independence, the International Media Art Award, The 50 Best, Zentrum fur Kunst und Medientechnologie, etc.
He graduated in Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Art in Ljubljana in 1979 and had further training as a student in Köln (1991), Glasgow (1995), Paris (1997) and Belfast (2001).
Franc Purg lives and works in Celje and London. Read more at: http://francpurg.net/
The realization of the exhibition Coming Soon, the Future! and the publication of the monograph has been supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Celje Municipality, Okolje Consulting Art Collection, Miklova House Ribnica and private collectors.
SCULPURE TODAY. Statues, Figures and Bodies
Mirko Bratuša, Polona Demšar, Boštjan Drinovec, Jiři Kočica, Anja Kranjc, Gregor Kregar, Boštjan Novak, Nika Oblak & Primož Novak, Katja Oblak, Žiga Okorn, Zoran Srdić Janežič, Lujo Vodopivec, Project The Waiting (authors: Katja Bogataj, Polona Černe, Pavel Ekrias, Neža Jurman, Ana Kerin, Miha Makovec, Barbara Pintar and Lan Seušek)
Katja Bogataj, Polona Černe, Pavel Ekrias, Neža Jurman, Ana Kerin, Miha Makovec, Barbara Pintar, Lan
Seušek: The Waiting, 2010
Gallery of Contemporary Art Celje, 22. 9. – 13. 11. 2011
Exhibition's Curators: Tomaž Brejc, Irena Čerčnik, Jiři Kočica, Polona Tratnik
The pluriannual project SCULPTURE TODAY is a broadly conceived and retrospective study of sculpture in the Slovenian space that commenced last year with an exhibition and a publication and will be taking place in turns until 2013. If last year's exhibition titled Sculpture Today: Components, Junctures and Intersections through the works of 32 artists presented contemporary sculpture as the expanded field that is not media defined but enters the field of the social, scientific, technological and interdisciplinary, this year's exhibition focuses on questions of figurality and gives emphasis to the haptic experience and the relationship between the sculptural body and the body of the spectator. The works of the 21 participating artists change the gallery space into a space inhabited by “the people”: a multitude of statues, figures and bodies – mainly three-dimensional human figures in life size bearing reference to different personal, social and political contexts. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue in which questions raised by the exhibition are dealt with in detail in the introductory texts by Tomaž Brejc and Jiri Kočica. Brejc explains the exhibition’s concept with the following words:
Imagine an exhibition of merely bodies, statues, figures, phantasms, fragments, fictions. No matter what room I enter, they stare from everywhere – or ignore me – figures, more or less similar to human beings. The figures are (1) representations of human beings (Zoran Srdič, Anja Kranjc, Gregor Kregar, Polona Demšar); (2) apparent similarities of human beings of various shapes, big or small, material, of colors, light, heavy, but above all, they are narrative “allegoric” statues (Mirko Bratuša, Boštjan Drinovec, Lujo Vodopivec, Boštjan Novak); (3) mere fragments of bodies, refined residues of transitory gestures, attitudes (Katja Oblak); (4) fragments of embryonic cocoons, exhausted existential bodies (Anja Kranjc); (5) visual games with funny haptic effects, really blowing air (Primož Novak, Nika Oblak); and (6) carriers of the subjective and social, optical and haptic dialogue (Jiři Kočica, Žiga Okorn). Despite their diversity, they are imbued with a common creative intent: to place the haptic experience of the body in the sphere of the imagination, to establish an interpersonal relationship between statues and spectators.
This is why the exhibition is permeated by a feeling of closeness, touch, some kind of overabundance (horror vacui). However, involved here is not a postmodern mannerism, a senseless unveiling of existential fragility, an experimental design or a presentation of the raw power of big and heavy statues (in my imagination Drinovec’s Velikimali [The Bigsmall] happily floats in space). Rather, involved here is a special reciprocity, a mutual engagement between statue and spectator, between the body of the sculpture and the body of the spectator. It is as if contemplation can occur without the perspective, architectural space, and as if sculptural bodies, figures, fragments are that which defines when space is and what it is like. To paraphrase Maurice Merleau-Ponty, space is what creates the body, and it is not that there is space first (cognitive supposition) and only then comes the body to inhabit it. Individual rooms of the gallery are not only “white cubes”, empty volumes, but special dwellings, environments where statues find their place. Such friendly cohabitation changes the formality of a gallery space into the familiarity of the studio, where statues keep on living their lives, forcing the spectator to adapt to their diverse existence.
KONTINUITETA / CONTINUITY
Center for Contemporary Arts Celje
Locations: Galerija sodobne umetnosti [Gallery of Contemporary Art] and Likovni salon Gallery
30.6. – 11.9.2011
Adel Abidin, Tomaž Črnej, Adela Jušić, Maja Hodošček, Mladen Miljanović, Simon Norfolk, David Tartakover, Susan Silas, Milica Tomić, Stefanos Tsivopoulos, Bojan Salaj, Artur Zmijewski, Dalibor Bori Zupančič
One of the fundamental questions of contemporary society is: what are the reasons for wars and could these last be prevented? Is this at all possible in a society with the existing political, economic and corporate relations of power and hierarchies which makes it a society of imposed imperial order?
The exhibition Continuity deals with the questions of war, genocide and memory. Through artistic projects with a direct bearing on World War II, the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the war in Iraq, Bosnia, Afghanistan and the World War II and Srebrenica genocides, the exhibition will try to point at the phenomenon of permanent global war, where peace is manifested only as an interim period between states of war.
The war problematics will be tackled from many aspects: through research and reconstruction of traumatic events; through focusing on the consequences of war that have left their mark on the people, the landscape and the architecture; through exploring how history and conflictual situations are inscribed into a space, thus becoming part of its identity; through problematizing the media representation of war, and through testimonies and stories of the people who have been through war.
By presenting different artistic strategies, the exhibition will speak about a society that, in full disregard of ethical principles, decides on the life and death of people, changing wars into a self-interested global enforcement of political goals by any means necessary, and covers up its responsibility for the destroyed lives – which concerns not only those involved, but also the others who collaborate in wars by trading in arms or in some other “invisible” way, supporting and legitimating wars to their own profit and political interests – in a political lie despite our knowing. The works of the thirteen artists presented at the exhibition will address the issue of the continuity and reality of wars, of their permanency, of the emergence of ever new crisis areas and conflicts, of the incomprehensibility of war and, last but not least, of the urgency of awareness and remembrance (in the 19th and 20th centuries, approx. 205 million people died as a result of war and genocide).
Memorial, 3-kanalna animacija in instalacija / 3-channels animation and an installation, 2009, 02'56
Memorial by Iraqi artist Adel Abidin is based on a real event from 1991, when American forces bombarded Baghdad. The absurdity of an unusual scene witnessed by the artist gave rise to a work that, by merging fiction and reality, speaks about the incomprehensibility of war, about the irrepressible need of proximity, appurtenance and connectedness, and about a destroyed city as well.
Adel Abidin (Baghdad, 1973; živi in dela / lives and works in Helsinki). Darat al Funun - The Khalid Shoman Foundation, Amman, 2011; Venice Biennale 2011: Iraq; Biennale of Sydney 2010 ; Tracking Traces, Kiasma, Helsinki, 2010; Cairo Biennial, 2008; MoMA- Museum of Modern Art- New York, 2008; Venice Biennale 2007: Finnish Pavilion; …
Napaka / A Mistake, serija fotografij in video projekcija / a series of photographs and a video projection, 2010
The installation A Mistake by Celje photographer Tomaž Črnej, featuring a series of photographs of Auschwitz and of a mass grave in Laško pri Celju, where, after the World War II, hundreds of prisoners of war and civilians were killed, speaks about spaces marked by history, genocide and collective memory.
Tomaž Črnej (Celje, 1963) se v glavnem ukvarja s fotografijo in instalacijo. Za fotografijo je prejel številne nagrade. / Works mainly with photography and installation. He has won several awards for photography.
Snajperist / The Sniper, video, 2007, 4’21”
In her video work Sniper, Adela Jušić tries to come to terms with her own childhood lived in the besieged city of Sarajevo, and with the moment when she, as a 10-year-old girl, was confronted with a major loss in her life – the death of her father. The video deals with her own intimate, painful experience as well as with one of the most inhuman of wars, oriented mostly towards civilians, among whom the greatest loss of human life occurred.
Adela Jušić (Sarajevo, 1982). Videonale, Kunstmuseum Bonn, 2011; Manifesta 8, Murcia, 2010; Decolonial Aesthetics, El Parqueadero, Bogota; Transitland – Sofia Launch event , Center for Culture and Debate, Sofia, 2009. Zvono Award for the best Bosnian young artist, 2010; …
Raw Material, 2-kanalna video projekcija / 2-channel video projection, 2010, 17'20''
The video installation Raw Material by Celje artist Maja Hodošček speaks about the psychological suffering of war veterans, post-trauma stress, anxiety and fear of people. The spectator is presented with the experience of a young American soldier in the Iraq war. By alternating between the text of the interview held with the ex-serviceman and an image of a Slovenian boy telling his story in the first person, the artist points to the global dimension of war that is of our concern as well.
Maja Hodošček (Celje, 1984). Landscape, Likovni salon, Celje, 2010 ; RAW Material, Galerija Gregor Podnar, Ljubljana, 2010; OHO Award, Zavod P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E., Ljubljana, 2010. ISCP - International Studio and Curatorial Program, New York, 2010 …
Occupo, site-specific instalacija in intervencije v javnem prostoru / site specific installation and interventions in public space (prva produkcija / fist production Neue Galerie Graz, 2007)
Occupo, a spatial installation by Mladen Miljanović, applies the military visual vocabulary to the artistic context, ironically problematizing the militarization of society. The occupation of the artistic space is a means for the artist’s confrontation with the negative past – he grew up during the war in Bosnia – as well as a practical affirmation of the principle “make art, not war”.
Mladen Miljanović (Zenica, 1981). Taxi to Berlin, Antje Wachs gallery, Berlin,2011; Museum Service, MUMOK, Vienna, 2010; Occupational therapy, P74 Gallery, Ljubljana, 2009; Occupo, Neue Galerie Graz, Graz (Austria), 2007 .
BURKE + NORFOLK
Photographs from the War in Afghanistan, 2010
The series of photographs Burke + Norfolk: Photographs from the War in Afghanistan is the result of “the artistic collaboration” between John Burke, a war photographer during the Second Anglo-Afghan War (1878–80), and Simon Norfolk, who travelled to Afghanistan in 2010 to follow Burke’s path, where he created a series of photographs, sort of “re-photographs”, that, with analogous contents and situations taken from the current context, represent a response to Burke. The work addresses the issue of continuity of conflicts and imperialism in a country stricken with poverty.
Simon Norfolk (Lagos, 1963). Burke + Norfolk: Photographs From The War In Afghanistan, Tate Modern, London, 2011; The Holocaust Museum, Houston, 2002; Simon Norfolk: a retrospective, MACUF – Museo de Arte Contemporáneo de Unión Fenosa, La Coruña; Kolekcije / Collections: The Getty Museum, Los Angeles; The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Portland Art Museum; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art; Deutsche Böurse Art Collection; …
I'm here, digitalni printi / digital prints, 2004
The series of photographs I’m Here by Israeli designer David Tartakover, where the artist's figure is digitally inserted into the reportage photographs of different places and events, speaks about the consequences of the Israeli occupation, about the taking on of responsibility and about life in a space full of conflicts.
David Tartakover (Israel, 1944). Gold Medal, 8th Poster Biennial, Lahti, Finland (1989); Silver Medal, the 13th International Poster Biennial, Lahti, Finland (2001); Second Prize, 9th International Triennale of Political Posters, Mons, Belgium (2004); Grand Prix, Golden Bee 6, Moscow International Graphic Design Biennial (2004)
Helmbrechts walk, 1998-2003
Helmbrecht’s Walk (1998–2003) by the New York artist Susan Silas is an accurate reconstruction of a forced march of 580 Jewish prisoners after World War II. The work is a visual representation of the 225-mile-long walk from a camp in Germany to Czechoslovakia that brought about the death of 95 women. The artist set out on foot to retrace the path of these women, documenting the journey in photographs and writings that – complemented by news clippings taken from the front pages of the New York Times on the corresponding days in 1998 – bear witness to permanent violence and conflicts.
Susan Silas (1953, živi in dela / lives and works in Brooklyn). CB1 Gallery, Los Angeles, 2011; Helmbrechts walk, Hebrew Union College Museum, 2009; Helmbrechts walk, The Koffler Gallery, Toronto, 2005; Kunsthalle Exnergasse_WUK, Vienna, 2010; A Live Animal, Root Division, San Francisco, 2011; For Your Pleasure, CB1 Gallery, Los Angeles, 2010; …
Sigurnost u putu / Road Safety, video, 2008-2010, 40'
Milica Tomić, in her video Road Safety, travels to Srebrenica, where at least 8,000 Muslim men and boys were killed in 1995. The journey into the centre of the post-genocide trauma, into the world of women without men, villages without people, is an attempt at understanding how it is possible to survive and continue on with life despite irreplaceable loss.
Milica Tomić (Beograd, 1960). Milica Tomić, Muzej savremene umetnosti, Beograd, 2010; Safety on the Road, Charim Gallery, Vienna, 2010; Politics of Memory, Stacion – Center for Contemporary Art, Priština; GENDER CHECK – Femininity and Masculinity in Eastern European, MUMOK, Museum Moderner Kunst, Stiftung Ludwig, Vienna, 2009; Zones of Contact, Biennale of Sydney 2005; Poetic Justice, 8th International Istanbul Biennial, 2003; Venice Biennale, Dreams and Conflicts – the Viewer’s Dictatiorship, Serbia and Montenegro pavilion, 2003; …
The Interview, 2-kanalna video instalacija / 2-channel video Installation, 2007, 33'
Z dovoljenjem / Courtesy artist and Prometeogallery di Ida Pisani, Milan
The video installation The Interview, composed of two parts – an interview with a Serbian ex-serviceman (The Interview) and an interview performed by actors (An Interview With War) – blurs the boundaries between the real and the staged. Stefanos Tsivopoulos’s video piece moves between reality and reconstruction, exploring questions of representations of history, personal memory, as well as interpretation and the media-mediated reality.
Stefanos Tsivopoulos (1973, živi in dela / lives and works in Amsterdam and Athens). Manifesta 8 Murcia, 2010; Witte de With Rotterdam, BFI Southbank London, ACF New York, Centre Pompidou Paris, Friedericianum Kunstverein Kassel, ev+a Biennial Limerick, Museum of Contemporary Art Belgrade, Museum of Contemporary Art Heidelberg, Centre Photographique d’Isle Paris, 1st Athens Biennial; …
Kočevski Rog, fotografija / photography, 2008
The photograph Kočevski Rog by Bojan Salaj (Kočevski Rog is a mountain chain in Slovenia and at the same time a monument to the partisan movement during World War II as well as a site of post-war killings) is a part of the series of photographs Landscapes, a work-in-progress since 2008. The series, made by means of a camera obscura with snapshots of spots from the Slovenian landscape that represent the symbols of Slovenian national identity, addresses the question of rethinking, reevaluating and understanding history. The work is much more than a mere photographic depiction of what we see, for it directs our attention beyond the image.
Bojan Salaj (1964, Ljubljana). Paris Photo, statement, Carrousel du Louvre, 2010; Interijerji III, Galerija Photon, Ljubljana, 2008; New SlovenianPhotography and Video, K2 Contemporary Art Center , Izmir, 2008; Monat der Fotografie Wien 2006; …
80064, enokanalna video projekcija / single channel video projection, 2004, 11''
Z dovoljenjem / Courtesy the artist and Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich, Foksal Gallery Foundation, Warsaw
In his work 80064, the artist Artur Zmijewski convinces an ex prisoner of a concentration camp in Auschwitz to renovate his tattooed number. The act of tattooing the number anew was expected to elicit a wave of memories of his painful past. The work speaks about constraint and authority, as well as about conformation and subjugation as the only possible means of survival.
Artur Zmijewski (Warszawa, 1966). Centre Andaluz, Sevilla, 2011; International Istanbul Biennial 2009; Galerie Peter Kilchmann, Zurich, 2009; Institute of Contemporary Arts, London, 2008; Venice Biennale 2005: Poland Pavilion; Documenta 12, 2007; Manifesta 4, 2002; Wattis Institute for Contemporary Art, San Francisco ,2005; National Gallery of Art Zacheta, Warsaw, 2005; Kunstwerke, Berlin, 2004); CAC, Vilnius, 2004; …
DALIBOR BORI ZUPANČIČ
Traja, traja, traja, instalacija / installation, 2011
Dalibor Bori Zupančič’s installation It Lasts, It Lasts, It Lasts deals with the permanent state of war, addressing at the same time the mass liquidation of political prisoners in the courtyard of the Stari Pisker in Celje, where, from September 1941 to August 1942, in six shootings altogether, 374 people were killed by the occupiers without any judgment being made against them.
Dalibor Bori Zupančič (Celje, 1949). Dance Macabre, Likovni salon, Celje, 1987; Mestece Celje – alternativa sedemdesetih /The town of Celje : the alternative of the seventies , Likovni salon, Celje, 1998; - Revizije.Slika 70+90, Galerija P74, Ljubljana, 2001; Dalibor Bori Zupančič - Introspektiva ZZ: 1970-2006, Galerija sodobne umetnosti Celje, 2006; …