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; …