Kultura vsak teden pri vas
Prijavite se na
E-novice cankarjevega doma
Novosti programa, napovedi, zgodbe in zakulisja in druge zanimivosti vsak teden v vašem e-poštnem nabiralniku.
FEATURED ARTISTS: Jošt Dolinšek, Andrej Lamut, Tilyen Mucik, Sara Rman, Blaž Rojs, Anja Seničar
Curator: Hana Čeferin
Photography, perhaps more so than any other field of art, has been defined by a commitment to experimentation from its very beginning. The first successfully stabilised photographic images were created as a sequence of physics and chemistry experiments, and the patenting of the first daguerreotype in 1839 was followed in quick succession by new techniques – the calotype, the heliotype and the ambrotype, and later camera-less processes, most notably the photogram, the chemigram and the luminogram. The definition of photography has been expanding even further in contemporary art – from digital intervention to works created using artificial intelligence, unusual chemical compounds and countless emulsion combinations, integrating living organisms and unexpected mediums –, there are infinite ways of interpreting the photographic within the context of art. While photography is still often perceived as merely an image that is captured on a light-sensitive surface by means of a photographic camera, this definition may have been inappropriate since the very beginning of the medium.
Bearing this experimentation in mind, the Beyond the Lens exhibition turns to younger Slovenian photographers who combine different mediums, re-examining materials and form, and exploring the potential of the medium of photography beyond the use of a camera. Developments in Slovenian contemporary photography over the recent years have been truly exciting. Younger artists adopt highly idiosyncratic approaches to photography, fully aware of the principles of the medium, unburdened by photographic “purism”, combining styles, materials, tools and image carriers. They organise themselves into groups, studios and collectives, apply to international platforms, exhibition projects and publications, and independently integrate themselves with the art world. Slovenia’s vibrant and varied young photography scene undeniably reveals new spins on the medium that brim with freshness and individuality.
Within the context of these developments, the aim of this exhibition is to present the production that has evolved through the younger generation’s attitude towards traditional approaches to the medium. The exhibition does not aim to present the young artists’ latest or most contemporary works, but seeks to shed light on the specific understanding of the medium that started to develop in our cultural space. The exhibited works, most of which have already featured in solo shows, are here presented collectively as a reflection on the possibilities of the medium itself, the photographic orientations of the younger generation, and the viewpoints on photography embraced by today’s young artists in producing it beyond the lens.
In their showcased projects, Andrej Lamut and Tilyen Mucik address photography through the thematic field of botany. In methodically observing invasive plant species in his immediate surroundings, and presenting them as extra-terrestrial invaders, Lamut’s Invasive Alien Species series deals with the topic of the environmental crisis and its consequences, both hidden and in plain sight. With her Flora Femina series, Mucik literally introduced botany into her works by incorporating plant dyes into images and using green-plant leaves in place of paper. Sara Rman and Anja Seničar understand photography on a formal level, whereby the photographic paper subjected to specific treatment can already constitute a bearer of meaning. By burning, crumpling, and destroying, experimenting with emulsion and exposure, they process the photographic paper until it takes on unexpected shapes and assumes the form of a standalone object. Blaž Rojs and Jošt Dolinšek combine various mediums – Rojs adds acrylic paints, plexiglass, textiles and other elements to Polaroids, his primary medium, composing multilayered objects, and Dolinšek introduces several entry points of gaze by way of frame-inserted mirrors, at the same time strengthening their ambient role through sonic accompaniment and exploring the intimate experience that opens up in observing the images.
The featured artists take different perspectives on photography and interpret it in their own, wholly distinct way. However, the common denominator in all these styles may be their exploring the ever-new potentials of the medium and challenging its boundaries, while concurrently searching for ways to merge meaning and form. They approach the medium from an expressly technical angle, through reflection on materiality, while taking a strong interest in the experience of the viewer and all the possible interpretations of their works. Through the formally and contextually varied works of the six featured artists, we enter the field of contemporary photographic output that takes form outside the box and beyond the lens.