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The exhibitions will be CLOSED on 16, 17 and 18 April due to maintenance work.
Art Critics' Choice – Slovenian Art Critics Association series of showcases
Critic: Aleksander Bassin
The painter established himself with his highly distinctive style in the first decade of the new millennium, a period initially dominated by artists seeking original ways of entering the sublime with their takes on abstractionism. Can we then claim that Plotajs is the protagonist of a new anti-pop generation: a generation whose main and ever-present creative impulse is hedonism, and whose additional starting point for narration are images of public idols and other fetishized human and animal characters, its own conventional inventory. A latent presence of human existence, its processes and activities, is invariably felt throughout; such a painterly reflection is always positive and, of course, abounding in colours exalted to the point of apotheosis.
Considering the Neue Wilden (i.e. new Fauves), a German neo-expressive movement and their Slovenian paraphrase – a group of painters who went by the name of Divji v srcu (Wild at Heart), does Plotajs’ painting bear traces of neo-expressionism? We can answer in the affirmative, whereby referring to the painter's signature style, which does not fit into the ideology of the aforementioned historical German group, but indulges in its own, visceral stories, which of course can stylistically also indirectly tap into recent art history. In this sense, we also understand the artist's neologism “punk cubism” – the so-called series of paintings created in 2020/21 which includes the exhibited work.
Punk as a musical genre generated by so-called subculture apparently has remained in Plotajs’s memory even today, when existing in remix, while in the exhibited painting geometricized characters surface only as a reminiscence of cubism. The painting forming part of the aforementioned punk cubism series undoubtedly stems from a particular, artist’s own emotional reticence, both in terms of its motifs and the vibrantly jaundiced yellow surface.
Is this the reason for the subtitle about the hidden zen? If zen is associated with calmness, balance, attention, wisdom, harmony, order, even asceticism and insensitivity, and this is what makes it appealing to us Westerners, then the answer to the question about a certain red thread of zen is: dealing with the human mind and ego.
The artist thus succeeded in providing an honest, compelling answer for this particular painting.
Silvester Plotajs Sicoe
Silvester Plotajs Sicoe was born on 12 April 1965 in Ljubljana. He graduated under Professor Emerik Bernard from the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana in 1988 and continued his postgraduate studies in painting with Professor Gustav Gnamuš and in graphic arts with Professor Lojze Logar. In 1990 he studied with Professor Martin Tissing at the Minerva Art Academy in Groningen, the Netherlands. He has worked as a freelance artist since 1992. He is the recipient of several awards, including the 1987 Prešeren Award for Students, the 2009 University of Ljubljana Award for Important Artistic Achievements in the field of painting, the 2013 Richard Jakopič Distinction and the 2021 Richard Jakopič Award. He has taken part in group exhibitions and held many solo exhibitions in Slovenia and abroad, most recently Punk kubizem (Punk Cubism) at the Švicarija Art Centre in December 2021 and the group exhibition Divji v srcu (Wild at Heart) at the Kvartirna hiša Gallery Celje in October 2021. He is a freelance artist based in Ljubljana.
The exhibitions will be CLOSED on 16, 17 and 18 April due to maintenance work.
In collaboration with the Slovenian Art Critics Association.
It only rarely happens that the illustrations are exhibited before the book goes to print. And yet it does. The exhibition comprises most of the images, done in Indian ink on paper and digital monochrome finish, just completed for the picture book Adam and His Tuba that carries such a clear message.
Maja Kastelic was born on 25 September 1981 in Novo Mesto. After high school, which she completed as a golden graduate, she enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana (ALUO). She graduated in painting under Prof. Metka Krašovec and Assist. Prof. Dr. Nadja Zgonik with an honours degree and a book edition of her thesis (ALUO Research Institute) in 2006. Between 2006 and 2010 she pursued a master's degree in philosophy and theory of visual culture at the Faculty of Humanities in Koper. Since 2011, she has pursued a career of a freelance culture professional – painter, and since 2014 also a freelance illustrator. She has exhibited her paintings in several solo and group exhibitions, and has been illustrating books for various Slovenian and foreign publishers since 2012. She has won a number of major national and international awards. She lives and works in Trebnje.
In compliance with the restrictive measures taken by the Government of RS to limit the second wave of the Coronavirus pandemic, Cankarjev dom has cancelled or rescheduled all events.
In accordance with the National Institute of Public Health guidelines, we have put comprehensive measures in place to ensure your visit to Cankarjev dom’s exhibitions is a safe and comfortable experience.
The Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition reopens on 27 January. The Small Gallery photo exhibition in the Design Identity showcase in Cankarjev dom’s Foyer I have also reopened
The exhibitions are open daily between 10.00 and 19.00.
The CD Box Office is closed. Please buy your ticket for the Henri Cartier-Bresson exhibition in front of the CD Gallery, other exhibitions are admission free.
The entrance to the Gallery and exhibitions is from Prešernova Street (Council of Europe Park).
For further information, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and by dialling 01/2417-299 on weekdays between 11.00 and 13.00.
Significant changes have occurred in the field of photography over the recent decades, changes most notable in the genre of fine art photography or on the metadiscoursive level. Contrary to the mass use of the medium enabled by digitisation (including ‘smart’ phones) and in most cases not rising above superficiality of expression and often gross uninventiveness, contemporary art photography focuses on researching and reflecting upon the very nature of the image, its illusoriness and elusiveness and, of course, the fact that its representation of the empirical world, which we perceive spatially, is planar, i.e., two-dimensional. In this respect, the choice of a motif is often secondary, except when it underpins the photographer’s basic idea at a symbolic or narrative level. The selected work of Mare Mutić also falls within this context.
Using an original compositional approach, the artist addressed the issue of the relationships between the plane and the space, and ‘objectified’ the image in a specific way by composing – from repetitions of a motif on transparent plastic film in various formats with smaller deviations from the basic (largest) surface – a construction that gives the viewer a more convincing impression of depth of the picture field. Through the large dimensions of the featured photograph, reality is approximated even further, and the interaction between what is offered on view and the one who views becomes more intense, even though the physical distance is preserved. The awareness that what is in front of us is a segment of nature created through photographic means and procedures, that is, its downscaled model, rather than an actual natural milieu is the differentia specifica that substantiates the visual creation as a result of a creative process, an implementation of a particular artistic concept rather than a simple imitation of an existing one. Mutić’s photographic reflections present us with a narrative in which primal sensory perceptions are enhanced through a pronounced personal sensitivity, a sensitivity focused not only on what to represent, but also on how to represent it so that the content and form might blend into a genuine contemporary address, one beyond the conventional norms of the medium.
Brane Kovič (1953) is an art historian, art critic, translator and publicist. An internationally established freelance curator, Kovič is invited to serve on various international juries and speak at professional congresses, conferences and symposia. His particular specialty is writing about photography and organizing photographic exhibitions. Among others, he has organised and coordinated a project marking 150 years of photography in Slovenia (Ljubljana City Gallery and Architectural Museum, 1989–1990) and introduced some of the greatest names in world photography, including Jeanloup Sieff and Helmut Newton, to the Slovenian public. Many of his articles and discourses were published in Serbian, Croatian, English, French, Italian, Spanish, Bulgarian and Albanian in addition to Slovenian. He lives and works in Ljubljana.
Mare Mutić (1969) is a freelance artist involved in diverse genres of visual art. In his work, Mutić mostly explores photography and video. He holds exhibitions at home and abroad, and has received several international awards for his achievements. His photographic eye focuses on theatre, architecture, nature and urban life. He lives and works in Ljubljana.
Virginia Vrecl is an architect who has recently made a name for herself in architectural photography. While in her professional work she remains faithful to the formal codification of standards tailored to client requirements, she is concurrently evolving her own, signature style in art photography. In this context, she has created several series and held exhibitions showcasing works in which she abstracts, in diverse ways, architectural motifs or assembles them into artistically intriguing compositions. With her black-and-white documentary pictures of dilapidated buildings comprising the Arrigoni complex in Izola, Vrecl returns to the basic principles of photography to reflect the wider context of a particular space and time. With a focus on Izola’s industrial heritage, the artist expands her area of interest in ‘architectural photography’, while also raising interest in this ‘sub-genre’ of photography in Slovenia.
While in the history of photography the theme of industrial heritage has never been at the forefront, several important bodies of work examining this subject matter have nevertheless emerged. In a broader European context, the ‘objectivist’ output of Albert Renger-Patzsch can be singled out in the period of New Objectivity, while the work of Bernd and Hilla Becher provided ultimate artistic legitimacy to ‘documenting’ industrial heritage. In the history of Slovenian photography, industrial buildings and objects became a noteworthy theme in a period when the aesthetics of New Objectivity gradually overrode pictorialist ideals. The post-war socialist period mainly witnessed a flourishing of so-called ‘factory photography’, tackled by many notable Slovenian photographers. The synthesis and artistic enhancement of these trends are found in the output of Antonio Živkovič, who turned documenting industrial heritage into a kind of ‘subjective industrial archaeology’.
The Arrigoni series, created in 2019 for the Concrete Dreams (Betonske sanje) group project, depicts present-day ruins of the former fish-processing factory Arrigoni in Izola. Built in 1881, the factory was in operation until the end of the 1980s, when it merged with the Delamaris company and relocated to more modern facilities while an area of the building complex was preserved as a monument to industrial heritage. Virginia Vrecl’s series is placed in the aforementioned historical context primarily in order to improve our understanding of industrial development and to call attention to the importance of this type of heritage. However, even here, the artist, in deviating from the rules of optimum representation of buildings, ‘enhances’ these ‘material remains’ into a visual metaphor of transience. The Arrigoni series thus represents not only a valuable document of time before the final obliteration of former buildings, but also an artistic reminder of time disappearing before our very eyes.
Virginia Vrecl graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Ljubljana. After graduation, she collaborated with various architecture studios, and began her solo career in architectural planning. She started practising architectural photography while researching architectural space. Since 2014, she has independently exhibited or participated in numerous group exhibitions, while her architectural photographs have been published in numerous magazines, newspapers, and books, as well as on national and international online platforms.
Dejan Sluga is Director and Chief Curator of the Photon Gallery – Centre for Contemporary Photography. Holds a BA in Art History and Sociology of Culture from the Faculty of Arts Ljubljana, pursued postgraduate studies at Sotheby's Art Institute London. Started the Photon Gallery in 2003. Launched the Photonic Moments – Month of Photography Festival in 2005. Opened Photon Gallery in Vienna in 2013. Since the launch of the Photon Gallery in Ljubljana, Sluga has curated and organised most of the Photon exhibitions and projects in Ljubljana, Slovenia and internationally, including the Photon Gallery Vienna.