Production: Centre for Contemporary Arts SCCA-Ljubljana, Kino Šiška – Centre for Urban Culture, Miklova hiša Gallery, Cultural Artistic Association KUD Mreža/ Alkatraz Gallery
Supported by: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Ljubljana – Department of Culture, Municipality of Ribnica;
Acknowledgements: Podjetniški inkubator Kočevje
What does a couple of visual artists do when their child is born? They individually and jointly explore and document the baby’s arrival and growth. Each of them uses their singular visual language to develop their own parallel reality. Through metaphors, Tereza Kozinc depicts conception, pregnancy, childbirth and the experience of early motherhood. For the first time in his life, Klavdij Sluban lived without travel for a year and a half. This immobile journey is the greatest experience of all since he put down roots in the homeland of his ancestors. His second child was born. The exhibition, which stands out from conventional examples of family photographs, is an ode to light and new birth.
How to draw a story in a single picture – and without words?
Without words, but in a thematic tension with the title. In a thematic tension that is not merely a metaphorical comment or interpretation or counterpoint to the predictable horizon of expectations, but a high-voltage physical surge – before the brain realizes what the eyes are looking at, the body knows: it is seeing the invisible (its own). It is seeing the forbidden (its own). It’s looking at the rebellion, the freedom, the game. It’s looking at a story where the boundaries of the possible are extending. It is seeing a wild thought that is thought without words – in the image.
Accompanying text: Barbara Korun
There are men and women who sow seeds, who set emotions, states of mind and communication in action, who pave the way for others, and who have the power to move mountains.
They inspire us to get up and move, to get busy, and to experience life to the fullest.
Men and women who make music like others make bread.
There are also men and women who make us see things in ways we wouldn’t have been able to on our own, by highlighting details, changing perspectives, opening things up, shining the light. They literally make things reveal themselves. One of these men is photographer Luciano Rossetti.
Pino Saulo – a legendary RaiRadio3 presenter
Photographs are “foot-notes”; they are a gaze at music or, better yet, a gaze inside music. It is a work-in-progress, a research “by images” into those aspects of music that the audiences usually do not see. Notes are a “presence/absence”, they are in the margin yet deeply present; music is present in the breaks during rehearsals, it is in the stage floorboards where an exhausted musician has stretched out, it is in the kiss of two young lovers on a beach to the rhythms of a double bass breaking into the waves. Throughout its wanderings in Italy and abroad, from a festival to a recording studio, from a beach to a club, the gaze tries to go beyond the stage, beyond the instrument, beyond the outward appearance usually granted by the musicians. There is a continuous attempt at investigating the human soul while trying to avoid stereotypes, clichés, the already seen. Therefore the images that involve musicians, the audiences, those who are just passing through and those involved much against their will; all of that artistic universe that revolves around music, that experiences the musical instant of improvisation and then fades away.
Luciano Rossetti has pursued a career in photography since the late 1970s.
He collaborates with magazines specialized in theatre and music for whom he has made dozens of covers.
In 2004, with other photographers, he co-founded the Phocus Agency, which specializes in performance photography. He was among the founding members of the Association of Italian Jazz Photographers AFIJ (2019), where he serves as secretary and board member. Involved in numerous projects for prominent recording labels, as well as many assignments as official photographer for jazz and theatre festivals.
Since the mid-1990s he has held solo and collective exhibitions both in Italy and abroad,
including the Triennale and Palazzo Reale in Milan, Galleria Nazionale dell’Umbria in Perugia, Villa Celimontana in Rome, Gallery of the Marktgemeinde in St. Johann in Tirol, the Orensanz Foundation, Jazz Record Center and Clemente Soto Velez Cultural Centre in New York.
His photography has recently earned international acclaim for its excellence. In 2021, he received the "Best Photo of the Year Award”, as well as a nomination for Career Excellence in Photography from the Jazz Journalists Association (JJA), the American Jazz Journalists and Critics Association.
After the dissolution of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Ljubljana became part of the new state of the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes, later renamed the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. During the short-lived kingdom, Ljubljana enjoyed one of its most important and prolific architectural peaks. With his numerous interventions, architect Jože Plečnik (1872–1957) transformed the city into a symbolic national capital. Plečnik rejected modernist approaches and rebuild the city following his own vision.
In the process of Ljubljana’s overhaul, Plečnik contextualized the existing space, taking into account the different levels of the city, its natural, architectural, historical and immaterial qualities, and streamlined it into a series of public spaces (squares, parks, streets, promenades, bridges) and buildings (library, churches, markets, funeral home complex).
Thus emerged Plečnik's Ljubljana, a phenomenon of twentieth-century urban landscape inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. In response to the new architectural trends, Ljubljana’s modernist architecture took shape concurrently.
It was designed by Plečnik's contemporaries, most notably Josip Costaperaria and Vladimir Šubic, as well as Plečnik’s students (France Tomažič, Edvard Ravnikar and others). In the year that marks the 150th anniversary of the birth of Jože Plečnik, the photography exhibition seeks to thematize the metamorphoses of the city.
The exhibition presents a series of Peter Uhan's portrayals of family life, portraits that are anything but typical. Offering glimpses into an amusing and comic, occasionally chaotic and exhausting yet altogether beautiful life of a family of four and half, the photographs feature a colourful array of stories, memories and experiences.
Peter Uhan (1977) pursues a career in professional photography, primarily theatre and portrait, as well as occasionally commercial and architectural photography. He regularly works for the Slovenian National Theatre Drama Ljubljana and the Slovenian National Theatre Nova Gorica, and occasionally for other theatres and independent theatre companies. He has documented over 350 performances. In 2012–19 Peter Uhan collaborated with the German visual artist Ulay on performance art. Recipient of several Slovenian and international awards and distinctions, he rarely holds exhibitions of his work.
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.
As the year 2021 is coming to a close, the Small Gallery hosts an exhibition of photographic works by Igor Škafar. The Ulica exhibition comprises a large number of portraits, mostly featuring young people. The artist has been creating these portraits continuously, with unwavering dedication and in search of the new and fresh, for the past twenty years.
The exhibited works include both older photographs taken on film and more recent, digital photographs. In a unique way, the exhibition will also lend a small insight into the artist’s creative process.
Igor Škafar was born in Ljubljana in 1975. He has pursued a career in photography since 1997, when he took up the position of assistant at the Manjana photographic studio. Two years later he started contributing photographs to the Mladina weekly. He now works for various media and agencies, and regularly publishes his work in Mladina. Ichisan – DJ (and photographer) Igor Škafar’s stage name – started out on his musical career as a guitarist with various bands, and later devoted himself to electronic music, a genre to which he is especially partial.
DK is one of Slovenia’s most prominent photographers of the middle generation. His exceptional output is marked by an idiosyncratic visual and conceptual artistic style. The first association with the artistic name DK, in Slovenia and beyond, is probably still related mainly to the iconic portraits created in Ljubljana’s Alternative District of Metelkova.
An accomplished and established photographer, DK has been concurrently developing interest and practice in various areas of photography throughout his career: from documentary photography, even photojournalism, and series that have dealt with certain phenomena of social reality in a distinctive and critical artistic way to pure abstract photography, the least showcased part of his output that was eventually imaginatively presented within the context of the Scotoma exhibition in the Jakopič Gallery.
Non-representational photography exists in this area of conflict between material reality and photographic illusion – between fact and fiction. The Small Gallery exhibition – featuring photographs taken by their author in "timeless" Egypt, photographs that could be said to be lost in time – suspends it somewhere in-between. The accompanying text has been authored by art historian Hana Čeferin.
DK (1970) obtained a master's degree from a notable photo school in Munich (FPS). He has been member of Strip Core, an art and cultural production collective, for over thirty years. Through his work DK responds to current socio-political and cultural issues and, through a creative method based on artistic research, provides ambivalent yet insightful visual metaphors for the zeitgeist.
By means of the visual medium, the photographer's remarkable body of work activates an in-depth awareness – more sublime than direct, through kindling pristine emotions. DK thereby touches an individual on a subconscious level, more permanently. His work has recently been exhibited at the Photo Basel fair, the Vienna Photogalerie and Ljubljana’s Jakopič Gallery, which hosted a large exhibition of his photos, Scotoma.
The exhibition has been organised in cooperation with Strip Core, a part of the Forum Ljubljana Institute for Art and Culture.
It seems as if, in an environment drastically facing the extinction of any kind of (self-) criticism, meaningful criteria for evaluating and promoting authentic values, or, in an environment facing up to the consequences of this erosion that has been eating away at more and more areas of cultural production, Damir Fabijanić has no choice but to get “in the midst of things”.
Due to lack of other means of communication, the artist chose first person narrative. Fabijanić is a sharp judge and an uncompromising critic of the phenomena he encounters in his daily life, both of the public media and cultural institutions of which no mention is being made by common consent. He is equally convincing as the author of photographic representations, when ironizing the pseudo-civilisational legacy of the newly formulated Croatian culture, in documenting his own vision of reality, opening up a debate about the commercialisation of art, in questioning the division into art photography and other genre categories.
The exhibition combines several individual sections, with each theme consisting of photographs and texts: rather than the usual exhibit interpretations that accompany an exhibition, the artist uses written statements, comments, or descriptions to further highlight the context in which the works were created. The layout of the exhibition is devised as an installation that establishes communication codes on the basis of experience of conceptual practices, or the starting point for the dematerialisation of a work of art as an aesthetic object. At the same time, these texts allow us to follow the chronicle of a photographic pursuit that reveals several constants in this artistic output, both at the level of themes and content and artistic approach. Instead of an objective, neutral observer, Fabijanić opted for a less comfortable position of an engaged participant, which further underlines the self-referential dimension of his works and their distinctive interpellate power.
Damir Fabijanić (born in 1955 in Zagreb) has been a freelance artist-photographer since 1987. He specialised in architecture and landscape at the very beginning of his career. During the Croatian Homeland War, he photographed damaged cultural heritage sites, especially Dubrovnik and its environs. Photographic material addressing this subject was published in the book Dubrovnik… An eponymous exhibition, along with several others, has toured Europe and South America – and was on view at CD’s Small Gallery in 1997.
In 1992, as the only Croatian photographer to date, Fabijanić took part in the most prominent European photography festival in Arles. Throughout his professional career he has held numerous solo exhibitions and received prestigious awards and distinctions. He is the chief photographer and photography editor of Croatia/Croatia Airlines (since 1993), Oris (from 1999 to 2008) and Iće&piće (since 2007). He has published photographs in reputable newspapers and magazines, including Abitare, Architektur aktuell, Architektur und Bauforum, Architectural Review, Baumeister, Casa Vogue, El croquis, Detail, Diseno interior, Domus, Piranesi, Topos, Werk, Bauen+Wohnen, Japan Architect.