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The art exhibition is dedicated to the great architect, all-round visionary and humanist who adopted a multidisciplinary approach to designing his works and understood architecture in the context of visual culture. Three artistic considerations celebrate the invaluable legacy of a leading modernist of the geographic area formerly known as Yugoslavia, as well as beyond its borders: through the prism of the dimension of living, Nina Čelhar, Meta Drčar and Tadej Vaukman present their own understanding, interpretation and actualization of Ravnikar's legacy, as well as the architect as a private individual.
Vaukman primarily works in the medium of photography, frequently combining it with collage and drawing. The artist, whose work is grounded in (self-)portraiture, based his research on Ravnikar's drawings and self-portraits.
Nina Čelhar, whose painting practice focuses on depicting idealized minimalist interiors and questions the complex relationship between architecture and its users, will tap directly into Ravnikar's architectural legacy.
The dialogue is complemented by the spatial installations by Meta Drčar, who explores the connections between the observer's moving body, sculpture and architecture, and the performative effects that arise from this process.
If you fell love for something, you have to pursue it fully.
Slovenian jazz composer, improviser, percussionist and educator is based in the village of Vipolže in Western Slovenia’s Goriška Brda region. Photographer Nika Hölcl Praper is examining the question whether an address, a place of residence, is even relevant to an artist-cosmopolite, whether a man’s true home and place of refuge is not simply one’s state of mind. The photos were taken at Kaučič’s concerts and his home. The exhibition shows two worlds: his “altar of confession” – the stage – and his personal space, chiefly aiming to provide an inside look at the musician’s everyday life. With Kaučič, there seem to be no boundaries between music and life, between the public and private spheres.
Nika Hölcl Praper built her photography career after graduating in sociology and philosophy in Ljubljana. In addition to concert photography, she focuses on other areas of culture and the arts, especially in the Koroška region (Carinthia). She takes part in projects aimed at raising awareness and integrating the arts into education. The central core of her curiosity lies in merging ethics and aesthetics, and exploring the boundaries between light and dark.
In June, you are cordially invited to attend a public guided tour of the exhibition “Tilyen Mucik: Floriography”, on view at Cankarjev dom’s Small Gallery:
13 June 2023, at 18.00
The tour is conducted by the exhibition's author, Tilyen Mucik, and curator, Hana Čeferin.
Tilyen Mucik’s Floriography exhibition addresses the issue whether flowers are capable of saying more than words, while exploring the ways in which various floral combinations communicate with the viewers. Floriography is the name for the language of flowers, i.e., the use of specific flowers and their combinations for expressing hidden meanings and one’s sentiments for others. The popularisation of floriography dates back to the Victorian era, when plant collecting and creating herbaria were a popular pastime, and expressing one’s feelings openly was regarded as undesirable in the fairly conservative society. The first dictionary of floriography, published in France in 1819 under the title Le langage des fleurs, quickly became popular in Victorian upper classes. Honeysuckle is supposed to evoke sweet dreams of love, basil symbolises open hatred, rose is a token of passionate love and belladonna implies death. Some of these meanings have been preserved to this day, and Mucik’s photography focuses on their contemporary contexts and possible interpretations.
Nature and botany have been of enduring interest to the artist. As a child, she would carefully collect flowers in herbaria, a habit she has never discontinued. In time, a photographic herbarium replaced the one compiled in childhood, and the artist has been documenting various plants with undiminished sense of wonder and interest. If her work primarily involves examining and observing nature, the natural world is often present quite literally. In her early works, the artist experimented with the techniques of anthotype, an analogue photographic technique where flower-, fruit- and vegetable-based natural pigments are added to the emulsion, and the chlorophyll process where photographic images are imprinted onto the surface of plant leaves through exposure to sunlight. She continued her commitment to experimentation in subsequent photographic series, focusing on botany through a blend of analogue and digital processes, different printing techniques and layouts of photo and plant combinations.
While first mainly directing her artistic focus on flowers and blossoms, Mucik gradually began to incorporate less conventional plants into her compositions. Spanning several art series created since 2018, the current exhibition integrates different artwork shapes, sizes and techniques with a view to summarizing the artist’s love of flora and diverse manifestations of plant life. From the magnifications of seemingly unremarkable seeds, which in large formats come across as some kind of extra-terrestrial organisms; and photographs of halophytes, plant species adapted to living solely in a saline environment; symbiotic combinations of artificial materials and plants in the Forced Symbiosis series; to scanography of different combinations of flowers and green plants. Botany most directly features in the Shrubs series, where natural “plantness” is returned to plant photographs by colorizing them with plant-based natural pigments, stitching them with yucca-harvested thread, burying analogue films in soil and observing the process of their disintegration.
While floriography may no longer be as popular a practice as it was in Victorian times, flowers, with their aesthetic appeal and ever strong symbolic connotations, remain of continuing relevance, both in everyday rituals and as contemporary art motifs. An incredibly wide array of artists seems to have taken an interest in flowers at some point in their creative careers, being intrigued by their elusive meaning and appearance, their aesthetic value, as well as their life cycle that has symbolised the transience of human life for centuries. For Tilyen Mucik, the key to observing this botanical diversity is as much the wide range of plant species (from meadow flowers to green plants, halophytes and tropical vegetation) as constant technical experimentation. After all, the artist also associates her communication with and reflection on the world with the concept of floriography, often using flowers to express her emotions and thoughts. The language of flowers has become the language of the artist who has conveyed her love of botany time and time again.
In my work, I invariably return to nature – creating photographic herbaria, collecting plants, making natural pigments and employing alternative techniques. I have a real mania for the complexity, randomness, chaos and beauty of nature. Nature’s independence and balance never fail to amaze me – everything is always as it should be.
Tilyen Mucik (1995) is a visual artist who lives and works in Ljubljana. After graduating from The Faculty of Applied Sciences (VIST) in 2018, she finished her master studies in Photography at the Academy of Visual art and Design in Ljubljana in 2022. Since 2011, she has exhibited her works in Slovenia and internationally (among others at the Božidar Jakac gallery, Galerija Fotografija gallery, P74 gallery, Ljubljana City Hall, Museum of Contemporary Art MSUM+, Museum of Arts and Crafts Zagreb and Galerie Albrecht in Berlin). Her works were published in different online and printed magazines, such as Wotisart?, SemiMagazine, Float magazine and F-stop magazine. She is the recipient of the ALUO Float Photo Magazine curator's award (2022), received a Special Mention by Envision Arts (2020) and won second place in the category “Artistic concept” at the Rovinj PhotoDays festival (2018). Her works were presented at several international art fairs: Vienna Contemporary, Photo Basel, Paris Photo, Unseen, Zero Pixel, YIA Paris. Among her most recognizable series are Flora Femina (2018) and Shrubs (2020), which both explore the artist's love of botanical photography, alternative photographic processes, and plant-based pigments.
Hana Čeferin (1995) holds a Master's degree in Art History. Since 2015, she has been a collaborator of Galerija Fotografija in Ljubljana, where she has worked with Slovenian and international artists. Between 2022 – 2023, she worked in the curatorial department of Kunsthalle Wien. Since 2023, she is head of the Design Biennial BIO28. Since 2021 she has been the editor of the contemporary art magazine ETC., and the director of the eponymous institution. As an independent curator, she has collaborated with Cankarjev dom, Škuc Gallery and the National Gallery, among others. She regularly publishes critical and art historical articles in journals and magazines. Between 2020 and 2022, she participated in the School for Curatorial Practice and Critical Writing – World of Art, which is part of SCCA Ljubljana.
Co-production of Cankarjev dom and Galerija Fotografija gallery.
Foyer I is closed between 6–9 May 2023, throughout the duration of the ECTES Congress.
Cankarjev dom’s Small Gallery, CD Club and Alma Karlin Hall can be accessed from Erjavčeva Street.
The following public guided tours of the exhibition “Andreas Müller-Pohle - Environmental Footprints”, on view at Cankarjev dom’s Small Gallery, are available in May:
10 May 2023 at 13.00
14 May 2023 at 11.00 (exhibition closing)
The tour is conducted by the exhibition's curator, Jan Babnik.
The work of Berlin-based artist Andreas Müller-Pohle revolves around the ontological and representational questions of photography, its essence and social meaning. His work explores the limits of both photography and reality, but above all his work is characterized by the oscillation between, as he points out in his article "Photographic Dimensions", the aesthetic, political and technological aspects of photography. Andreas never simply positions himself on one of these aspects – he devotes himself to research or rather to focusing on the subject of representation. In his work the categorical choice between high and low culture, between political engagement or aesthetic conservatism, between digital deconstruction or analogue reproduction – turns out to be wrong – one might say even insincere. For him, it is precisely the technological-aesthetic-political construction of the subject of representation that is at the forefront, which calls for diverse visual approaches. His oeuvre ranges from works dedicated to ontological questions of photography, through research works on the meaning of everyday images, political aspects of the visual, through complex photograms and videos addressing the ecological issues of recycling photographs, to projects combining photography, video and sound to deconstruct the environment.
The exhibition Environmental Imprints presents selected works from Andreas's broader body of work Studies on Water and features photographs from the Danube and Hong Kong projects, video of Hong Kong's Shing Mun River, and sound of the waters of Hong Kong and the Danube. The selection of photographs and videos echoes the artist's exploratory approach and his ‘unalignment’ between the aesthetic, political and technological aspects of the visual. In the exhibited works the human environment is established through the in-between space of air and water – with its vague contours, compositional fractures and partial structures, the land in these works is a mere afterimage, a figment of playful imagination between the natural elements of water and air, crystallised almost at random – as a kind of aesthetic excess of their relationship. As if the land in the images of bridges, quays, ships, city skylines and dams – the land in the image of man, that is – is merely an excess product of the breaking of the waves and the current of the river – the flow of nature, which, in the exhibition, is complemented by its unconscious – the sound of water's depths.
Danube River Project, 2005
The Danube is the most European of all rivers and the only one that crosses the continent from west to east. I became interested in a portrait of this river in 2004, after having dealt extensively with the subject of water a few years earlier. In Berlin, on the Spree River, I made my first tests with the split technique popular with divers, in which the camera looks half below and half above the surface of the water, thus combining two levels of landscape in one image. After months of further research, I made four trips between July and November 2005, first through Germany, Austria, and Slovakia, then to Hungary, then to Croatia and Serbia, and finally to Bulgaria and Romania. I took water samples at the shooting locations and inserted their chemical values into the pictures as a “blood count” of the river, so to speak. My way from the source in the Black Forest to the mouth in the Black Sea, 2800 kilometers long, was that of a traveler who only visited each place once and took the respective weather and light conditions as they came. Thus, the Danube River Project is ultimately a personal river log – a poetic-documentary interpretation that would certainly look very different today.
Hongkong Waters, 2009–2010
Hong Kong was my second home for many years and – until its seizure by the Chinese regime – a place of immense fascination. A hyper-vertical architecture rises from a tangle of picturesque water landscapes that present themselves in hundreds of islands with endless coasts and ports, canals and waterfalls. My long-cherished plan to have a city portrait follow the Danube project should not be realized anywhere else: Hong Kong, a city of water that has been exposed to a continuously rising sea level for decades and in which the element of water means life and threat at the same time. I began underwater tests on Hong Kong Island and Cheung Chau in the summer of 2008, and between January 2009 and December 2010 made seven trips, most of them lasting several weeks, during which I made not only the photographs but also numerous video and sound recordings that became part of the Hong Kong Waters project. In contrast to my river project with its consecutive course, the water landscapes of Hong Kong lay at my feet anew every day, and I like the idea of having followed a circular eastern mode after the linear western one.
Andreas Müller-Pohle, 2021
Curation and installation of the exhibition: Jan Babnik in Nataša Ilec Kralj
Co-produced by Cankarjev dom and Membrana Institute.
The Terra Ignota multi-sensory video installation addresses the sensorial experience of biodiversity loss. It consists of a video projection and showcases that take inspiration from the natural-history museum dioramas. The project ambitiously aims to reduce cognitive human bias towards the future, which prevents us from making better personal and collective decisions for a more sustainable tomorrow.
P l a t e au r e s i d u e is an imaginary identity of the award-winning duo Aljaž Celarec (BA in geography, Faculty of Arts University of Ljubljana, and MA in photography, AKV St. Joost, the Netherlands) and Eva Pavlič Seifert (BA in art history, Faculty of Arts University of Ljubljana, and MA in visual culture, Aalto University, Finland). Their projects are dedicated to landscape ecology and new media, on a quest for new ways of raising public awareness. Their artistic output is grounded in video installation, artworks that give voice to project contributors and collaborators, natural forms such as rocks, air, organisms and other substance clusters, which are reorganized into unusual new forms and new media systems. The couple are based in Novi Kot, in the hinterland forests of Mount Gotenica and Snežnik plateau.
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.
Martin se rodi 07:07, 17.7., številka rojstva na zapestnici 2777. Gledam ga, govorim mu. Rešili so nama življenje.
Prinesi mi fotoaparat v porodnišnico.
Družinski album. Potreba po fotografiranju. Pejmo se peljat. Sneži. Lipoglav ali Toško čelo? Rabim gozd. Spet so podražili filme.
Fotkava že od spočetja naprej, še v Parizu, brez plana. Ampak serija kar nastaja, aparat leži med kapo in bagerjem.
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.
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.