The exhibition aims to present a selective overview of developments just past or still taking place, and attempts to define the main phenomena and trends in contemporary art in Slovenia over the past decade. Covering a wide range of fields and thus also involving the collaboration of several professionals and experts, it is a sequel to the exhibition trilogy from ten years ago, which presented, over three consecutive years (2003 to 2005) the trends in Slovene art and related fields by decade, since 1975.
This past decade we have witnessed two major social changes that seem contrasting at first glance. The first is the global financial crisis; the saving of the banking sector the crisis sparked has seriously undermined the welfare state and wrought havoc in the public sector in Slovenia. Those public cultural institutions and artists that have survived the budget cuts have been forced to identify and pursue new survival tactics. While this change is all about shortages and austerity measures, the other change advocates prosperity, offering up innovations and giving the appearance of being the better option. We are talking about the magic of technology, the imperative of the across-the-board digitization and general online accessibility. The neoliberal politics of austerity has made the digital paradigm all the more attractive. The story of the technological turn has overshadowed the more depressive story of the political and economic downslide, while the two phenomena are in reality very much intertwined.
In their works, artists react to the numerous contradictions of the ideological and cultural discourses around them critically, though often also ironically and playfully. Analyses and reflections of their own personal daily circumstances require an exploration of broader and more complex structures determining and shaping their experiences and social events. Artists systematically exploit the potential of a productive – though often paradoxical – use of those multilayered and complex conditions and circumstances of their work that are traditionally understood as obstacles. They deal with the various spatial and cultural determinants of their sphere of activity, their enmeshment in the institutional and production machinery of the art system, and the limitations and exigencies as potentials and advantages, all with constructive irony and a somewhat false staging of their own position.
The new generation of artists has replaced nostalgia with melancholy, the banality of the everyday with an elevated pathos, and realistic expectations with overblown ambitions. Despite the general apathy and a sense of powerlessness due to the circumstances of transition they manage to incorporate a good measure of passion in their work. Extoling the everyday seems to have become a constituent part of the stand taken by most young artists who are either still searching for or establishing their positions within the system.
In addition to art in the narrower sense of the term we wish to present also certain practices from related fields and genres, such as the comic strip, photography, design, architecture, film, and performance art. There fields have all developed along their own, slightly different lines, which go beyond the scope of this exhibition, except where they overlap or intertwine, revealing certain common formal and topical contexts.
Rather than being a classic overview of trends, phenomena, and fields, the show is designed around interpreting key topics and issues, i.e., we have tried to identify the most fundamental and compelling issues in contemporary art in Slovenia, as well as its nodes and contradictions. This interpretation underpins the exhibition display, which also includes a comprehensive chronological documentary presentation.
Bojana Piškur, Igor Španjol, Vladimir Vidmar
Nika Autor, Jože Barši, Marko Batista, Viktor Bernik, Goran Bertok, Rok Biček, BridA/Tom Kerševan, Sendi Mango, Jurij Pavlica, Vesna Bukovec, Jasmina Cibic, Miha Ciglar, Špela Čadež, Ana Čigon, Maja Delak & Luka Prinčič, Jon Derganc, Aleksandra Domanović, Lenka Đorojević & Matej Stupica, Milan Erič, Vadim Fiškin, Tomaž Furlan, Bojan Gorenec, Meta Grgurevič & Urša Vidic, Dejan Habicht, Minna Henriksson, Miha Hočevar, Maja Hodošček, Ištvan Išt Huzjan, IRWIN, Matjaž Ivanišin, Sanela Jahić, Janez Janša & Janez Janša & Janez Janša, Jaša, Sergej Kapus, Matjaž Klopčič, Staš Kleindienst, Marko Kociper, Kaja Kraner (Neteorit), Andreja Kulunčić & Ibrahim Ćurić & Said Mujić & Osman Pezić, KSEVT (Cultural Center of European Space Technologies), Tomaž Lavrič, Tanja Lažetić, Zmago Lenárdič, Polonca Lovšin, Izar Lunaček, Davorin Marc, Luiza Margan, Jurij Meden, Domen Ograjenšek (Neteorit), Alen Ožbolt, Passaporta (Mara Ambrožič, Jasmina Cibic, Mery Favaretto, Meta Grgurevič), Marko Peljhan, Borut Peterlin, Alenka Pirman, Anja Planišček & Katarina Čakš, Tadej Pogačar & P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Museum of Contemporary Art, Tjaša Pogačar (Neteorit), Marika & Marko Pogačnik, Uroš Potočnik, Marjetica Potrč, Mark Požlep, Arjan Pregl, Luka Prinčič, PSX Consultancy, Marija Mojca Pungerčar, Franc Purg & Sara Heitlinger, Tobias Putrih, Peter Rauch, Viktor & Daria Radić, Maruša Sagadin, Sašo Sedlaček, Iztok Sitar, Jože Slak Đoka, Ana Sluga, Small but dangers, Zoran Smiljanić, Tomo Stanič (Neteorit), Mladen Stropnik, Vlado Škafar, Andrej Škufca (Neteorit), Nika Špan, Igor Štromajer, Miha Štrukelj, Andrej Štular, Apolonija Šušteršič & Bojana Kunst, TEMP, Irena Tomažin, Polona Tratnik, Aleksandra Vajd & Hynek Alt, Via Negativa, Veli & Amos, Matej Andraž Vogrinčič, Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec, Workers and Punks’ University.
Exhibition supported by:
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and Foundation for Art Initiatives
Exhibition programme supported by:
Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory, Kinoteka
Jože Slak Đoka: March, 2011. Moderna galerija, Ljubljana.
Photographed by Dejan Habicht and Matija Pavlovec