Viktor Bernik’s creative output is endowed with two distinctive features: referencing social reality and the use of various formal solutions. Bernik takes on contemporary society with playfulness and humour, shifting back and forth between the fields of painting and those of drawing, video, graphics as well as spatial installation, intervention and events.
His exhibition Ha, Ha, Ha! is conceptually based on “returning” to the image and to the question that he has never completely abandoned, i.e. the question of the space in which an image appears. In other words, the context that determines how the image will be interpreted. To this end, Bernik poses questions such as when can an image be moved from everyday life into the field of art and what happens when it is moved from the artist’s studio into the gallery or from the gallery space into the privacy of one’s home. In this way, Bernik converts, for example, a piece of clear information or a utilitarian object into a work of art conveying various connotations but no longer offering any explanations. Although the bulk of the works presented are from his current production, the exhibition also features a number of drawings and sketches from Bernik’s past projects whose stories have never completely been put to bed. The exhibited works, therefore, do not make up a monolithic series discussing a single topic but form a kind of collage with which the artist intervenes in various contents and changes their statuses. In this sense, it is not surprising that the materiality of what is being presented constitutes an important element as can also be inferred from the construction of the sketches and drawings itself. Bernik primarily builds by layering everyday materials, typically bills and official letters, cards, envelopes, advertising catalogues or adhesive tapes, paper clips and seals. Alluding to the state administrative apparatus and simultaneously generating a footprint of the artist’s everyday life, such works make it possible to seek parallels with his works and the events that affect the real environment. Whatever the form of intervention into the chosen material – be it tearing, gluing, photocopying, erasing, spilling and crumpling or introducing textuality and colour – he carries it forward until the moment he feels that the game of mutual relations has reached the desired turnaround, i.e. that the image has either obtained a new context that needs decoding or that playing around with contexts has impregnated the work with new and often contradictory interpretations.
Whereas abolishing linear narrative through constantly shifting between the abstract and the concrete might appear aestheticised in large-format presentation modes, the confrontation between aesthetic, trivial or sometimes even banal elements and the commonplace materiality of the small-format paper medium is precisely what gives the work the substantive visual charge that helps soften the boundary between art and life.
Production: Museum and Galleries of LjubljanaExhibition curator: Alenka TrebušakArtist: Viktor BernikText: Alenka TrebušakDesign: Ajdin BašićPubic relations: Alja GogalaRealisation of the exhibition: Technical Service MGMLThe exhibition was made possible by: City of Ljubljana, Department for Culture
Exhibition space is open according to exhibitions:
Monday, Saturday, Sunday: Closed
Tobačna Gallery is presenting works of Viktor Bernik at the exhibition "HA, HA, HA!". Bernik takes on contemporary society with playfulness and humour, shifting back and forth between the fields of painting and those of drawing, video, graphics as well as spatial installation, intervention and events.