Rather than a classic retrospective overview, this exhibition of Marjan Gumilar’s painting thematically revolves around one of the main recurring and constitutive elements in his art, a correlate in the process of constructing the pictorial field – the cut as the functional prerequisite of montage in various positions and pictorial relations, initially a part of his early collages and a method of work in his recent visualizations.
In Gumilar’s latest montages − paintings-objects − the previously used materials such as rags, canvas, pieces of clothing and personal objects transformed into aesthetic materials have had to yield place to a new material, the transparent and structurally unstable sheets of plastic. The artist cuts, staples, and pastes fragments of it or else leaves it fragmented, creating subtle and fragile views through a representation of human skin into the subject’s viscera and essence. According to Jure Mikuž, the skin appears as “the initial and metaphorical idea of the Self feeling its body as a whole”; for Tomaž Brejc, a painting as an object is “always a body, a being with its own smell, taste, and various factures…”; and to paraphrase Gumilar, one’s own spirit makes up the body of a painting, a painting is like a phantom or a reconstruction of the unconscious, like a historical body. In the artist’s recent and latest representations, we seem to be looking at some sort of anatomical theater and its scalpel incisions or some morbid ritualistic flaying, perceived with their “lacerations” and “sutures” on the imaginary level as reflections of the artist’s vulnerable and private repertory of his emotional and psychological states.
In his more than thirty years of work, Gumilar bypassed minimalism, conceptualism and other trends and phenomena in contemporary artistic practices, avoiding any stylistic determinants that would direct his creative acts and restrict his artistic freedom. Committed to the autonomy of color and color abstraction for many years, his art has more recently reduced to confrontations of black and white and their nuances in a constellation of pronounced problematizing of the relation between object and painting.
A catalogue with texts by Tomislav Vignjević, PhD, and Lilijana Stepančič will be published to coincide with the exhibition.
Production: Museum and Galleries of LjubljanaExhibition curator: Mateja PodlesnikArtist: Marjan GumilarText: Mateja Podlesnik, Tomislav Vignjević, PhD, Lilijana StepančičDesign: Ajdin BašićExhibition installation: Technical services of MGMLThe exhibition was made possible by: City of Ljubljana
1 January, 1 November, 25 December: Closed
24 and 31 December: 11:00–14:00