The exhibition features a group of artists whose life or work has been tied to Kočevje: Tina Đenadić, Mina Fina, Nataša Gašparac, Marko Glavač, Dora Gorše, Aleš Gregorič, Pavel Gregorič, Tomaž Gregorič, Sašo Koprivec, Polonca Lovšin, Lela B. Njatin, Vito Oražem, Urška Pečnik, Kočevje Musicians' Association.
In the past two decades, visual and fine arts have not been appearing sovereignly in the Kočevska region. The dialogue between artists has not been made public, it has been sinking in disadvantageous economic circumstance and has withered against the backdrop of the art system's decay. Several artists, who have been living or working in Kočevje during this time, have tried to resolve identity issues. They relied on the local heritage of dystopian freedom, which carries the potential to establish an emancipatory balance by employing the dynamic reciprocity of elimination and inclusion. Some have focused on nature as the place to look for answers, but never in a mystical manner; the immense Kočevje woods can be a dangerous place for an idyllically thinking, inexperienced hiker. Other artists ventured into psychological research – of themselves, certain social phenomena, society in general. With almost all of these artists, a tendency to document the moment can be detected. They were trying to eternalise the disappearing, the departing, the evanescent, and to connect it to the other, to make sense of it. At first, a quiet polymorph network of artworks had been created in sparate art studios. Later, initial artistic actions have emerged throughout the Kočevje urban landscape. In 2011, some of the artists have publicly presented the initiative to honor the 80th anniversary of the academic sculptor Stanislav Jarm, who had been an omnipresent artist and educator in the Kočevska region. This coincided with the beginning of a new economic upswing and prompted a reconstruction of the artistic system. The atmosphere in Kočevje is changing, and the artists' thinking could take a different course in the future.
—Lela Angela Mršek Bajda
The selector of the third in the series of exhibitions, titled Ljubljana Bows to Slovenia is Lela Angela Mršek Bajda, who this time chose to focus on locally-specific art issues. On this grounds, she exercised hybrid projects at several Slovenian towns. In 2013, she curated the second exhibition from the series Ekspatrioti in Miklova hiša Gallery in Ribnica. Under the title All that is mine I carry with me she presented 18 artists from the Ribniško-Kočevska region, who were no longer living in the area at the time. By looking for interconnections between their works, she bound the exhibition to reflecting the dimensions of this territory. Now this work is upgraded. In the present exhibition, Mršek Bajda selected an array of artworks which reflect on identity issues through artistic viewpoints and those of spiritual opinion.
Exhibitor: Tina Đenadič, b. 1985
The artist on her work: Landscape, which stayed very much alive in the postmodern time of private mythologies, remains bound to the "northern romantic tradition" in my work, connecting landscape with the sublime. The "northern landscape" is considered as a world unto its own, a spiritual space – a space where no "french picnic" or Sunday walk can take place, to quote Robert Rosenblum*. The intimate experience of nature, deeply rooted in the familiar Kočevska environment, plays a key role in my works as well.
* ROSENBLUM, Robert, Modern Painting and the Northern Romantic Tradition. Friedrich to Rothko, Leipzig 1975.
Exhibited work: Forest with a little yellow tree, 2009, acrylic on canvas
Exhibitor: Mina Fina, b. 1978
The artist on her work: Hand drawing as the primary and most personal record plays the most significant role in my work. With my records I am attempting to preserve a passing, seemingly insignificant moment, or a fleeting thought which constitutes the everyday. My thought scope is condensed in the human figure, a portrait or self-portrait. I am dealing with the question of finding oneself in a world full of norms and social structures. With regards to this, the main subject of my interest became identity building. I am interested in the perception of the world, perception of the media and their influence on the female self-perception. Through my work I express scepticism about the questions of identity building, sexuality and gender roles, female representation and female politics.
Exhibited work: Missing is what you feel when something is missing, 2018 (exhibited for the first time)
Exhibitor: Nataša Gašparac, b. 1966
The artist on her work: My paintings often start to emerge even before I sit down in my studio and reach for the brushes. It happens even without me expecting it or searching for a motive. It seems as if the motive finds me. These triggers have to be so strong that the feelings they evoke never leave my body. Only then am I ready. And eventhough the feelings are intense and call for fast painting production, I try to work in the opposite direction. The painting can only emerge through total concentration and focus. When, after hours of work, I let my thoughts and feelings go, I have no expectations anymore.
Exhibited work: Someone is Kniting a Plan, 2011, acrylic on canvas
Exhibitor: Marko Glavač, b. 1959
The artist on his work: The topics I deal with in my conceptual ideas refer to my relationship with other humans, nature, global environment, universe and the other way around. These contents take several forms from socially involved production to personal metaphysically-material relations (thought – matter – form and vice versa). I explore nuances of tactile, haptic qualities of sculpture, as well as of interactive new media objects. Hence my exploration is a walk between several worlds: the spiritual, the real, and the virtual. I define the image and its power by shape, which extends from the classical to the contemporary. With my artistic production I appeal through personal experience, the past and present times, as well as premonitions of a future era.
Exhibited work: spatial intervention Pieta, 2015, repeated in 2018
Exhibitor: Dora Gorše, b. 1997
The artist on her work: Through the medium of photography I am trying to illuminate the inexpressible and capture the essence of an intangible state behind our material reality. The visual image becomes a portal to another world, in which one can be guided only by intuition and trust the feeling, envoked by a certain artwork, the artwork having been created in the same way – beyond reason, in the world of endless creative potentials.
Exhibited work: The geometry of buddhism, 2017(exhibited for the first time), photograph
Exhibitor: Aleš Gregorič, b. 1966
The artist on his work: Element of space – the figure + space "glued" together settle in a quiet coexistence. Softened edge of the gaze – only a short, not always clear introspection into a deletable event.
Exhibited work: Skin scent, 2005, photograph
Exhibitor: Pavel Gregorič, b. 1966
The artist on his work: I lived in Kočevje until I was 33. The beginning of my visual creation coincides with my acquaintance with the Kočevje chaplain, as we purchased all of the equipment together and started to document the town life and its rythm. Later I developed a different creative technique to document more complex stories in the form of video recordings. From 2000-2001 I directed my visual explorations to the field of static photography, created some resounding series and recieved several awards. At the time I collaborated with my brothers Tomaž and Aleš. We were a phenomenon in Slovenia and were renowned thorughout Europe. Today I continue my path independently.
Exhibited work: Balkan 1, 2004, photograph
Exhibitor: Tomaž Gregorič, b. 1969
The artist on his work: After studying design at ALUO Ljubljana I focused on my fascination with the body as an object in space, and then during a brief stay in London oriented towards photography as a sort of mediation in the process of socialisation. Due to the ineffectiveness of this activity I gradually found myself romantically wandering through marginal topics with no constructive communicative value. Recently, I have been trying to let go of fixations on certain motives, such as water, forest or the suburbs, and establish an honest, less naive and self-sufficient environment, in which I could form a tool for a more competent, and most importantly, more consistent dialogue with the spectator.
Exhibited work: Periphery 80, 2005, photograph
Exhibitor: Sašo Koprivec, b. 1967
The artist on his work: The exhibited artwork's title is Tissue. The work deals with the body, however, a body is not mimesis of an image of this artwork, but a dimension of all aspects as well, the body is also the tissue that is hidden under the skin. The painting is a tissue unto its own, a surface, haptic, a sensory phenomenon, matter, object, a symbolic and metaphysic phenomenon, and at the same time, a body. Consequentially, the exhibited artwork is ambivalent, or better, polyvalent. My works do not emerge as visual constructs, planned in advance, but take shape symultaneously, born through the process, growing skin, or maybe not. They are not abstract, nor figurative, but they are a bridge, the point of unease, suspense. The choice is in the hands of the spectator…
Exhibited work: Tissue, 2004, acrylic on canvas
Exhibitor: Polonca Lovšin, b. 1970
The artist on her work: My work is focused on designing independent (infra)structural, production and organisational models, which employ small changes in everyday routines to aim for great changes in society. My works include various media, are interdisciplinary and project-oriented. A number of them are interventions in public space, based on the context of the environment in which they emerge, and are created in collaboration with local agents and inhabitants.
Exhibited work: Movement for public speech/Kočevje – JE, 2015 in collaboration with Kočevje artists Ervin Djuvelek, KUD Godba Kočevje brass band (Klara Bilbija, Ajda Bradeško, Neja Erjavec, Klavdija Križ Potisk, Ana Šančič), Gašper Jarni, KUD and partners, Improv discipline The Expert (Gaber Košorog, Vid Pohar, Gregor Šterk), Romana Novak, Pankeroschi, Mihael Petrovič, Than HanRo, Ljupčo Todorovski, 1st to 4th grade children of Zbor odposlancev Kočevje Primary School (exhibited for the first time)
Exhibitor: Lela B. Njatin, b. 1963
The artist on her work: One of the most recogisable impulses of my visual creation is the town of Kočevje as a permanent reference. In the process I formed a series of artistic paraphrases of the most visible refernce points of the Kočevje urban landscape iconography. These are in the collective consciousness: S. Jarm's sculpture The Girl with the Whistle, the quote from I. Cankar's The Serfs or the Šeškov dom, the highest point of the Strojna hills Mestni vrh, the Melamin factory chimney and the Škrilj military bunker. To these, I add a personal point: the building in which I grew up and where I have my studio today. I am connecting my art with philosophising about community and thus creating a personal artistic method, which I call spatio-temporal intervalisation.
Exhibited work: documents of the Word counts artistic actions cycle, 2014–2016
Exhibitor: Vito Oražem, b. 1959
The artist on his work: Excitement. How to make sense of the coincidential nature of a photograph and give it meaning from this positivistic standpoint, to make an image out of it? Like in poetry I use metrics, which is called composition here, be it symmetry or counterpoint. Sometimes there are grotesque and irony, but often I leave a blind spot of meaning in my photographs. Formalisation of an accidental fact irritates our eyes and our perception. The photograph is absorbed into our consciousness and becomes part of us. Interjections are the word class which best describes the excitement, envoked in us by a photograph.
Exhibited work: Kočevje, Trg zbora odposlancev square, July 2001, 2001, photograph
Exhibitor: Urška Pečnik, b. 1991
The artist on her work: Fashion series Love me was created in collaboration with the fashion brand M. Fiction. It is a common product of creators who share a creative artistic approach to the fashion editorial. In the backgroud we are toying with ideology, our own and that of contemporary society, and are thinking about the question: "How far can the photograph's "content" go for the society to still accept it as normal? What is normal and socially acceptable?" Psychological research approach to photography, personal experience and frustration, if it is true. Voyeurs of our own thoughts and feelings.
Exhibited work: Love me, 2017 (exhibited for the first time), photograph
Exhibitor: Kočevje Musicians' Association, est. 2013
Artists on their work: The "Kočevje špila" compilation is a series of six compilations (the seventh has been released in 2018). The first one, "Grupni", is just a collection of songs, but the design, done by T. Šulman, is important as well. The second one, "Lik of", connected the songs to visual artists of Kočevje, who produced an image for every song. It was designed by M. Vovk. "Razkačeno" was designed by M. Mlakar. With the snake drawing and photographs of the performers it connected the songs and the musicians. "Zastonj" is a rebellion towards local authorities, which failed to recognise the compilation as a part of the unique cultural element at this locality. It was designed by M. Vovko, while the cover photo was taken in the abandoned Kočevje slaughterhouse (which had been demolished since), infested with Kočevje sewer underground inhabitants (rats and junkies). "Ubrano" connected the songs with caricaturised peculiarities of local environment (design B. Majcen, photo B. Štefanič). The sixth compilation "Kočevje špila – Po Stojni", which is a part of this exhibition, connects the songs with actual points in the Stojna hills. It was designed by Mina Fina.
Exhibited work: Kočevje špila – Po Stojni (Kočevje plays – Around Stojna), 2017 (exhibited for the first time), CD
Production: Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana
Exhibition curators: Lela Angela Mršek Bajda, Jani Pirnat
Artists: Tina Đenadić, Mina Fina, Nataša Gašparac, Marko Glavač, Dora Gorše, Aleš Gregorič, Pavel Gregorič, Tomaž Gregorič, Sašo Koprivec, Polonca Lovšin, Lela B. Njatin, Vito Oražem, Urška Pečnik, Kočevje Musicians' Association
This project has been made possible by: City of Ljubljana, Kočevje Regional Museum, Miklova hiša Gallery Ribnica, Treasures of Kočevska Cooperative, Kočevje Market
1 January, 1 November, 25 December: Closed
24 and 31 December: 10:00–14:00
This year's Match Gallery programme will begin with the third exhibition in the series, titled "Ljubljana Bows to Slovenia", which features a group of artists whose life or work has been tied to Kočevje: Tina Đenadić, Mina Fina, Nataša Gašparac, Marko Glavač, Dora Gorše, Aleš Gregorič, Pavel Gregorič, Tomaž Gregorič, Sašo Koprivec, Polonca Lovšin, Lela B. Njatin, Vito Oražem, Urška Pečnik, Kočevje Musicians' Association.