30th of October at 6 pm: Guided tour
7th of November at 6 pm: Guided tour
The exhibition presents a diverse production of a new, conceptually powerful generation of younger artists who are, or have recently been, students of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design at the University of Ljubljana but have already attracted public attention through their artistic appearances. Although their approaches differ from one another and deal with different topics, the common denominators of their heterogeneous artistic practices and approaches are obvious. One of them is hybridity; the use of diverse media, materials and practices demonstrates the authors’ ability for critical reflection, their flexibility and creative freedom, which seeks inspiration in the world around us.
The works of art shown at the exhibition include: an enlarged replica of a tent-like child hiding place made from everyday objects, a custom warehouse made from Ikea’s closet, casts of stones, pillars, stairs and floors, photographs of the city platform. None of the authors remain with only one medium; an artistic message is made up of different elements, which deconstructs the very meaning of an artefact, traditionally understood as an untouchable and fixed object. The featured artists defetishise the artefact; in their projects, they emphasize, in particular, its functional role in conveying the message. The object here is a dynamic message carrier that directs the viewer to the chosen topic, while keeping the viewer’s gaze for a brief moment only. The work of art thus moves towards the immateriality, as individual carriers are of secondary importance. Moreover, artists are also deconstructing the notion of the viewer, who is no longer a distant observer, but is increasingly becoming a vital and indispensable element of works of art. Authorial projects most often become works of art only when they pass the experiential test or when they are composed of the interactions of subjects – who become more and more active and less and less merely observers – who thus merge with the complex mixture of the artistic whole.
The view of the artists is directed away from the established currents of the gallery world and represents an attempt to reflect on the transgression of the normative. With her work, Lene Lekše literally leaves the gallery, as Geenberg souvenirs travel according to a prearranged schedule on the shoulders of performer Chen Zhang from the Škuc Gallery to the artistic district at Metelkova, where the artist also exhibits.  Geenberg leaves not only the gallery space, but also the date-limited exhibition time, as part of the project is included in the aforementioned exhibition, which was opened before the exhibition at the Škuc Gallery. Painting a “tent” tarp – from the work Reminiscences of Hiding II by Dalea Kovačec – was also created with the help of preschool children outside the gallery or studio space, at a workshop organized specifically for the occasion. The artist’s interests are directed to the context of exploring memory and are intended to question the construction of identity based on an unreliable subjective perception of the past. In the process of deconstructing memory, the author constructs physical objects reminiscent of objects from the past in order to confront the mental and material images of the past with the present. In this context, art is an instrument that, while awakening and triggering childhood memories, emotions and, consequently, psychological processes, encourages introspection. Kovačec’s work is an invitation to experientially detect errors in the matrix of our own (and collective) memories and an impulse to confront the truth about our own automatisms of filling the void that stares yowling through the cracks of missing data.
The void is also being addressed by Neža Knez’s project Space Studies #2. With the help of anti-collages with cut-out images, casts of objects and art-architectural graphite drawing of buildings, which she observes during her working hours at a gallery institution, she aesthetically places a sense of boredom and emptiness at the centre of interest. Boredom puts the previously invisible in focus, as it opens the space to the challenge of the void that is the future content space. In this project, as in many others, she seeks inspiration from outside the art world. By making a synthesis from two supposedly separate worlds, she focuses her attention on the transience of the boundary between (her) life and art, which has been raising controversy in the general public for decades. In her creative practice, she usually incorporates diverse groups of people in a spontaneous and unobtrusive way and blurs the boundaries between being professionally involved in the arts and the profane. The conceptual designs of her projects have already been contributed by residents of retirement homes, children and random passers-by. This time, too, one part of the art installation – wall painting – was done by another person. Several artist’s projects are created in the dialogue of equal partners and question the category of authorship. The involvement of other participants, the use of participatory practices and the building of community momentum as components of the artistic process, are characteristic of the creative practice of all exhibiting artists. The fictitious mountain Geenberg and the related, more extensive Stories from the Island by Lene Lekše were created as a project involving a wide network of people. They helped build a diverse work with literary, internet, radio and other elements. Collaboration with others is also important in this time’s presentation of the derivative of the Geenberg work, as it is realized through the physical transfer from one place to another by another person. Similarly, Dalea Kovačec invited kindergarten children to contribute with their drawings to the creation of the Reminiscences of Hiding II installation. Neža Knez involves, this time to a lesser extent, the process of collective co-operation, which in her case is emphasizedly inclusive and accessible also to those outside the art world. Nevertheless, her creative work, as well as that of the other two artists, is driven by the desire to compose comprehensive constructs of intermediate realities that question the foundations of our understanding of the world.
The strategies used by the artists can be seen as a subversive attitude that in processualism as a procedure of work creation indicates resistance to the mainstream of the artist’s life in the art world today: against the logic of tenders, grants, commanded overproduction and hierarchical structures, and functioning within a hermetic art system, which with its tools dictates limited topics and modes of creating. Disagreements with the logic of stagnant structures are not given through manifestos, but with the help of humour, which is expressed in different ways, but always as an incentive for reflection. The exhibition presents several original, thoughtful and unusual ideas that are realized without pomp, hermeticism and expectations for a finished, tangible artefact, but contain a lot of playfulness and authentic joy that come from the need to create, reflect and connect.
Ana Grobler, Sebastian Krawczyk
 The exhibition TRANS-FORM:ACTION organized by ALUO UL.
Artists: Neža Knez, Dalea Kovačec, Lene Lekše
Curators: Ana Grobler, Sebastian Krawczyk
Production: Škuc Gallery, KUD Mreža Arts and Culture Association / Alkatraz Gallery
Acknowledgments: Chen Zhang, Mihael Novak, Tajda Novšak, Ana Lucija Šarić, Doroteja Erhatič, Martin Lovšin & Miran Bratuš (WoodMood), participating children, and parents
Design: Marko Damiš
The project was also supported by Prostor 5 and Kindergarden Jelka (Unit Palčki).
Dalea Kovačec (1993) is currently completing her master’s degree in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, where she graduated in 2016 with a diploma thesis titled Tailored Memories. During her undergraduate studies, she attended the Academy of Fine Arts in Warsaw as part of a study exchange. For a series of works in various media, created in the first year of her master’s degree (2016/2017), she received the University of Ljubljana Award, Academy of Fine Arts and Design. She is interested in human perception. She is currently addressing the topic of memory or the question of how and why autobiographical memories change. She is a visual artist who works in various media. She has participated in numerous exhibitions in galleries around Slovenia (Škuc Gallery, GalerijaGallery, Equrna, MediaNox, ArtKit Kibla, Kino Šiška, DobraVaga…) and abroad (Poland, Belgium).
Lene Lekše (1995) is a graduate student of the third year of sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. In 2016, she participated in the ALUO LXX exhibition: Past. The Present. Future in Gallery Jakopič. As part of the Erasmus exchange, she attended Minerva Academy in Groningen for one year. During this period, she exhibited on the group project Minerva’s Next – Storage Wizard in Corridor Project Space and Kunst huis SYB. She collaborated and co-created the When the Camp is in the dining room exhibition at the Vrijdag Gallery in Groningen. Her work Geenberg was presented at the Young Artist Biennale in Osijek. She has participated in the YES! Festival in Zagreb with works Siesta and The Unstoppable Shoes. She is a recipient of two recognition awards from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design and a recipient of scholarship from the City of Ljubljana.
Neža Knez (1990) graduated in sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana in 2014, where she finished also her master’s degree in 2017. She uses different media for her artistic expression – audio, video, photography, drawing, performance. She is a recipient of several important awards for outstanding academic achievement, including the Prešeren Award of the University of Ljubljana. She received the OHO Group Award in 2018 and participated in the Young Artist Biennale in Tirana in 2017. She strengthens her practice and knowledge with collaborations at home and abroad through residencies, conferences, project collaborations, workshops and exhibitions.
Photo: Bojan Mijatović