Lealudvik: As it is, so be it
23. 1. 2020 - 20. 2. 2020


Artists: Lealudvik

Curator: Tia Čiček

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Exhibition events:

30. 1. at 6 pm guided tour

13. 2. at 6 pm artist talk

20. 2. at 6 pm guided tour

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The solo exhibition of the artistic tandem Lealudvik highlights some of the key works of their past artistic creativity, but this time they are extended in content through the use of different media. Lealudvik gained recognition mainly through graphic design and zines;[1] this analogue medium enabled them to develop a distinctly eclectic approach to transforming contents and images from the popular occultist culture of the West European world. Their interest in the medium itself has also led to an innovative digital extension of zine on a virtual level, through the use of a freely available application to play GIFs. The videos that have been exhibited so far have served primarily as media extension of the otherwise tactile and analogue medium, but here they have become independent, or rather, the exhibition at the Škuc Gallery has added to them another media dimension.

Lealudvik appropriate occultist contents, as can be seen from the very title of the exhibition; As it is, so be it is the phrase of Robert de Grimston, the leader of The Process Church of the Final Judgment, who addressed the members of the apocalyptic cult with the slogan Brethren, As it is, so be it.[2] Adoption of such elements does not indicate the artists’ support for cult activities or guidelines, but their interest in the ubiquitous appropriation and blending of images, symbols, mantras, and contents that bore the character of the sacred, and were also used by many occultist movements and individuals in the twentieth century.

They place the gesture of appropriation of religious images at the very centre of the exhibition, marking its forced beginning. In a room, surrounded by white pleat curtains, there is a banner with a fused image of both artists, headless, with eight hands and a calla lily at the point where the sexual organs should fuse. The image in the mandorla, surrounded by a nimbus, frames the exhibition title, written in a stylized Glagolitic alphabet. The phrase is duplicated on a carpet in front the banner that imitates a black hole in the room with an optical trick. In the play of symbols of black and white magic, and in the search for new and exciting occultist ceremonies, they challenge the tragic fate of an individual unwilling to accept the ultimate sacrifice – the abandonment of the ego. Playing with the symbolic meanings of such fusions also leads to a diversity of readings and understandings of the artists’ partnership, which, through motifs, multiplies in other works in the exhibition. By placing objects that illustrate the false sacral in the space in the middle of the exhibition, they mark it as the most sacred point which also illustrates the forced central setting of the exhibition. Through the creation of imaginary occultist symbolism, they question their partnership, as they look for parallels between cult structures and the entrapment of the individual in the rituals of capitalist contemporaneity. Questions like these are also raised in works exhibited in rooms around the sacral centre.

The glitched image that fuses the bodies of the artists in the Four Eyed Monster  video (2018), could only be seen so far as an upgrade of the same name zine, but this time the placement on the curtain, moved by the wind from the intentionally exposed fan, plays with the idea of ​​crossing the dividing lines between analogue and digital. The content continuation of the imaginary monster, which is understood as the personification of a partnership, is further enhanced by video sequences that offer a trapped “monster” to the visitor for observation. A similar entrapment, this time in sociological gender roles and the capitalist system, is discussed in their piece Teufelskreis (2018). The endless crawling in the repetitive shot represents the inability to escape from the rigid systems and rituals in which we are brought up. A new work, called Fish Love (2019), demonstrates the development of their understanding of contemporary partnership and the problematic nature of the romanticized notion of love. In the three-channel video, the artists eat the casts of each other’s bodies, while in the background one can hear their voices reading a transcript of a viral video recording, in which a rabbi tells the parable of the “fish love” we are receiving and also providing. As a key point, he emphasizes the gesture of giving, and points to the selfishness that the capitalist system supports, either in an intimate relationship with a fellow human being or in relation to the general societal. By reading his words, the artists occupy the place of spiritual leader in their relationship with each other as well as in their relationship to the common; with the gesture of feeding and placing the casts of their bodies at the centre of the art installation, they indicate the abandonment of the ego, or the sacrifice that is necessary in mutual relations.

At first glance, their artworks seem provocative and moralizing in content, but Lealudvik does not criticize the environment in which we operate, but rather, through intensified appropriation, simply indicates the artificial and rigid constructs that form our reality.

Tia Čiček

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Lealudvik is an artistic tandem consisting of Lea Jelenko (1986) and Matjaž Komel (1987). Jelenko graduated in graphic and interactive communication from the Department of Textiles and Graphics at the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering in Ljubljana, while Komel graduated in visual communication from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. They are active in the fields of visual art, graphic design and zine production. They have participated in numerous group and solo exhibitions, including: V. Independent Biennial (Kino Šiška, 2015), ZineZine (P74 Gallery, 2016), Zines! Contemporary Zine Production (International Centre of Graphic Arts, 2017), Watch out! Wet print! In the waters on Leviathan (Tam-Tam’s Street Gallery, curated by International Centre of Graphic Arts, 2017), and Photobook and Photozine (DobraVaga Gallery, 2018), Four Eyed Monster (Kino Šiška, 2018), OFF THE HOOK | Crude: Body, Colour, Realism (ISBN Gallery + Books, 2018), AIR4 [100 artists] [100 artworks] (Ravnikar Gallery Space, 2019).

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Acknowledgments: SCCA, Center for Contemporary Arts – Ljubljana, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering (Jure Ahtik), Centre for Urban Culture Kino Šiška, Tajda Novšak, Alojz and Zvonka Komel, Lara Plavčak and Miha Kelemina.

Photos from the opening: Simao Bessa

Exhibition view: Bojan Mijatović

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[1] “Zines are booklets, most often self-published DIY publications, produced in small editions and with low production costs. They appeared through history as an essential medium of certain subcultures of the 20th century, all the way from the fans of science fiction to those of punk”. in Lara PLAVČAK, Contemporary Art Zines, Zines! Contemporary Zine Production (Ljubljana, Mednarodni grafični likovni center, 24. 2.–28. 5. 2017, ed. Božidar Zrinski), Ljubljana 2017, p. 87.

[2] Robert DE GRIMSTON, Communications to all brethren (Information from Robert de Grimston), The Process Church of the Final Judgment Documents, 1968, p. 25. In the 1960s and 1970s, the cult operated mainly in Great Britain, and later in the United States of America and Mexico.