Oliver Pietsch, Goran Bertok, Tomaž Furlan, Ivan Volarič Feo, Zmago Lenardič in Jasna Hribernik, Žiga Kariž
In the moments that we manage to break away from the flow of information enveloping us, it often seems that we have found ourselves at a point where we are dominated by a stifled spasm: weak enough to be only suspected most of the time, yet persistently there, intricately masked by routines and small pleasures. In such a state, we anticipate answers to concrete questions regarding a society in an existential crisis. While it is clear that our economic system is becoming increasingly autistic and we are aware that we must act urgently, due to causal complexity and interrelatedness we are yet again faced with an inability to make informed decisions. So, is it better to simply avoid making a decision that is not based on clear facts? Or do we force ourselves to be active and persist in a more or less absurd situation?
Romantic views that presuppose that an (independent) artist has a special insight into the social fabric and a capacity to articulate solutions clearly have long been proven illusory. The idea that (engaged) art can have a social impact seems even more problematic. While it is true that some works can carry clear political and activist ideas, they are soon lost in the noise of data in which we are submerged. It also seems that art (and its passive viewer) cannot seriously affect the status quo. Impulses that come from the field of art usually remain trapped in it; it is difficult for them to influence the world outside their cultural and artistic context.
The exhibition Splice seeks to find places where works without explicitly engaged positions subvert the dominant social paradigms through a broad range of personal discourses. In this respect, the artists employ a broad range of strategies. They open discourses on phenomena that contemporary society is trying to suppress; they face viewers with their transitoriness, inevitable ageing and death that have all been almost marginalised in this era of the cult of health and youth. Other artists bombard viewers with excerpts of popular culture phenomena. By highlighting and often distorting images and motifs that are integral parts of the visual memory of contemporary society, they show how often the presence of problematic archetypes is self-evident, as is the absence of reflection in their everyday consumption. Witty re-contextualisation and carefully-considered collage techniques create interpretatively and morally ambivalent narratives that require the viewer to construct the meaning for themselves. The third body of works in the exhibition focuses on observing, researching the absurdity of human existence. The ordained quest for happiness, success and self-realisation that are thought to be vital to a healthy and fulfilling life is destined to fail. The crucial problem is that we are often not aware of what we want and follow unreasonable routines and protocols. We repeatedly think we know where the goal is (or at least that a goal exists) and that we are drawing closer to it with by multitasking, but our dispersed attention always directs us to new paths.
The question of how to act in a clearly dysfunctional world remains. It is probably not in the sphere of art to articulate clear answers. This does not mean, however, that the field of art cannot at least partly unveil or loosen the paradigms of the best possible world.
Curated by: Žiga Dobnikar
Preview of the exhibition with its curator: 30 July at 19.00
Tour of the exhibition guided by the curator: 11 August 2015 at 18.00