Images are a universal language. Unlike words, they do not require a translation in order to be read by people in different parts of the world; they seem to offer a limitless tool for global communication. And yet their interpretation is anything but objective: images are intrinsically ambiguous. Due to their power of persuasion, images play a key function in the capitalist and globalised system: they are vehicles for ideology and one of the main weapons in the struggle over an arena of strategic importance today, the collective imaginary.
Talking (about) Images explores the role of images in contemporary society. As suggested by the title, the exhibition focuses on images as an autonomous language – images that tell us stories, activate memories, convey emotions, deceive us. At the same time, the exhibition reflects the potentialities and limits of this language, its interaction with other means of expression and the responsibility related to its production and use.
The project involves eight artists based in the countries of the upper Adriatic region – Italy, Croatia, Austria and Slovenia. Their works are the result of a long-term process initiated by a collective conversation, and further developed by discussions between artists and curators. Four exhibitions, accompanied by live events – at Gallery Kortil Rijeka, Kunsthalle Graz, MLZ Art Dep Trieste, and Škuc Gallery Ljubljana – are public manifestations which share with the general public the reflections that emerged in the process of conceiving the exhibition.
Talking (about) Images is a project by Francesca Lazzarini and Marta Rovetta for Cultural Inventory, supported by the Culture Department of Das Land Steiermark, with contributions from the Italian Cultural Institute in Slovenia, the Austrian Cultural Forum in Ljubljana and The City of Rijeka. It is a collaboration with Škuc Gallery, Galerija Kortil, Kunsthalle Graz, MLZ Art Dep, Poiuyt and the Association of Art Historians of Rijeka.
Thursday, 22nd of August at 6:00 pm, guided tour with co-curator Francesca Lazzarini
Saturday, 24th of August at 11:00 am, workshop for children with artist Neža Knez
Wednesday, 11th of September at 6:00 pm, guided tour with co-curator Francesca Lazzarini; at 7:00 pm Discipula performance Trasmissione
The Cool Couple is an artist duo based in Milan, Italy, and established in 2012 by Niccolò Benetton (1986, Arzignano) and Simone Santilli (1987, Portogruaro). Their research focuses on the friction points generated daily by the relationship between people and images. The idea of images as active hubs, combined with a strong attitude in the production, results in the use of several forms of expression, from fine art photography to electrostatic wipes, from meditation rooms to Chinese cover-bands. Their works have been exhibited at the Centro di Cultura Contemporanea Strozzina, Fondazione Bevilacqua La Masa, Unseen Photo Festival, Centquatre, Les Rencontres d’Arles, MACRO, MAMbo, Galleria Civica di Trento. The artists have been selected by Fotomuseum Winterthur for Plat(t)form 2015. TCC received the Fabbri Prize for contemporary photography in 2014, the Graziadei Prize in 2015, the Euromobil Group Under 30 Prize and the ArtVerona Under 40 Photography Prize in 2017. Niccolò and Simone are also the founders of the cover band Rui & the Rainbow Dragons.
Severin Hirsch (1972, Celje) attended the School of Design, Graphics and Photography in Ljubljana. Based in Graz since 2003, she worked as a photographer and restorer before she started to investigate in the field of the arts and completed the Meisterschule für Kunst und Gestaltung/Malerei with Professor Erwin Talker in 2013 in Graz. She works between media art, installation and painting. Her photographic works deal with social change and change of values. Her artwork was honored with the Art Promotion Award of the city of Graz in 2016.
Kate Howlett-Jones (1971, London). Following a Master’s in French and Russian literature at the University of Oxford (1989–1993), she moved to Austria in 1999. Since then she has been active in Graz as a text artist and writer. Recent exhibitions and public space projects include Shifting Constellations (Graz, 2015), Rose of the Winds (Sarajevo, Trieste, Graz, 2015), Verfolgt, beraubt, vertrieben (<rotor>, 2016), sublim (esc medien kunst labor, 2016), Stories from the Edge (MLZ Trieste, Galerija Kortil and Kunsthaus Graz, 2016), Steirischer Herbst 2016, Erzählungen der Ankunftsstadt (<rotor>, 2016), Rendezvous im Bad (Steirischer Herbst, 2018), Sternbildgrenzen (Landesbibliothek Joanneumsviertel, 2019). Her text, object and installation works deal with the dynamics of language and narrative as they interact with visualization and space.
Neža Knez (1990, Ljubljana) graduated in 2014 in Sculpture at Academy of Fine Arts and Design, where she finished her MA under the mentorship of Professor Jože Barši. She works with different media, such as audio, video, photography, with her own body or with the bodies of others, drawings and classical sculpture. She is the recipient of prominent awards: Recognition for outstanding academic achievements, Award for outstanding academic achievements Academy of Fine Arts, University of Ljubljana, Award for an innovative approach to the graphic arts, Prešeren’s award of Academy of Fine Arts and the OHO Group Award. She is the recipient of a two-year residency for young artists at the Švicarija Creative Centre and in 2019/20 she will be a participant at WHW Academy in Zagreb. Her art practice is represented in a local and international environment, with several residencies or group and solo exhibitions.
Maryam Mohammadi (1979, Graz) is a documentary and fine art photographer. She holds a PhD in Visual communication and Photography at the JEP University. She taught at Tehran University of Arts for many years and has exhibited widely in Iran and in Europe. She has lived in Graz since 2009, where she received the city Art Funds Prize. Her work focuses on how social, cultural and religious conditions at both local and global levels affect women, and also how are these effects inscribed into their biographies and identities. In her self-portrait practice she occasionally uses herself as an illustrative object to reflect her process of socialization in different societal systems. For the last few years, she has worked in intercultural youth centres, feminist adult education, women and migrants counselling. Since 2015 she has been part of the Graz Women’s Council.
Nika Rukavina (1980, Rijeka) holds a BA in sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice and works in different media from performance, installations, painting and sculpture to video. Her primary interest is trying to find a different perspective on commonly accepted views. She has exhibited at: Kunsthaus Graz, Magazzini del Sale, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Rijeka, Pyramida (Tirana), Cultural Center in Belgrade, Blaenau Ffestiniog, Gallery A+A (Venice), Gallery Bevilacqua La Masa (Venice), Gallery Nuova Icona (Venice). She is one of the winners of the Ivo Kalina Award, the city of Rijeka art award for the best exhibition in 2009 (VIA international art project), and she was selected to exhibit at the 12th Exhibition of HT Awards for Contemporary Art, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb. From 2016 to 2018 she did residencies in Donostia-San Sebastian (European Capital of Culture), Q21 (Vienna) and StAiR (Graz).
Alessandro Sambini (1982, Rovigo) lives and works in Milan, where he moved after graduating in Art & Design at Libera Università in Bolzano and completing an MA in Research Architecture at the Visual Cultures department of Goldsmiths College, University of London. In Milan, he started working with images, video and mixed media, exploring the needs and modalities that regulate the production of new images, their circulation and dissemination, and the various relationships that exist between the image itself and its viewers. His works have been exhibited in major museums such as MUSEION, FORMA, MUFOCO, MAST, MA*GA, La Triennale di Milano and at the Kunsthaus in Graz. He was selected by Fotomuseum Winterthur for Plat(t)form 2017.
Christoph Szalay (1987, Graz) is a writer, curator and commissioner for literature at Forum Stadtpark Graz. He studied German philology in Graz as well as Art in Context at UdK Berlin. He is currently a fellow of Akademie Schloss Solitude (Visual Arts/Theory) selected by Catherine David. Just recently, it was announced that he will receive the Alice Salomon Poetik Prize 2019. Recent artistic projects include When I walk through the city, I see fags everywhere, and I am always curious if they will speak to me or stay silent (POGON, Zagreb, 2019), Heimat (Steirischer Herbst, 2018), OCTOPUS (2018), When we turned off the light [we didn’t see nothing] (89plus, Luma, Zürich, 2017), SPACE=WOW (BUT I STILL MISS YOU, EARTH) (Calgary, 2017), as well as performed as a music theater play at Minoriten Graz and Werk X (Vienna, 2017). Upcoming curatorial projects include a publication with Amalia Ulman as well as a new work by Kameelah Janan Rasheed (Forum Stadtpark, Graz, 2019).
Discipula is a collective operating in the field of contemporary visual research founded by Marco Paltrinieri (1978, Milano), Mirko Smerdel (1978, Prato) and Tommaso Tanini (1979, Firenze). Working across a range of practices – from art installations, performances and publications to workshops and lectures – Discipula focuses on the exploration of the role and uses of images in the contemporary mediascape. Discipula’s work has been exhibited internationally at Galleria Civica di Trento, Centre Photographie Genève, Fotomuseum Winterthur, PAV (Turin), Krakow Photo-month Poland, FORMAT Festival – Derby, Kunsthalle Budapest, Tokyo Institute of Photography and more. Discipula is the recipient of various awards, including Premio Fabbri 2016 and Les Rencontres d’Arles, Author Book Award 2015.
Photo: Klemen Ilovar