Artists: Suzana Brborović, Lucijan Prelog
Curator: Tia Čiček
The exhibition the colour of overthinking presents completely new paintings by Suzana Brborović and the continuation of the art series Gods en Vogue by Lucijan Prelog. What they all have in common is their conception, unburdened by the message, concept and desire to concentrate on the act of painting itself or on the materials used by the painters. The conscious departure from the concept, or rather the message, exposes interesting, beautiful, fleeting, strong, precise and free stokes. But as we look, we nevertheless try to draw conclusions about the message conveyed by the works.
In the last century, we reconciled ourselves to a way of life where every part of our being is destined for commercial exploitation. The Attention Merchants, as Wu calls them, compete by directing our attention and gaze. Gallery spaces and cultural organisations, in general, are also (un)intentionally involved in this “business”, as we share advertising space not only with each other but with all those who more or less successfully fill advertising spaces with images of various products, services and offers. We curate exhibitions from the moment we enter the gallery, whether we are guided by didactic impulses or the desire to present specific content, with the purpose – to direct the attention and gazes to certain artworks and reflect on the presented concepts.
At the exhibition the colour of overthinking, we direct the viewer’s attention to the material or objects themselves. Upon arrival in the exhibition space, we quickly resort to reading the titles and descriptions of the works, which provide advance notice of the message or at least topic that we then associate with each individual work as we view it. This time we want to free the gaze from being directed in advance and offer the viewer the opportunity to journey from surface plane to stroke, colour and void so that all attention is focused on the pictorial elements, the building blocks of the exhibited artworks. The stories that take place in the viewer’s mind thus depend as much as possible on the subject him- or herself entering into a dialogue with the object. Viewing a work of art unencumbered is almost impossible because the performativity of the gallery space forces us into a certain role which, however, does not have a ready-made script at this point and is completely dependent on the player in the given space.
The viewer can recognise the forms of Prelog’s objects, which we associate with video games; as we get closer to the boards, we lose control over the form of the whole piece, and the eye focuses on the texture itself, scattered, scratched, smoothly applied and sprayed paint. Motifs from popular culture, such as films, music magazines, are perceived in the form of stickers that he has collected or designed himself over the years. We are looking at countless thin layers as they build up a low dynamic relief of the surface, which is rough and then again smooth in places. The scratched layers of paint reveal drawings and notations that the eye, focused on the image as a whole or the details of the object, can quickly overlook. When looking at Suzana Brborović’s canvases, the eye may stop at the free strokes that make up her latest works, or the digital strokes and surface planes that we have already encountered on her canvases. Intersections of grids, thicker and thinner applications of paint, and various structures that create harmonious compositions and syntheses of the pictorial components of the individual paintings. As we move around the space, we notice tiny differences between the shades of the different surfaces, while a close-up view reveals the first applied layer in the backgrounds of the entire composition as well as the outlines of the digital strokes.
Finding and separating the building blocks, the pictorial elements of the individual works by Suzana Brborović and Lucijan Prelog can be understood as a game or a free exercise in looking. Here, the privileged position belongs to the viewer, who is unequivocally not recognised as a so-called connoisseur. Nevertheless, within the field of visual studies, instead of the “good eye” of the art historian, Rogoff already expressed a preference for the “curious eye”. The latter, armed with all its qualities and experiences, observes curiously and also proceeds to question itself as to why it sees what it sees. Perhaps the viewer perceives a dystopian subject matter on the canvases or focuses mainly on the capability of the medium itself and the different approaches used by both artists in creating the works. It all depends on the individual − we do not see the aim of the exhibition in proposing the significance of an individual artwork or the common subject matter of the artworks, but rather to enable us to see, perceive, feel and, above all, think. The latter in particular is hated in the current political climate, which is why we highlight the primary function of the spaces, organizations and structures that enable us to do all of the above, and thus the need to build and upgrade them.
Suzana Brborović (1988) is an academy-trained painter. After completing her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana in 2013, she studied Painting on the postgraduate master’s programme (Meisterschüler) at the Academy of Visual Arts in Leipzig in the period 2014–16. In 2019, she received the Rihard Jakopič Award for special projects and achievements in the field of fine art for young artists. Her painting practice has so far focused mainly on the stories of architecture. She is concerned with the power of the painting medium and the boundaries between the digital and the painting-generated gesture. She shares her studio in Leipzig with the painter Lucijan Prelog.
Lucijan Prelog (1982) lives and works between Leipzig and Ljubljana. He completed his studies of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana in 2013. During his studies, he also received the Award for Special Artistic Achievements in 2010/11. A member of the music alternative/industrial/noise group It’s everyone else, he creates objects strongly marked by the popular culture that permeates his life. He shares his studio in Leipzig with the painter Suzana Brborović.
 Wu, Tim, The Attention Merchants. The Epic Scramble to Get Inside Our Heads, New York: Knopf, 2016.
 Rogoff, Irit, Studying Visual Culture, The Visual Culture Reader, ed. Nicholas Mirzoff. London: Routledge, 20022, p. 28.
Exhibition view: Klemen Ilovar