(Re)traceable Choreography

The artists involved: Žiga Kariž, Miha Knific, Miha Štrukelj and Sašo Vrab

Opening: 5 July 2005

On view till: 30 July 2005

Opening speech: Alenka Gregoric, a ŠKUC Gallery (Ljubljana)

Curator: Edit Molnár

The exhibition is organized as a collaborative effort between the Studio Gallery (Studio of Young Artists Association) and the Skuc Gallery in Ljubljana. These art institutions already have a long history of cooperation, which was especially lively the mid 90s. The collaborative series of shows in 2005 and 2006 are organized with the intention of refreshing this lively dialogue between the art scenes within the context of the art of Central Europe.

The “(Re)traceable Choreography” is a group show which does not consider itself a thematic exhibition, but rather a selection of highly interesting works, which together highlight some aspects of their interpretation in the form of dialogue. The title was influenced by a video of Miha Knific (Choreography 2003), who uses a minimalist interior as the stage of performance. Knific invites people to move around the space while coercing them into unexpected moves caused by strings which are hardly visible. While this brings to mind the reminiscence of Bruce Nauman’s early video-performance, Miha Knific, by filming the scene with a survaillance camera, gives a reinterpretation of space and social actions whereby hidden mechanisms and fears become the motor of all gestures.
Saso Vrabic’s Arcobaleno is a computer generated video, which reflects with slightly ironic undertones on the hidden tensions within the countries that, while focusing on their national identity, simultaneously have a strong longing to belong to the bigger entity of “Europe.” The video was made with the use of a Sinclair ZX Spectrum computer. The loading process itself takes central stage while the sign “Slovenia is loading, please wait” is displayed. There is a certain military nature to the esthetic of the piece owing to the rhythm and the sounds, not to even mention the flashing text.

By using an old computer program he interestingly juxtaposes this military character with the nostalgic feeling, transforming the video into a monument of ancient technology that is lost for good. Saso Vrabic is basically occupied with the image-generating mechanisms of our contemporary society; he recycles images from the mass media and places them into other contexts and relations. The Tetris Triptich is a traditional oil-canvas painting inspired by media images and an abstract close-up of the game itself. In the Triptich he cites playfully but also forebodingly the story of one of the world’s best known computer games whose birth has a strong link to the history of technology – to industrial theft during the cold-war period. Alenka Gregoric summarizes rather insightfully: “His focus is on re-interpreting the response of an individual towards life in contemporary society, which is saturated with new technologies.”

For the occasion of “(Re)traceable Choreography,” Ziga Karic will create in the Studio Gallery a site-specific wall painting, which belongs to his ongoing project Terror=Decor. The project – which was also shown at the 50th Venice Biennale in 2003 – was a stage in the series of Terror=décor installations (a project that has been ongoing since 1997 and still continues today) dealing with the politics of the manipulation of the visual; the interfering nature of mass media images and the audience exposed to the flow and rapidity of information. In this sense, terrorism serves as an analogy for the dynamics of the images which question who is observing what/who and the innocence of art within this context. “The forms of pictures/objects included in the Terror=décor project comprise art codes of the past and present socio-political and artistic utopias, conveyed through the machinery of the commodification and domestication of contemporary cultural production. It is important to emphasize that the whole drama of the Terror=décor project takes place at the very surface of every individual picture/object,” write Žiga Kariž and Jurij Krpan.

The approach of painter Miha Strukelj, towards some media images is characterized by fascination and a sense of entrapment. He reintroduces, reuses and recycles traumatic media images, such as the overexposed air shot of Chernobyl after the catastrophe. Like ongoing shock therapy, he repaints the very same photograph in a way that makes the aftermath irrelevant, fixing the site in a state of endless investigation of the visual theme. The timeless nature of the monumental picture is disturbed by technological interference; Miha Strukelj uses all visual elements of technological image-making (video computer games and television) introducing their disturbing effects into the medium of painting, all the while emphasizing the corrupted manner of our consumption of these media images.
The artists of the show usually work in different mediums. In the context of this exhibition, videos, painting, site-specific wall painting and video will be displayed. By using their medium in a highly reflective way, the artists raise awareness of the image-making mechanisms of contemporary art and society.

Supported by: Hungarian National Fund (NKA)
Ministry of Cultural Heritage of Hungary
Slovenian Embassy
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia
Cultural Department of the City of Ljubljana.