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ENTRANCE – painting exhibition of Academy of Fine Arts Ljubljana students

20 June 2012 > 02 July 2012 You are kindly invited to the group exhibition of selected artists from Painting Department of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. The opening will take place on Wednesday, 20th of June at 8pm at the Alkatraz Gallery.

Participating artists:Tinkara Babič, Nina Čelhar, Jasmina Grudnik, Lara Ješe, Maruša Meglič, Eva Lučka Kozak, Špela Kušar, Nina Pivk, Adrijan Praznik, Jaka Vatovec, Jure Zrimšek in Klemen Zupanc.

Curators: Jadranka Plut and Ana Grobler
Tutors: assistant prof., M.A. Žiga Kariž and assistant prof. Marjan Gumilar

At the first sight the selected works of the young artists at the Painting Department of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana - Tinkara Babič, Nina Čelhar, Jasmina Grudnik, Lara Ješe, Maruša Meglič, Eva Lučka Kozak, Špela Kušar, Nina Pivk, Adrijan Praznik, Jaka Vatovec, Jure Zrimšek and Klemen Zupanc – created under the tutorship of assistant professor, M.A. Žiga Kariž and assistant professor Marjan Gumilar, seem rather diverse since they incorporate various approaches; technically and contents-wise. They do, however, deal with the topics that can be brought to a common denominator. Beside the common topical outsets a different understanding of construction of the image field, hence its space and atmosphere, can be detected with the students. Rubbish, toys, plastic, cars, pistols … speak about over-saturation of our contemporary life.

Contemporary art of today, just like the contemporary society within capitalist system has atomised as the time of movements and great ideas has passed. Furthermore, social relations have been reduced to the basic needs of individuals, regulated only by economic calculations. This particularisation has certainly contributed to the fact that beside the universal art ideas reduced to the styles or movements; art research has stepped down from the throne of macro stories into the world of micro stories. Far too often it seems that art - exactly due to this particular shift – no longer possesses the function of social regulation, but its role seems to be of the one crying out into the sky. The artists are oriented into research of their personal mythologies, pointing out their personal position within the system, or allude to concrete problems. The questions about their own position and auto-reflection of the individual’s position in society are some of the outsets of the artists at the present exhibition. Despite serious topics the exhibition does not lack humour, showing the contemporary reality, somewhat remotely.

The young artists question themselves, in their own way, what is actually true. The glitter and misery in their works are the two points helping them to find the next point to tell them what and where the truth is to be found, as well as what in their lives and art is the contents they should really devote to. The answer, however, always tends to slip away somehow, but even reflection itself is crucial as it gradually leads there. At the time of transition into the market economy the reflection about basic questions is valuable. There has never been so little time we spend socializing with our friends or for critical auto-reflection, while there has never been so much time invested into making and spending money. Our contemporary, compulsory over-loadedness, the struggle for money and survival has fundamentally changed the list of our personal priorities.

We understand the exhibition entitled ‘Entrance’ as a working process in which the artists research the procedures of representation of their ideas and their presentation in a gallery space as well as the communication and exchange of experience for an independent entrance into contemporary art system.

Jadranka Plut and Ana Grobler, the exhibition curators

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Entrance = step over

The traditional knowledge, acquired during the first years at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design are, during the following years, upgraded by diverse contents, motif, youthful momentum, and breakthrough, that fluidly and competently step over into other ways of articulation and justification of oneself as an artist, otherwise equal to everyone else in the social system. At artistic studies advocating oneself seems to be the most difficult thing for young artists. With the depicted contents they communicate to us who they are, what they are interested in, the things that disturb them in social environment, and what they would like to change with their own interventions. Presentation of a selection of the students’ works at the exhibition entitled ‘Entrance’ is a visual response to the current state of a personality and her or his incorporation into the contemporary society. In this regard, art represents a social communicator, attracting the looks, and with them also the thoughts. With regards to the selection by Ana Grobler and Jadranka Plut it is evident that it pays off to be daring, not systemic, and to interpret and articulately ruminate, reallocate, depict and visually present the perceptions from the environment in a selected medium.

It’s been a long time since the medium has represented a limitation in contemporary art. Divisions according to artistic professions are becoming increasingly less important in art systems and networks. In the art of today where it seems that everything is possible and excusable, or is advocated as an art project, we urgently need an institution for evaluation and maintenance of quality that could make the young and artists-to-be as well as workers in culture face primarily what and how to think the contents and in what way to depict the result in the selected medium and, how to advocate it as art. The Academy of Fine Arts and Design establishes and passes on to young artists precisely the knowledge that every spatial modification cannot be represented as art but has to switch from displacement (perception) to reallocations (articulation).

Shifts is what the ‘painting’ at the Painting Department is given. It still represents the window of the world and moreover the window into the world. It represents a part of the intuitive, universal or real space; it is a space of many sub-questions and results. The students presented at the exhibition, that have created their works under the tutorship of assistant professor Žiga Kariž and assistant professor Marjan Gumilar pursue the transformations in art. In the recent years we have been able to trail excellent spatial installations in their studios; the Bologna curriculum has also offered a choice of sculpting as an optional subject to the students of painting. Interconnection of all departments and ways of visual thinking or articulation gives more powerful and quality results, especially by loosening the boundaries among the professions of a sculptor, painter, video-artist, graphic artist… How and in what way something is presented is a question that is prevailed by the viewer’s choice and the artist’s consciousness and especially the fact that an artwork is presented ‘correctly’, with a clear statement.

The curated exhibition is quite unique as there are two curriculums meeting at the exhibition. At one end there are ‘the old’, four-year curriculum undergraduate students that have now finished their studies, and beside them, there is the first generation of the Bologna curriculum students. There are several authors that are - after only three years of the study, contents-wise as well as their formalization of the problem-wise, quite competitive to the old curriculum, confirming that the Academy of Fine Arts and Design is on the right way. Nevertheless, there are also deviations from the formal education that are important. During the last academic year the students have certainly been influenced by the new display of the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art, the opening of the Museum of Contemporary Art at Metelkova, the ‘Event’ at the Biennial of Graphic Arts as well as other art projects and events affecting and reacting to or complementing the formal academic curriculum.

The exhibition ‘The Entrance’ at the Alkatraz Gallery represents an upgrade to the formal education and a new deviation of the students as well as a symbolic step over of the students, from the educational, institutionalized system into the art system. In the case of a gallery, their art production has been given an opportunity to affect the viewer and create a dialogue with the other exhibit-ional events in the city. ‘The Entrance’ faces the students also with the fact that art is not only creation, but also representation in a public space.

The key thing and in most cases the decisive element beside the ‘deviated’ regards and overviews outside the institution is a constructive dialogue between the tutor and the student. The student knows what she or he wants, but far too often the mental visualization cannot satisfy and compare with the actual intervention in the medium. The tutor’s help is decisive and welcome at such halts, but only in those successful cases, when both, especially the student, are aware of this ‘guidance’.

The Academy of Fine Arts and Design is in the process of transformation, modernization, adaptation and is no longer only an agent for knowledge and experience.  This is integral education looking over its own frame and walls, consequently not affecting only the professional profile of the artist. It also echoes onto the personal development of an individual, who is expected to possess self-confidence and trust in her or his work, clarified notions about art with the capacity of communication, reflection, and argumented critic after the completion of the study. In the present space and time we need open, sufficiently flexibly–creative artists, who will be capable of competently presenting themselves in the correctly selected system. And this system is not only artistic. Each of the individuals participating at the exhibition will probably choose her or his own, consciously chosen and supported by deeds.

Boris Beja

KLEMEN ZUPANC JAKA VATOVEC