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Noemi Veberič Levovnik: Looking for the Nightlife

09 April 2015 > 04 May 2015 You are cordially invited to the opening performance "Looking for the Nightlife" by Noemi Veberič Levovnik on Thursday 9th April at 9 pm in Alkatraz Gallery, ACC Metelkova mesto.

Curator: Petja Grafenauer
Authors of performance at Museum of Modern Art Ljubljana and performers : Aljaž Jovanovič, Anja Novak, Noemi Veberič Levovnik
Technical support: Danijela Zajc
Dramaturgy: Nina Šorak
Costumes : Véronique Lorne, Noemi Veberič Levovnik
Original music: Noemi Veberič Levovnik
DJ programme: Felis Catus, Some1Else
VJ programme: Alica D


Warming up for Voguing


For the art of Noemi Veberič Levovnik there are key words like identity and what human hides behind it. The artist refers to an archetype or a symbol that she identifies in popular culture, which in her creative pre-process she then links with the dreamy, the other, the one beyond, or the metaphysical in its basic, bare meaning of the word. She throws herself into the world outside the real, and finds it in the everyday life, in a »trance while looking at a drag queen spectacle.«


All her projects, whether they concern designing of ambient installations into which she cunningly places fantasies in drawing, video or sound, or performative actions dominated by masks; it’s always all about a possibility of unbridled quest for the self-ness, the questions of who is 'Noemi', what is above her and what beside her, who are the others, and in what way she influences them, and vice versa, in what way they affect her.


A multipartite project Looking for the Nightlife continues the gesture of playfulness, a characteristic of the artist’s practice. She expresses herself by an original, frivolous, consciously amorphous poetics, occasionally seemingly French, to remind us of Pierre Huyghe. Research and reflection are unfolding dispersedly: in April at Alkatraz Gallery and the Museum of Modern Art, in September at Španski borci; all in Ljubljana.


Noemi Veberič Levovnik is a narrator, telling us a story about one’s search for identity, existence and sense in the contemporary world. Concurrently she is a half-naked sexy bunny Lulu Lapin in February and NGarland / Baby Blanche Lyn / Rapparabbit in March. Who knows what Noemi Veberič – Levovnik will become next? Frivolity is a word to be put down again. Through playing with the image, body and sound, the author opens up to herself as well as to others, while at the same time trying to penetrate into that something we give different names to. She allows herself the excessive, unusual, amoral, illegal, playful and outrageous. In the project she surpasses her own inhibitions, letting others in through porous membranes of her very self.


The performance at the Museum of Modern Art represents a spectacular part of the project into which each participant attributes one’s own authorship, oneself, one’s own wishes, desires, dreams and problems. At the time of rehearsing the performers forge and fashion several characters and the transformation in the erection of one’s self and, finally, its expression, is a scenario they stick to, so the list of their roles is changeable, fluid and fleeting. While looking for nightlife it travels and mutates rather than depicts. Last January the performers began to question their characters, they adored cabaret and variety, they liked night divas, and started rehearsing for the performance in February with the Bridegroom / Alja Novak and Moonwalker / Aljaž Jovanovič. In March they transformed into royal tomcats / Marlene Dietrich / Alja Novak / Aljaž Jovanovič / Freddy Mercury / Princess / Balkan Diva. Lulu Lapin is also a rap bunny Rapparabbit as well as the Snow Queen, the one of an ego to create a project in which as a creative person she puts on display the self of the contemporary time.


Looking for the Nightlife is being constructed with performance developed on the bases of voguing, »a dance – performative – (fashion) competition that appeared in the eighties in American Harlem among poor coloured gays who were aspiring to reach their five minutes of fame – a piece of the stage, fame and acknowledgement, acceptance from others, admiration and love, to make up for their existential problems and society’s rejection they were facing.« Looking for nightlife we find hot sex and sad loneliness, music, cuteness and unbearableness, playful sexuality, shamanism, fashion and burning passion mocking its own obsession whenever it cannot escape from it. Even when on the stage, Noemi Veberič Levovnik comes across an an author who never gives up her power, not even when she is playing.


For the time of the exhibition the characters make themselves a home at Alkatraz Gallery. They exhibit themselves on an over-sized bed/stage in which they become toys, where it is safe, enticing and elevated, where they can be covert and secluded should they desire so, or become stars on an illuminated stage the following moment; each and every day of the exhibition. »The project is a laboratory for all participants, substituting one another according to the need and availability, so there is no final form, but – like in a variety – there are several versions of the show,« states Veberič Levovnik in one of her preparatory versions of the project.


»In what way will the other respond to me, who is (this other), who am I, and in what way will this mark us? «, is yet another fundamental question of the project, nearing Luddism meeting pop psychology. The author, born into a spectacle created by humankind does not wish to remain superficial, but integrated into it she is looking for mysticism, the essence and sense, digging for sense into what surrounds her. She intimately chews up popular culture and archetypes, digs into sub consciousness, wishing for shamanism in the world of Slovenian neoliberalism. She spits images, gestures, words and bodies into a project, licked by femininity, knowledge, child-like ness, faery-story ness and sexuality. Outrage, archetype, power, extreme, shamanism, as well as gentleness, search, girlishness, knowledge and powerlessness afraid of mockery; all in the world of contemporaneity, constantly threatening with shackles.


Noemi Veberič Levovnik opens up hysteria to its fullness, introducing into the visual a queer aesthetics of new generations who do not love according to their sex, but are – narcissistically – looking for a person who would offer a looking-glass to their child-like soul. On the stage the artist sets up at a gallery, lecture-room or theatre, betted on there are ecstasy, fleshiness and metaphysics, the poetic and the dreamy, as well as comicality and absurdity of the seen, and is allowed to – in the ecstasy of the living – knock the ego off the stage and uncover the tragedy of narcissism.


Petja Grafenauer




PERFORMANCES:


Night Spring, 9th April, at 9 p.m., Alkatraz Gallery, Ljubljana
Tests for Voguing
, 15th April, at 7 p.m., the Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana
A Secret I Tell Everyone!
, 4th May, at 8 p.m., Alkatraz Gallery, Ljubljana


Noemi Veberič Levovnik (1985, Kranj) lives and works in Ljubljana. She graduated in film and visual art at the University Paris 8 and the School for Contemporary Art in Quimper in France, and in 2013 received her M.A. from the theory of contemporary art and new media at Paris 8. She has been self-employed in culture since November 2013.
It is characteristic of her works to employ various media (drawing, painting, photography, sound and performance) that she intertwines in spatial installations. She is a visual artist also gaining experience in the field of the theatre, dance and writing, while developing her inter-personal abilities as a pedagogue. In the last year she has returned to live performance and happening.


Supported by: Cankarjev dom, Filc Mengeš, Karitas, Ministry of Culture, MOL, the Museum of Modern Art (MG)+MSUM, SNG Drama
Credits: Véronique Lorne, Domen Valič, Jana Kumberger, Mateja Bergoč.



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