18 Junij 2011 00:00
In one of his interviews Paul Virillo stated that a work of art should be a journey rather than simply a finished product. The four artists, Katja Smerdu, Anja Kranjc, Katja Oblak and Tanja Milharčič, who have embarked on a joint project in the garden, should be looked upon in this same context. The group's aim is not so much focused on the final artefacts as on the creation of an atmosphere which connects the varied contents of their work. They wish to inspire people's awareness of the cycles of nature and the perpetual transitions - paths which they cause and by doing this to influence our lives and the character of the habitat that we live in. The four artists, equipped with their painting and sculpturing skills, come to the garden as trailblazers along these paths of transition. Principally they can be seen as harbingers of the constant processes of change/transition/return/continuity which are the basic forces of our world. They wish to re-discover them for modern man whose faith in the future seems more and more blurred, emphasizing that these paths also have the potential to lead onward. At the same time they wonder how to evolve and how to progress through the ever-changing transitions which each of us must endure.The choice of presenting their idea of the path/journey with works made in clay and fabric is not random. Here the element of clay represents the necessary fortitude needed to experience transition and change, whilst the fabric represents the opposite, the flexibility and gentleness which can soften all these interactions, crossings and mutations. As a result of an almost meditative process a group of figures made from these two materials has emerged. Throughout the creative process, the artists pondered the questions posed by transition and metamorphosis. Working in clay and fabric the artists unambiguously wished to include a human presence in this story, stressing the cyclic nature of peoples' existence through the surroundings of the garden which by its very nature is in a state of constant change. The focal point about this human presence in nature is that it must be imbued with a spirit of coexistence and symbiosis rather than a desire to divide and dominate which is too often the case. The plain truth is that only an attitude such as this can secure our future and help us find the path which the four artists are pointing out to us.Therefore the many figurines placed in the greenery of the garden are by no means the ultimate goal of this exhibit. They are merely a cluster of signposts, carefully and patiently created by moulding, firing and sewing in order to define the questioning heart of this project and the impact it might have. The artists wish to highlight symbolically the crucial significance of the cyclic structure of our universe. The fact that the fabric figures are filled with seeds strengthens this story still further. The statuettes are meant too be touched to awaken our awareness of not only the external/visible/formal, but also the inner/invisible/abstract - put simply, to capture the essence, the spirit.With this joint project the four artists wish to bind together the fragments of their thoughts and experiences on the given theme and combine them as a whole, a unified system of interrelationships. It is no longer so important who created which fragment of the arrangement. What is significant is how each individual’s involvement becomes part of a collective statement and a visual experience. This co-operative attitude of the four artists creates a fabric of interwoven artistic energies which follow a pattern reminiscent of the matrix of forces which lies at the heart of the laws of nature. The creation in the garden invites us to embark on the kind of journey that Paul Virillo talks about.
Barbara Sterle Vurnik
Artists: Katja Smerdu, Anja Kranjc, Katja Oblak and Tanja Milharčič
Actors in the report: Katja Smerdu, Anja Kranjc, Katja Oblak and Tanja Milharčič, Ram Cunta, Andrej Kobal
Gallery: Ljubljana Fine Artists Society Garden (Društvo likovnih umetnikov Ljubljana)
Date: 18th June to 17th July
Camera, editing, interview, sound: Leigh San Juan