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Staš Kleindienst: In-Betweens

15 December 2015 > 15 January 2016 Kindly invited to the opening to the exhibition "In-Betweens" by Staš Kleindienst, on Tuesday, 15th December 2015, at 8 pm, at the Alkatraz Gallery, ACC Metelkova.

Alkatraz Gallery is closing the current, 2015 season with another retrospective exhibition, the one of the artist Staš Kleindienst, with a meaningful title In-Betweens (Vmesni členi). It’s about his works from the period between 2011 and 2015, hinting at in-between passages from conceptual practices into the medium of painting; the medium that enables the painter a currently most direct and fluid articulation of the topic he is exploring. The exhibited paintings are figurative, with the emphasis on either one or two figures, and span over to narrative painting, where it fleetingly reclines on the examples of medieval Dutch painters of the 15th century (Bosch and Bruegel) as well as on the Slovene tradition of the narrative pictures on beehive fronts. The basis is conceptual art that the artist transforms into the medium of painting, yet at the same time not sourcing from the history, the genealogy of painting. As the author himself stated: “I am not interested in exploring the painterly surface, but the employment of the languages through which I can, as a means, most unobstructedly articulate my reflections. My paintings are more narrative than painterly; it is through them that I create my social scenarios. “

The narrative that we can pursue in the works represents the social reality which through the dispositive of authority employs images in a new discourse which then forms a conceptualization of the look. Directing the regimen of visibleness we witness the discourse of power through control, or, as stated by Foucault „we either submit ourselves by our free will, or we die out of our free will”. Daily we are witnesses to models of diverse control – ranging from controlled spectacles, fanaticisms, national identity, art system, formation of public opinion, all the way to everyday life and the control over free time,...

The artist’s paintings remain a medium restricted by the frame despite their narrative abundance. This spatial struggle can legitimately give us a feeling of confinement of the subject within the system, illustrating the unstable reality. We can again and again recognize the »dreariness of reality« in the capital as the colonizer of subjectivity, culture and our lives. In the current situation the media, capital and politics are bombarding us with the information that due to a malfunction in the system that had occurred, we have found ourselves in an unstable reality where there is an opportunity offered to us to open the territory and replace the ‘existing one’ with ‘a new one’. Nowadays we are confronted with intensification of fear of incapability of securing the private, which is being increasingly controlled by security-surveillance systems, which, among other things, conditions all kinds of obscenities and voyeurism. The idea about descend of art into the everyday reality evokes uneasiness at the thought that in the name of art each particle of our privacy and intimacy might be put under surveillance and exposed on display. The panoptical demand for overall transparency, for everything to be in view, valuable only when put on display is being more or less successfully counterposed by the realms of the invisible, the secluded that we can most often only suspect.

The painterly exhibition “In-Betweens” is by no means univocal, as it is opening the space and re-questions the relation toward the image beyond the visible. Art plays the role of a hidden observer/voyeur, disclosing the entrapment of an individual in the machinery of the contemporary capitalism, in which the subject is transformed into an alienated body, apparently separated from the real world.

Jadranka Plut

Staš Kleindienst (born 1979) attained his MA in fine art in 2009 at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. His work addresses the issues of origin, representation, and naturalization of power and authority. In this context he is also interested in mechanisms behind the contemporary art system, especially the aspect of creating value and positioning of the artworks into historical contexts and discourses. He works mainly in the media of painting, drawing and video. In 2014 he won the OHO Group Award, the main national visual arts award for young visual artists. He lives and works in Ljubljana, Slovenia.

Translation from Slovene: Lili Anamarija No.
Photos from the opening: Sunčan Stone.

Staš Kleindienst, Controlled Explosion Staš Kleindienst, Elektricno nebo/Electric Sky Staš Kleindienst, Dediscina/Heritage Staš Kleindienst, Goodbye Knut