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Erik Mavrič: The Sky on Earth

06 February 2018 > 02 March 2018 Kindly invited to the opening of the exhibition “The Sky on Earth” by Erik Mavrič, curated by Mojca Grmek. The opening will take place on Tuesday, 6th February at 8pm at the Alkatraz Gallery, ACC Metelkova mesto.

Erik Mavrič is qualified painter who does not appear very frequently in the public artistic space, however, when he does, he usually puts on display an ouvre of monument qualities. He proved this already at his first larger solo exhibition in Galerija Krško gallery, where he – under the joint title Who Is Stingy with Words, Lacks Bread…/ Kdor besede špara, kruha strada... (2014) – presented a couple of monumental artworks. In the first one, entitled Garbage Bible, he copied the entire text of the Bible, in excerpts, onto the packaging left over from his daily shopping. In the second, entitled Golden Bread / Zlati kruh, he dried and gilded about 400 kilos of bread. Another artwork that belongs within this frame is Erik’s Room / Erikova soba in the Hiša kulture (House of Culture), in Pivka (2017), a permanent wall painting that came about in the way that the artist covered all the walls of a smaller gallery space entirely with a crayon, as a »seismograph« of visual noting of activities, taking place in this particular space.

What all the mentioned artworks have in common and what connects them with his most recent one, introduced in the present exhibition, is – in its very basis – a simple, yet long-running, monotonous and repetitious routine of its creation. The artist was producing each of these works for several months or even years, several hours a day, using commonplace materials and tools of broad coverage. To sum it up, the artist closely bound his production with his everyday surroundings and ordinary daily life.

In the present exhibition he is presenting a monumental work entitled The Sky on Earth / Nebo na zemlji in which he undertook the task of diagram-transferring of the night sky on newspaper paper with a ball-pen. The image entitled The visible stars by distance, by the Black Oak observatory in California, USA, available on the Internet (, served as the outset for his artwork  The image shows a data model of the universe, visible to the naked eye, representing only a fragment of all the stars that have been detected by telescopes. The image is divided horizontally and vertically into 475 parts. The artist was drawing diagrams of singular segments onto the pages of daily papers, enlarged in the 1:10 ratio. The fragmentariness and the process of enlarging enabled him to transform the copying into a kind of a daily dairy entry, the process that he persistently continued for long 17 months, 7 hours per day, on average. The final product of the process is the approximately 50 square metres (5,073 m x 9,750 m) big puzzle-like drawing, depicting the star-covered sky, spreading out over the written record of topical events on Earth, as well as the artist’s visual diary from the period.

In its final shape the artwork The Sky on Earth / Nebo na zemlji illustrates the dichotomy between our daily life and infinite cosmological processes, surpassing everything human. At the formal level this is shown by the ratio between the monumental drawing and the exceptionally fragile, impermanent bearer, while at the content level in the ratio between the infinity of space-time, represented by the chart of planetary bodies and the transientness of daily events, documented in daily papers. However, the process of its production is perhaps even more important for the complete understanding of the artwork than the final product itself. As already mentioned, the artist had conceived and executed the work as a process, by the procedure of diagram-copying, which is – from the aspect of the final product – nonsensical, for there exist easier and more efficient methods for copying of the starry sky on newspaper paper. The sense in such copying was therefore not in the goal, a final product, but rather along/in the way. By creating the artwork over the period of almost one and a half years, even directing his life around the project, he invested his existential component part into it. In the context of the work as a whole, the copying artist represents an individual, who – in dichotomy between the fleetingness of the everyday life and the incomprehensibility of the universe, simply insists in being.

From the integral point of view, The Sky on Earth / Nebo na zemlji, similarly to all artist’s monumental works, deals with existential topic, and within the frame, especially with the ratio between an individual and the world. In their bases, all these artworks are about a confrontation of two levels of existence; the everyday empirical reality (represented by the packaging, bread, room and newspaper) and metaphorical reflection (symbolised by the biblical text, gilding, wall drawings as »seismography«, a star chart). Both levels of existence overlap in the existence of an individual, marked by the endless repetition of very same patterns, gestures, thoughts... together with the endless questioning about the sense of all this. His position in the world is absurd, hence tragic, nevertheless he insists and persists in it heroically – conscious that this – for him – is everything there is.

Mojca Grmek

Erik Mavrič (1979, Koper) graduated in painting in 2004 and in 2008 obtained his M.A. at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. His works have been shown in numerous solo exhibitions, among them at the House of Culture/Hiša kulture, Pivka, 2016; Galerija Dimenzija napredka, Nova Gorica, 2014; Galerija Krško, 2014; Project Room SCCA / Projektna soba SCCA, Ljubljana, 2012. Mavrič had participated at several group exhibitions in such venues as: P74, Ljubljana, Hiša kulture Pivka, Centre for Contemporary Arts/Center sodobnih umetnosti Celje, Galerija Velenje, City Gallery/Mestna galerija Nova Gorica, Galerija Simulaker, Novo mesto, Galerija Insula, Izola. In 2012 he was awarded a special acknowledgement of the expert jury at the 16th Slovene Sculpture Exhibition, and in 2002 he received a Prešeren Award for students.

Translation from Slovene: Lili Anamarija No.
Photographies from the opening: Nada Žgank.
Photography of the artwork: Nina Sotelšek.