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Maruša Meglič: Every Man is a Lonely Island

10 May 2018 > 30 May 2018 Kindly invited to the opening of the exhibition “Every Man is a Lonely Island" by Maruša Meglič. The opening will take place on Thursday, 10th May at 8pm at the Alkatraz Gallery, ACC Metelkova mesto.

Maruša Meglič is a talented artist who focuses mostly on the quality of exhibition experience rather than the quantity of art production. Although she is a relatively new name in the art world, her works are elaborated and thought through. The Site-specific exhibition at the Alkatraz Gallery reveals that she has a good sense of space when it comes to building spatial compositions, for which purification and simplicity are representative. The artist consistently uses this unusual approach, which we are not used to at the majority of other exhibitions. Frequently individual works themselves form a display, whereas here the medium of expression is the exhibition as a whole.

The project of Maruša Meglič, Every Man is a Lonely Island, is a site-specific-art work, which adjusts to the Alkatraz Gallery and builds on its features. Thematically, the installation is a staged existential drama referring to a spectator and pressing them towards thinking about the meaning of life. The sun which is not the sun, the frames of a house that is not and a black floor, which denies everything, are multifaceted scenic metaphors of life and being.

At the exhibition, the spectator will face a spatial positioning that uses the symbol of a house as an allegory, placed between the earth and sun, extending between the sense and its absence. The open construction of the house allows spectators to pass through the separate works of spatial art composition freely and symbolically experience the area created and denied at the same time by the author. This house directs the spectator towards the idea of home; however, it does not represent a shelter, as it wishes to show the constant construction and deconstruction of the concept of safety.

The placing of Maruša Meglič is an attempt to introduce her understanding of the world, just the way as she experiences it. The artist derives from the archetypical situation which she finds characteristic of the western culture. A tale of a person who is forced to step out of their comfort zone, and to venture into the unknown with the intention to confront him or herself with a demanding, yet necessary task and through this process to get to know and transform him or herself, we know from many different angles. The characters Robinson Crusoe, Bilbo Baggins, Cheryl Strayed, the heroine of the film Wild, the hero of the famous movie Cast Away, Chuck Noland, are various interpretations of the myth about a hero who goes through a process and experiences similar things as those who are confronted with the loss, illness, privation and other difficult tests. This is a story about a person who finds him or herself in a situation where they are forced to question their principles or even make new sense of their existence. A new position enables them to place themselves thoroughly in the world where they are situated. Maruša Meglič understands, this, from the developing point of view, crucial moment, as a solitary act: anyone searching for their way will walk through the path of symbolic ‘’redemption’’ by themselves.

The artist understands the process of the actualisation of the exhibition as a symbolic mode of performance of the above-stated description of the existential path. While she is struggling with personal (technical, scenic, constructional competences and knowledge, the sense of aesthetics) and objective (the budget of the display, material and the gallery space) limitations, she cooperates with the organisation and communicates with the gallery crew, undergoing emotional distress and combating with herself, her thinking and justifications. The author wishes to step into the role of a person on a trial who sets out on the unknown path without the assurance of success. We can interpret her exhibition as a courageous and sincere personal search of sense. In the display, the look passes from the construction to the deconstruction of the idea through placed objects and alludes to parallels with the building, questioning, analysing and taking apart of their own identity, all of which are, in the modern pace of life, vital instruments of the individual.

The title of the exhibition is a negation of a proverbial expression and an almost worn-out phrase, no man is an island, which the English poet, John Donne, used at the turn of the 16th century in the Meditation XVII of the collection Devotions upon Emergent Occasions and Seuerall Steps in my Sickness. Ernest Hemingway also used the same proverb in the preface of the book For Whom the Bell Tolls:

No man is an Island, intire of it selfe; every man is a peece
of the Continent, a part of the maine; if a Clod bee washed
away by the Sea, Europe is the lesse, as well as if a
Promontorie were, as well as if a Mannor of thy friends or of
thine owne were; any means death diminishes me, because I
Am involved in Mankinde; And therefore never send to
know for whom the bell tolls; It tolls for thee.

The author intentionally deconstructs the knowledge mentioned above; she adds a different vision of existence into the equation, however, together they both compose a calculation into a new and more abundant sense that is never final but develops simultaneously and upgrades because it is full of contradictions. With the exhibition, the artist only helps to search and address adequate questions that enrich the meaning of life; however, she does not present the answer to the eternal question, what is the purpose of life. Her opinion is that each person has to search for his or her goal, however, despite this, for each; there is still a place for relations and a place for belonging.

Maruša Meglič’s concept comes from a personal experience that directed her thinking and creativity towards the direction of themes which postmodernism put into the quotation marks and identified as meta-stories. Starting a dialogue about categories, which create a general frame of the human condition and legitimise the purpose of human existence, became a hazardous doing, as the ways of knowledge testing in this field do not exist. The paradigm that supports the subjectivisation of the category of truth is also present. Because of this the decision about the choice of the theme, which is responsible for the origins of the art project in the Alkatraz Gallery, is daring and uncompromising, and speaks about the fact that the artist wishes to lead things into the direction of the less widespread questioning of existential themes. Her starting point is a wish for problematizing personal experience, regardless the favoured trends.

Ana Grobler & Sebastian Krawczyk

Maruša Meglič was born in 1989 in Ljubljana. She graduated from Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana in the field of painting (2012). She continued her education at a study exchange in Prague, at the Academy of Art, Architecture and Design. She is currently finishing Master's Degree in painting at ALUO in Ljubljana. She lives and works in Ljubljana. Maruša Meglič presented her works at the following solo exhibitions: Skin Deep (HOoST, Ljubljana, 2017), Warm Heart Faint of Heart (Chalton Gallery, London, 2016), the artist only needs a little (KIOSK Kino Šiška, Ljubljana, 2015), Some Rosary (Bežigrajska galerija, Ljubljana, 2013). She also participated in several group exhibitions in Slovenia (Škuc Gallery, 2016; Jakopič Gallery, 2016; MSUM +, 2015; MGLC, 2013; Gallery Alkatraz, 2012) and abroad (ESSL Museum, Vienna, 2015; Gallery Cortil, Rijeka, 2015 ; Constantin Brancusi Gallery, Bucharest, 2014; Gallery Medium, Bratislava, 2013). She is the recipient of the Essl Art Award CEE 2015.

The project is supported by: Filc, d.o.o. & Kemoplast, d.o.o.