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Mircea Nicolae / Google Tourist

27 June 2008 > 19 July 2008

The exhibition is part of the final project of Laboratorium of Curatorial Practices 2007/2008 entitled Destination: Metelkova. Taking the given context of Metelkova, laborants opted for a somehow distanced view of Metelkova itself by choosing to invite a guest artist as part of their curatorial strategy.The memory of space; the potential for different readings and creations of historical narratives; the mutations of symbols and signs; the actualisation and (re)production of history - these are only a few of the possibilities offered to the visiting artist in Metelkova. He was working on artistic project for one month in direct communication with the immediate surroundings. He entitled his exhibition Google Tourist.

Participants of Laboratorium and curators of the exhibition: Nataša Bodrožić, Petra Milič, Teja Rot, Jernej Škof and Vanja Žanko.

You are cordially invited!

Visiting artist

Mircea Nicolae (Bucharest, 1980) belongs to a younger generation of contemporary Romanian artists who lives and works in Bucharest. For two years now he has been exploring urban sites and deserted industrial buildings of Romanian cities Sibiu, Bucharest, the area of Ramnicu Valcea and Cluj. His work in progress consists of hundred interventions in abandoned and public buildings in Romania. Nicolae is investigating and revealing the historical background of specific sites that he occupies for a short period of time and transforms them into an exhibition space. Among the most mystical, intriguing and meaningful locations that have been brought to his attention and have touched him so far are theatres (experiment Deserted Cinema), shops (Deserted Shop, Calea Victoriei), historical and cultural monuments (Historical Monument, Memorial of Rebirth), deserted bakeries, church that was demolished during the Communist regime (Demolished Church), parliament in Bucharest (Plaster Molding) and various (partly) demolished city houses (Demolished Houses).
More about artist:

The title of the project is quite revealing of two things. Firstly a digital geographic tool was used to analyze Metelkova and its context, along with other means of investigation, such as reading texts on the issue and meeting people involved in the local scene. The conclusions that resulted can be attributed to a person coming from the outside, a tourist or a guest, who tried to understand what this place was all about in a limited period of time (one month). This is an exterior view, marked by a desire to know, but also by superficiality, as the man with the camera passing by on the street might have taken the wrong picture at the wrong time from the wrong angle. Nevertheless, there is also a high chance that this random description might be revealing and even meaningful.By using the image of mount Triglav, I tried to place Metelkova within a wider symbolic and geographic landscape. The remakes that Irwin and the three Janez Janšas made after the original work of OHO are some of the images that float around this iconic Slovene Triglav, but there is also a recollection of the coat of arms of Slovenia that comes to mind. Juxtaposed on the rainbow pillars that resemble a stack of euro symbols, the three-headed mountain becomes a polemic image, pointing to the fact, that the current system controlling the very lives of people in Slovenia is no longer linked to the ideology of the communist party but to economy itself. The white mountain leaves behind its former mythology and the reference to other contemporary art pieces and it becomes a seemingly naive image with a twist.

Last but not least, using satellite photographs from Google earth I tried to reveal some of the characteristics of Metelkova as an actual site within the city. The two images of ”north and south” underline the two different urban landscapes to which the two areas of Metelkova respectively belong. It is quite obvious that the northern part is connected to an industrial area of railways and that the south lives in a residential region of the city. I tried to erase these differences using a mirror, in an effort to underline the common function of Metelkova as a whole - a provider of cultural products for the city of Ljubljana, whose development is currently supported by the state.

Mircea Nicolae

SCCA, Center for Contemporary Arts – Ljubljana
World of Art, School of Contemporary Art
Head of World of Art: Saša Nabergoj
Mentor of Laboratorium: Petja Grafenauer Krnc
Coordinator of World of Art: Maja Lozić

In collaboration with

Galerija Alkatraz
Masarykova 24, Ljubljana
Tel.: + 386 1 434 03 45
Project is supported by

Okolje Consulting, d.o.o.; Municipality of Ljubljana, Department for culture; Ministry of Culture of Republic of Slovenia