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Julij Borštnik: Basic Bricks of Logic 1

17 January 2019 > 08 February 2019 Kindly invited to the opening of the exhibition of Julij Borštnik "Basic Bricks of Logic 1" on Thursday, 17. January 2019, at 7pm, in Alkatraz Gallery, ACC Metelkova mesto.

Julij Borštnik has been active in the sphere of contemporary art for more than a decade. His background is in sculpting, but his work spans several fields and represents an interesting example of creative practice, finding inspiration in contexts not directly associated with fine arts. Contemporary arts cover a variety of heterogeneous practices. Despite all this diversity, Borštnik’s approach is original, stemming from the need for a fundamental study of life in society. It encompasses the theory of society, philosophy and economics, as well as art theory and history and general history and anthropology in order to build his own point of view which he then shapes with the help of visual messages: sculptures and spatial installations, visual 2D and 3D conceptual schemes, documentary film, video, animation and art-supported lectures. One notable example is his work Valjar kapitalizma (The Steamroller of Capitalism) which, by combining serious theory with figural playfulness, explores the way contemporary capitalism works, winning him the first Essl Award conferred in Slovenia in 2005.

The key part of Borštnik’s art explores the possibilities of significant changes and proposed changes through artistic contextualisation. He focuses on the issues of the production and exchange system, the structure of power, and the space of the public and the political. The exhibition Osnovni zidaki logike 1 (Basic Bricks of Logic 1) is all the more meaningful as the in situ created pieces are designed based on the principle of arte povera. The artist talks about the subtly forced developments (brought about by capital owners) in society through DIY principles, the use of wood previously used in the construction of a hayrack and foam from the production of mattresses donated by MebloJOGI.

The project Basic Bricks of Logic 1 is the continuation of the artist’s collaboration with the Vienna gallery Schleifmüehlgasse resulting in the exhibition The Measure of Profit (2014) and is designed as a minimalist sculpture installation. First and foremost, it speaks to the viewer through spatial physical and visual perception, the content of the message coming to the forefront after deeper consideration. There are two sculptures in the space: two parallel installations from wooden squares and foam. In terms of content, the constructions first seem rather abstract, but after a more careful examination of the installation and the sketches on the walls, it becomes clear that the two objects represent the four key curves of the logic of profit-driven economy. The first set represents the conceptual assumptions of profit logic. The second set shows how it works in practice based on statistics for the last seven decades.

The exhibition is an attempt at making the key elements of the logic that dominates and drives the economic and political environment in which we live immediately comprehensible. The first set represents the curves delineated by the logic in the abstract, conceptual world without the limitations of the real world, the logic being realisable in its presumed form. The second set represents the same curves but in the real world; as outlined in the past seventy years. A comparison between the two sets uncovers the logic’s entanglement in its own contradictions and the limits of the environment.

With the help of original artefacts, the artist translates the knowledge that is usually difficult to convert into unambiguous content into comprehensible and clear messages. Through a well-thought-out intertwinement of statistics and art, he emphasises that discovering and understanding the abstract powers that have a significant effect on our lives is the necessary first step towards a conscious and critical existence. As a result, the audience find it easier to pose themselves the following questions pertaining to the level of understanding the world around us. To what extent do we understand the mechanisms governing the system which we are part of? To what extent are we prepared to explore them? How can we use them to help ourselves make choices and reach decisions? Thus, with the help of art, the author brings the complex phenomena of social life into a form that opens up a wider perspective on the manner of being in the world.

Ana Grobler, Sebastian Krawczyk

Julij Borštnik studied sculpting at the Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts and Design from which he graduated in 2007. In 2005 he received the Student Prešeren Award and the international artists’ Essl Award. In 2008 he enrolled in the postgraduate programme of philosophy organised by the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts (SASA) in collaboration with the University of Nova Gorica. The main cycles of his artistic creation include The Future of Work (a series of four feature-length documentaries in co-authorship with Abel Heijkamp), Osnovni zidaki logike (The Basic Bricks of Logic)The Measure of Profit,Schleifmühlgasse Gallery, Vienna, Austria, 2014) and Potencialni Prostor (Potential Space – exhibitions Re-Generation at the Institute of Chemistry, 2018; the exhibition The Path at the Srečišče Gallery, 2013; the exhibition Impulse and Possibilities at the Trbovlje Workers’ Hall, 2011; a performative lecture at the Personal/Collective Festival, 2011). He regularly works with sculptor Katja Oblak in the fields of sculpting and video. Since 2008, he also devotes his time to work and organisation in the field of fine art pedagogics (sculpting, painting, animation) for various age groups. Since 2011, he also teaches sculpting at the Fine Arts Education Centre (LICE) in Ribnica, and drawing and sculpting at the School of Fine Arts in the Nova Gorica City Gallery which he co-founded

Big thanks to: MebloJOGI and Matej Bizovičar.

Photos from the opening: Nada Žgank.