Self-development – an exhibition of students of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana
Kindly invitaed to the opening of "Self-development" – an exhibition of students of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana, on Monday, 24th June at 8 pm, at Alkatraz Gallery, ACC Metelkova. Exhibited artists: Maja Bojanić, Nika Erjavec, Natalija Kosmač, Sara Rman, Fedja Šičarov. Opening hours on Friday, 19th July: 11 am - 2 pm.
Alkatraz Gallery continues its collaboration with the Academy of Fine Arts and Design (ALUO), University of Ljubljana, in the same form as last year. Upon the closing of the exhibition in 2018, the gallery chose to collaborate with the student Doroteja Erhatič for the whole year 2019. We stick to a similar model this year. At the ending of the group exhibition Self-development, we shall choose one artist among all the exhibited artists, and enable them to exhibit for the whole year, to develop their own projects and to network within the artistic system, as a starting point for their future artistic path.
Fedja Šičarov's work displayed at the entrance of the gallery presents his 'play' with drawing during his studies. As it can be discernible from the exhibited photos of various city motifs, he is visually attracted to urban landscape. The wall also includes a colour painting, which brings into the memory murals, colourfulness of the external surface of the Autonomous Cultural Centre Metelkova City, and city quarters rich with street art.
The sculptress Maja Bojanić employed the technique of papier mache to fill out the cracks on the external wall of the building in which the gallery is located, and thus created small sculpted objects. With the installation entitled You're A Little Late, I'm Already Torn she brings fissures from the frontal wall of the gallery, which suffered its major wound in 1993, into its interior (today, Vitraž (Stained Glass) is located there, preserving the memory of the attempts to demolish the building Hlev (The Barn)). With the installation, the artist continues her series Luknje (Holes) (2018-), linking it to the actual (exhibition) space. At an end-of-semester ALUO exhibition, for instance, she exposed the holes on the ground of the art studio by filling them out with epoxy resin, whereas in the case of the Alkatraz Gallery, she does so by transferring casts onto the exhibited place itself.
In her experimental research project /ne/vidno (2018-) (/in/visible/), Nika Erjavec treats the materiality and perceptiveness of the sound. She exposes mechanic undulation, which is ordinarily hidden to the eye. It is sensorially modulated on the foundation of the given matter and space in an inseparable way. She understands the spreading of acoustic undulation on matter as a sensory dialogue between all present animate and inanimate bodies. Sound and vibration are researched both practically, with experiments, and based on theoretical findings of various natural and social sciences. Her own method is developed and upgraded by means of single executions and incessant research, in search of the relationship between the process and separate units.
Dual view of reality in Sara Rman’s treatment of objects as distortions is the theme running throughout her series Urejen nered (2018-) (Settled Disorder). A hanging installation made of glass wool situated in the middle of Alkatraz Gallery opposes its supposed function both with the material from which it is made and with its position. A bed giving nightmares, not sweet dreams. Apparent softness is hiding sharp objects. This reminds us of other objects from the same series. A thimble of a transparent glove with a nail set on the inside, for instance. The glove does not protect or decorate a potential user, but rather threatens them, whereas the object denies its own practical function.
Natalija Kosmač presents herself with a painting, which is growing like a living organism throughout an extended period of time (2018-2019). On the upper edge of the painting, we can see the layering of various materials and inscriptions. The collage that emerges speaks about the constancy of change and represents the flood of information. On the lower left side of the painting, we see a pig’s skull, made of the same material (PU foam), which is stretching towards an artificial and empty upgrade (red apple). It cannot reach it, since the skull is held back by red treads, tying it to the wider context of the painting. The painting Ice-cream/ I Scream ranges between positive appearance of ice cream and horror of survival. The work oscillates between quick pleasure and consistent fight for survival.
The majority of artworks are a part of widely designed series or a painting or opus in progress. What they have in common is the exploration of the surroundings or insight into contemporariness. Occasionally, they also refer to elements of popular culture, which are inseparably intertwined with contemporary life.
The collaborations between art academies and galleries present the first contact, the point of transition from educational institutions into the world of art and exhibitions. During the formation of the group exhibition, we gained insight into certain situations, typical of today’s general position of cultural workers. Most young art students are active in other areas as well, be it external exhibitions, projects or various trainings. Although our meetings went smoothly, some ideas, attempts at a more intertwined exhibition project, remained unrealized. For its execution, all the participants would need to be present for several days, which was not possible despite everyone’s wish, due to the students being overworked. We could thus speak about a failed collaboration: there was a lack of a common moment (in the form of group work), but the project was still realized by means of individual contributions. At the end of the day, increasing exhibition opportunities during studies and study obligations force students to develop their own artistic practices – or into ‘self-development’ – and show that we can find deliberate artistic projects among students’ work.
The exhibition Self-development features works of five artists from three study courses, namely: painting, sculpture and photography. Their common denominator is a continuous development of their own artistic practices. Individual works differentiate one from another to a large extent in terms of the exploration of their own specific ‘space’ or aesthetics.
Maja Bojanić (1997) is a third-year student of Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. In 2016, she co-created scenography for the play O, končno je nastopil čas za nov jutri (Oh, the time for the new tomorrow has finally come), which was co-produced by High School of Design and Photography (SŠOF) and Poljane High School. She also participated in numerous group projects and exhibitions, such as: K nam naj nazaj se vrnejo (May They Return) (Mergentalerjeva ulična galerija, Kranj 2017); The Absence is Present (Cukrarna, Ljubljana 2017), an installation of students of Sculpture; a performance entitled Plinta with Petra Leskovar Grum at the opening of the exhibition Abstrakcija je izven tvoje cone ugodja (Abstraction Is out of Your Comfort Cone) (Equrna, Ljubljana 2018); Kipaktiv – 19 sculptural interventions (Ad surfaces TAMTAM, Ljubljana 2018), 7:069: S02E03 (Simulaker, Novo mesto 2019). Her works include the installation Okvir (A Frame) (Layerjeva hiša, Kranj 2018) and a rock sculpture Ostanek (A Remnant) (Študentska Forma viva in Rožna dolina, Ljubljana 2018). She attended the workshop Laboratorij svetlobne gverile (Light Guerrilla Lab) (Cukrarna, Ljubljana 2018), Hands-on/Hands-off with the installation Moj prostor (My Space) (Faculty of Architecture, Ljubljana 2019) and Artist Book (The International Centre of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana, 2019). She received the UL ALOU award for the school year 216/2017. Maja works as a cultural editor at the online portal Artfiks.
An intermedia artist Nika Erjavec (1994) is active in the areas of sculpture, design, photography and theatre. In 2017, she graduated from The Academy of Fine Arts and Design with the title The Dialogue between Glass and Ceramics In the Fire/The Uniqueness of Form in Alternative Burning Techniques, under the supervision of Dragica Čadež and Tanja Pak. Currently, she is doing an MA in Sculpture, supervised by Alen Ožbolt and Maja Smrekar, in which she is exploring the relationship between an object and subject, and sensory artistic potentials. Nika is interested in the blurred boundaries in the media and archaic approaches in relation to contemporary and experimental expressions of various materials, by means of which she is researching innovative technological and sensory combinations. As a student, she exhibits her work locally and internationally, in theatres, and participates in various workshops at home and abroad.
Natalija Kosmač (1995) is a painter, visual artist and designer. In her work, she questions humour, irony, satire, morbidity, death, utopian and dystopian visions of the future and natural laws of evolution. In 2014, she finished High School of Design and Photography, in 2017 she graduated from Industrial Design; she is currently an MA student at The Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. Between 2017 and 2018, she worked in the International Centre of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana, and Creative Centre Švicarija in Ljubljana. Her solo exhibitions include Samo za moje oči (For My Eyes Only) in the International Centre of Graphic Arts and
GalerijaGallery, in collaboration with Galerija 7:069. She participated in the group exhibition of ALOU students in the National and University Library (NUK) in Ljubljana. With the paintings Ikebana and Ice-cream / I Scream, she presented herself at the Festival DA! (YES!) in Zagreb, Croatia. As a part of her MA studies, she is currently organising Students’ Art Fair, the second edition of which took place in 2019.
Sara Rman (1992) is finishing her MA in Photography at The Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. She is active in various artistic and hand craft areas. For her, the photographic medium is a means of expression, through which she explores concepts of identity and dimensions of the field and raw aesthetics. She participated in the following exhibitions at home and abroad: Prekleti delež (Damn Share) (Ljubljana, Slovenia), Fotoknjiga in fotozin (Photobook and Photozin) (Ljubljana, Celje, Maribor, Slovenia), Haunted House of Horror (London, the UK), Retro (Fotofest Košice, Slovaška), After all (Krakow, Poland). Her solo exhibition Swallow Your Pride (2017) took place in Slovakia. Sara received the ALOU reward for special achievements for her BA thesis entitled Free Spirit of Time in the study year 2016/2017.
Fedja Šičarov (1995) finished Ledina High School. He is a student of Painting at The Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana. He is interested in illustration, comics, film and photography. He is also active in art pedagogy. He draws inspiration from urban environments. Fedja participated in numerous group exhibitions, such as: Ohranimo oceane (Preserving Oceans) (Unesco's exhibition at Marine Biology Station Piran), Slav stajl (Centre of Slavic Cultures France Prešeren, Ljubljana), Appointment (exhibition of posters in the framework of the festival Ment, Dobravaga, Ljubljana). His solo exhibitions include Fedja Šičarov: 23, ritem sekcija (DobraVaga, Ljubljana, 2019) and Črno na belem (Black on White) (Žmauc, Ljubljana). Fedja lives and works in Ljubljana.
Photos from the opening: Nada Žgank.