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Mentorship+| Petra Korent: Dates 4 Ever

22 December 2021 > 14 January 2022 Kindly invited to the opening of the exhibition of Petra Korent, titled "Dates 4 Ever", on Wednesday, 22 December, at the Alkatraz Gallery, AKC Metelkova mesto. The exhibition was created in collaboration with Petra Varl, as part of the Mentorship+ project.

The project Mentorship+ is intended to highlight the collaboration between an artist with more experience in the world of art and with an artist who is just getting ready to take their space within it. The idea of mentorship is not related to the vertical transfer of knowledge and experience, but is rather understood in a broader sense, as a process of connecting, based on non-hierarchy, a kind of mutual giving and receiving, where both persons can, in any given moment, take on the roles of advisor, mentor, (co-)curator and creator.

This kind of intergenerational connection can have a lot of creative potential for both parties, as the people involved in the project bring very different experiences, ways of working and views on art and beyond. If they want to be open to learning, the process of making the project has a lot of creative charge and several long-term benefits that can go beyond the framework of the design of the exhibition and affect the further development of an individual. The collaboration starts at the beginning of the year, as the continuous, long-lasting and deliberate work of all involved through dialogue, especially artists, is of utmost importance, which then culminates in the exhibited project at the end of the year. The project raises numerous questions and challenges, but it is up to the artists to answer the questions of authorship, to shape the contents of the joint project, and to meet the challenges of collective cooperation, encouraged by the gallery.

Mentorship + occupies a special place within the exhibition program of the Alkatraz Gallery, because this kind of procedural cooperation requires a lot of energy and commitment, but it is worth the effort, because in the end it brings a lot of satisfaction, as new dynamics that contribute to inspiring art projects are created. The last four implementations of the project have shown that there is a need for in-depth and long-term collaborations, based on networking and exchange, leaving room for spontaneity and experimentation. Emphasizing the framework that leaves more space, allows creative potentials to be realised to a greater extent, as they develop in a relaxed environment, outside of the pressures of a market economy.

This year, we invited Petra Varl and Petra Korent to participate in the project, and during the process they decided to realize a solo exhibition of Petra Korent as dialogic partners. The young artist drew attention to herself with her illustrations, which are created in her characteristic style. Her world of art frequently depicts detabooed images in sexual positions, which, regardless of unusual locations, reveal surprising banality and routine. In her drawings, we see the usual props: pieces of furniture, cars, plants, utensils, etc. The drawing is intentionally simplified and naive, which determines a specific melancholic atmosphere.

The exhibition at the Alkatraz Gallery brings Petry Korent's new artistic expression, which changed from the two-dimensional to the spatial. The other medium, nonetheless, still reveals Petra Korent's creative world we are accustomed to: full of expressive characters portrayed in the context of relationships that are established between them. When the viewer crosses the tresshold of the gallery, they are greeted by a plaster sculptural installation, consisting of a long table and numerous oversized objects, which bring a sense of monumentality to the gallery space, or figuratively, the importance of human relations, which the author symbolically takes a closer look at in this way. The objects construct the date scene: On the table we can see cake, candlesticks, napkins, a wine glass and other objects, next to the table, there are carpets, which represent comfort and relaxation in an intimate relationship, and a football ball, which illustrates the risk of trampling and kicking the emotions when entering a relationship, or a successful game of exchanging opinions, revelations and warmth. The sculptural objects are deliberately incompletely made and thus leave the viewer with the impression that the situation in the gallery, in which they found themselves, does not represent a record of a specific situation, but is rather generic and an imprint of the spirit of the time, which is reflected through the author's understanding of personal relations. We cannot get rid of the impression that the artist, by 'capturing' the viewer into her 3D drawing, subtly offers a mirror of contemporary way of life, which may be full of screaming objects and extravagant poses, but can in fact be easily repeated and is reduced to a few basic patterns.

Within banal situations and scenes, however, there is a desire for connection and lasting meaning, which the author associates with the role of relationships, because, as she says, everything began with a date, dating forever. Dating in this case is not defined in a rigid way as meeting of lovers, but above all as (also friendly) relationships in which interpersonal contact brings intimacy and deeper connection. This connection enables the transcendence of superficiality and emptiness that arise from the transition between various roles of precarious life and (self)images of oneself in which the young person finds themselves today. The artist supported her vision with a short story, which acoustically permeates the gallery space, and indirectly describes the exhibition, while it speaks openly about the retreat into the intimacy, her own interpretation and the role of relationships in modern life



Sebastian Krawczyk in Ana Grobler

Project is supported by The Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and City Council Ljubljana - Department for Culture.
Translation: Ana Makuc
Proof reading: Neja Berlič
Photographies by: Nada Žgank.