28 December 2022 > 20 January 2023 Kindly invited to the opening of the exhibition of Meta Kastelic and Urša Rahne on Wednesday, 28 January at 7 pm at Alkatraz Gallery, ACC Metelkova mesto. The exhibition is a part of a MEnthorship+ project. After the New Year Day's holidays the gallery will be again open on 3 January 2023.
The project Mentorship+ is one of the most recognisable programs that we carry out under the auspices of The Alkatraz Gallery. Every year, we invite two artists to participate: one, who has an established position within the art world and a lot of experience related to many years of activity in the field of contemporary art, and the other, who is just entering this world and developing their expressiveness. The idea of mentoring that we formulated is not tied to one-way transfer of knowledge. It is rather conceived as a dialogical process that takes place over a longer period and is based on non-hierarchy. We believe that such collaboration, which is based on the curiosity to familiarise oneself with different ways of working and mutual learning, benefits both participants and contributes to the creation of interesting results for the audience as well. Both persons assume the roles of advisor, mentor, (co-)curator and creator and, through this process, create the final exhibition.
Projects designed in this way have more potential and are important from several points of view. The invitees are usually positioned at different ends of the visual scene, so the persons involved bring very different experiences, ways of working and views on art as well as personal dynamics to the table. Such collaboration, however, also carries a risk; if the participants are willing to step out of their comfort zone and adapt their own ways of working, the result can be surprisingly innovative, but if the willingness to do this is lacking, the process becomes more difficult and may even contribute to the creation of a study of failure of some sort.
The collaboration lasts one year, starting in January and ending in December. It is essential that it takes place continuously throughout the whole year and culminates in the exhibition project at the end of the year. With each new dialogue pair, we are faced with the questions of how the issue of authorship will be resolved, how the duo will tackle the challenge of working in tandem, and how will they divide the roles in the project. All in all, there is also an open question whether a joint idea will be formed at all or if the two artists will choose another path.
This year's exhibition by Meta Kastelic and Urša Rahne On the Edge of Awareness revolves around the topic of pain. Through the exploration of individual stories, the artists formulated a common artistic narrative about the images of pain. Urša Rahne catches the attention of the viewer within the walls of the space she builds in the gallery. Processed childhood photographs are transformed into ambient forms seen in the projections, filling a small space, and thereby contributing to the the creation of a claustrophobic effect. The images return to the kitchen space, which is symbolically connected with early experiences and memories. The visual part is complemented by sounds from cartoons, which are inseparably connected with these memories. Children's only apparently innocent soundtracks and texts are interrupted by glitches – sound scratches that disturb the melody and intentionally open the in-between space to feelings of discomfort. This recreation of childhood memories is full of contradictions and ambivalent feelings; the warmth of the home environment and the playfulness of growing up are mixed with uncertainty and confusion caused by traumatic experiences. The repetitive sequence of visual and audio stimuli is an overloading sensory experience that embodies a psychologically enclosed world of always the same memories that play out cyclically in an individual.
The central part of the gallery is filled with an installation by Meta Kastelic. It is an unstable, moving bed attached to the columns of the gallery, which metaphorically recreates the artist's stay in the hospital. A stay marked by helplessness, pain and suffering was based on horizontal recumbent position, and her plight was overlooked by those who were supposed to help alleviate her discomfort. Through her work, the artist aims to revive this experience of being locked up in a world of intense physical and psychological perceptions with the help of artistic tools. She does not only attempt to bring this experience closer to the viewer, but also to show, through small interventions, that despite being trapped, it is possible to overcome the feeling of helplessness, even if only momentarily. These moments are the islands of freedom. Buzzing videos of dragonflies, a metaphor for helicopter traffic with critically ill patients projected onto the bed, otherwise serve to make it more difficult, just as intense pain prevents the patient to be wholly present. But details such as the painted figure, printed on the bedding, argue against the intractability of the situation. The portrayed person exhibits a determined expression, full of strength and will to persevere, despite being visibly in pain.
In the exhibition, the two artist who connected in the Mentorship+ project through the topic of pain, depict and put on display the complexities of mental processes, which concern both physical and psychological suffering, and are so extreme that they can push the individual to the very edge of awareness. Their intention is not only to make these processes visible, but also to make them more comprehensible, because, in this way, we become more aware of them, and then it is easier to deal with them, face them and overcome them, if only for a moment. Since if there exists one moment of awareness, it is a tangible point of reference that can lead to other points of hope and gradually even to empowerment. Although the exhibition can only be read through the prism of being trapped in pain, its contents are universal and can also be applied to all areas of human life marked by hopelessness.
Sebastian Krawczyk, Ana Grobler
Urša Rahne (1996) is a multimedia artist, currently living, studying, and working in Ljubljana. She is interested in the fields of documentary and art photography, video art and film. She gets the inspiration for her artwork from the surroundings within which she operates, since she connects it to social and political problems of contemporary society. She has exhibited solo in the cultural centre Garaža (Beograd, 2017), DobraVaga gallery (2021) and Night Window Display Gallery Pešak (2021). She has participated in group exhibitions in Dorćol Platz (Beograd), Lighting Guerrilla festival and many others with the art collective Podmladek, whose member she has been since 2019. She is also one of the founding members of the collective Kvadratni meter, which addresses the residential and spatial problems in 2019. She has exhibited in Cirkulacija2, Alkatraz Gallery and in Aksioma as a part of the collective, the work of which was published in magazines such as Likovne besede and ETC Magazine.
Meta Kastelic, MA completed her undergraduate studies at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana. She received the Prešeren Student Award for her BA dissertation. Her mentor in MA studies was Professor Alen Ožbolt. Her work revolves mostly around sensuality and the position of everyman in society. In 2012, she made the statue of a dancing master Adolf Jenko, which is situated on Congress Square. She won the 16th sculptural exhibition of the Sculpture Association’s main award. She has also received many international awards for her work. Her sculptures were exhibited in the Slovenian pavilion at Expo 2020 in Dubai. She used to conduct art courses for youth and adults in the Pionirski dom (Pioneer Home), while, nowadays, she conducts preparational courses for enrolling into The Academy of Fine Arts and Design, UL. She lives and works in Ljubljana, where she has her art studio at ACC Metelkova mesto.