Opening hours:
Monday - Friday:
12am - 6pm

Nataša Skušek: In Mother’s Shoes

07 May 2024 > 31 May 2024 Kindly invited to the opening of the exhibition "In Mother's Shoes" by Nataša Skušek, on Tuesday 7 March at 7 pm, at Alkatraz Gallery, ACC Metelkova mesto. Invited also to the guided tour and a talk with the artist within the Ljubljana Art Weekend programme on Friday, 24 May at 6 pm. The gallery is open between noon and 6 pm on weekdays and on 25 and 26 May from noon until 6 pm.

Nataša Skušek is an established visual artist of the middle generation who, despite her education in sculpture, includes a variety of different media in her creative work. In her rich artistic practice, she often employs video, photography, graphic design, drawing, sculpture, performance and interventions in the public space. The choice of the carrier of her artistic message does not represent an obstacle to her, but rather serves her as a springboard for the narrative. The artist's work is strongly rooted in her daily life experiences, which is why it seems as if she takes her personal story together with the accompanying material component as a starting point for the creation of a universal upgrade that forms an artistic message.

Her regular activity in the field of contemporary art for over twenty years has contributed to the creation of an extensive portfolio of works of art.  The role of artists who continuously work in this field is linked predominantly to ensuring the inflow of fresh artworks. It is not so much about sharing innovative ideas as it is, primarily, about producing new works, which pushes artists into an endless cycle of providing new works continuously, which, as a result, encourages the creation of conditions for excessive low-paid and precarious work. This, regardless of its meaning and the quality of results, leads to harmful patterns of self-fulfilment through work and, ultimately, to burnout. For this reason, the artist decided to take a slightly different approach to the project she conceptualised for the Alkatraz Gallery. The strategy of the new exhibition did not stem from the need for new production, although new works were created, but mainly from a new perspective on past projects.

The exhibition entitled In Mother's Shoes includes repetitions of video performances, yet, this time, instead of the artist and her close ones, her daughters perform in this role. The title refers to the eponymous video from 2024, in which we see two persons walking backwards, wherein their stiletto shoes stand out. 'Mum' in this regard is not solely in the role of the mother, but also in the role of a woman and artist. Moreover, the daughters are not only performers, that is, in the assigned passive role, but a part of the Alkatraz Gallery space is also open to them in the form of a spatial intervention.

In addition to the titular work, three other video artworks are on display in the gallery space. You Will See (2024) humorously illustrates the threat that we can encounter in everyday relationships, which is all the more convincing due to the placement of two televisions which face each other 'eyeball to eyeball'. Free Time (2023), meanwhile, features the female protagonists in a playful interaction, whereas Floating (2022) shows them floating individually in the sea. Both works are a re-interpretation of one of the artist's past video performances. The referential works, which were created in the seaside landscape between the years 2003 and 2007, as well as all other original works, are present at the exhibition only with basic information and QR codes, as an invitation to further explore the artist's video oeuvre.

The change brought about by new works refers to the absence of the artist's image on projections and screens. Furthermore, the presence of protagonists of older works also becomes less tangible. Nataša Skušek enters the visual space with her direct appearance only on the invitation, where we see the closest members of her creative and even private life, and completely straightforwardly with a performance in collaboration with Katja Skušek at the opening at the exhibition. A trace of the author's presence, which is thus not explicit in the exhibited works, is also represented by a sofa and a pair of shoes that remain in the gallery after the opening event. In spite of the fact that this is an authorial, solo exhibition, her artistic practice highlights the importance of collaboration at various levels – from conceptualisation and implementation to post-production, this time also with an emphasis on intergenerational cooperation. Moreover, the artist's exhibitions frequently include an element, such as pieces of furniture, food or other objects, which evoke and question the sense of homeliness.

Nataša Skušek's project thematises the history of her own creativity and, like most of the artist's oeuvre, is connected with her immediate environment – everyday encounters, interpersonal dynamics and the changeability of life. As far as the level of dealing with her past works is concerned, such a turn by the artist towards herself is something new for her oeuvre, although she is no stranger to contemplating her own situation, placing it in the context of relationships with other people and wider social categories or exploring the dynamics of everyday life. On the one hand, this change can be understood as an intimate turn towards herself and her own history, with the aim of questioning her own motives and the meaning of her work: how much can she still connect with the stories she told years ago? Is her thinking still relevant? In this context, looking back is a sensible starting point for an in-depth exploration of her own position and further personal and artistic development.

Broadly speaking, this is also an opportunity to establish a different kind of way of working in contemporary art. By means of developing a dialogue with her own work, the artist subtly confronts the pressure of incessant production and the dictates of novelty as the dominant paradigm. Thus, Nataša Skušek's strategy can be understood as a response to the conditions that dictate hyperproduction, but, simultaneously, do not provide long-term safety and stability, nor do they contribute to the career development, but rather only to alienation from others and oneself.  In  Mother's Shoes is a resistance to harmful modern guidelines of (artistic) life. It is an extensive reconsideration and intergenerational revival of the feminist slogan Personal is political through a unique re-enactment of video performances, which clearly demonstrates how much themes from the past are still relevant today.

Anabel Černohorski, Sebastian Krawczyk, Ana Grobler

Nataša Skušek is a visual artist who traverses between different media and practices in her work. She works in the fields of sculpture, video, photography, graphic design, performance and public space interventions. She is interested in such topics as the relationship between the sexes, erotica, sexuality, body, motherhood, family, eating, whereby she draws inspiration from her everyday experiences.
Moreover, she has been writing since 2014, and her first short story collection entitled Dog's Happiness was published recently.
She likes chocolate, books and flowers.


Thanks to:

Indija, Izabela and Mladen Stropnik
Katja Skušek


DUM – Association of Artists
REP eat

Curated by: Anabel Černohorski, Sebastian Krawczyk, Ana Grobler
Proof-reading: Sonja Benčina
Translation to English: Ana Makuc
Photographies of the exhibition by: Nada Žgank

Financial support: Ministry for Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, City Council Ljubljana - Department for Culture