The body as a point of view: Photo Exhibition | 30 June─11 September 2022 | Loža Gallery Koper | Opening: Tuesday 30 June 2022 at 7.30 p. m. |
Curator: Hana Čeferin, Co-curator: Tatjana Sirk | In cooperation with: Galerija Fotografija, Ljubljana
When we consider the human body in terms of art history, hundreds of images appear in our minds. Whether it be medieval portrayals of saints, renaissance nudes of Greek goddesses or post 20th century advertising campaigns, the body has historically had an enormous number of meanings projected onto it. It is important to ask ourselves what kind of meanings the depiction of the body carries today; is it still discriminatorily limited to female nudes, as John Berger suggested in The Ways of Seeing? Have we, due to the flood of body-centred images, become indifferent towards it, as Susan Sontag remarks in On Photography? Has photography circled back to regarding the body purely in terms of form, using it much in the same way Bauhaus photographers used random household items as their subjects?
Certainly, a case could be made for any of these arguments. When we examine the selection of Slovenian artists dealing with the body today, it seems they are no longer concerned with its meanings; the central theme of their work seems to lie elsewhere. The male and female body in exhibited photographs are agents of form rather than meaning, they are gateways into the exploration of the medium itself. Although a large portion of the works features nudes, a subject frequently connected to objectification of the female body, the works approach the erotic in a way that has nothing to do with the pornographic and obscene. As Audre Lorde puts it in her essay Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power, the erotic is personifying creative power and harmony.
The selection of artists represented by Galerija Fotografija aims to show the multi-faceted ways to approach the human body by selecting photographs from different time periods, backgrounds, age groups, genders, and interests – the common denominator of selected photographers is a passion for analogue photography and the medium as an art form. The works explore curiosity, creativity, and diversity, while also interrogating the relationship between artist and subject.
For Uroš Abram’s work, the body is integral, as it is at the same time the subject of his works and the means to make them. He uses camera oralis, a camera obscura made in his mouth – his own body – to photograph faces and figures and transfer their blurred impressions onto a canvas. Vanja Bućan focuses on photographic representations of the natural world by playfully reminding us that our adopted images of the “natural” are often a matter of perception. Human presence is suggested only through isolated body parts, which in ambivalent settings depict a complicated relationship between humans and nature. Boris Gaberščik’s approach to photography is playful, delighting in transforming random or found objects of seemingly no importance into imaginative, often humorous figures. Using only a single light source and a large format camera, Gaberščik finds bodies where there are none, inviting us to reconsider how we understand images at all. Andrej Lamut portrays the body as a dream figure, as he creates visceral images of faceless bodies descending into darkness or barely visible shadows passing by. His series Mnemosis is inspired by daytime parahypnagogia, a state of consciousness between sleep and wakefulness, when meaning is just outside of our grasp and images lose their coherence. Tanja Lažetić explores the body through her own image, which she often includes in her artistic projects. In the project titled Whore, she is referring to a work by Sanja Iveković, Tragedy of a Venus (1975), in which Iveković juxtaposed photos of her own life with the glamorous one of Marilyn Monroe. Lažetić reprinted it in 2010 with her own image and the word whore stamped over it. With this intervention, she is proposing a feminist reading of celebrity, the lines between public and private, and what it means to be a woman. Tilyen Mucik explores the potentials of combining the photographic image with natural processes, an objective stemming from her deep interest in botany. Her love of plants is visible in anthotypes, images created using photosensitive plant materials, and chlorophyll process prints on plant leaves. The nudes in these works are slowly fading with light exposure, calling attention to the transient nature of everything organic. In his polaroids of nudes, Janez Pukšič creates gentle, hazy female portraits, in which he is trying to transfer the sensuality of what is portrayed into the technique of the work itself. Using polaroid image transfer, he creates delicate, erotic nudes. Blaž Rojs perceives his work as a canvas for intervention. Collage, painting, photography, sculpture, and graphic design merge in multidisciplinary works which centre around polaroids of half-clothed or nude women. By adding and subtracting from the primary image, Rojs creates unique personal narratives, intimate in its choice of motif as well as his use of highly personal elements, such as a fictional writing system known only to himself.
HANA ČEFERIN (1995) holds a BA in English and Art History. Since 2015 she works as a curator and assistant in Galerija Fotografija gallery in Ljubljana, where she works with international and Slovenian artists. Since 2021, she is the founder and editor of a showcase magazine for contemporary art ETC.. She also works as a freelance curator, who among others has worked with Cankarjev dom Cultural Hall, Škuc Gallery, The National Gallery. Her arthistorial and critical writing is regularly published in journals and magazines such as Likovne besede and Membrana. Between 2020 and 2022 she was part of the 18th generation of the World of Art, School for Curatorial Practices and Critical Writing, organized by SCCA in Ljubljana.
UROŠ ABRAM (1982) graduated at FAMU academy in Prague in 2010. Since 2013, he is an associate of the Slovenian weekly magazine Mladina, where he is publishing his creative portraits, also exhibited in the National Gallery (2017). He published two books – Body. Made in Me in 2011, in which he presents a series of photographs made with a camera oralis, an invention of the author where he transforms his own mouth into a camera obscura. His book Dialogical portraits (2017) presents his series of innovative portraits of Slovene artists, shot as part of his photographic project for Mladina magazine. He still works both in the field of journalistic as well as fine art photography.
TILYEN MUCIK (1995) dealt with combining feminine and botanical motifs in the field of photography as part of her graduate thesis, which she has since elevated into an exploration of the connections between botany and photography. In 2013 she received first prize at Tresk festival for best concert photography, and again a special jury mention in 2018. Her works have been exhibited in Slovenia and abroad and published in British (Wotisart?, SemiMagazine), American (Float magazine, Shuba magazine, F-stop magazine) and Canadian (Terroir magazine) online and printed magazines. She finished her master studies in Photography at the Academy of Visual art and Design in Ljubljana.
JANEZ PUKŠIČ (1945) worked as a photojournalist for 12 years before he specialised as a culinary photographer. His photos adorn more than a hundred internationally renowned cookbooks and have received numerous awards (two books created in cooperation with designer Žare Kerin received the prestigious Red Dot Design award). His artistic work is focused on capturing the fleetingness of moments passing, which he presents both in his erotic polaroids as well as in his impressions printed on canvas.
BLAŽ ROJS (1995) combines painting, photography, and graphic design in his work. He finished his graduate studies in 2020 at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design (ALUO) in Ljubljana with a summa cum laude awarded thesis “Intervention in Photography". Among others, he exhibited his work in the Fotopub project space in Ljubljana (2020), FOAM museum Amsterdam and Nederlands Fotomuseum (2021) and Galerija Fotografija (2022). He lives and works in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
TANJA LAŽETIĆ (1967) works in the fields of photography, video, performance, ceramics and artist’s book. Her work has been featured in exhibitions at Moderna galerija (four times at its U3 triennial), the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, the Neuer Berliner Kunstverein in Berlin, Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando in Madrid, the Museum Brandhorst in Munich, the Gagosian Gallery in Paris, Beverly Hills and New York, and many others. In 2015 she won the Bronze Award at the Nanjing International Art Festival in China and Third Prize at the International Ceramics Triennial UNICUM in Ljubljana, and in 2016 the Rihard Jakopič Honorable Mention. In the last ten years, Lažetić published more than twenty artist’s books. Her book Whore has been included in The Photobook: A History, Volume III published by Phaidon in 2014. Her photobooks are also included in the MoMA Artists’ Books Collection and the Tate Collection of Artists’ Books. She lives and works in Ljubljana.
ANDREJ LAMUT (1991) is a photographer working with analogue and digital techniques, perceiving photographs as physical objects that should be seen, felt and experienced. He graduated with honours from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design (ALUO) in 2016 and has received several accolades for his work, including the Prešeren Prize for Students (ALUO) and the Best Design Award in the category of monographic/bibliographic publications at the 33rd Slovenian Book Fair. As an emerging artist he represented Slovenia in the first cycle of the European Photo Based Platform – PARALLEL, and within the context of the program exhibited his works at the FORMAT Festival (UK) and Organ Vida Festival (Croatia). Over the past two years he has occasionally held photography workshops at different institutions, including the Maribor Art Gallery and the Faculty of Applied Sciences.
VANJA BUĆAN (1973) is a Slovenian freelance photographer who lives and works in Berlin, Germany. After her formative years, graduating from the Royal Academy of Arts in the Hague, she developed an own artistic style, focusing on the representation and relationship between humans and nature. Her distinct photographic approach has won her several international awards and nominations. Her major exhibitions include Kunsthaus Wien (Austria), Lentos Kunstmuseum (Austria), Benaki Museum (Greece), Lishui Museum Of Art (China), Cafe Art Museum Beijing (China), Museum of Modern Art Banja Luka (Bosnia and Herzegovina), festivals such as Circulation(s) Paris, Biel photo festival, Athens Photo Festival, Solar Photo festival, Month of Photography Los Angeles, Leica Gallery Wetzlar, Getty Images Gallery London, Poznan Photo Biennial and major European art fairs.
BORIS GABERŠČIK (1957) is widely acclaimed for his recognisable analogue still life photography, in which he plays with objects, light and composition to produce new visual and contextual meanings. His works are internationally recognized and included in many museum and private collections. He has received several awards for his works, which have been presented in publications in Slovenia and abroad. In 2018 he received a Prešeren Foundation Award, the highest national award in the field of arts, selected and granted by the Prešeren Foundation. His works have been presented at Paris Photo (2010, 2011), Photo Basel (2017, 2018, 2019) and Vienna Contemporary (2019), among other fairs. Since 1985 he had many solo exhibitions in Ljubljana, Slovenia (Gallery Equrna, Museum of Modern Art), Graz (Orpheum), Salzburg (Gallery Fotohof), Paris (VU') and has participated in group exhibitions all over the world.