Vojc Sodnikar Ponis: Pebbles | 

Herman Pečarič Gallery, Piran |

19th of June 2021 – 22nd of August 2021 

Vojc Sodnicar Ponis’ art: from physical substance to symbolic reflection

A retrospective show on Vojc Sodnikar Ponis is the perfect opportunity to start from where the artist left off, in order to explore the reverberations generated by his poetics, reasserting the presence of a sober and discreet character, which arises each time an overlook on contemporary art, its role and its possibilities, are required. Man of culture, he nourished his knowledge with a continuous comparison with reality and a vibrant sensitivity for natural phenomena; fervid supporter of New Humanism, the only antidote against violence, barbarity and the extreme consequences of capitalism, he believed in a new form of beauty, which was not an aestheticization for its own sake, but a necessary fulfillment towards a harmonic coexistence with the environment.

Sculptor by vocation, he developed in years of feverish activity an awareness that allowed him to rely on the spontaneity of the artistic act and to project the completed artwork in the block of stone; his poetics is marked by a firm devotion to those creative principles that are inspired by an ascetic purity.

The artist used to previously study the material in which he identified the artwork to produce; he then organized a mental planning that associated space with rhythm, metaphorical allusion with formal animation, vertical elements with the distinctive signs that characterize them.

The virtuous balance of his artworks harmonizes the minimalist tensions with the architectural impulse of volumes, integrated in the logic of precise composed figures. Despite having a direct connection with his materials, many of his artworks are the result of a pronounced spiritual inner drive. This aspect of his work is attested by an evocative exhibition he held some years ago at his atelier: seven stony elements rose above a virtual circle on the floor, traced by the inner sides of the statues, creating a magical atmosphere.

In this way the artist conferred its own musicality to the event establishing a balance between classic and archetype.

His look had always been focused on discovering the absolute equilibrium, by understanding the complexities of infinite and infinitesimal, in a creative activity devoted to the beauty and the harmony originated by simplicity.

The work of Vojc Sodnikare Ponis is a prime example of an artwork able to gather in limited dimensions a symbolic resonance of forms, which expresses a vast range of different interpretations. Traces, grooves, intermittent and linear incisions outline a poetics that aims at the essential, but it is in this very aspect that the artist reaches the founding complexity of the universe, which is innate in each of his artifacts, almost in oxymoronic terms.

The quest for basic shapes (the shell, the spiral, the stele, the natural elements) resolves through the selection of a heterogeneous inventory, which is however always traceable to a common hallmark, the sensibility of the artist himself, who lets the material talk through a language belonging to a remote period and contextualized in contemporaneity.

The artworks scan the rhythm of the space through the juxtaposition of rough and smooth surfaces, simulating the effects of a riptide offshore and alongshore.

By way of its corrugated volumes, the material truly resembles the musicality of the movement of time throughout the evolution phases of history.

The dialectic tension between opposites resides in the interplay of solids and voids, hollows and reliefs. The artist hereby reaches highly effective formal outcomes, characterized by a refined composition, where the charm of classicism – a relevant factor for the author, attentive to the suggestions of history – combines with a myriad of plastic solutions, able to attribute the artwork a series of recognizable outlines that track down to the source, Vojc Sodnikar Ponis.

Space is conceived as an essential component of the artwork, which inside that container is able to enhance and highlight its “anatomical” details, and trigger through the use of light a dance of reflections and absorptions placed there as to constitute a rich alphabet of words that are inscribed into the solidity of substance.

At times it gives a sense of a magmatic flux melting and solidifying due to a mysterious natural phenomenon, arrested at the limits of definable, in that threshold that divides the physical world from the spiritual one. Every portion of the artwork is a written page of emotions, assigned to rhythms and minimal signs, which embrace wits that get caught in those lines and incisions of the tingling scheme.

It is a compound of different alphabets, traceable to the signifying structure of poetic codes, which recall a mental landscape, primal emblem of life where asperities and sources of joy come in succession, in a pressure of events that, overall, render beauty and dignity to existence.

The features of substance, which unavoidably change for each individual piece, offer a variable resistance to the activity of the sculptor who worked with a subtractive process; for this reason the knowledge of the material is revised day by day thanks to a continuous experimentation and to the consolidation of the artistic capacities, trying to find new opportunities to translate through creative projects.

His technique of stone carving proceeded on multiple trajectories, part of a complex poetics that required articulated signs alongside forms and volumes, where the dance of bright/opaque creates a dialectic between reflection and absorption.

The sinuous curves of the plastic bodies generate a series of line movements that dynamize the appearances of the sculpture, sometimes resembling a mysterious fossil, which did not originate from the slow modification of time and weather conditions but came to life through the chisel of Vojc.

Sometimes they look like seashells fallen from the sky that keep the strength of the artistic gesture and testify, by virtue of their moulding, a presence apt to mark the passage of a remote past and the opening of new horizons of knowledge for the contemporaries.

The traces carved on the surfaces are usually not part of the narration but are the clue of an intermittent appearance of veins, through which the artist allows the stone to “breathe”; outside of its raw physical nature, the material demands an outer gaze that classifies it as a plastic element. The assonance with an ancestral imaginary blends with geometrical logic, which is subdued to a project that turns stony reality into throbbing “presence”, inserted in a context that can create a “dialogue” with other sculptures.

Herman Pečarič Gallery has a quite extensive collection, including some works that only who visited Vojc’s atelier in Puče could have seen. His studio is a sort of hermitage that permitted the artist to conceive and create the “creatures” with which he ideally conversed.

This exhibition is also helpful for those visitors that are less accustomed to sculpture; a visit through the multifaceted paths proposed by the show opens a world full of solicitations, both aesthetic and conceptual, that exceed the horizons of physicality.

This also happens thanks to those plastic bodies that are inspired by shapes and concepts of everyday life (pillows, doughnuts, salamanders, the wind) but transpire many symbolic nuances, interpretable through the sensitivity of the viewer, open to an uncountable number of different outcomes.

Enzo Santese