Serious players / Resni igralci
Curator: Jadranka Ljubičič
Assistant: Ana Grobler
Production: Alkatraz Galerija, Ljubljana
Co-production: Galerie ZERO, Berlin
Supported by: Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and Cultural Department of the City of Ljubljana
Opening: Friday, 21th of May at 8 p.m.
Gallery opening hours: Thursday - Friday 2 – 6 p.m.
»Our society is constantly confronting with different contradictions. However knowing that something is true means believing in this something, or that this something is true.«
In the 1980s the generation of the presented authors attended primary school and was therefore the last generation to experience life in a communist society. Many of them consider themselves to be the lost generation, since they feel neither as part of the past nor the present system. The younger generations were growing up in the democratically-capitalistic society and became assimilated, whereas the older generations were already provided with jobs and roofs over their heads.
The only advantage of the mentioned generation is its capability to keep a distance from great words and promises because of its historical experience, which was marked by the idealism of the utopian Communism on one hand and by great promises of the democratically-liberal society on the other. The collapse of Communism and the grey/transparent reality of the present led the representatives of this generation into healthy cynicism, which manifested itself in their incapability to identify themselves with the political system and the great ideas. Consequently some sort of an absurd situation was created, since identity is defined through negation.
In the chosen works of art the established distance is manifested through a humorous and critical approach to their lives and their roles in the society. We might say that some of them consider life a game, which doesn't necessarily mean that they don't take life seriously.
"Play is older than culture, for culture, however inadequately defined, always presupposes human society, and animals have not waited for man to teach them their playing."1
Huizing believes that many aspects of our lives are interlinked with playing. Today nobody is ready to admit that, since playing is considered as not serious enough and as inappropriate for the so-called serious social roles. It is precisely this fact that prevents the members of this society from reflecting on their roles.
The role of the artist was changing along with the society. In Slovenia the tradition of artistic provocation is almost as old as art itself. Even in the period of the Iron Curtain the criticism in art was a frequent phenomenon and was tolerated to a certain degree. The socially critical artists of today have found themselves in an absurd situation due to the system of financing. In Slovenia most of the cultural projects are publicly financed, therefore we could say that the artists are biting the hand that feeds them or in other words that the artists are using cynicism and criticism as a method.
"And once, when he was discussing some point, Diogenes held up a piece of salt fish, and drew off the attention of his hearers; and as Anaximenes was indignant at this, he said, 'See, one pennyworth of salt fish has put an end to the lecture of Anaximenes."2 Being able to distance oneself and be critical from one's work enables the author to express the real nature of the game.
“Damijan Kracina artistic world is researching biodiversity of life. All life on earth is a part of one great, interdependent system. It interacts with, and depends on, the non-living components of the planet: the atmosphere, oceans, freshwaters, rocks, and soil. Humanity depends totally on this community of life-this biosphere-of which we are an integral part. Biological diversity, or biodiversity, is the variety of the world's organisms, including their genetic diversity and the assemblages they form. It is the blanket term for the natural biological wealth that under girds human life and well-being. The breadth of the concept reflects the inter-relation of genes, species, and ecosystems.”3
Tomaž Tomažin's work encompasses video and photographic works in which he attempts to locate the relationship of the self to society. As his starting point he takes films that seem to him to present contemporary society. He then re-imagines the existing dialogue as if taking place between him and the characters in the acted films, documentaries, or videos. He then “re-enacts” all the selected roles in front of a blue screen and, using a computer, inserts his own head, to replace the original characters. Tomaz Tomazin is interested in the separation between subject and object, and between the head and the body. As for the viewers, even as they view the video work, they find themselves in the body of the actor. These defects, in fact, expose it clearly for what it is, namely, manipulation. The point of this visual manipulation, its main idea, is to create a reflection. Like the artist, so are the viewers, compelled again and again to ask themselves questions about their own identity.