Group exhibition 2020
Always & Forever
Guy Eytan / IvAnKe (Andreja Džakušič + Keiko Miyazaki + Iva Tratnik) / Neza Knez + Danilo Milovanović / Kresnička
(Tatiana Kocmur + Liza Šimenc) / Dana Lev Levnat / Iza Pavlina / Nez Pez / Matija Plevnik / Franc Purg / Mojca Senegačnik
CSU (Galerija sodobne umetnosti)
Zavod Celeia Celje
Trg celjskih knezov 8
3000 Celje, Slovenia
Always and Forever was formed as a result of the AIR Celeia curatorial residency run by the Centre for Contemporary Arts. Conceived as a situated project concerning the town of Celje, it faces and reframes the colonial gaze of tourism to address Slovenian wanderlust and the relation between the center and the rural-urban fringe. The exhibition and related events gather female and pro-feminist perspectives on travel, adventure, mobility, notes of a journey, and different takes on exploration and discovery. But why would a situated project be about travel and mobility?It suggests ways of how one can decolonize the notions rooted in tourism and questions the perception of the curator in residence as an insider/outsider. As collaborations stem from art-based-friendships, the methodologies were setting up processes, giving agency and supporting ongoing individual and collective practices, addressing local art community issues, and connecting through horizontal learning. The artists exhibiting are experimenting with different aspects of the sense of place and placelessness through juxtaposition, embodiment, the challenge of the male-dominated photographic discourse, and a more inclusive institutional critique. The white walls of the gallery can not encapsulate these artworks.
Their trajectory is towards the river, streets, city forest, side roads that lead to the town, our inner self, and the outside world.
Cut and Paste Worldview (first room)
Guy Eytan and Mojca Senegačnik apply a collage approach with Sketch Towards Another Twin and Burning Desire. They re-appropriate content from illustrative photography of pictorial warnings and stock footage and juxtapose it with visual art, philosophy, and psychoanalysis. The resulting work displays the neoliberal apocalypse of current times. Their journey is singular in a world as viewed by the media. They act as if they were conspiracy theorists directly addressing the viewer, in overidentification with their source material.
Self-discovery, Embodiment, Nature, Country, nation (second room)
This discovery is by processing texts that are meaningful for the artists and by channeling private experiences from one body to another. They confront the limitations imposed by gender hierarchies in the feminist category that examines the most dangerous territory
– the sexual and the sexualized body.
Franc Purg exhibits a monument-like installation. Hack the matter twice is a display of mediums failing us when expressing one-sided love and devotion. The reality is brutal: Slovenian patriotism turned into nationalism, desire becomes death, fantasy becomes a nightmare.
The artist is driven with the longing to disarm power and give in to tenderness.
Through Purification Rituals, Kresnička attempts to break free of the same male-dominated gaze so rooted in art history. They perform bare while being close to the country and nature of this region, as they look to heal, find strength, and empowerment through art and friendship.
Celje as a Destination (third room)
Both Matija Plevnik and Neža Knez + Danilo Milovanović address the issue of domestic tourism in Celje.
Knez and Milovanović are traveling from Ljubljana to Celje by bicycle, a symbol of leisure, ecology, and political protest, as the protagonist. Their friends join them in solidarity and they cycle through the side roads (that are often busier in the opposite direction) and pass by small villages. Fast Art broadcast on the exhibition opening day through a live stream.
Can Celje as a destination be rehabilitated through conviviality?
Matija Plevnik chose to convey In Word and Picture an accurate representation of the current touristic strategy of Celje. It may read like a parody, but it is authentic. If the residents self-colonize, they fall into a tourist trap and buy into a marketing machine that turns a place into a consumption product designed as a single-use experience. The visitor is given an option to either embrace this, go home and make instant linden tea, or to rebel and sign up for the artist's anecdotal alternative guided tours in the area, usually saved for tourists, yet lately enriched by local participants.
Permanent Vacation? (forth room)
A contemporary Alma Karlin: photographer Dana Lev Levnat. Her worldly travels are circular wandering, an exploration of local rural areas with displays of incidental splendor. Meticulous pure photography, Glory Box shares moments of her life/art performance of ongoing journey (2013–) titled Permanent Vacation.
Artwork mobility and Sister Cities (corridor)
Two artists based in Germany, Guy Eytan (Leipzig) and Nez Pez (Berlin), exemplify the mobility of artworks made remotely, destined for Celje, Always and Forever. How does site-specific translate when "local" is someplace else?
These personal gestures put the awkward global project of 'sister cities' to shame. The works titled: Vessels of Acceptance and Change and Pez Push Berlin transport the raw and subjective essence of the urban city. They supply alternatives to distribution and circulation in a way that tackles the capitalization of art by ignoring the rules of art as a commodity and the canon.
Sites turned studios as supportive structures (studio)
Iva Tratnik Andreja Džakušič, Keiko Miyazaki, and Iza Pavlina are exhibiting in the studio gallery – works of a nomadic studio practice.
Four days five nights is the title signifying the time IvAnKe spent together at the treehouse, where there was additional display.
It is a three-way empirically surreal creation of cultural staples and the collective unconscious, taking place in the heart of the city forest.
Iza Pavlina lacked a permanent workspace in Celje. We addressed the issue by inhabiting a gallery space temporarily.
Pavlina operated the right side of the gallery as an active workspace and an Open Studio.