Discussion and opening: Tuesday, 5 May 2015, at 7 p.m., Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova
Duration: 5 May 2015 — 28 June 2015
Curator: Igor Španjol
Polonca Lovšin is an architect and artist who explores self-organized initiatives and alternative forms of activism in architecture and city planning. Lately her focus has been on the relation between town and country, particularly on urban farming as a practice that could save the countryside and towns, nature and man. Lovšin’s works range from recycled household objects modified to promote sustainability and ecological awareness, group performances and interventions in public spaces, to photo-collages, videos and animations.
In recent years we have seen the emergence of urban community gardens, which are more than just about gardening, they are also a form of self-organizing and self-management, and a testing ground for diverse models of community living. New generations of urban gardeners stress the importance of locally produced food, keep bees, swap seeds, plant fruit trees, and transform abandoned lots into oases of gardens and vegetable-patches. Central to their work is joint action, as working in small groups can lead to gradual changes in lifestyle and culture, and have long-term effects on the economic, social, and political levels. The KUD Obrat group has thus started a community garden in the center of Ljubljana with the participation of local residents. An important element of this project has been the agreement with the city authorities on temporary, rent-free lease of the plot.
Lovšin’s exhibited collages place the Beyond the Construction Site community garden in the historical context of urban plot gardening. Based on individual garden plots, urban gardening has a long-standing tradition in Ljubljana, although the number of plots has dropped substantially in recent years due to the systematic implementation of a new, stricter policy. In addition to the collages, an assortment of gardening-related objects is also exhibited, pointing to the connections between people and gardens, tools and nature, and also to the history of gardening, community gardens, their rules, the process of self-organization, the natural logic of things, and nature itself. The exhibition highlights the garden as a place to consider what is beautiful and alive, what is basic and simple, and what the future of our lives in cities could be.
Beyond the Construction Site is a community garden started by the Kud Obrat group (Stefan Doepener, Urška Jurman, Polonca Lovšin, and Apolonija Šušteršič) in 2010 and still developing to this day. In collaboration with local residents a degraded urban area (a long-disused construction site) has been transformed into a flourishing garden and community space.
Among Polonca Lovšin’s major solo shows are Every Egg Matters at the P74 Center and Gallery in Ljubljana (2013), and Elektrisierende Träume/ Electrified Dreams at the Kunstverein Gera in Germany (2011). She has also participated in numerous group exhibitions, including Measures of Saving the World_Part 5 at the Rotor Gallery in Graz (2014), at the 7th Triennial of Contemporary Art in Slovenia at the +MSUM (2013), and at the animated film festival Tricky Women in Vienna (2012). She has authored and coauthored numerous publications and received various grants, awards and prizes, and artist residencies, including the Golden Bird Award for Visual and Intermedia Art (2010), artist residency at the Wysing Arts Centre in Cambridge (2009) and the Artslink residency in New York and San Francisco (2006).