Robert Marin, Matjaž Rušt
The Most Beautiful City in the World
15 colour analogue photographs, 2014 –2018
Courtesy of Robert Marin, Matjaž Rušt
Curator: Ana Mizerit
Cities look increasingly alike. This homogenization is reflected in the geography of economic pressures, tourist destinations, rivalry for territory, and also in the vulnerability of urban authenticity.
“The Most Beautiful City in the World” is the well-known slogan of the (recently re-elected) mayor of Ljubljana, which embodies the goals of the city’s municipal policies. It has been adopted as the title of Matjaž Rušt and Robert Marin’s photoblog, where they regularly post photographs of urban scenes in Slovenia’s capital. In contrast with the political slogan that refers to the ideal of a well kempt, tidy city, the two artists also find beauty in, or above all in, its vulnerability. Often, though not exclusively, a result of spatial and social changes, this vulnerability explicitly demonstrates an ambivalent attitude toward Town Hall’s focus on order and tidiness, on smooth running, on constant development.
The motifs of their photographs represent collisions between two worlds that are drifting further and further apart. Their juxtaposition foregrounds the conditions of certain social groups in a quickly changing environment. These are raw, unembellished images of the world, scenes from the margins of society, glitches in the system, noises to which the artists are attuned.
The scenes in their photographs are both melancholy and absurd, often imbued with nihilistic humor and the photographers’ personal engagement. The snapshots are characteristically spur-of-the-moment spontaneous, and the entire series exudes a feeling of the intimacy of the moment.
Further, their visual blog is important from the vantage point of documentary, since its commentaries on our environment offer us insights that might in the future constitute important pieces of the puzzle in constructing a social history, since it is the situations that the photographers bring to our attention that express the true character of the most beautiful city in the world.
Matjaž Rušt, born in 1982, has worked as a documentary photographer for the last ten years. At the focus of his interest are people and various marginal phenomena of contemporary societies. Rušt is currently completing his studies of photography at the Department of Photography of the VIST – Higher School of Applied Sciences; he has also attended numerous workshops such as DokuPhoto, Noor Masterclass, VII Agency Masterclass. He has exhibited his works at home and abroad, receiving the Slovenia Press Photo Award and the Award of the Slovene Association of Journalists for it.
Robert Marin, born in 1984, grew up in Ravne na Koroškem; currently he lives and works as a freelance journalist in Ljubljana. He is completing his studies of sociology of culture and history at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana. His works have been featured in numerous group exhibitions of contemporary Slovene photography and in solo show at some of the most eminent regional institutions (Museum of Contemporary Art, Ljubljana; the Klovićevi dvori Gallery, Zagreb; Cultural Center of Belgrade, Belgrade).