DNLM: Outcrying the Hawkers, 2023, photo: Jaka Babnik
Outcrying the Hawkers, 2023
Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, +MSUM
Exhibition opening and presentation of the artist: Tuesday, 19 September 2023 at 7 p.m.
Duration: 19 September 2023 – 28 January 2024
Artist's talk: Thursday, 23 November 2023, 5 p.m.
The exhibition is curated by Ana Mizerit.
The current exhibition in the Draught series at the MSUM presents DNLM’s latest project, entitled Outcrying the Hawkers. It is a synthesis of processual work over several projects done in the artist’s recognizable method – he uses public space as a medium and intervenes in it with an action, usurping the context of its symbolic structure to introduce a new meaning into it. In this reversal, public space functions as a transformer, shaping new interactions, experiences, relations, and situations through which the artist reacts to current social issues. In this, he follows the principles of simplicity, absurdity, and transience, as he succinctly describes his artistic practice.
The point of departure for Outcrying the Hawkers was the image of Ivan Grohar’s The Sower and its general reception, which sees this widely known Slovenian impressionist painting as a reflection of Slovenia’s transition from a rural to urban culture, as well as the exploitation of this iconic image for marketing purposes.
DNLM’s project could also be described as an intervention within an intervention. He focuses on an architectural particularity of the Slovenian countryside, the hayrack, prominently painted as a national attribute in The Sower, too, while currently its function is increasingly reduced to that of a billboard stand. This “creative” advertising strategy, in which economy and ecology clash, functions as a foreign body in the cultivated landscape and could also be understood as some sort of intervention of the neoliberal rationale, a commercialization of the countryside to transform its space into (neoliberal) décor.
With a great deal of humor and play the artist intervenes in the situation by removing the giant poster from the hayrack, shredding it in its entirety into long strips, and then returning it in this new form onto the hayrack, hanging the strips over the long rails intended for drying hay. In this form the advertisement is no longer legible, and is thus shorn of its functional content. It is transformed into colorful strips that now triumphantly and somehow festively adorn the disused wooden structure, calling to mind the old ethnological motif.
Outcrying someone here implies not only making oneself heard over them, but also overpowering them in importance. However, DNLM does not stop at this point, but takes his project further, devising a counterstrike. His engaged position leads him to carry out an intervention challenging the original situation to underscore its intrusive alienness, its being out of place in, and out of sync with, its surroundings. The roles of the signifiers, transferred into a new context that deconstructs our everyday perception, are thus swapped. And what happens when an element of the countryside inhabits a visible advertising site right next to one of the main roads leading into the city?
The two projects come together as a meaningful whole in the museum, where the artist presents them as a configuration, not juxtaposed, but united into one unit as a diptych.
Danilo Milovanović, now DNLM (1992, Banja Luka, Bosnia and Herzegovina) is an interdisciplinary artist based in Ljubljana. He received his MFA from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Ljubljana. He also studied at the UMPRUM in Prague as an exchange student. He has been nominated for the OHO Award several times, and received the student Prešeren Award of the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana in 2020. Between 2019 and 2021, he had an artist residency at Švicarija (MGLC) in Ljubljana. He is currently working in the Autonomous Cultural Zone of Metelkova City.
He has presented his work at the galleries Aksioma, Tobačna 001, and Škuc in Ljubljana; the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Rijeka; Miklova hiša in Ribnica; EC124H in Copenhagen; Begehungen in Chemnitz; BienalSur in Montevideo; Miasto Ogrodow in Katowice; the EU Expo in Tel Aviv; and Pražarna AB3 in Prague.
Thanks to: Manca Vertačnik, Tatiana Kocmur, Luka Erdani, and Peter Žiberna for their assistance in the production, and Jaka Babnik for his photographs of the hayrack.
The exhibition is part of the Draught series, which presents young artists and fresh ideas.