THE PRESENT AND PRESENCE | Repetition 6: Install Yourself!
11 February 2014 — 08 June 2014
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It is futile for an artist to try to create an environment because you have an environment around you all the time. Any living organism has an environment. / Carl Andre

 

Curated by Zdenka Badovinac, Bojana Piškur, Igor Španjol

 

Repetition 6 presents a selection of works from Moderna galerija's Arteast 2000+ and national collections that brings the rhythm of space into focus; more specifically, installations in which the dimension of time is coupled with the experience of abstract space.

 

A number of representative works by great artists are put on view again after a long absence: artists such as Ilya Kabakov (his series of albums 10 Characters, donated to Moderna galerija by Ilya and Emilia Kabakov, will here see its first public display in Ljubljana), Ivan Kožarić, Stanisław Dróżdż, Marko Pogačnik (as part of OHO), as well as works by prominent artists of the middle and younger generations, Apolonija Šušteršič and Tomaž Furlan respectively. In addition, this display features two great masters of minimal art, Carl André and Bruce Nauman, whose installations come to the museum on loan from the Van Abbemuseum in Eindhoven, Moderna galerija's partner institution in the EU project L'Internationale (http://internacionala.mg-lj.si/index.php).

 

So - what do these works have in common? First off, they can all be categorized as installations, but more importantly, they are works that the visitor can enter, to co-create a specific environment. Hence the title of this repetition: Install Yourself! Such environments are inseparably linked with time, and the two dimensions together create a certain rhythm, a systematic repetition of the given elements in space. In his Driven Man, Driven Snow (1976), a work that can be associated with minimal art, Bruce Nauman uses industrial, prefabricated elements, cast iron blocks spread around the room. They are aligned in such a way that they form a direct and defining relation with the space that surrounds them. With this installation, Nauman offers the visitor structure and at the same time undermines it.

 

Carl André's Palisade (1976) is an example of sculpture as structure; an installation of a sort. A certain element, in this case a wooden pole measuring 90 x 30 x 30 cm, is systematically repeated. The resulting structure clearly affects the space and how the visitor moves through it. Palisade then functions like a barrier.

 

Apolonija Šušteršič's compilation of four short videos MTV for La Tourette (1996-97) was filmed in the Dominican monastery of La Tourette near Lyon, designed in the early 1960s by Le Corbusier. The artist documented her own perception of the architectural space; the resulting story of her inner experience of the architecture is recounted through images, motion, and sound.

 

Tomaž Furlan makes a variety of gadgets or machines functionally and structurally taken to absurd extremes. This effect is achieved by foreground elements that crucially define the incongruous aggregates: monotonous, endless repetitions of the same sequences of various tasks and motions without any detectable logical end or purpose. Exhibited at the +MSUM is his work from the Scratch the Surface series (2013).

 

In Programmed Environment (1969) Marko Pogačnik presents the interrelations between a card index file, an environment, and numerical programming. The installation of the whole is based on a numerical structure. The Programmed Environment is composed of mobiles made of cards with drawings and a carpet on the floor; the carpet has the numerical program determining the structure written on it. The installation Family of Weight, Measure, and Position (1969) is composed of a five-kilogram weight suspended on an elastic band just above the floor. The work underscores gravity as an omnipresent force, exerting its influence universally, but not explicitly presented as such in the field of the visual.

 

Polish artist Stanisław Dróżdż's installation Circle (1971) can be seen as concrete poetry. Circle is a composition of 16 squares, in each the word circle has been inscribed in a circular manner. The squares have been placed next to each other at regular intervals. In each square, the word circle has a different layout, as if it was caught in a different moment of a circular motion. There are many variants, but in every one of them is a circle.

 

Ivan Kožarić's installation 5 Sculptures (1996) comprises a group of works presenting some of his recurrent motifs, in particular the idea of transformation. His art has the power to transform discarded, worthless things into objects of great value: brass plates convey the motif of gilded piles of earth; "Street Sculpture" is based on an actual street situation witnessed by the artist; "Temporary Sculpture" talks about the fundamentally temporary and mutable nature of his work; and the "Book in Which Everything is Written" could be understood as a metaphor for everything he strives for in his work, as a phantasmal map of the universe.

 

Ilya and Emilia Kabakov's installation Twenty Ways to Get an Apple Listening to the Music of Mozart (1997) consists of twenty drawings and stories explaining the various tricks by which one can reach an apple in the middle of an enormous table, some two or three arm's lengths away. What this installation tells us is that utopian worlds are always somewhere nearby, close at hand; we generally only fail to see the way to them. Ilya Kabakov's albums 10 Characters (produced in the 1970s and reprinted in the 1990s) - collections of drawings and texts assembled in books and performed for friends and fellow artists at Kabakov's famous Sretensky Boulevard attic studio - tell us ten fables: ten positions from which Homo Sovieticus can react to his world, ten psychological attitudes, ten perspectives on emptiness, ten parodies of the aesthetic traditions through which Kabakov evolved his vocabulary, as well as ten aspects of Kabakov's personality.

 
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