“The artist is a ‘tourist’ (traveller, transformer, the figure of pose) who reveals on the surface of her/his skin and gestures the traces of culture through which s/he passes.”
As the main challenge of this exhibition is the juxtaposition of personal views of a heterogeneous group of curators, my selection of works is based on the decision to collaborate with the artist Simon Macuh. He has already been my collaborator in conceiving the public debate with the 4th/year students of the Ljubljana Academy of Fine and Applied Arts on the theme Within/Without: School, System, Students, Mentors within the frame of the project LabSUs in ŠKUC Gallery in June 2007. Simon Macuh’s artistic expression is not confined merely to sculpture; he also tackles other media and forms of expression. Thus he responded to my invitation with a proposal to take part in this exhibition with a series of coloured drawings on paper that he would produce during his travel through Morocco. The process of creating images in the surrounding of an iconoclastic Islam, in which the models and interlocutors also participate with their own interventions, has turned into a special kind of social game, which was certainly far more interesting to Simon than the production of postcard motives. Opting for such a performative gesture, he positioned himself in the realm of those artistic works that are based on communication, posing questions and stimulating dialogue.
Considering the contextualisation of Simon Macuh’s work, I also decided to invite for collaboration the filmmaker and photographer Boštjan Mašera. He entered the artistic context through photography with Kiki Omerzel’s project Relations (2001-). Within the frame of this exhibition, he would present himself with photographs that came out of our joint journey through Turkey in the summer of 2007. Knowing his filmography, what attracted me in his photographs was the strategy of being witness to a culture and landscapes through which the author passed, rather than exploring the film/documentary perception through the photographer’s eye view. Subsequently, this strategy is revealed as a stroll through the realms of one’s own emotions.
I took part in choosing the photographs and conceiving the exhibition that aimed to achieve the possibility of multi-layered reading through the precise contextualisation as well as the choice of formats. Thus the aesthetically and symbolically distilled blow-ups should be matched with consequent and unpretentious shots in smaller format that would witness on the context of their genesis as well as on the articulated view of the social reality. Unfortunately, in the course of preparations for the media announcement of the exhibition that, in his opinion, was lasting too long, the author withdrew himself from the project.
Hence the originally conceived juxtaposition of two different artistic/author strategies of recording “traces of culture” in the frame of gallery space that, in my view, highlights very appropriately the chosen quotation of Šuvaković, was reduced to one. By being absent, the strategy that is now out still functions structurally, both within the context of my selection and its realisation within the entire exhibition. It is that very “materialising of chance” that, in reality, positions my personal curatorial interest for authors’ witnessing of the state of matters in a different perspective than the planned one. In spite of everything, it singles this interest out of the domain of the individual and entangles it in the volatile and effluent discursive network of signs, generalisations and weaving conotations. The poetics of articulating symbols of another culture, which will now be presented autonomously in the public sphere of the art world, is significant in many layers; still, it is personal and emotional, and as such brings back “the truth” on reality in the domain of individual views. Nevertheless, here we do not deal merely with poetics but also with a specific time-space sensorium that determines the ways of being together or separated, within or without.