Me in My Pocket
15. 7.—28. 8., Gallery of Contemporary Art

Ana Baraga, Jure Cvitan, Polona Dolžan, Kyle Milne, Gašper Piano, Jani Pirnat, Ana Straže, Mia Špindler

The Me in My Pocket exhibition puts into the forefront the exploration of the silent background of creativity and the intimate foundations of some of the artists associated with Celje, who are in various ways also involved in the international arena. The artists, that are active within the various shades of artistic professions and missions, are characterized by a creativity that is – either through professional or private experience, and certainly through travelling and collecting – greatly touched by life itself, the internal psychological appearance or continuing interest for “things”, which were initially not necessarily the basis for the creation of the art project. What types of languages of creativity do the artists therefore seek when they are not uniquely confined to their professional practice? Instead of a cabinet of curiosities, which could through the gallery and curatorial position nevertheless be labelled as “artwork”, a direct display of the process, perhaps even an archival approach, I have chosen works or encouraged the formation of works for a presentation that conceals in its background the intimate atmosphere of the dairy. The works are the portraits of personal interests, experiences, impressions or feelings. Within them, we find continuous investigative processes arising from reflection on personal histories, everyday notations and mapping of spaces.
Disclosed in the individual presentations is the component of the creative process itself, regardless of the circumstances, the nature of the artistic profession, materiality, form, regardless of the project diction and determination of the art institution. Some of the artists have taken on certain mediums for the first time, or have revealed their medium precisely here for the first time. The works vary from the poetics of their own interests, the exploration of subjects, including conditions that are tied to a particular time and space; therefore they are used by the artists to outline their creative impulses, which are inspired by everyday experiences.
Polona Dolžan stems from her cooking blog Shit I’ve Eaten, which she adds to in her spare time. By noting down recipes, she creates a food diary, expressing a fascination with the ritual of socializing and cooking in different circles and in different geographical locations. On the one hand, she emphasizes an unrepeatable experience, also sharing it with us, while on the other hand, she uses the installation to display a loss of pleasure with the repeating nature of the eating timetable. Jani Pirnat also wrote a blog on his visit to Japan. At the same time, he used photography and video to record his feelings in a country with a different cultural background. Through an animation in which he portrays himself in the exhibition (Gomenasai, Say no evil, see no evil, hear no evil), he symbolically expresses his feelings at the change of living space, sense of isolation, limited understanding of the language and mode of perception. Ana Straže reflects on the spaces of temporary residence. She has systematically been taking photographs of the rooms in which she has stayed overnight on her travels for several years now. At the core is the most intimate area of the living space – the bed, into which she stages herself as a link in the whole chain of the other photographed objects and compositions of personal admiration in a certain place. The form of the postcard is similar to an organized dairy with a completely individual aesthetic. Its orderliness is juxtaposed with the footage of the artist’s face made with a webcam. She uses it to continuously record the fleeting, random and uncontrolled apparitions of everyday and current sentiments. The static nature of memory and the movement of the everyday, interchange in the Notations installation. Mia Špindler is marked by her collecting, which is why she uses the “frottage” technique in her thinking as how to preserve the memory (or souvenir) that can not be gathered in physical form. This allows her to embrace the physical nature of the objects, their texture as a material aspect, and thus the fascination with the memory of the space and state of the object at a given time. Through his many trips, artist Kyle Milne deals with the concept of fear at a very personal poetic level. He sees the treatment of the latter in the mountain, which he visualises in his piece entitled Release in the form of an abstract map, linked to a text. Ana Baraga and Jure Cvitan also look to nature. Through a long story of collecting cork bottle tops, the artist sets himself the target to dress a precisely defined cork tree in Corsica. The collection campaign bears some kind of ritual action, including the time dimensions of the past, present and future. He materializes it in the set up of the tree shell that is actually the goal, but which is at the same time also a work in progress since he wishes to implement his project in-situ. Ana Baraga deals with the dimensions of illustration, all that the genre which accompanies her at all levels of her existence is capable off, even becoming the artist herself at a certain moment. The piece Becoming an Animal contains the personal ritual of the animalistic totem and selection of a wide variety of patterns, materials and feelings. The garment – “totem costume” consists of a unique material and spiritual side. Through the language of textile and graphic design, photography and poetry, she further upgrades the wearing ritual. The search for a contact with nature, precisely with the help of illustration and design, becomes her diary, which has overgrown into her degree project and a complex artistic manifestation, only partially presented in the exhibition. Gašper Piano presents himself with a video, in which his poetry is read by his friends, who shared a certain period of life abroad with him, inspired him and collaborated with him in business. Skinned Knee – visual poetry for lonely souls is an experiment of a new form and medium for the musician. In the same way the video appears as a contact point, at which people who share similar stories met at a certain moment in time.

“Art – as a form of creativity – does not reproduce the already established models, which would exist like images in our minds or as objects in the world, but combines the creative forces and flows,” says anthropologist Tim Ingold. He defines creativity as action based on relations, which can not be understood as an activity of the individual, but an integral part of the life process, covering the entire field of networks between people and their environment – in which there is no room for the hierarchical relationship object/subject.  The Me in My Pocket exhibition may initially suggest the subject as an introverted agent, however, all eight artists manage to manifest different ways of recording time and space, feeling and desire in the “things” (as opposed to objects) that they carry around with them, at the same time displaying them as artworks in the contemporary art field.

Curator: Maja Antončič

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Gallery of Contemporary Art / Trg celjskih knezov 8, 3000 Celje / Tuesday – Saturday 11 a.m. – 6 p.m. Sunday 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. Monday and holidays closed.