Staš Kleindienst’s painting is characterised by the exploration of the comportment of authority to society. The effect that this relationship has on the political, social and cultural life is at the heart of his work. He is interested in the mechanisms through which authority, as a form of control, is put into effect in the consciousness of the individual and the collective, and how it shapes and regulates the everyday spaces of life.
Through painting, the artist recognises and considers the broader social antagonisms and symptoms of capitalist organisation. He translates global phenomena into the local space, not in the sense of analysis, but through a purposefully naive language that he uses to turn to the viewer. His paintings are highly narrative and often act as dystopian scenarios of a partly imaginary reality. The fundamental and permanent motif of the artist’s paintings is landscape. Images of the urban and rural environment, at first impression, completely ordinary and local. Shown from afar, from the position of the all-encompassing gaze, they present many scenes of social reality, where series of events take place at the same time. Due to their event-like properties, they are intended for the attentive viewer to extract those essential images from the myriad of goings-on that most accurately locate the point of authority.
The artist is showing a selection of recent paintings at Likovni salon. What the presented paintings have in common is that they are taking place at night, in that particular temporality when the unconscious streams of thought begin to flow. The depicted landscapes are not a recording of reality, but are psychological formations, scenes of the collective subconscious, staged through a single narrative. We can note the hilly forest areas with settlements of houses, apartment blocks, various industrial plants and tunnels here and there, hunting observatories and endless roads. These are environments where a sense of security prevails. This feeling is not neutral but is the product of certain community practices and their repetitions. Such collective social rituals enable the internalisation of the structures of authority and the maintenance of the social order. The subjects in the paintings, often dressed in traditional clothing, are always part of a group. They represent a community with an identity, committed to their own habits within the space that they symbolically share. It is precisely this concern for a certain identity and sense of belonging that constitutes the point at which authority is exerted. We see subjects guarding a tunnel overgrown with roots. Or a group trying to eliminate an unknown formation in the city. Right before dawn, loose dogs appear in the space where a party has just finished, looking for leftovers. The viewer is part of the events of the unconscious, as logical sequence runs out and collective phantasms, illusions and repressed desires with real effects in everyday life predominate.
Staš Kleindienst (1979) completed his postgraduate studies at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. He has presented his work in many solo (Everything is OK!, Kresija Gallery, Ljubljana, Lost Space, MMC KIBLA/KiBela, Maribor, 2017, Electric Sky, Atelier Home Gallery, Trieste, 2017, etc.) and group exhibitions (Earth song’s low frequency tones, Galženica Gallery, Velika Gorica, 2019, A Time Without Innocence: Recent Painting in Slovenia, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, 2019, All Our Secrets, Celje Gallery of Contemporary Art, 2018…). In 2018, he curated the exhibition 12 reasons to paint at the Škuc Gallery. He is the recipient of the OHO Award for 2014 and the Student Prešeren Award of the University of Ljubljana.