Ugly Duckling no. 5
25. 5.—17. 6., Račka Gallery

Ugly Duckling, one of the CSU collections under the auspices of the Račka Gallery, is reopening its “rosy gardens” with intimate confessions in the form of videos, photographs and poetry, with new artworks as well as other items of the most diverse range contributed by individuals. This year sees the contributions by artists Iva Tratnik, Boris Beja, Andrej Brumen Čop, Tomaž Črnej and Ana Straže. The Ugly Duckling Collection has been forming since 2009 and is an open-ended structure that is supplemented by ever new objects and artworks. Artists and individuals contribute things to it that are related to erotic experiences, desires or memories, as well as different romantic adventures. With the donated items, we are trying to keep track of people’s various games, emotions and fantasies, erotic feats, slip-ups, intentions and expectations. By collecting objects and keeping track of the subject, the Ugly Duckling Collection reveals – perhaps in a somewhat restrained manner here and there, but certainly without shame – the ingenuity and diversity of the most varied intimate worlds.

The Račka Gallery was opened in December 2005. We transformed the peep show that used to be quite a rage among its users, into a gallery space with minimal interventions, thus creating a space that still has many elements – the peep show cabins, the stage with the dance pole, etc. – that mark its former activity. Since its inception, the Račka Gallery has been designed primarily for art that in one way or another deals with eroticism, challenges contemporary sexual (im)morality, comments on it, depicts, indicates and displays it without reservation, or shyly conceals it in order to make it even more attractive.

Since eroticism is an activity to which many physical and mental energies, experimentations, desires, hopes, dreams, projections are dedicated … and because there is simply not a single person without any erotic experience, we have decided to create the Ugly Duckling, a collection of erotic objects. Its concept is based on creating a collection through the participation of individuals and on the idea that we can keep track of the various games, emotions and memories associated with people’s erotic feats, slip-ups, intentions and expectations through the donated items and disclose through them the ingenuity (or lack thereof), as well as diversity of the most varied intimate worlds. The collection is a project in progress, characterised by an open-ended structure, as it is supplemented and constructed by ever-new objects. Some will leave, others will remain permanently, and new ones will always be coming. The acquisitions of the Ugly Duckling Collection, which was first set up in December 2009, and is increasing in number from year to year with new contributions, also include the artworks by Slovenian and international artists, many of which have been produced especially for it.

Most of the exhibited items, from photographs, videos, letters, souvenirs to private gifts, which have for one reason or another been nominated a place in the collection by their former owners, have mostly been sent in anonymously. They are also accompanied by their explanations as to why a particular item was chosen.

The role of a museum exhibit has been acquired, among other things, also by a small lady’s notebook including a list of romantic dates in Ljubljana in 1960, an e-mailed invitation for a romantic date in Portorož, a pink corset, footage that was created on the Celje city streets during the shooting of the porno film with La Toya at Celje Old Castle, the amusing and eternal memories of the erotic film Emmanuelle  and the Six Swedes at a Boarding School, selected magazines from the 1970s, as well as indispensable black and red stilettos. Part of the collection is also Dečki (Boys), the first Slovenian gay film by Stanko Jost.

Of course, you are invited to participate in the further construction of the collection! You can either bring or send in your contribution to the collection, by name or anonymously, to the following address:

Zavod Celeia Celje
Center for Contemporary Arts / Galerija Račka
For the Ugly Ducking Collection
Krekov trg 3
SI – 3000 Celje


THE FAKE BOSOM, queer performance

Today I show you bodily delights,
I steer you into twisted heavenly heights.
In the feverish tripping of tropical infections,
In the safe embrace of health care structures.

Postmedia artist, literary translator, and writer Urban Belina in collaboration with performer Daniel(a) Petković researches the fields of neo-burlesque, queer phenomena, healthcare and wellbeing industry, marginal anatomies and identities of the rainbow spectrum, as well as other divergent expressions and syndromes of (post)human experience.

In the scripted performance The Fake Bosom they present the story of Lady Anous, individual on the transgender spectrum in the grip of healthcare system during an acute phase of hypochondria. On the level of text, Belina plays with a certain fusion of queer with healthism and omnipresent fostering of a healthy lifestyle.

Artists and Creators
Concept, Text, Dramaturgy, and Prosthetics: Urban Belina
Artistic Research, Choreography, and Performance: Daniel Petković
Costume Design: Sara Jelen
Makeup Design: Tina Prpar (Tinka Pobalinka)
Closing Music and Sound Design: Alenja Pivko Kneževič
Voices: Saška Rakef in Sabina Potočki
Studio Sound Mastering: Simon Penšek
Photos: Nada Žgank
Production: Daniel Petković and Urban Belina

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Račka Gallery / Gosposka ul. 3, 3000 Celje / Thursday – Sunday 4 p.m. – 7 p.m. Closed for holidays.