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EMPIRE STRIKES BACK & FORWARD

Naslov / Title: Empire strikes back & forward

Lokacija / Exhibition space: Historical Atrium, Ljubljana Town Hall
Datum / Date:: 2 – 22 June 2014
Umetnika / Authors: Gorazd Krnc, Zoran Srdić Janežič
Šivanje kipov / Sewing of sculptures: Maja Peterlin
Modeliranje glave in izdelava kalupov, ulivanje in patiniranje glav / Modeling of head and making of moulds, casting in poliurethane and gilding: Zoran Srdić Janežič
Foto / Photo: Sunčan Stone
Angleški prevod / English editing: Murray Bales
Produkcija / Production: Institute for Arts Gulag
Coproduction: City of Ljubljana – City hall gallery space
Projekt so podprli / Project was supported by: Samson Kamnik

Sculptures was presented also as: FERIT CORPUS ER DEINCEPS RETRO
Lokacija / Exhibition space: 3rd International fine arts festival Kranj – ZDSLU 2014 / Galerija Stolpa Šklovec, Tomšičeva 32, Kranj
Datum / Date: 1 October – 5 November 2014
Produkcija / Production: Zavod Gulag
Koprodukcija / Coproduction: Galerija Stolpa Škrlovec, Kranj / 3rd International fine arts festival Kranj – ZDSLU 2014
Kustos / Curator: Melita Ažman

foto: Jana Putrle Srdić

foto: Jana Putrle Srdić

foto: Jana Putrle Srdić

foto: Jana Putrle Srdić

The project Empire Strikes Back & Forward (the title alludes to one of the Star Wars films) is conceived as a recurring annual exhibition that will establish a dialogue among visual artists (emerging and established contemporary painters, sculptors and intermedia artists) from both closer and more distant areas of Europe.

The project aims to include the historical, cultural, existential and political topics in the environment that geographically and politically unite and at the same time divide us. The main questions posed to participating artists will be: what determines the local social characteristics and what links artists and citizens in the wider European area throughout history? How different are the backgrounds we come from and which values do we share? How does art reflect local society and how do we move beyond the national dimension? How does the variety of specific social problems manifest in the artist’s environment? (For example, attitudes to World War 2 in Slovenia and in Germany.)

In May 2014, the Institute for Arts Gulag produced the first independent exhibition of Slovenian artists that was held in the Ljubljana Town Hall. It presented the reflections of two artists (a painter and a sculptor) on the wars in Slovenia: upon the centenary anniversary of the start of World War 1; the 75th anniversary of the end of World War 2 and the Roman wars upon the 2000th anniversary of the start of ancient Emona (the Roman predecessor to Ljubljana). The artists use these war themes to contemplate violence and its consequences: dehumanisation.

The artivistic comment on the society of Ljubljana, reaching back to ancient Emona, is conceived by the painter and video artist Gorazd Krnc in collaboration with the sculptor and intermedia artist Zoran Srdić Janežič. Both of them embrace the media and convincingly master the form. Despite the classic formats of painting and sculpture, they still manage to transform and surprise with their humour. The paintings on steel look ‘heavy’, while the sewn fabric figures give the impression of ‘light’ and playful matter. They both dynamise the viewer’s relationship towards these unusual vehicles of artistic ideas. The artists reflect seemingly minor situations of the fleeting, absurd and common to comment on what should be deeper values of our civilisation.

foto: Gorazd Kavčič

foto: Gorazd Kavčič

foto: Gorazd Kavčič

foto: Gorazd Kavčič

foto: Gorazd Kavčič

foto: Gorazd Kavčič

Zoran Srdić Janežič combined in his installation the following of his sculptural works: Corpus Indeterminata and Empire strikes back & forward. He used a collage and assemblage to integrate images as well as social and historical contexts. Monolithic plaster figures represent the management of the local industry or those who want to save this industry. The sculptures wear the first aid handbags, filled with coins and marked with the logotypes of local factories. Confronting them stands working class, dressed in shopping bags of the present large commercial chains. Although we feel the hidden nostalgia for the blooming industrial era in Kranj, which was replaced by the large international commercial chains, the author reminds us that we are witnessing the drop in quality, value and abilities of a man, who has surrendered to today’s dictatorship of the capital.
Melita Ažman

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