4 – 30. August 2022
Exhibition: “Made in Maribor II”
64 artists from Novi Sad & Maribor
Gallery of “American Corner”, Novi Sad, Kej žrtava racije 2b
Artists from Maribor: SAŠA BEZJAK, MATIJA BRUMEN, ANDREJ BRUMEN ČOP, NENAD CIZL, DRAGICA ČADEŽ, KSENIJA ČERČE, BOGDAN ČOBAL, NATALIJA R. ČRNČEC, IRENA ČUK, MARIJAN DREV, PETER FERLAN, DARKO GOLIJA, SAMUEL GRAJFONER, NATAŠA GRANDOVEC, STOJAN GRAUF, ALEKSANDRA SAŠKA GRUDEN, ANDREJA JAPELJ, MARKO JAPELJ, NATALIJA JUHART BRGLEZ, OR poiesis (alias PETRA KAPŠ), MATEJA KATRAŠNIK + POLONA LIPIČNIK, METKA KAVČIČ, JASNA KOZAR, TEJA KOVAČ LOZAR, ANKA KRAŠNA, POLONA MAHER, KATJA MAJER, SLAĐANA MATIĆ TRSTENJAK, MARIJAN MIRT, MANICA K. MUSIL + KAROLINA BABIČ, SAMO PAJEK, MARKO PAK, LUDVIK PANDUR, ANA PEČAR, POLONA PETEK, VOJKO POGAČAR, POLONA POKLUKAR, BORUT POPENKO, OTO RIMELE, JANEZ ROTMAN, TONI SOPRANO MENEGLEJTE, LUCIJA STRAMEC, DORIJAN ŠIŠKO, JOŽE ŠUBIC, SIMONA ŠUC, NINA ŠULIN, MATJAŽ WENZEL + BORUT WENZEL, VLASTA ZORKO.
Artists from Novi Sad: ĐORĐE BEARA, MIRJANA BLAGOJEV, SAŠA DOBRIĆ, JELENA ĐURIĆ, GOJKO DUTINA, DUŠAN VULETIĆ, BILJANA JEVTIĆ, STEFAN KOVAČIĆ, LIDIJA KRNJAJIĆ, ĐORĐE MARKOVIĆ, BOJAN NOVAKOVIĆ, MILA PEJIĆ, MARIJETA SIDOVSKI, DUŠKO STOJANOVIĆ, DANILO VUKSANOVIĆ, VERA ZARIĆ.
Curators: Breda Kolar Sluga & Maja Erdeljanin
Project coordinator: Aleksandra Saška Gruden
Producers: Cultural Center of Novi Sad, Umetnostna galerija Maribor (Slovenija)
Foto: Marija Crveni Zečević
Umetnost ponovo povezuje. Posredstvom projekta međunarodne umetničke razmene, novosadskog Art links-a i njime ostvarenih kontakata sa slovenačkim umetnicima tokom 2019. i 2021. godine, stvorila se nova karika u lancu povezivanja umetničkih scena dve države, dva grada, Maribora i Novog Sada, dve evropske prestonice kulture (2012. i 2022), između kojih se proteže 500 kilometara i 10 godina. Prostornu i vremensku distancu povezuje ovom prilikom mariborski projekat „Made in Maribor“. Započet u decembru 2021. godine u prostorijama „Umetnostne galerije Maribor“, projekat je zamišljen kao putujuća izložba u nastajanju. Do sada je u njemu učestvovalo više od 50 mariborskih umetnica i umetnika, istražujući srž “mariborskog” stvaralačkog identiteta, a ovog avgusta novosadske kolege imaće priliku da im se pridruže i izložbu nadopune iskustvima svoje likovne/vizuelne scene.
Koncept projekta osmislila je i započela mariborska kustoskinja i donedavna direktorka „Umetnostne galerije Maribor“ Breda Kolar Sluga, pozivajući šesnaest umetnica sa kojima je do tada više puta sarađivala, i koje su svojim radom u gradu ostavile jasan trag. Ideja je bila da svaka od njih takođe pozove po jednu umetnicu/umetnika po svom izboru, nekoga ko ih nadopunjuje, inspiriše ili se svojim delom nastavlja njihov umetnički rad, a pritom daje značajan doprinos kreiranju opšte kreativne slike grada. Po istom principu ova ideja upravo nastavlja da se širi i preko mariborskih i slovenačkih okvira.
Kao link sa ovim mariborskim lancem umetničkih dijaloga u Novom Sadu na isti način započeli smo sa povezivanjem novih karika. Četiri novosadska autora/autorki dobilo je unapred pripremljenu trodimenzionalnu podlogu – drvenu kocku (25 x 25 x 25 cm) da je “iskoristi” za svoj odgovor, za prikaz lične percepcije prostora u najširem mogućem kontekstu, a zatim i da započnu novi umetničko-kustoski lanac.
Svi radovi, mariborski i novosadski, zajedno čine celinu. Prvi put biće izloženi u Američkom kutku 4 – 25. avgusta 2022. godine gde će biti prikazane skoro sve mariborske i šesnaest novih novosadskih autorskih kutija. Zamisao je da se ova izložba seli i u druge gradove i države, povezuje mariborske sa lokalnim umetnicima i da na taj način, ne samo izložba, već i razmena informacija i međusobna interakcija umetnika „povećava na kub“.
Izložba je realizovana u saradnji Umetnostne galerije Maribor i Kulturnog centra Novog Sada, a pomogli su je Ministrstvo za kulturu Republike Slovenije i Gradska opština Maribora.
Breda Kolar Sluga i Maja Erdeljanin
Exhibition in Umetnostna galerija Maribor, march 2022. Photos: Sara Rezar, Damjan Švarc.
Made in Maribor II
Breda Kolar Sluga
Made in Maribor is an experimental project that assesses the vitality of a creative space. This time, the artists were given a pre-fabricated spatial base—a 25 x 25 x 25 cm wooden cube—and an invitation to “use” it in the broadest possible context for a personal response to the sensation of space.
The cube is a defined, often rigid, and self-sustaining body, so the challenge was limiting from the start. The volume of the cube imposed an additional constraint, as the artists could only expand in space to the extent that the “data/additions” could be contained within the cube. The initial instruction also stated that the cube had to remain a cube regardless of how the outer and inner sides were treated or altered.
However, creativity knows no bounds. Our participants demonstrated that it is capable of overcoming even the most difficult situations.
How did it all start?
When we were considering the continuation of the project two years after the first edition of Made in Maribor, in 2018, my colleague Simona Šuc proposed the idea of an assembleable and mobile module. We worked on the design with Teja Kovač Lozar until an optimally feasible cube with two opening sides presented itself. We sought inspiration from a variety of sources, including sculptor Slavko Tihec and his famous containers from the 1970s, as well as Herbert Diestl and his Museum of Drawers (Das Schubladenmuseum). Then the epidemic caught us off guard, and the project was put on hold until late summer 2021, when it seemed sensible—if not necessary—to continue. The concept of mobility took a back seat, and the notion of the commons and the individual, of limits and freedom, took on an even stronger and clearer meaning as a result of the last two years’ experience.
What could we see at the exhibition venue?
First, the “culprit” had to be expelled, which some cubes accomplished in a humorous and direct manner (Jasna Kozar, Janez Rotman). Others reflect the coronal situation in society more concretely, such as the banality of the rift between the vaxxers and the anti-vaxxers (Peter Ferlan) or the situation in the country and in us (Anka Krašna, Jože Šubic). The granite road-paving cube has a special meaning for the citizens of Maribor, following the example of the 2012 revolt, when these cubes were also thrown, so the very shape of the cube evokes revolt, but Metka Kavčič speaks more directly about it. The short phrase that accompanies the expanded foam “Too much!” perfectly describes how we felt in February 2022 (Andreja Japelj). Nenad Cizl also describes the strange time with a sense of humour, with a creature wandering through the forest.
We have talked a lot about confinement, and it is visible in the multilayered content initiated by the various cube fillers: the intensity of the content is discussed by Matjaž and Borut Wenzel, the multitude by Dragica Čadež, the container experience by Matija Brumen, and the Faustian scene by Marko Japelj. Dorijan Šiško’s visually charged urban space exemplifies saturation as well, while the cube content, where plastic intertwines with natural materials, reminds us of the overabundance of waste (Polona Maher). A witty syllogism on human relations, created by Manica K. Musil and Karolina Babič, suggests what lack of freedom incites in us.
It was also crucial to acknowledge the individual’s woundedness in a reassuring manner; Katja Majer’s cocoon, “where the soul resonates as a whole” and Nataša Grandovec’s place of retreat, as well as Vlasta Zorko’s gesture of solace, speak of a gentle shelter. All of the cubes confirm that creativity is a “sanctuary” in and of itself! Oto Rimele addresses the viewer unambiguously, referring to his own studio. The artistic sanctuary is also revealed in the works of Darko Golija, Nina Šulin, and Slađana Matić Trstenjak, who offer something fine and beautiful, as well as colourfully dreamy, for the new times. Saša Bezjak erects a monument to art and proclaims its immortality.
All of the works could be considered self-portraits, but the most obvious one, aside from the aforementioned cube with the artist’s shoes by Oto Rimele, is the cube by the painter Ludvik Pandur, who composes his image spatially. Some of the cubes invite us to join in. To get to the content, we must be curious; sometimes we must open the cube and peer inside, while other times we must roll it on the floor, as in Samo Pajek’s work. Some cubes require us to stand on our toes, while others require us to bend down (Aleksandra Saška Gruden). However, we must often confront ourselves: in Samuel Grajfoner’s work, we can measure the affliction of our own soul with his precise gauge, but most directly through our own image—we see ourselves in an ampoule, suggesting a solution to unsolvable problems (Borut Popenko), or in a mirror, with the aim of extracting the essence (Teja Kovač Lozar).
It immediately became obvious that the space needed to be expanded. Marjan Drev, who used a sophisticated topological device to reveal the multidimensional space of the knot, and Natalija Juhart Brglez, who conquered a city’s larger space using refracted perspectives, provide a different point of view. The extension can also be done in Natalija R. Črnčec’s favourite colour, sky blue, which has no boundaries. Reflective surfaces are frequently used to multiply space in a variety of ways, as stated by Mateja Katrašnik and Polona Lipičnik, in order to make us aware of “the multiplicity of sensation and co-creation”.
There are numerous ways to think outside the box. This is exemplified by the punk subversive poem that became the title and leitmotif of Andrej Brumen Čop’s work, as well as the modular presentation of the colour compositions that grow from Vojko Pogačar’s cube. Marijan Mirt’s “surprise point” transcends the limiting frame, as does the word in the field of the visual in Ksenija Čerče’s painting and Toni Soprano Meneglejte’s humorous “art tool”. Many artists chose resistance, but those who “used” the circular form or the sphere confronted their concepts with an intuitive or planned juxtaposition of two geometric bodies, ranging from Polona Poklukar’s witty, potentially erotic work to Bogdan Čobal’s personal exhibition ground on the theme of the digital world and the potential for transformation by Irena Čuk.
If we consider the cube to be a symbol of society, we can see in nature a complement to society. In fact, we revive our original states in times of crisis in order to survive, which is why Polona Petek sensually connects her dwelling place with nature, while Lucija Stramec, Marko Pak, and Petra Kapš address the continuity of nature and thus the relativity of the “human’s position in it.” We can find inner peace in the primal, almost sacred spaces that Ana Pečar, Stojan Grauf, and Simona Šuc so generously share with us, inviting us to a new experience of balance.
How can this go on?
Most cubes have multiple starting points. It goes without saying that they are read on multiple levels. But, more importantly, we are connecting the various layers in the context of the whole. They open up to one another, support each other, and establish differences in dialogue across the space. The material’s softness supports the softness itself, while also asserting the hardness. Humour reinforced sadness and darkness amplified the light. However, it appears that all of this hapticism and tactility, conceptual thoughtfulness, and delving into personal creative spaces was primarily aimed at recovering a missing wholesomeness.
Maribor’s restored spatial integrity is also symbolically outlined by the forty-eight cubes. Only by being this strengthened can we move forward and anticipate new discoveries!
Artists from Novi Sad. Photos: Marija Crveni Zečević
Made in Maribor for the second time
Art reconnects. Through the international art exchange project, Novi Sad Art Links and the contacts with Slovenian artists established through it during 2019 and 2021, a new link was created in the chain connecting the art scenes of the two countries, two cities, Maribor and Novi Sad, two European Capitals of Culture (2012 and 2022), arching over 500 kilometres and 10 years. The spatial and temporal distance, as well as two art/visual scenes are connected by the project ‘Made in Maribor,’ from Maribor.
The follow-up of the project in the Novi Sad studios
In March 2022, sixteen boxes from Maribor arrived in Novi Sad, and were soon distributed to artists following the same principle as when the boxes from Maribor found their authors. Namely, Maribor curator and director of the ‘Umetnosna galerija Maribor’ (Maribor Art Gallery), Breda Kolar Sluga, started the project by inviting sixteen female artists who she had collaborated with several times before, and whose works had left a clear mark on the city. The idea was that each of them, for their own part, would invite one artist of their choice, someone who complements them, inspires them or whose artistic work builds up on their own, and, at the same time, makes a significant contribution to the creation of the general artistic image of the city.
As a link with this Maribor chain of artistic dialogues, I had the honor to start connecting new links in Novi Sad in the same way. I chose four authors from Novi Sad, who then invited their colleagues to “use” a pre-prepared three-dimensional base – a wooden cube (25 x 25 x 25 cm) for their answer, to show their personal perception of space in the widest possible context.
In this Maribor chain of artistic dialogues, I had the honour to start connecting new links to it in Novi Sad in the same manner. I chose two male and two female authors from Novi Sad, who then invited their fellow artists to ‘use’ a preprepared three-dimensional base – a wooden box (25 x 25 x 25 cm) to offer their replies, depicting their personal perception of space in the widest possible context.
The frame as a challenge and refuge
Including an additional new dimension to their work in the physical sense for most authors resulted in an appearance of new dimensions in their creativity. The individual exploration of their personal inner being reflected the outside global influences. Their creative reflection ideas equated the exterior and interior of the box, and it was equally challenging to go beyond the familiar frames as well as to find new solutions within them.
One picture in 12 stories. Some of the artists treated the box as a canvas painted on both sides and assembled into a 3D object consisting of twelve 2D surfaces. The abstract expressive treatment of images in the works of Jelena Djurić and Danilo Vuksanović created a personal, deeply intimate space similar to a small theatre stage where the authors completely envelop us in the inner turmoil of their being. Duško Stojanović builds a similar space, but by means of a strip of azure associative of a landscape, he opens our view to distant imaginary spaces. Through spontaneity of infantile drawing, Lidija Krnjajić and Gojko Dutina develop their own personal language and reveal to the whole world intimate but intentionally illegible messages emphasised by the contrasts of black and white surfaces.
One story in 12 pictures. Vera Zarić described Julian Barnes’ story ‘The Stowaway’ in twelve paintings, inspired by the mosaics from the St Mark Basilica in Venice. The inside and outside is embroidered with an authentic account of a woodworm from Noah’s Ark who stayed hidden in the wooden beam of the Ark for all of forty days, bearing witness to its secrets.
Multiplication of motifs. Several authors multiplied their favourite motifs created from basic geometric shapes and varied them from one surface of the box to another. From outside to inside and vice versa. Saša Dobrić’s white triangles intersect the abstractly painted square forms of the box, creating unexpected breaks and gaps in the continuity of the image. Biljana Jevtić draws the endless circles of La-Watchful Eye (La-budno oko), nests or refuges that simultaneously hide and set boundaries in positive and negative. Marijeta Sidovski recalls old loves, also monochromatically repeating the square motif, similar to bars, closed windows or doors. Bojan Novaković provides his box with a red armour made of wood, with geometricized jagged edges, making it resembling a device or a safe fortress, inside of which there is nothing but blackness. On the outer sides of Djordje Beara’s work, unlike the previous ones, the horror of Munch’s ‘Scream’ echoes in rounded, almost amorphous brushstrokes. The multiplied distorted face, painted on the enclosed space of the object that does not open, speaks for itself.
Reflections. The two-dimensional space multiplied by the third dimension of the cube led the two authors to expand it even further by using reflective materials. Mirjana Blagojev creates convex metal ‘curvatures’ on the flat surfaces of the box, creating the impression that different gravitational forces exert pressure on it from several sides, pulling it towards themselves, expanding and deforming it, spreading outwards. Unlike her, Stefan Kovačić covers the interior of the space with mirrors, and places a ‘floating’ cube in the middle. The endless multiplication of its universes is announced outside by red hypnotic squares drawn on the outside.
Out of the box. Three artists solve the task of enclosed space conceptually. Mila Pejić pays tribute to sculptor Toma Rosandić, going out of her photographic studio into the city space through collage and photo transfer, in search of sculptures we used to decorate the exterior of the ‘cubuses’ we live and work in. Djordje Marković sees the box as a challenge to a thought experiment, and does not reveal its contents, with a precise technical drawing guiding the viewer to think about the paradox of the fate of Schrödinger’s cat, which may or may not be inside, alive or not. Dušan Vuletić only hints at the content of his box to the viewer by placing on its white surface a lonely, hardy cactus, which has managed to temporarily ‘conquer’ its place under the sun. Until it outgrows the confines of its pot.
The serial appearance of the box made in Maribor and handed over to the artists for ‘finishing’ evokes the fact that we are all of the same makeup and are often faced with the same problems, but the personal stamp left on it by each of the authors indicates that art always finds new ways, dimensions and horizons, in order to go beyond any frame and limitation. The aforementioned sixteen authors’ boxes, together with 48 from Maribor, form an infinitely colourful visual and conceptual whole. The idea is for this exhibition to visit other cities and connect artists from European countries through the language of creativity. Curiosity to peek into the hidden, to occasionally re-examine the frame, to move and to go beyond the limits, can make, like this exhibition, the mutual interaction of artists and the possibilities of their action constantly ‘raised to the power of cube.’