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Group show: Sculpture Today. Statues, Figures and Bodies (over)

22 September 2011 until 13 November 2011
  Sculpture Today. Statues, Figures and Bodies
Gregor Kregar, Vanish, 2008
  Center for Contemporary Arts Celje

Center for Contemporary Arts Celje
Trg celjskih knezov 8
3000 Celje
Slovenia (city map)

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Mirko Bratuša, Polona Demšar, Boštjan Drinovec, Jiři Kočica, Anja Kranjc, Gregor Kregar, Boštjan Novak, Nika Oblak & Primož Novak, Katja Oblak, Žiga Okorn, Zoran Srdić Janežič, Lujo Vodopivec, Project The Waiting (authors: Katja Bogataj, Polona Černe, Pavel Ekrias, Neža Jurman, Ana Kerin, Miha Makovec, Barbara Pintar and Lan Seušek)
Taking part in Lujo Vodopivec's Barbarian in the Garden is Simon Macuh as a living sculpture. The installation with Macuh will be on view at the opening of the exhibition and every Wednesday and Sunday between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m.

Center for Contemporary Arts Celje
Location: Gallery of Contemporary Art
22. 9. – 13. 11. 2011

Exhibition's Curators:
Tomaž Brejc, Irena Čerčnik, Jiři Kočica, Polona Tratnik

The pluriannual project SCULPTURE TODAY is a broadly conceived and retrospective study of sculpture in the Slovenian space that commenced last year with an exhibition and a publication and will be taking place in turns until 2013. If last year's exhibition titled Sculpture Today: Components, Junctures and Intersections through the works of 32 artists presented contemporary sculpture as the expanded field that is not media defined but enters the field of the social, scientific, technological and interdisciplinary, this year's exhibition focuses on questions of figurality and gives emphasis to the haptic experience and the relationship between the sculptural body and the body of the spectator. The works of the 21 participating artists change the gallery space into a space inhabited by “the people”: a multitude of statues, figures and bodies – mainly three-dimensional human figures in life size bearing reference to different personal, social and political contexts. The exhibition is accompanied by a catalogue in which questions raised by the exhibition are dealt with in detail in the introductory texts by Tomaž Brejc and Jiri Kočica. Brejc explains the exhibition’s concept with the following words:

Imagine an exhibition of merely bodies, statues, figures, phantasms, fragments, fictions. No matter what room I enter, they stare from everywhere – or ignore me – figures, more or less similar to human beings. The figures are (1) representations of human beings (Zoran Srdič, Anja Kranjc, Gregor Kregar, Polona Demšar); (2) apparent similarities of human beings of various shapes, big or small, material, of colors, light, heavy, but above all, they are narrative “allegoric” statues (Mirko Bratuša, Boštjan Drinovec, Lujo Vodopivec, Boštjan Novak); (3) mere fragments of bodies, refined residues of transitory gestures, attitudes (Katja Oblak); (4) fragments of embryonic cocoons, exhausted existential bodies (Anja Kranjc); (5) visual games with funny haptic effects, really blowing air (Primož Novak, Nika Oblak); and (6) carriers of the subjective and social, optical and haptic dialogue (Jiři Kočica, Žiga Okorn). Despite their diversity, they are imbued with a common creative intent: to place the haptic experience of the body in the sphere of the imagination, to establish an interpersonal relationship between statues and spectators.

This is why the exhibition is permeated by a feeling of closeness, touch, some kind of overabundance (horror vacui). However, involved here is not a postmodern mannerism, a senseless unveiling of existential fragility, an experimental design or a presentation of the raw power of big and heavy statues (in my imagination Drinovec’s Velikimali [The Bigsmall] happily floats in space). Rather, involved here is a special reciprocity, a mutual engagement between statue and spectator, between the body of the sculpture and the body of the spectator. It is as if contemplation can occur without the perspective, architectural space, and as if sculptural bodies, figures, fragments are that which defines when space is and what it is like. To paraphrase Maurice Merleau-Ponty, space is what creates the body, and it is not that there is space first (cognitive supposition) and only then comes the body to inhabit it. Individual rooms of the gallery are not only “white cubes”, empty volumes, but special dwellings, environments where statues find their place. Such friendly cohabitation changes the formality of a gallery space into the familiarity of the studio, where statues keep on living their lives, forcing the spectator to adapt to their diverse existence.

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