25 January / 24 March, 2018
Artists: Marieta Chirulescu, Felipe Cohen, Svenja Deininger,
Caroline Duchatelet, Vlatka Horvat, Željko Jerman,
Ivan Moudov, Ulay, Ignacio Uriarte, Ruth Wolf-Rehfeldt
Curator: Tevž Logar
The first thing that comes to mind in the context of Borderline Relation is Frank Stella’s “minimalist” thought “What you see is what you see”, and the issues raised through the tradition of conceptual practices, in particular the dematerialization of the art object, the definitions of the form and the medium, and the context of the modern-day world or the correlations with the things that surround us. The main intention of the exhibition is not to “flatten” the artworks to a particular chosen theme but rather highlight specific aspects and characteristics that experiment with the relationships that emerge between the spectator, the work of art and the exhibition space. Most likely the artists' works can be examined in terms of the relations between conceptual practices and the legacy of conceptual tradition that focus on the idea of a work of art, questioning the materiality of an object as the conveyor of meaning. However, participating artists are never interested in complete rejection of the object but rather in the idea of the conveyor, which always very consciously and precisely establishes a relation with the medium.
Through the prism of this particular relation of duality, the works travel on the level of content between exploring particular conceptual premises, intimate stories, historic references but always question the formal possibilities of the chosen medium. In this way, the exhibition does not convey its reading as a linear structure but rather as a unity of works that create a space for questioning the established paradigms in the discourse of contemporary art. The dynamic between the artworks, which re-interpret the medium itself and establish new relationships between them and the space, examines the experience of the spectator and the unavoidable encounter with the conflict raised by the duality of each artwork. As a consequence of all of this, there appears a point of vulnerability, which finds its origins in the relation between the opposing notions and the persistent rejection of axiomatic artistic approaches. It is precisely this approach, of not taking sides and of creating a constant tension, that makes the artists' expressions all the more unique and, invariably, highly topical. Vulnerability is considered a “mistake” in the context of our new socioeconomic order, in which we have been drowned in endless currents of “perfect” imagery directing our lives in one way or another, wherever we go. This visual onslaught seems almost unstoppable and certainly unavoidable. As a result - and to our detriment – we are becoming less receptive to the subtle stimuli in our everyday environment. So, it seems that Stella’s thought mentioned to introduce Borderline Relation is the most appropriate to balance the context of this so-called new socioeconomic order in which the exhibition is positioned. On one hand, yes, if we paraphrase the thought, it is true that “What we will see is what we will see”. But not at all in the wider frame of the understanding that the objective of artists who are concerned with conceptual art (or its legacy) is to make their work mentally interesting to the spectator, and therefore they would usually want it to become “emotionally dry” (Sol LeWitt). Far from being a case in point of this understanding, the presented artworks are full of emotion and can be seen as one of the key preconditions of the artists’ creative process. Artists constantly probe the point of convergence between their deliberate rejection of the dominant paradigms from the past and their challenging of the formal postulates of the shifts in art in the late 1960s. This point of “vulnerability,” which keeps distancing artists from either pole, will serve as our point of departure in considering a singular artistic idiom through the topical demands of the time and tradition of the medium, which at the same time is incessantly being questioned.