Autobiography of a Project Space

Discursive Event and Exhibition
Monday, 16 January 2023, 7 pm
SCCA Project Room, Metelkova 6, Ljubljana


Vesna Bukovec, Women are Coming, 2020, detail

From 2004 to 2019, SCCA-Ljubljana established a production and experimental space in the SCCA Project Room with the Studio 6 and No Nails, No Pedestals programmes, encouraging invited artists to prepare spatial, conceptual, visual and intermedia installations. The uncertainty of 2021, when all of us Metelkova 6 users received an appeal from the Ministry of Culture that we would have to leave M6, also influenced the programming of events in the SCCA Project Room, but at the same time, prompted us to reflect on past and present programmes. In light of the currently resolving issue of using public cultural infrastructure and the changing generations at SCCA-Ljubljana, we decided to look back in time and reflect on our activities.

With the exhibition and discursive event Autobiography of a Project Space, we want to discuss the effects of the SCCA Project Room – on the work of the institution, on Metelkova 6, on the management of public cultural infrastructures, on self-organisation in times of precarious production conditions and, last but not least, on the artistic practices of the former participating artists – with the former guest artists, heads and curators of the Studio 6 and No Nails, No Pedestals programmes.

Invited speakers Damijan KracinaBarbara Borčić (heads of the programme No Nails, No Pedestals), Saša Nabergoj (head of Studio 6), Borut Savski (artist and member of Cirkulacija 2) and Ana Čigon (artist) will discuss how SCCA-Ljubljana has developed a discursive and supportive programme in culture. The discussion will be moderated by Dušan Dovč (former head of production).

The discussion will be accompanied by the exhibition intervention And yet I do bother, in which artist Vesna Bukovec will present the drawing Women are Coming and a video exhibition of drawings And yet I do bother, created in the framework of the exhibition at the GONG Gallery (Nova Gorica, 2020-2021). The latter contains a selection of the artist’s production of drawings from the last few years, condensed into a video format. The selected series of drawings record the turbulent events around us and convey clear, direct activist messages to the viewer. The drawing Women Are Coming depicts a crowd of women cyclists from the anti-government protests of 2020. The exhibition intervention thus responds to the pressing issues of our time. It outlines the various socio-political situations we face daily, from the all-encompassing neoliberal ideology, the current political climate in Slovenia and around the world, the role of women in contemporary society, the refugee crisis, etc. The artist’s intervention also relates to the exhibition of contemporary feminist art from Slovenia; Women are Coming!, which we hosted at the Project Room in 2009 and was curated by Ana Grobler.


EXHIBITION

Vesna Bukovec, And Yet I do Bother

Can art have the power to change the world and do away with social and economic inequalities? We know from history that since ever, art has reflected the socio-political reality. In the 20th century, avant-garde movements strived for a radical change of the social system, but their attempts failed altogether. However, it can be said with certainty that socially engaged provocative works of art, which instead of embellishing the world reveal its dark side, agitate and force us to think about reality, although we as individuals usually have no influence on it.[1]

The exhibition intervention And Yet I do Bother by artist Vesna Bukovec responds to the pressing issues of contemporary times by juxtaposing the drawing Women are Coming (2020) and the video exhibition of drawings And Yet I do Bother (2020–2021). Based on photographic templates, the refined motifs outline the current socio-political situations we face daily – from the all-encompassing neoliberal ideology, the rise of fascist political tendencies in Slovenia and worldwide, the refugee crisis and the climate meltdown, to the role of women in contemporary society. With her intervention in the project space, the artist relates to the exhibition of contemporary feminist art from Slovenia, Women are Coming! (curated by Ana Grobler), which we hosted at the SCCA Project Room in 2009.

The title of the drawing, Women are Coming, pays homage to the work by Duba Sambolec – a sculpture of a female motorcyclist from 1976, considered the first feminist artwork in Slovenia. The drawing depicts a crowd of women cyclists from the anti-government cycling protests during the 2020 epidemic. The protest rallies emerged as a response to the destructive government policies that are causing the disintegration of democratic values, as a revolt against the politics of hate, corruption, deepening social divisions and harmful cultural policies. They are also linked to the struggle for climate justice and media freedom, the fight for fundamental human rights, and social solidarity.

And Yet I do Bother contains a selection of the artist’s work from the last few years, condensed into a video. The latter was part of the artist’s solo exhibition at the GONG Gallery in Nova Gorica in 2020. The selected series of drawings in the video record the turbulent events around us while conveying clear, direct activist messages to the viewer. The series Do You Not Want Me Because I’m Critical (2012) exposes and questions stereotypical roles of women within a patriarchal society. Through the series At Whose Expense (2015), the artist raises questions about consumerism as a central cultural practice of the contemporary time and its negative consequences for living beings and the environment. (Un)conscious ignorance and passive attitudes towards natural, wartime and other disasters are also at the heart of the work As If (2014) and the triptych of coloured drawings titled Not in My Name (2016). In the series And Yet I do Bother  (2019), the artist confronts the general insensitivity to the suffering of others that pervades our society with depictions of courageous women of the 20th and 21st centuries – women who have fought and continue to fight against social, political and gender inequalities. Whether they are the familiar faces of leaders of political movements and uprisings or anonymous protesters, the drawings inspire hope in the viewer that social change is still possible.

Curated by Urška Aplinc and Lara Reichmann

Works in the exhibition:
Vesna Bukovec, Women are Coming, 2020, digital drawing, print on textile
Vesna Bukovec, And Yet I do Bother, video exhibition of drawings, GONG Gallery, Nova Gorica, 2020–2021; curator Nataša Kovšca

________

[1] From the text by curator Nataša Kovšca on the occasion of Vesna Bukovec’s exhibition And Yet I do Bother at GONG Gallery in Nova Gorica (2020-2021). The exhibition catalogue is available here.
 


BIOGRAPHIES

Vesna Bukovec (1977) graduated and obtained her MA in sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. She is a socially critical author who expresses herself in various media, focusing on video and drawing. She has exhibited at several solo and group exhibitions in Slovenia and internationally. She also works in the field of graphic design and curates video art. Since 2015 she has been an expert associate of the archive DIVA Station at SCCA-Ljubljana.

Damijan Kracina graduated in sculpture from the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana, where he also completed a specialisation in sculpture and video. He works in the field of sculpture and multimedia art. At SCCA-Ljubljana, he has been involved in intermedia projects and creating the video archive DIVA Station. Since 2010 he has been a professor at the Highschool for Design and Photography in Ljubljana.

Barbara Borčić works in the field of contemporary art as a curator, publicist, editor and book author. She is the recipient of the Izidor Cankar Award (2005) and the Critic’s Pen Award (2018). From 1997-1999, she was the director of the Soros Centre for Contemporary Arts – Ljubljana, and from 2000-2015, she was the director of SCCA-Ljubljana, where she established the video archive DIVA Station in 2005. She is the author of several books and publications and curator of exhibitions and events.

Saša Nabergoj is a curator, writer, editor and lecturer in the field of contemporary art, with a focus on museum, curatorial and critical practices. At SCCA-Ljubljana, she was assistant director from 2000 to 2015, and from 1998 to 2015, she was head of the World of Art School for Curatorial Practices and Critical Writing. Since 2015 she has been the director of the Škofja Loka Museum.

Borut Savski is an intermedia artist, composer and producer. He has been working in the field of art since 1998. He is a founding member of KUD Trivia and Cirkulacija 2. He collaborates with Slovenian and foreign artists, creates music for performances and regularly exhibits in Slovenia and abroad (including Ars electronica).

Ana Čigon works in the field of artistic video, film and performance. Her socially critical works address themes such as historical underrepresentation, memory and public monuments, LGBTQIA+ issues, a critical approach to neoliberalism, etc. She often incorporates elements of humour, irony and satire in her works. As a videographer, she has received the OHO Award and her documentaries, experimental films, and animations have been selected for competition at numerous national and international film festivals.

Dušan Dovč worked at SCCA-Ljubljana as head of production and fundraising from 2004 to 2019 and as director of the institution from 2015 to 2019. Since 2021 he has been working as a curator at the International Centre of Graphic Arts, where he coordinates the programme of the creative and residential centre MGLC Švicarija.


Photo: SCCA-Ljubljana archive

Some of past events Studio 6 and No Nails, No Pedestals programmes

Damijan Kracina: Play All (2006), Women are coming! (2009), Cirkulacija 2: Dark Forest Disco (2013), OFFTIR: Liminale (2013), Ana Čigon: Ana at the Station (2015), Lina Rica: Time Transfusion (2018), Emil Memon: Three Steps to Madness. Social Sculpture and Other Short Stories (2019), Translacija | Traslación (Tatiana Kocmur & Francisco Tomsich): RDEČE NITI #TV dražba (2019)


Production: SCCA-Ljubljana
The programme is supported by: the City of Ljubljana – Department for Culture.