Neža Knez: Analogue Diffractions #1

V-F-X Ljubljana
11 – 18 May 2023
SCCA Project Room, Metelkova 6, Ljubljana
Opening: Thursday, 11 May 2023, 6 pm

Image: Neža Knez

The exhibition represents the current phase of a long-time artistic and research project of the visual artist Neža Knez, which will eventually be condensed into an experimental film. By researching a specific space – her aunt’s former plot in the middle of a forest with abundant vegetation – and delving into childhood memories and experiences, the artist investigates the intertwining of memory and the passing of time. She experiments with materials and records the organic memory and the chemical-physical imprints that plants and objects leave on film in phytograms and photograms.

The exhibition intervenes in space with a kinetic installation of an expanded film projector. The artist focuses on experimenting with the materiality of analogue mechanisms and organic processes that evoke images, light and sound from the film strip. More than in the actual film image, the magic of film is manifested in revealing the process of the complex mechanical structure of image production.

As part of the V-F-X Ljubljana festival, the artist will lead an experimental workshop on learning about the materiality of film stock and making phytograms.

An Infinite Loop of Light Diffractions

Neža Knez’s art practice is characterised by researching the characteristics and questioning the appearance and materiality of images while documenting reality. She constantly checks the existence of things that she shows to us in her works through their object characteristics. She examines, re-interprets, intervenes in and disturbs the seen. She thinks about the quality of representation techniques and wonders about the reliability of perception and understanding. She plays with uncertainty that hides in the seen and the heard, in materiality, corporeality and time.

Through the optical laws of the travelling and diffraction of light, which also illuminates the areas of shadow, the spatial installation Analogue Diffractions #1 experiments with staging and reifying elusive childhood feelings and memories. These enigmatic images and sounds are not the linear narrative or metaphor that we are used to from fiction films and literature. By intertwining several abstract projected moving and static images, she creates non-verbal poetry of sensory perceptions.

The images were not recorded by a camera, they are chemical traces left by plants on the surface of film. Fleeting moments of the encounters between organic substances and the materiality of film stock have left random traces and abstract images. The artist used plants from the place where her memories of her first genuine contacts with a forest and wild vegetation originate. By using the phytogram technique, she managed to get on film not only images, but also the sound created by vegetation.

The rustling and crackling of plant sounds is accompanied by the intensified sounds of the operating of a film projector. With this installation, she at the same time exhibits, deconstructs and plays with the ways of eliciting image and sound from film, slides and the projection apparatus itself. The artist writes that the reproduction and representation techniques in the installation are set so that it cannot be ascertained whether the patterns belong to the image or its support. By equally accepting both the positive and the negative, she invites us not to renounce new views. With constant repetition, duplication, copying and showing the same thing in a different way, the original and the copy lose their identity. They become a stream of textured light, sound recordings and film perforation that constantly change and thereby become new originals.

The spatial site-specific installation in the SCCA Project Room is a result of a running process of editing 16mm film and constructing a projection structure with elements already present in the space. The artist calls it an experimental poetic hybrid that questions itself, produces images and sounds that multiply, repeat, dance and point to themselves – all the time, in an infinite loop.

Exhibition opening
Photo: Asiana Jurca Avci

Exhibition view
Photo: Asiana Jurca Avci

Neža Knez (1990) completed her bachelor’s and master’s studies in sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design (ALUO) in Ljubljana. She participated in the international WHW Academy in Zagreb, where she also attended the documentary and experimental film school RESTART. Neža Knez is a recipient of various awards: the recognition (2012) and award (2014) for outstanding academic achievements at ALUO in Ljubljana, the award for an innovative approach to printmaking Zlata preša (2015), the Prešeren Prize for Students for outstanding academic achievements (University of Ljubljana, 2015). For her master’s thesis, she received the highest distinction – summa cum laude (2017). In 2017, she participated in the Youth Biennale in Tirana. In 2018, she received the OHO Award and participated in a two-month residency at Residency Unlimited in New York. In 2021, she received a work scholarship from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia. Neža Knez has shown her work at numerous solo and group exhibitions, screenings and performances. She lives between Ljubljana and Zagreb. (Photo: Sanja Bistričić)

The exhibition is part of the International Festival of Experimental Audiovisual Practices V-F-X Ljubljana in Slovenian Cinematheque.

The exhibition will be open every day from 12 till 18 May 2023 from noon to 5 pm.

Curator: Vesna Bukovec
Production: SCCA-Ljubljana/DIVA Station
Co-production: Slovenian Cinematheque
Supported by: Ministry of Culture RS, City of Ljubljana – Department of Culture
Thanks: Hrvoje Spudić, Klubvizija (Zagreb), Forum Ljubljana, KUD Mreža