Janez Janša: Life II [in Progress]

to Maks Soršak

MGLC - International centre of graphic art
25. 2.–4. 5. 2014
Opening of the exhibition on Tuesday, 25 February 2014, at 7 p.m.

Conceptual artist Janez Janša started developing the Life [in Progress] project in 2008. It consists of written, photographic and graphic instructions that encourage the audience to actively participate and interact with the artwork. Some instructions are translations and transfers of famous artworks from the 20th century into brief instructions for performances that can happen in everyday life. Even though they seem ironic, playful and even humorous, in their actual implementation, they potentially also raise discomfort, shame and vulnerability or are even in conflict with the law. According to the artist, the project turns around the traditional logic of representation: it is not art that represents life, it is rather life that follows the artistic scenario.

Past performances of the project had an emphasis on performativity and audience participation, whereas this presentation at MGLC has been adapted to the exhibition format. The main focus of the show is the extensive photographic project spanning over a five-year period, which follows a group of women (artists) through their pregnancies into motherhood. It is a series of staged monumental photographs, produced following the instructions of the infamous performance Imponderabilia by Marina Abramović and Ulay in 1977, in which visitors to the gallery had to squeeze between the two artists’ naked bodies. In Janša’s treatment, Imponderabilia is handled as a quotation from which a different work develops that establishes certain key differences of meaning and message in its implementation and implication. In contrast to the seriousness of the original, the full-figure colour images of pregnant women, nursing mothers and children arouse pleasant feelings and empathy.

The interest for historical performance as well as its re-enactment and interpretation is a very widespread occurrence within contemporary art, which is part of the general trend of exploring and revitalizing the non-institutional art and culture of the 1960s and 1970s. Theoreticians construe this interest as a need to revitalize the advanced ideas of this freethinking period since these have merely remained utopias or have in some way or another transformed themselves into commodities, or else, have become threatened again after having been socially accepted.

Lectures delivered by Aldo Milohnić and Mladen Dolar will accompany the exhibition.

Curated by: Nevenka Šivavec
Photographs: Nada Žgank
Photographs of the performances Life [in Progress]: Marcandrea, Janez Janša
Illustration design: Dora Budor, Maja Čale

Produced by: Maska and MGLC – International Centre of Graphic Arts
Project leaders: Tina Dobnik, Yasmín Martín Vodopivec
Public relations: Urška Comino, Petra Klučar

Design: Ivian Kan Mujezinović
Technical implementation: Blaž Janko, MGLC
Printmaking master: Slavko Pavlin

Instruction texts: Caroline Decker, Dražen Dragojević, Jedrt Jež Furlan, Žiga Kariž, Janez Janša, Teja Reba, Miran Šušteršič

Catalogue texts: Mladen Dolar, Tim Etchells, Adrian Heathfield, Amelia Jones, Bojana Kunst, Aldo Milohnić, Nevenka Šivavec

Thanks to: Žiga Kariž, Andrej Savski, Janez Janša, Moderna galerija, Galerija ŠKUC, Tina Dobnik, Zavod Bunker

Special thanks to the performers in the photographs: Maja, Simona, Veno, Vitomil, Jona, Urška, Jelena, Mina, Leja, Maks, Mila, Pia, Mirna, Marjeta, Tina, Malin, Teja, Ava Nuria, Bela Su

The project was supported by: Ministry of Culture and Sport of the Republic of Slovenia, Municipality of Ljubljana and the European Union as part of the EACEA (TIMEeSCAPES programme; Working with – In Time).

Sponsors: Babadu, Vanila Park

The exhibition will be accompanied by:

—Tuesday, 25 March, at 18.00: Aldo Milohnić, PhD – on art that creates with the law
—Tuesday, 22 April, at 18.00: Mladen Dolar, PhD – on the fact that there are more important things than childhood
Public Tours

—Sunday, 30 March, at 12.00: Jedrt Jež Furlan, columnist
—Sunday, 13 April, at 12.00: Janez Janša, author of the exhibition
Children's Workshops

—Saturday, 5 April, at 11.00: Dance in the Making, by Tina Valentan, dancer and choreographer
—Saturday, 12 April, at 11.00: Artist’s book in the Making, by Anja Zver, art historian
—Saturday, 19 April, at 11.00: Dance in the Making, by Tina Valentan, dancer and choreographer
Concluding Performance

—Saturday, 26 April, 11.00-12.00, MGLC Gallery
"Find a person. Stand in the doorway, facing each other. Take off your clothes. Look each other in the eye. Let people walk past you." Performans is created in the MGLC Gallery by visitors following the instructions.  

Admission free for all the events.

— 25-02-2014 : Janez Janša: Life II [in progress]
MGLC - International centre of graphic art
MGLC & Maska