The body as a point of view: Photo Exhibition
30 June─11 September 2022
Loža Gallery Koper
Opening: Tuesday 30 June 2022 at 7.30 p. m. 

Curator: Hana Čeferin,

Co-curator: Tatjana Sirk

In cooperation with: Galerija Fotografija, Ljubljana

When we consider the human body in terms of art history, hundreds of images appear in our minds. Whether it be medieval portrayals of saints, renaissance nudes of Greek goddesses or post 20th century advertising campaigns, the body has historically had an enormous number of meanings projected onto it. It is important to ask ourselves what kind of meanings the depiction of the body carries today; is it still discriminatorily limited to female nudes, as John Berger suggested in The Ways of Seeing? Have we, due to the flood of body-centred images, become indifferent towards it, as Susan Sontag remarks in On Photography? Has photography circled back to regarding the body purely in terms of form, using it much in the same way Bauhaus photographers used random household items as their subjects?

Certainly, a case could be made for any of these arguments. When we examine the selection of Slovenian artists dealing with the body today, it seems they are no longer concerned with its meanings; the central theme of their work seems to lie elsewhere. The male and female body in exhibited photographs are agents of form rather than meaning, they are gateways into the exploration of the medium itself. Although a large portion of the works features nudes, a subject frequently connected to objectification of the female body, the works approach the erotic in a way that has nothing to do with the pornographic and obscene. As Audre Lorde puts it in her essay Uses of the Erotic: The Erotic as Power, the erotic is personifying creative power and harmony.

The selection of artists represented by Galerija Fotografija aims to show the multi-faceted ways to approach the human body by selecting photographs from different time periods, backgrounds, age groups, genders, and interests – the common denominator of selected photographers is a passion for analogue photography and the medium as an art form. The works explore curiosity, creativity, and diversity, while also interrogating the relationship between artist and subject.

For Uroš Abram’s work, the body is integral, as it is at the same time the subject of his works and the means to make them. He uses camera oralis, a camera obscura made in his mouth – his own body – to photograph faces and figures and transfer their blurred impressions onto a canvas. Vanja Bućan focuses on photographic representations of the natural world by playfully reminding us that our adopted images of the “natural” are often a matter of perception. Human presence is suggested only through isolated body parts, which in ambivalent settings depict a complicated relationship between humans and nature. Boris Gaberščik’s approach to photography is playful, delighting in transforming random or found objects of seemingly no importance into imaginative, often humorous figures. Using only a single light source and a large format camera, Gaberščik finds bodies where there are none, inviting us to reconsider how we understand images at all. Andrej Lamut portrays the body as a dream figure, as he creates visceral images of faceless bodies descending into darkness or barely visible shadows passing by. His series Mnemosis is inspired by daytime parahypnagogia, a state of consciousness between sleep and wakefulness, when meaning is just outside of our grasp and images lose their coherence. Tanja Lažetić explores the body through her own image, which she often includes in her artistic projects. In the project titled Whore, she is referring to a work by Sanja Iveković, Tragedy of a Venus (1975), in which Iveković juxtaposed photos of her own life with the glamorous one of Marilyn Monroe. Lažetić reprinted it in 2010 with her own image and the word whore stamped over it. With this intervention, she is proposing a feminist reading of celebrity, the lines between public and private, and what it means to be a woman. Tilyen Mucik explores the potentials of combining the photographic image with natural processes, an objective stemming from her deep interest in botany. Her love of plants is visible in anthotypes, images created using photosensitive plant materials, and chlorophyll process prints on plant leaves. The nudes in these works are slowly fading with light exposure, calling attention to the transient nature of everything organic. In his polaroids of nudes, Janez Pukšič creates gentle, hazy female portraits, in which he is trying to transfer the sensuality of what is portrayed into the technique of the work itself. Using polaroid image transfer, he creates delicate, erotic nudes. Blaž Rojs perceives his work as a canvas for intervention. Collage, painting, photography, sculpture, and graphic design merge in multidisciplinary works which centre around polaroids of half-clothed or nude women. By adding and subtracting from the primary image, Rojs creates unique personal narratives, intimate in its choice of motif as well as his use of highly personal elements, such as a fictional writing system known only to himself.