Aljaž Velički – ‘What Have We Forgotten?’

Aljaž Velički, Messengers of Death, 2009

From November 10 until December 1, 2010

Modra hiša, Ljubljana

Aljaž Velički, a young Slovenian photographer, who is in his fourth year of studies under professor Lubo Stach at the renowned Vysoki školi vytvarnych umenia (Academy of Fine Arts and Design) in Bratislava, is presenting his work with two series of photographs with a joint name What have we forgotten? Both series appear very different at first glance, as the artist uses different photographic techniques to achieve a certain goal; however they are also very alike, as they represent his thoughts about the world. With this project, Aljaž Velički uncompromisingly, yet sensibly, takes on the bigger issues in life.
With the series Bratislava the artist used the analogue technique to move closer to the time of his childhood, even though the depicted storyline is fictitious. He transported the location of his birth and the era of his childhood to Bratislava. The spaces and buildings were photographed in the present time – the time of his life and work in this city, as though they were an everlasting memory in his mind. The images were printed onto a colour negative while his image and the images of his family members were »cut out« from family albums and digitally bound to the existing backdrops of the urban landscape. The result is a playful and apparently realistic image of his new fictitious childhood that reminds us of that which we have forgotten. And we have forgotten to enjoy the moments; we have forgotten the small pleasures and playful moments. Aljaž Velički is a man who loves life; he says that without photography, his life would be much emptier. Photography simultaneously relaxes and provokes him.

A distinctive influence on the artist during his adolescent years were his high school professor Željko Opačak and the painter Jože Tisnikar, who is well-known for his individualistic expression of motifs most people view as sad, morbid and absurd. As Aljaž Velički grew up with Tisnikar’s paintings and was mesmerized by their mysticism, he dedicated his second photographic series titled Between Painting and Photography to Tisnikar. This series was created by printing photographs onto the canvas in its own distinguished and accomplished way of expression. He added colourful and at moments even humorous details to backgrounds of different gloomy paintings and thus changed and opened up the original message of the images. With this, Velički successfully moved closer to the painting technique, even though as photographer he is always unconditionally limited by the nature of his medium.

Sonja Lebedinec