Uroš Abram, Sexy East, 2006
Uroš Abram, Sexy East, 2006

Uroš Abram, Antea Arizanović, Simon Chang

Opening: 3 June at 7 pm

3–30 June 2014

Gallery of Ljubljana Fine Artists Society

WHERE: Breg 22, Ljubljana

The exhibition Inside-Out displays works by three local visual artists, all members of the Ljubljana Fine Artists Society, who use photography as their principal means of expression. In their work they rethink the border between public and private within an information era of a society transitioning into an extremely extroverted phase.

The Inside-Out exhibition is inaugurating new gallery space for Ljubljana Fine Artists Society on Breg 22 in Ljubljana. The exhibition is conceived and realised in collaboration between DLUL, ZDSLU and Photonic Moments festival.

The artists focus on one of the most omnipresent phenomena of public presentation of reality – pornography – which in essence, is a transposition of what is usually a completely intimate act, into the public domain. The trio deal with the phenomenon of pornography or the erotic (there is no substantial difference between the two: they are both aimed at more or less explicit stimulation of the viewer) from different positions.

Antea Arizanović addresses the erotic and pornography in everyday life from a feminist perspective. Uroš Abram enters the background of the pornographic industry with extremely subjective motifs, whereas Simon Chang deals with the subject of pornography in an explicit manner following the tradition of documentary photography. The artists therefore encompass different perspectives of this now everyday phenomenon, which in a fully idealised form, presents the most primary human activity – sex.

Although Uroš Abram in his series Sexy East (2006) deliberately erases apparent boundaries between the erotic and pornographic, in doing so, he does not create bare documentary records but suggestively offers the viewer an insight into what is going on in the background. His photographs are based on the absence of the subject and instead focus on recording the marginal, almost intimate scenes and objects that reflect specific pornographic aesthetics. Rather than focus on the principal ‘action’, the artist looks at everyday objects, thereby breaking the myth of the pornographic industry, whilst at the same time reflecting on the thin line between private and public.

In a similar manner, but through the use of allegoric visual metaphors, Antea Arizanović’s works deal with the image of a woman in mass media and the external view of a woman who fails to find a balance between manipulative consumerist ideals, her own desire to please and the search for integrity. In a staged photo series Bunny (2006) the artist took pictures of the theatre actress Lenča Ferenčak in front of a mirror as the perfect image of a Playboy bunny. In addition to offering a critical view of objectification of the (female) body, Arizanović also draws attention to the omnipresent and inexorable imperative of the (transient) beauty of youth.

The ageing human body, from the perspective of pervasive (global) beauty ideals, is one of the most distinctive overtones of Simon Chang‘s Praha Erotica (2006) series. In recent years, Prague has become the centre of the European sex industry and Simon Chang has made his way backstage, behind the scenes of pornographic film shoots. The plots leading to real “action” in front of the camera are the crude essence of this industry that strives to enact one of the most intimate moments in human relationships. Chang’s photographs are thus explicit, striving to unmask the pornographic industry and point out its stereotypes that, often unconsciously, affect our expectations and notions of the sexual act.

Miha Colner