Opening: 10 June at 8 pm
10–27 June 2014
Alkatraz Gallery, Ljubljana
WHERE: Masarykova 24, Ljubljana
The photographs of Patricija Stepanović, showing the everyday life as a vast and unamiable space of claustrophobic timelessness, indicate the longing for a simultaneous existence in two different worlds, and the inevitable slip into the interzone, where the socially acceptable laws of the daily logical conclusion retract to another perspective. On the contrary, however, it is mistakes that bear a creative potential and represent more an indication of individual activity than a mere defect in the system.
This is only the second time that Patricija Stepanović is exhibiting in Slovenia, as she had, after secondary education, left for London where she finished the study of fine art photography at the London Metropolitan University last year. At present she lives and works in Göteborg, Sweden. Her primary source of inspiration stems from the surrealism of the 20’s and 30’s of the 20th century, and their interest for artistic approaches of deconstruction of the understanding of the well-rooted notions like beauty and aesthetics, the search for extraordinary connections, exploration of foreign cultures, and ways of expression.
Questioning the beauty is the focal category that she uses in her exploration of the world. In her b/w photographs we can find scenes from nature; nothing unusual for the Central European climate zone. However, this is no tamed nature that brings us relief and repose. Sometimes its image lulls in the reflection of water, but always it escorts us into the inter time and space, where the contours are familiar, whilst the fantasy content retreats, inculcating the feeling of alienation. The photographs of Patricija Stepanović show the everyday as a vast and unamiable space of timelessness, that is, paradoxically, claustrophobic. The only person present in the photographs is a naked woman who is not seeking contact with the viewer, and actually represents another element of the alienated nature.
The author in her photographs often dismembers the body, thus stripping it of the contexts imposed on it by the culture, in order to be able to focus only on its aesthetic effect. This procedure of fetishization, as understood by the author, is a tool, similarly to a microscope, enabling the recognition of subjective beauty that will change the world (F. Dostojevski). By intertwining the bodies into the landscape as its inseparable part, her quest expands to the beauty of the image. The poetics of beauty as she is showing it, is concealed in the shudder and the unapproachable. The aesthetics of the artist has an existential undertone: the search for the meaning in the confrontation with an unfamiliar world leads into irrational and mystical; with the meaningfullness, created only from subjective impulses, that are purposed for one’s own identification. Also in the process of the making of the photographs it’s the mistakes that represent a kind of author’s signature; scratches on the negatives, manipulation with the chemicals during the development of the negatives, and other interventions, are there quite deliberately.
At the exhibition we also find the author’s photo collages. Compiling of heterogeneous images and objects in them indicates even more intense desire for a simultaneous existence in two different worlds; it speaks about their merging, a search for their common cross-section, and the inevitable slip into the interzone, where the socially acceptable laws of the daily logical conclusion retract to another perspective. On the contrary, however, it is mistakes that bear a creative potential and represent more an indication of individual activity than a mere defect in the system.
Ana Grobler & Sebastijan Krawczyk