Opening: 4 June at 7 pm
4–14 June 2014
WHERE: Židovska steza 2, Ljubljana
In 1941, the writer James Agee considered the camera to be “the central instrument of our time”. Today, this role has been taken over by mobile phones which have become almost indispensable to everyone. These devices have integrated so deeply into an individual’s everyday life (as well as thoroughly transformed it) as to become an inseparable part of their everyday experience. #ljubljana series by Matjaž Rušt comprises photographs taken with a smart phone to create an extensive collage of Ljubljana’s urban landscape.
The artist creates an intimate reflection of urban everyday life that doesn’t reveal the unusual, odd or neglected but rather, and consciously, seeks and exposes its humorous side. By thoughtful framing these images in a documentary manner, the artist captures on the mobile phone screen images that unveil banality and absurdity of various situations that constitute a wonderful mundanity and commonness.
On one hand, such a visual exploration of the immediate vicinity draws from the tradition of vernacular or “snapshot” photography from the 1960’s and ’70’s, whilst on the other, represents the digitalisation of popular “retro-nostalgia” and “retro-chic” trends. If the users of vintage cameras draw attention to the return of analogue photography, the use of a smart phone is just a digital version of this same phenomenon. A mobile phone further facilitates and speeds up the instant capture of everyday life, as an instantly captured moment can be simultaneously shared online. Matjaž Rušt thereby joins other walkers and urban wanderers, modern versions of Baudelaire’s flâneur of the 19th century, who transform their intimate experiences of urban everyday into fragmented visual images, and so the taking of pictures with a smart phone is merely one of many possible creative uses of photography.