Here & There – Places of Absence
Two series of photographs by Mirjana Rukavina
Opening: 16 June at 8pm
Museum of Architecture and Design, Ljubljana
The Here & There – Places of Absence exhibition showcases two series of photographs by Mirjana Rukavina, an artist who lives and works in Vienna, whose focus of interest is to confront two seemingly completely different, at least at first glance, architectural structures.
She places Hutter’s abandoned textile factory in Maribor (formerly known as the MTT)–an emptied, aestheticised and at the same time traumatised place–in direct visual dialogue with its alleged antipode, the spectacular Donau City Tower in Vienna, currently the tallest building in Austria yet, a pristine designer complex that is apparently perceived as a post-industrial adventure factory. Through their wisely unmasked spatial situations, the two photographic series identify the artist’s basic working principle, maintaining absolute distance from her objects of desire by transforming them into a series of documented views.
Rukavina’s exhibition focuses on the current state of both spaces. The former textile factory site in Maribor was founded in 1926, nationalised in 1945, and denationalised and privatised in 1991. The story of the factory which, following its privatisation has gradually but persistently deteriorated, is just one of many similar stories in Maribor the artist documented in her neighbourhood. The former Maribor Textile Factory too has succumbed to the ravages of time however, as a ruin, had it not become a kind of a war victim, instead of a technologically out-dated edifice that needs documenting, it would have sunk into oblivion. Although aestheticised, it shows traces of trauma. It is neither beautiful nor spectacular. In some photographs, where there are no utility objects but simply architecture and furniture, the timeless design is appealing and by association tied to the other architectural structure in the exhibition − the Donau City Tower in Vienna.
It too, has an industrial edifice, although it does not serve the function of a factory, one that would produce implements for instance. It is a space dedicated to short-term rentals, and even though it is not empty, it appears impersonal and refined. The people that dwell in it leave no traces behind, and the DC Tower’s modular architecture facilitates a quick change of settings and it is easy to dismantle. It is a typical space designed for the production of amazement in modern consumer society that has long since forgotten about factories and material production. Hutter’s factory represents a real body of pain and pleasure; it is a conscious image, a presence, though fading. The DC Tower is an apparition not to be grasped and only scarcely perceived through the scenery of spectacle.
(Simona Vidmar & Vasja Nagy)
The exhibition is open until 31 July 2016.
Address: Pot na Fužine 2, Ljubljana