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These flowers will never die.

June 20, 2019

TAKE TIME OUT. Time, repetition and slowing down


21. 6.—22. 9., Gallery of Contemporary Art, Celje, SI.



Exhibition curator: Irena Cercnik
The exhibition was made possible by: City of Celje

© These flowers will never die, Ana Straze




Thinking about time in contemporaneity, where time is constantly running out and we are in a persistent state of rush and constant stimuli, contemplating the nature and experience of time, its fragility, the irreversibility of the moment and the event in time, being aware of the passing of time … thinking about time in a society that is controlled by the constant extension of work time into private time, experiencing the stressful time pressures, and the constant feeling that consistent and fast action is required or else we will find ourselves on the margins of society … thinking about time, this basic human living category in a society that nourishes and is dominated by the belief that time, which is not efficient and productive, and above all, which is not a source of profit-making, is time wasted … As individuals we perceive time differently, perhaps we do not even think about it. On the one hand, we take it for granted and on the other hand, it almost seems as if thinking about time in contemporary reality is, in fact, contrary to its basic values.


The exhibition that springs from this context speaks of time as such, and above all offers a sensing of time. Not the chronological, measured, but more profound time, that is in constant movement and interplay. The past never truly goes away and the future is already here in our minds right now. By talking about cycles, repetition, passing, returning, slowing down, duration, the constant cycle of life and death, it is the interest of the exhibition to offer the viewer an experience of time that deviates from his usual perception in everyday life. It focuses on artworks in which time stops, repeats, extends and deepens, particularly through the strategies of repetition and slowing down, so that it becomes almost tangible matter, the opposite of linear time, and the complete opposite to the speeded-up time created by Western society. It focuses on works that almost allow the viewer to step into time, to almost see it and feel it, on works that intensify the awareness of time through their structure as well as special subtle, poetic and emotional atmosphere.


The opposite to contemporary ideas about work and time, is slow manual work, the transformation of an Excel table of various financial transactions into a woven scarf; each drawing is the materialization of time, the result of exactly one hour of the continuous repetitive drawing process, a drawing and time simultaneously; material transformed into artwork, a used up pencil on a receipt roll, speaks about being spent – Accounting, Eight Hours of Work and Jolly Neonorange are the works of Anja Jelovšek, which encourage reflection on contemporary concepts of work and the trend towards the intensification of work, as there is more and more work to be done, more and more quickly. In the works that use the form of repetition, in which an action or event is repeated over and over again, there is always a difference in the repeats that are not regular in the sense of reproducing the original. A new or additional meaning is inscribed in these differences. The passing of time, in the piece Me and My Mother by Ragnar Kjartansson (the exhibition presents all four video works produced to date), in which the only two protagonists repeat the same emotional, unusual and surprising performance every five years, the same situation in the same space, but with each time they are five years older than in the previous repetition. The stretching of time, through the repetition of a specifically defined moment in time in the piece Before the First Light by Davor Sanvincenti, who also highlights the unrepeatability of the moment at every time with a single Polaroid shot, as he captures a landscape imbued by special light and silence, moments before the dawn of a new day, at whatever location he may find himself. Or its stopping, in the project These flowers will never die by Ana Straže, who postpones the transience of life by repeatedly performing the same thing over and over again, photographing flower bouquets that have been given to her as gifts, just before they finally wither away.


The thought that man is probably the only being with the realization of dying appears as a quote in the work Lost in Time by Patrick Bernatchez, a 46-minute film about being lost in time and space, and about the constant cycle of life and death. Thick, slowed down and indefinable time, omnipresent and tangible, totally embraces the viewer in the work, full of visual repetitions. With each of the many white cushions laid on the floor in the large photograph of the site-specific installation Untitled (Pillows) by Matej Andraž Vogrinčič, who always uses everyday objects in his installations and stems from the social and cultural context of the concrete space (the installation was an intervention in the city of Saitama near Tokyo, which is primarily known as a place to sleep), a standstill and calming down take place, time is stopped, inviting to rest and dream. The frustrating feeling of inevitable destruction and ending that cannot be prevented, cannot be changed in any way. It captures the viewer in the installation The State of Return_situation 2by Meta Grgurevič in the subtle language of the fragility of the longstanding process, of transience and death. Thirty square meters of soft and mighty knitted fabric slowly disappears in it, which is unpicked by the mechanism slowly but steadily and relentlessly. Time is actually existence as death occurs, it finally stops and moves and at best becomes the memory of another. In the Memory Preservation piece, Tomo Stanič, with repeated identical forms, in which only the light of a burning candle on the undeveloped negative is captured and preserved (each shot was made at one of the Ljubljana cemeteries on the Day of the Dead), placed between black colored glass panes so as to not be destroyed by the light, records the invisible and the past, departure, silence and memory.

Time is one of the notions most explored in history, but at the same time the most elusive and open, multifaceted, and there are as many concepts and experiences of time as there are those who think about or perceive time. The tiny figure of the artist, who persists in silence and in the extreme cold of the North Pole for 24 hours, almost unmoving, in a slow turning of the clockwise direction, while the Earth turns in the opposite direction, gives rise to a feeling that is greater than life and not tied to time. In the piece Nummer negen, the day I didn’t turn with the world by Guido van der Werve, the day is turned around with an intense, sublime atmosphere, into a hypnotic timelessness as the artist literally did not turn with the world.


More info: https://csu.si/en/exhibition/take-time-out-time-repetition-and-slowing-down/








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© Aftermath of Art Thinking by ANA STRAŽE, 2017. 

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