"Small Wall" is an artwork symbolically referring to the history of the monumental building and the story that unfolded inside the walls of the Cukrarna. The brick wall alludes to the past which left its footprint in the foundations of the former sugar factory. Those walls bore witness to life stories which remain part of our culture to this day – after all, some of the first artists of Slovene modernism used to live there. Walls can enclose us from the world, they can protect us or restrict our freedom, they can connect or divide us, it is easier to build them than to move them, they can testify of a dark past, but they can also represent the foundation of a better future. A single brick can be a building block of great stories.
Vadim Fiškin (b. 1965) graduated at the Moscow Architectural Institute where he lived until 1996. In his works he explores the relationship between science, personal experience, desire and imagination, between metaphysics, pragmatism, between the real and the virtual. The artist manages to reveal sophisticated interconnections and entice the spectator's curiosity without giving a final answer to the question of meaning. His numerous installations, sculptures, photos and drawings on the topics of geography, time, light, aeronautics and meteorology are marked by his distinct sense of humour. He presented his works in several group and solo exhibitions at home and abroad.
The artist first began by breaking bricks down into smaller pieces. During the crumbling she got the idea to use fragments of brick in order to propel kinetic objects. Her studio soon filled up with dust, rocks, tools and sketches and began to resemble the construction site at the Cukrarna. While the movement of the figurines in the kinetic objects may appear fun and aery, the designing of the system that moves them was a very complex and delicate operation. It is a kind of perpetuum mobile in which the contents condition its function and vice versa, regardless of the final result. In order for the kinetic system to function, all of the elements involved must work in symbiosis, and in an unusual way their vivacious movement even starts to give some kind of meaning to its functioning.
Meta Grgurevič (b. 1979) graduated in painting at the Venice Academy of Fine Arts. Since 2007 she has presented several solo projects and participated in group exhibitions in Slovenia and abroad. She was nominated for several prizes and recognition awards for prospective young artists and won the Premio Consorzio Nuovo Bevilacqua la Masa (2002) award. Her project "Worlds Don’t Come Easy" was declared the best intermedia project at the Akto festival in Macedonia (2009). Based on the assessment by 30 of the world's leading curators at the BiennaleOnline 2013, she was listed as one of the 180 most promising artists in the world. She was also one of the four finalists for the OHO group award. At the 30th Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts she and the co-author Urša Vidic received a special mention of the international jury for their project "Mechanical Trinkets/Silver Thread".
This is not my brick and the words written are not mine.
The brick is old.
It belongs to a monumental building, to the social history of the city.
There is an inscription on the brick.
Life has taught us that certain stories and histories are lost, forgotten, suppressed or, sometimes, even deliberately ignored.
One such story is from a period in the 1970s and early 1980s when a young, independent, alternative culture sprang up, but did not receive the attention it deserved despite its extraordinariness.
It was during the 1970s that the gap between contemporary artistic practice (high culture) and youth movements (low culture) narrowed, allowing the two extremes to come much closer.
Inscribed on the brick are song titles and haikus by two neo-avant-garde artists (outcasts, desperados), poets, musicians and performers.
Here, standing shoulder to shoulder, are Ivan Volarič Feo and Marko Brecelj.
This brick is an homage to their greatness.
Tadej Pogačar (b. 1960) is an artist, curator and director of the P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Museum of Contemporary Art. He studied ethnology and art history at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana and graduated in painting from the Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts, where he also completed his postgraduate studies. He founded the P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Museum of Contemporary Art in 1993, a virtual organisation and critical model for analysing institutional systems. He has participated in many important international exhibitions of contemporary art, in Sao Paulo, San Francisco, Istanbul, Venice, Tirana, Prague and Berlin. He has received numerous grants and awards, including the Franklin Furnace Grant for Performance Art (New York, 2001), the Shrinking Cities grant (Leipzig, 2004) and MIT’s György Kepes Fellowship Prize (Boston, 2012).
Saharowskaya (from the Russian caxap, meaning sugar) is an alcoholic drink (40% ABV) containing a brick from Cukrarna and is, therefore, infused with the flavour of Slovenian Modernism from the time when Josip Murn, Dragotin Kette, Oton Župančič, Ivan Cankar and their friends were soothing their souls with thoughts of Pan-Slavism. What else could untie the tongues of gentle, romantic Slavs and stir them to poetry on a cold, damp night, in the shelter of red bricks soaked in consumption, if not Saharowskaya? All ten bottles of Saharowskaya come with a unique illustration showing how to use the brick to enter Cukrarna, the new home of contemporary art (once the liquor has been consumed, of course).
Mark Požlep (b. 1981) works in the fields of visual and performative arts, producing spatial installations and video art. His works have been displayed in numerous solo and group exhibitions, including "L'Effet Domino", Manifesta 13 – Les Parallèles du Sud, Nice; "Blueprint for Revolution", Contour Biennial 9, Mechelen; "Southwind", Centre Pompidou, Paris; "M HKA", Antwerp; "Cold from the Balkans", Pera Museum, Istanbul; the 7th Triennial of Contemporary Slovene Arts (U3), +MSUM, Ljubljana; "The Event", the 29th Biennial of Graphic Art, MGLC, Ljubljana; "Cultural Hero", the 2nd Biennale Quadrilateral, Museum of Contemporary Art, Rijeka; the 5th Triennial of Contemporary Slovene Arts (U3), Museum of Contemporary Art, Ljubljana; and Essl Award Winners, Essl Museum, Vienna/Klosterneuburg.
In our collective memory, Cukrarna is a gloomy building where our great artists – largely misunderstood during their lifetimes – suffered and died. Later, it became home to many vulnerable people on the margins of society. Today, its history bears witness to the many destinies and people who have inhabited the building over a period of almost two centuries. Each of them has left a trace and while some have been forgotten, others have left an indelible mark on our artistic heritage. We can glean, from the accounts of its former residents, that there has always been a spirit of community and solidarity in the building. It is our wish to retain this solidarity and to facilitate connections between different people and ideas. The relief print images on the bricks are not realistic depictions of people. Rather, the incomplete prints resemble archaeological finds or fading frescoes bearing witness to lives before our time. Slightly blurred, the images follow the shape of the brick and carry the twin messages that every human being is precious and that it is only together that we can move the boundaries of the world. And, the same is true of bricks too.
Zora Stančič (b. 1956) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of Sarajevo in 1984 and earned her MA in printmaking from the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of Ljubljana in 1990. She has participated in numerous solo and group exhibitions and has won several national and international awards. Her works are included in permanent collections in Slovenia and around the world. She mainly works in printmaking, drawing and spatial installations, and has published a number of artist’s books. Since 2014, she has been teaching printmaking and drawing at the Faculty of Education and the Academy of Fine Arts at the University of Ljubljana.
As one of the projects taking place during the run-up to the opening of the Cukrarna, Matej Andraž Vogrinčič presented his intervention into public space entitled "On the Way" in the park on Ambrož trg. Using building materials from the construction site at the Cukrarna he paved the central axis – the path leading from the crossroads through the park towards the factory – with the crushed bits (granules) of the roofing material. In a way the artwork "Cukrarna on Paper" represents a logical continuation of the artist's deconstruction of the building materials, as it was formed by drilling holes into bricks and the dust that was thus gained was later used to draw a pictogram of a house on paper. The transformation of building materials and its further usage is a testament to the fragility of the materials, stories and general narratives.
Matej Andraž Vogrinčič (b. 1970): After finishing the Poljane grammar school he studied art history at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana. Since the early 1990's he has been making site-specific installations connected to local traditions and history. This way he manages to transform even the most commonplace or neglected sites and inject them with even more unusual objects. His works are always based on the space which allows for the possibility of changing and developing his ideas during the process of creation itself. His projects are founded on a direct link to the local community.
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