Curated by Alenka Gregorič
Maruša Sagadin finished her studies in Architecture in Graz and then Sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Vienna, where she is still based. Her solo exhibition at the Parterre Gallery is the first in a series of events taking a “One Space – One Artist – One Project” approach. Intriguingly titled Wet Feet, it showcases her recent works, carefully thought-out compositional wholes forming a metaphorical reflection on urban spaces intended as places for public gathering.
By reflecting on the main purpose of public areas – primarily conceived as places where people can meet and gather – and transferring these practices and ideas to a gallery context, the artist seeks to direct the viewer’s attention to the need for cooperation, communication and dialogue within the community. Taking advantage of the fact that there is no charge for admittance to the ground floor, the artist cleverly creates sculptural tableaux that straddle the pedestrian zone along the Ljubljanica River and the inner courtyard on the other side of the building. In so doing, Sagadin accentuates the idea of extending, or linking, the two public areas around Cukrarna.
The works – especially those created specifically for Cukrarna – and the dialogues between them are all in harmony with their expressive forms and their individual titles, which are often playful and witty: Tschumi Alumni, DORIS, Stress in Texas, Bad Mood Without a Kiosk and Kitchen, Wet Feet, Summer. Their judicious juxtapositioning takes the specifics of the gallery and its immediate surroundings into account, thereby creating a meaningful whole that encourages viewers to look beyond the merely aesthetic and actively think about the purpose and accessibility of gallery spaces. These aesthetic sculptures, meticulously thought through and masterfully executed, are also supporting structures, and the artist uses evocative details to suggest possible ways in which they could be used. In this way, an artwork becomes a bench on which she places moulds of objects such as an ashtray, a lipstick, a necklace or a shoe as allusions to its potential uses. Made from a combination of wood, concrete and various plastics, Sagadin’s vivid objects constantly invite the viewer to interact with them and to think about their possible uses. The artist’s aim is not to encourage irresponsible use, or even to define their purpose too rigidly, but rather to use subtle gestures to dismantle the established codes of how to view artworks in a gallery, and thereby create new perspectives and broaden our understanding of what art spaces are for, and the social responsibility they bear.
In addition to these usage prompts, her sculptures also include iconographic interpretations of, and formal associations with, parts of the female body: breasts, locks of hair, a foot or a high-heeled shoe, which is both an object of beauty and a source of constant discomfort. The exhibition also includes a number of sculptures in the form of benches large and small, free-standing or forming an assemblage, which invite us to sit on them, as well as sculptures reminiscent of screens or partitions, behind which we can find a concealed spot for reflection or a chat, or just a quiet place to sit.
* Photo: Cäcilia Brown
Tuesday to Sunday: 10.00–19.00
Photo: Cäcilia Brown, Andrej Peunik/MGML