The lovest, revisitedJune 08 –
June 14, 2018

Prešernova ulica 10A
1000 Ljubljana
Piera Ravnikar

Teja Kosi
            With selected art posters and a documentary film, the lovest, revisited presents the project the lovest, which lived and breathed from 2011 to 2014. Strategically and in terms of content, it is a continuation of the project I’m Culture, with which the visual artist JAŠA left a significant mark on the Triennial of Contemporary Art in Slovenia in 2010, curated by Charles Esche. The artist developed a strategy of the relationship towards the entire exhibition and space, focusing on the unused areas. He carried out a series of events that took place in all areas and functional groups. They were set in the between-space, the coat check and the non-functional café, among the toilets, next to the lecture hall and elsewhere, opening up a chaotic world, diametrically opposed to the orderly exhibition aesthetic that dictated the walls of the gallery one floor up. The entire happening attracted a new, younger audience to the Museum of Modern Art, excitedly paying close attention to the happening, full of fun, humour, subjugation, destruction and shock. With the intervention nearly merging with the space, it seemed a shame for the project to come to a sudden end.

            A mere two weeks after the conclusion of the triennial, the project evolved into a new one, called the lovest. Together with his collective, the artist established an alternative entrance through the window, allowing visitors to enter and exit freely, and painted the windows of the gallery basement in bright colours. With both interventions, he aimed to soften the façade of the “old lady” and/or the dilemma that turned many away before even entering the gallery. He soon moved his studio into the gallery, building form and structure on a daily basis and leaving his doors open during the official gallery opening times. The installation attaining a satisfactory form was followed by organised events that soon competed with all the other Friday night gatherings. The period coincided with a broader “renaissance” of the club scene in Ljubljana and elsewhere. Over time, the lovest became an excellent instrument of active experimentation in combining individual media into a whole of events that – regardless of the debauchery, happening, concert, dancing, performance or other raging – always ended with the same words by the legendary gallery doorman: “The museum is closing.” The author aimed to utilise the form of a club or party as an artistic form, a participatory Gesamtkunstwerk. As he adds today: “Speaking about the lovest is speaking about life as we saw and lived it.”
           JAŠA (Mrevlje-Pollak, 1978) is one of the most prolific and influential contemporary Slovenian visual artists and the most recognisable voice of a generation whose education, artistic practice and project exhibitions broke through on the local and foreign art scene, thus ensuring visibility in the international art space. He studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice, graduating with honours in 2004, and obtained a second-level degree at the same academy in 2007 (con elode). As of 2008, he has led experimental education programmes at the same institution. During his studies, he was a member of the international group Crash in Progress, a progressive and radical group that established its reputation with art projects that gained significant attention. In 2005, he started down his own path, on which he continued his diverse multimedia practice, founding it on the principles of site-specific approaches and intertwining creative processes with others. During a fast-paced decade of comprehensive projects, he, alone or with a number of other important authors, thoroughly altered the Ljubljana art scene, then continued across European project spaces and exhibition sites until his first solo exhibition in New York in 2012. In 2015, he represented Slovenia at the 56th Venice Biennial, one of the most important contemporary art events in the world. From the very beginning, being a trained painter, he combined the solitude of studio work with collaborations with other authors and collectives from various fields (from contemporary multimedia visual practices, architectural approaches and fundamentals to sonic art, music and performance) into layered, comprehensive projects that placed the relationship towards and with the audience at the core of the art piece. Since, 2013, after intense and fruitful years of activity on the Slovenian and European art scene, he lives and works in Ljubljana, New York and elsewhere, remaining a constant on the international art.