MY FAMILIAR UNFAMILIAR: 
Nevena Aleksovski
Maja Babič Košir
I dreamed there was an island
May 13—July 30, 2022


LOCATION
RAVNIKAR GALLERY
Levstikova ulica 3
1000 Ljubljana
CURATOR
Piera Ravnikar

TEXT
Eva Simonič
PHOTOGRAPHER
Mario Zupanov

︎︎︎STATEMENT
            I dreamed there was an island is the first joint exhibition project by Nevena Aleksovski and Maja Babič Košir, who work together under the name MY FAMILIAR UNFAMILIAR. The formation of the artist duo was a spontaneous and natural process that came about thanks to their very similar artistic practices and methods. The result is a distinctly multimedia and multilayered experiment, a specific visual dialogue between the two artists, who otherwise work independently in printmaking, illustration, drawing, painting and sculpture, but who share far more than complementary tastes and aesthetics. With certain aspects of their identity (woman, artist, precarious worker and migrant), they tried to find common ground that would help them transform the particular into the universal. They found these initially in their fragmented, minimalist pictorial language, but later also in their exploration of notions of origin and personal as well as collective identity in the context of the Yugoslav arena, in their exploration of the experience of (non-)belonging, alienation and nostalgia, and not least in the question of how the answers to these questions – which are usually never really answered, as they are never absolute – have shaped their artistic practices. Through the creative process, they found that both explore seemingly contradictory relationships that are of constitutive importance to them on a personal and creative level, such as past/present, internal/external, emotional/rational, independent/collective and personal/political.

            The new collaboration, which like any partnership requires a certain degree of empathy, led them to an in-depth exploration of their personal archives (both metaphorical and real) and to a constant exchange: they consciously used dialogue as a specific artistic strategy. Their mutual communication took place on various (even unconscious) levels, especially intuitively when they translated it into the visual world; artworks intertwine, complement each other and create their own dialogues, like a living organism they are transformed, destroyed and reshaped depending on the contexts in which they are placed. 

            The ambient installation consists of spatial interventions with found and manufactured objects and canvases, drawings and collages. The artists paid particular attention to researching archival material and using discarded objects, especially vases and jugs, in the awareness that they have different functions in art and cultural history, from painted ancient vases to their representations in the centuries-old tradition of still life painting. Vases and jars form fragile, delicate columns that, in combination with robust materials (concrete, metal), testify to the search for balance. Reflecting on history through the intimate experience of the past has led them to think about art today, its potentials and possibilities, and their own roles and positions as artists. Their decision to join forces, cooperate and rely on genuine human contact, feedback and relationship can in itself be understood as a hopeful (protest) attitude.


︎︎︎ABOUT THE ARTISTS

            Nevena Aleksovski (1984) graduated in painting in 2008 at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Novi Sad and obtained her Master’s degree in Cultural Studies in 2014 at the Faculty of Social Sciences in Ljubljana. The main focus of her art production is on the mediums of painting and drawing, through which she establishes a direct and immediate process of creating without a crystalized, pre-determined image. In her work, she frequently questions and subtly comments on the universal human experience, emotional states resulting from the feeling of alienation as well as discordances and absurdities of modern times. She has presented herself at numerous shows in Slovenia and internationally, including the group exhibitions Zines! Contemporary Zine Production at the International Centre of Graphic Arts and Somethin’s Written at the Vodnik Homestead within the framework of the Institute SCCA Ljubljana. She has also held independent exhibitions at the art fairs Vienna Contemporary (2020, 2022), Positions Berlin (2022) and Art Rotterdam (2021).

Maja Babič Košir (1978) graduated and obtained her Master’s degree in sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. She completed her postgraduate studies in creative illustration and visual communication techniques at the EINA University School of Design and Art in Barcelona. Her creative process is based on the principle of meditative introspection. She draws subject matter from her environment and personal history, especially from her rich family archives holding a wide array of materials; this enables her to use intuitive artistic interventions in translating her intimate stories into a visual form. She has participated in numerous independent and group exhibitions, especially in Portugal and Spain, where she lived and worked for almost ten years. She takes regular part in international contemporary art fairs, for example, SWAB Barcelona Art Fair in 2020 and Vienna Contemporary in 2019, 2020, and 2021. In 2021, she also debuted at VOLTA Art Fair in Basel. In 2022, she participates in the new Vienna art fair SPARK and is preparing her first joint exhibition with the fellow artist Nevena Aleksovski at RAVNIKAR GALLERY SPACE.


︎︎︎MY FAMILIAR UNFAMILIAR: I dreamed there was an island
            I dreamed there was an island je prvi razstavni projekt umetniške dvojice Nevene Aleksovski in Maje Babič Košir, ki skupaj delujeta pod imenom MY FAMILIAR UNFAMILIAR. Formiranje umetniškega dueta je bil spontan in naraven proces, do katerega je prišlo zahvaljujoč njunim zelo sorodnim umetniškim praksam in metodam. Rezultat je izrazito večmedijski in večplasten eksperiment, specifičen vizualni dialog med umetnicama, ki samostojno sicer ustvarjata na področjih grafike, ilustracije, risbe, slike in skulpture, a ju obenem druži veliko več kot komplementarna okus in estetika. Z določenimi aspekti njunih identitet (ženska, umetnica, prekarka in migrantka) sta poskusili poiskati stične točke, ki bi jima pomagale transformirati partikularno v univerzalno. Te sta sprva našli v njunem fragmentiranem, minimalističnem likovnem jeziku, kasneje pa tudi v raziskovanju idej porekla in osebne ter kolektivne identitete v kontekstu pojugoslovanskega prostora, raziskovanju izkušnje (ne)pripadnosti, odtujenosti in nostalgije, ter nenazadnje kako so odgovori na ta vprašanja – ki praviloma nikoli niso absolutni – izoblikovali njuni umetniški praksi. Skozi ustvarjalni proces sta ugotovili, da obe raziskujeta navidez nasprotujoče si relacije, ki so za njiju na osebni in ustvarjalni ravni konstitutivnega pomena, kot so preteklost/sedanjost, notranje/zunanje, čustveno/racionalno, samostojno/kolektivno ter osebno/politično.

            Novo sodelovanje, ki kot vsako partnerstvo implicitno zahteva določeno mero empatije, ju je vodilo do poglobljenega raziskovanja osebnih arhivov (tako metaforičnih kot resničnih) in neprestane izmenjave: dialog sta uporabljali načrtno, kot specifično umetniško strategijo. Njuna medsebojna komunikacija je potekala na različnih (tudi nezavednih) nivojih, še posebej intuitivno, ko sta jo prevedli v vizualni svet; umetniška dela se medsebojno prepletajo, dopolnjujejo ter ustvarjajo svoje lastne dialoge, kot živ organizem se transformirajo, rušijo in znova izoblikujejo v odvisnosti od kontekstov, v katere so postavljeni. 

            Ambientalno instalacijo sestavljajo prostorske intervencije z najdenimi in oblikovanimi objekti ter platna, risbe in kolaži. Posebno pozornost sta umetnici namenili raziskavi arhivskih materialov in rabi zavrženih predmetov, specifično vaz in vrčev, z razumevanjem, da imajo le-ti raznolike funkcije skozi celotno zgodovino umetnosti in kulture, od poslikanih antičnih vaz do njihovih upodobitev v večstoletni slikarski tradiciji tihožitja. Vaze in vrči tvorijo krhke, delikatne stebre, ki v kombinaciji z robustnimi materiali (beton, kovina) povedno pričajo o iskanju ravnovesja. Refleksija zgodovine skozi intimno doživljanje preteklosti ju je vodila do premisleka o umetnosti danes, o njenih potencialih in možnostih ter o lastnih vlogah in pozicijah, ki jih kot umetnici zavzemata. Njuno odločitev za združitev moči, za sodelovanje, ki zasleduje pristni človeški kontakt, odziv in odnos, gre samo po sebi razumeti kot upanja polno (protestno) držo.


︎︎︎KRATKA BIOGRAFIJA

            Nevena Aleksovski (1984) je leta 2008 diplomirala iz slikarstva na Akademiji umetnosti v Novem Sadu, leta 2014 pa magistrirala iz kulturologije na Fakulteti za družbene vede v Ljubljani. V svoji likovni produkciji se pretežno posveča medijema slikarstva in risbe, ki ji omogočata neposreden, takojšen proces ustvarjanja brez izkristalizirane, vnaprej začrtane podobe. V svojem delu pogosto prevprašuje in pretanjeno komentira občečloveško izkušnjo, čustvena stanja, ki jih izoblikujejo občutek odtujenosti ter neskladja in absurdi sodobnega časa. Predstavila se je na številnih domačih in tujih razstavah, med drugim v Mednarodnem grafičnem likovnem centru na skupinski razstavi Zini!, Sodobna zinovska produkcija, na skupinski razstavi Neki piše v galeriji Vodnikove domačije v okviru zavoda SCCA Ljubljana, samostojno pa je razstavljala tudi na umetnostnih sejmih Vienna Contemporary (2020) in Art Rotterdam (2021). V letu 2022 v RAVNIKAR GALLERY SPACE družno z umetnico Majo Babič Košir pripravlja njuno prvo skupno razstavo.

            Maja Babič Košir (1978) je diplomirala in magistrirala iz kiparstva na Akademiji za likovno umetnost in oblikovanje v Ljubljani. Podiplomski študij kreativne ilustracije in tehnik vizualne komunikacije je zaključila na EINA v Barceloni. Umetničin ustvarjalni proces temelji v meditativnem, introspektivnem principu. Snov črpa iz svojega okolja in svoje osebne zgodovine, še posebej iz bogatega družinskega arhiva najrazličnejših materialov; tako svoje intimne zgodbe skozi intuitivne umetniške intervencije prevede v vizualni svet. Sodelovala je na številnih samostojnih in skupinskih razstavah, predvsem na Portugalskem in Španiji, kjer je živela in ustvarjala skoraj 10 let. Redno se udeležuje mednarodnih sejmov sodobne umetnosti, na primer sejma SWAB Barcelona v letu 2020, Vienna Contemporary v letih 2019, 2020 in 2021, istega leta se je premierno predstavila tudi na sejmu VOLTA v Baslu. Letos je sodelovala na novem dunajskem umetnostnem sejmu SPARK, obenem pa v RAVNIKAR GALLERY SPACE družno z umetnico Neveno Aleksovski pripravlja njuno prvo skupno razstavo. Živi in ustvarja v Ljubljani.

︎︎︎INSTALLATION VIEWS



My Familiar Unfamiliar

︎︎︎ AVAILABLE WORKS


My Familiar Unfamiliar, 2022
Sweet disguise
Acrylic on canvas, ceramics, branch

My Familiar Unfamiliar, 2022
Dear brother
Mixed media on paper

My Familiar Unfamiliar, 2022
Hand in Glove
Oil on canvas, plastic folias, stone 



My Familiar Unfamiliar, 2022
Cloudbusting, sculpture
Glass, Porcelain, Concrete, Coral, Iron, Mirror, Tibetan singing bowl

My Familiar Unfamiliar, 2022
Foggy notion
Acrylic and charcoal on canvas, concrete, porcelain


My Familiar Unfamiliar, 2022
Through
Acrylic on canvas