TADEJ VAUKMAN
If I Die Tomorrow, This Could Be My Retrospective
September 01—October 11, 2022


LOCATION
RAVNIKAR GALLERY
Levstikova ulica 3
1000 Ljubljana
CURATOR
Piera Ravnikar

TEXT
Eva Simonič
PHOTOGRAPHER
Mario Zupanov

︎︎︎STATEMENT
            The title of Tadej Vaukman's solo exhibition, If I Die Tomorrow, This Could Be My Retrospective, meaningfully reveals its unusual concept right off. The set-up contains a condensed summary of the artist's work to date and is to be understood as a well-considered move by the creator who, after several years of diverse and extensive production, wishes to take stock, review the totality of the "legacy" he is in the process of making. Older works are juxtaposed with new ones in such a way that together they reveal many contradictions, whether in the choice of medium or in the content of the narrative with the help of which the artist affords us a glimpse into his life with the now easily recognisable narrative visual expression and raw confessional tone. The images from different periods represent different turning points in both his creative practice and his private life.

            The artworks on display provide an insight into the artist's questioning of his own pictorial language: whereas a few years ago Vaukman exposed his life and immediate surroundings through thoughtful photographic compositions of portraits and self-portraits, he now makes more frequent use of direct expression through spontaneous, sudden and repetitive wordplay, collages and drawings. The artist used the material aspects and communication possibilities of different media in different periods to depict distinctly different feelings, desires, expectations, emotional states, relationships and stories. If, for example, the photographic diptych of the artist's resigned self-portrait in front of a mirror and a black flag of mourning bears eloquent witness to his plight and surrender on one side, a collage of nostalgic images of bouquets of flowers aptly titled On My Way to a Better Place optimistically offers redemption on the other.

            At this point, it should be emphasised that the artist's narrative was not intended as a linear "progression". The lives of artists and their creative periods are not infrequently divided into organised and closed thematic groups – especially if one insists on the analogy of retrospectives. The present exhibition contradicts this. The works reflect the continuous process, the artist's constant inner struggles and the search for a better life that he approaches during the creative act. This is never escapist, but primarily instructive. The image itself is an attempt to create a dialogue between sadness and happiness, pain and fantasy. The solution is not to run away, but to face tragedy – regardless of whether the creative act requires a return to the painful phases of life or vice versa, through which he experiences what he calls "cheap therapy".


︎︎︎ABOUT THE ARTIST

            Tadej Vaukman (1984) is an independent artist, photographer and publisher. In his predominantly photographic-based artistic practice he often follows the principles of rough documentary and street photography through which he documents and comments on topical phenomena from the margins of society and shows unembellished images of the world. In his more recent works he remains true to a brutal aesthetic, in which he departs from an uncritical documentation of his narrow circle of people and his own everyday life. The shift towards the exploration of one’s own intimacy, both personal concerns and fantasies, points to a process of individuation, expressed in the visual narrative primarily through self-portraits and handwritten notes on pages torn from books. Vaukman has participated in solo and group exhibitions at home and in international cultural galleries, his works are included in several collections. He is the recipient of the OHO Group Award (2019).


︎︎︎SLOVENŠČINA 

            Naslov samostojne razstave Tadeja Vaukmana, If I Die Tomorrow, This Could Be My Retrospective, pomenljivo razkriva njeno neobičajno zasnovo. Postavitev zaobsega strnjen povzetek umetnikovega dosedanjega ustvarjanja in jo gre razumeti kot načrtno potezo avtorja, ki si po več letih raznovrstne in obsežne produkcije zaželi neke vrste inventarizacijo, preučitev celote 'zapuščine', ki jo sproti ustvarja. Starejša umetniška dela so novim sopostavljena tako, da družno razkrivajo številna nasprotja, bodisi v izbiri medija bodisi v vsebini pripovedi, s pomočjo katere nam umetnik s sedaj že dobro prepoznavnim narativnim vizualnim izrazom in surovim osebnoizpovednim tonom razgrinja vpogled v svoje življenje. Podobe iz različnih obdobij reprezentirajo različne prelomnice tako v njegovi ustvarjalni praksi kot v zasebnem življenju.

            Razstavljena umetniška dela ponujajo vpogled v avtorjevo prevpraševanje lastnega vizualnega jezika: če je Vaukman svoje življenje in svojo neposredno okolico pred nekaj leti razgaljal s premišljenimi fotografskimi kompozicijami portretov in avtoportretov, se sedaj pogosteje poslužuje neposrednega izražanja skozi spontane, nagle in ponavljajoče se igre besed, kolaža in risbe. Umetnik je materialne aspekte in sporočilne zmožnosti različnih medijev v različnih obdobjih uporabil za prikaz distinktivno različnih občutij, želja, pričakovanj, čustvenih stanj, odnosov in zgodb. Če na eni strani, na primer, fotografski diptih umetnikovega resigniranega avtoportreta v ogledalu in črne zastave žalovanja zgovorno priča o njegovi stiski in predaji, na drugi strani kolaž nostalgičnih podob šopkov cvetja, povedno naslovljen On my way to a better place, optimistično ponuja odrešitev.

            Pri tem velja poudariti, da v avtorjevi pripovedi ne gre zasledovati linearnega 'razvoja'. Življenja umetnikov in njihova ustvarjalna obdobja so – še posebej, če vztrajamo pri analogiji retrospektive – nemalokrat razčlenjena v urejene in zaključene tematske sklope. Pričujoča razstava se temu zoperstavi. Dela so namreč odraz nenehnega procesa, umetnikovih kontinuiranih notranjih bojev ter iskanja boljšega življenja, ki se mu približuje med ustvarjanjem. To ni nikoli eskapistično, temveč predvsem spoznavno. Podoba sama je poskus vzpostavitve dialoga med žalostjo in srečo, bolečino in fantazijo. Rešitev ni beg, temveč soočenje s tragedijo - ne glede na to, ali je ustvarjanje tisto, ki zahteva vrnitev k bolečim fazam življenja ali obratno, z njim doživlja, kot to poimenuje sam, 'poceni terapijo'.


︎︎︎KRATKA BIOGRAFIJA

                        Tadej Vaukman (1984) je neodvisni umetnik, fotograf in založnik, ki živi in deluje v Ljubljani. Nase je opozoril s projektom Dick Skinners, ki ga je leta 2015 predstavil v knjižni izdaji (Rostfrei Publishing), serijo fotografij pa nato še na več razstavah. Med samostojnimi predstavitvami so sledile Spaghetti Boys v Centru in Galeriji P74 (2016), Larry v Hiši kulture v Pivki (2016) ter Grandheroes v Ravnikar Gallery Space v Ljubljani (2018) in Daeppen Gallery v Baslu (2018). Leta 2020 je predstavil tridelni razstavni niz Ritual očiščevanja (Center in Galerija P74, Koroška galerija likovnih umetnosti in Center sodobnih umetnosti Celje). Skupinsko je med drugim razstavljal na postavitvah Nezanesljiva okolja: 17 primerov sodobne fotografije v SIoveniji v MSUM-u (2019), Trienale sodobne umetnosti na Koroškem v Koroški galeriji likovnih umetnosti (2018), Viennacontemporary: NSK State in Time na Dunaju (2019) in Just Paper, agnes b. v New Yorku (2019). Njegova dela so uvrščena v slovenske in tuje zbirke (Moderna galerija, Koroška galerija likovnih umetnosti, Franklin Furnace Archive, Inc., Pratt Institute NYC ZDA in Daeppen Gallery, Basel). Je dobitnik nagrade skupine OHO (2019).





Tadej Vaukman

︎︎︎ AVAILABLE WORKS




Tadej Vaukman, 2021, 2022
The Map
Mixed Media on Paper





Tadej Vaukman, 2022
New York
Mixed Media on Paper


Tadej Vaukman, 2022
The Vaze And White Flowers 
Acrylic on Canvas


Tadej Vaukman, 2021
My Son Will Save My Sorry Ass
Mixed Media on Paper


Tadej Vaukman, 2021
Love Letter to Birkenstock
Edition of 3 + 1 AP





Tadej Vaukman, 2022
Dead Flowers 
Mixed Media on Paper





Tadej Vaukman, 2021
I Will Never Quit Photography 
Mixed Media on Paper


Tadej Vaukman, 2021
Early Stages of Depra 
Mixed Media on Paper



Tadej Vaukman, 2017
Mirror Mirror On The Wall, Who's The Saddest Boy In Town? 
Edition of 3 + 1 AP


Tadej Vaukman, 2017
A Better Tomorrow
Edition of 3 + 1 AP