TADEJ VAUKMAN
San Lorenzo

May 24 —
June 22, 2024


LOCATION
RAVNIKAR GALLERY
Vošnjakova ulica 4
1000 Ljubljana

TEXT & CURATOR
Tevž Logar
PHOTOGRAPHER
Mario Zupanov


STATEMENT
            Tadej Vaukman came onto the art scene over fifteen years ago when he took audiences aback with his candid photographs, which at first glance seemed to go on and on, but were discernible to the attentive viewer as extremely sensitive records of the artist's time and space. The latest exhibition San Lorenzo undoubtedly continues the same principle of the artist's thematic and formal engagement but should in the same vein also be understood as the final part of a trilogy that completes Vaukman's intimate reflection, which he shared with the public through the projects Dick Skinners and Grandheroes.

            Although these are two very different projects in visual terms, it is clear that the artist's method of observing time and space remains the same. If the accounts of Vaukman's friends in the Dick Skinners series are uncompromising, direct, raw and sometimes violent, the Grandheroes series is a poetic record of the artist's grandparents, the transience of relationships and his own coming of age. The way in which these two projects interrelate creates tension in the viewer and shows that Vaukman always defines his time and space of intimacy through the photographic lens. And the San Lorenzo series is no different. Here, the focus is no longer on the artist's view of the other, be it a radical questioning of friendship or an elegiac gliding through the lives of grandparents, but on the intimate time and space in which the artist finds himself as the main subject of interest. As a kind of silent footnote, the title of the series bears witness to this. It refers to the village of the same name in Croatian Istria, where the artist spends a considerable amount of his intimate time, sometimes alone, sometimes accompanied by his partner and son.

            Although Vaukman's series are not conceived analytically, but above all very instinctively, they could be described as a kind of visual diary, as they contain all the elements that unreservedly make up the human experience. This is reflected by the unique diary form of the many artworks that came to the fore with the new tendencies of the post-war avant-garde and are still a current and highly relevant art form today. When we talk about the canvases of On Kawara, the drawings of Keith Haring, the whispering numbers of Roman Opalka, the photographed objects in hotel rooms by Sophie Calle, the individuals living outside established norms by Nan Goldin or the testimonies of everyday intimacy by Željko Jerman, it is always clear that this is not just an intimate observation of the artist's everyday life, but a very subtle social and political record of a time and place. This is undoubtedly evident in Vaukman's direct photographs, which mostly speak of his intimate living space, questioning the precarious status of the artist, touching on the experiences associated with home and family and the instability caused by imposed social circumstances that are often beyond the control of the individual. Whether it is the individual images, the performativity of the series, the fluidity of the image or the interplay of different formats that question the hierarchy of the image, it is always an intimate record filled not only with intimate personal thoughts and details of their artistic explorations but also a reflection of the world around them that directly blurs the line that separates art and life.

            At a time when we are accompanied at every turn by countless images that are clearly far from authentic, it is imperative that we pause, take our time and steady our thoughts and feelings. Undoubtedly, Vaukman's latest "bittersweet" series San Lorenzo is a moment in which this is possible, as in every gesture he creates a space of general social contradictions, between black-and-white and colour, the static and the moving, dark and light, pleasure and pain, fear and freedom, which takes the viewer out of their usual comfort zone. And it is precisely these relationships that of course also reflect the artist's instinctive thoughts on art, everyday life and intimacy. The sometimes simple, sometimes complex image behind the shutter primarily refers to the way Vaukman observes or understands his surroundings, but at the same time reveals the artist's personal involvement in summing up his direct experiences, including his inner conflicts and confrontations with the mechanisms within which he operates.

⃰Tadej Vaukman has published two books with Rostfrei Publishing dedicated to the series Dick Skinners(2015) and Grandheroes (2018).



            Tadej Vaukman je v umetnostni prostor vstopil pred dobrimi petnajstimi leti, ko je publiko presenetil s svojimi iskrenimi fotografskimi zapisi, za katere se je na prvi pogled zdelo, da nimajo ne konca in ne kraja, a vendarle je pozorni pogled gledalca lahko prepoznal, da gre za izredno občutljive zapise umetnikovega časa in prostora. Najnovejša razstava San Lorenzo brez dvoma nadaljuje isti princip umetnikovega vsebinskega in formalnega angažmaja, v isti sapi pa jo je potrebno razumeti tudi kot sklepni del trilogije, ki zaokrožuje intimno razmišljanje, ki ga je Vaukman delil s publiko skozi projekta Dick Skinners in Grandheroes.⃰

            Čeprav gre v likovnem smislu za dva izredno različna projekta, je jasno, da umetnikova metoda opazovanja časa in prostora ostaja enaka. Če so zapisi Vaukmanovih prijateljev v seriji Dick Skinners brezkompromisni, neposredni, surovi in včasih tudi nasilni, je serija Grandheroes poetičen zapis o umetnikovih starih starših, minljivosti odnosov in o času njegovega lastnega odraščanja. Relacijskost teh dveh projektov pri gledalcu ustvarja napetost in priča o tem, da Vaukman svoj čas in prostor intime vselej definira skozi fotografski objektiv. In nič drugače ni v kontekstu serije San Lorenzo, ki se sicer ne ukvarja več z umetnikovim pogledom na drugega, bodisi z radikalnim preizpraševanjem prijateljstva bodisi z elegičnim drsenjem skozi življenje starih staršev, temveč primarni interes postajata intimni čas in prostor, v katerih se nahaja umetnik sam. Kot nekakšna tiha opomba o tem priča tudi naslov serije, ki se nanaša na istoimensko vasico v hrvaški Istri, v kateri umetnik včasih sam, včasih v družbi svoje partnerke in sina preživlja precejšen del svoje intime.

            Kljub temu, da Vaukmanove serije niso zasnovane analitično, temveč so predvsem zelo instinktivne, bi lahko rekli, da gre za svojevrstne vizualne dnevnike, saj vsebujejo vse elemente, ki brez kakršnih koli zadržkov sestavljajo človeško izkušnjo. Kot to skozi svojevrstne dnevniške oblike odražajo številna umetniška dela, ki so prišla v ospredje z novimi težnjami povojne avantgarde in so še danes aktualna in izredno relevantna oblika umetnosti. Vedno, ko govorimo o platnih Ona Kaware, risbah Keitha Haringa, šepetanju številk Romana Opalke, fotografiranih predmetih hotelske sobe pri Sophie Calle, posameznikih, ki živijo zunaj ustaljenih norm, pri Nan Goldin ali pričevanju o vsakdanji intimi Željka Jermana, vselej je jasno, da ne gre le za intimno spremljanje umetnikovega vsakdana, temveč gre za zelo subtilen družbeni in politični zapis nekega časa in prostora. Nedvomno je to mogoče prepoznati tudi znotraj Vaukmanovih neposrednih fotografij, ki večinoma govorijo o njegovem intimnem življenjskem prostoru, postavljajo pod vprašaj negotovi status umetnika, se dotikajo izkušenj, povezanih z domom in družino, ter nestabilnosti, ki jih povzročajo vsiljene družbene okoliščine, na katere posameznik velikokrat sploh ne more vplivati. Najsi gre za individualne podobe, performativnost serij, gibljivost podobe ali preigravanje različnih formatov, ki preizprašujejo hierarhijo podobe, vedno gre za intimen zapis, ki je napolnjen ne le z intimnimi osebnimi mislimi in podrobnostmi njihovega umetniškega raziskovanja, temveč tudi z odsevom sveta okoli njih, kar neposredno briše mejo, ki ločuje umetnost in življenje.

            V času, ko nas na vsakem koraku spremlja nešteto podob, za katere je jasno, da so daleč od avtentičnosti, je nujno, da se človek ustavi, si vzame čas in uskladi svoje misli in občutja. Brez dvoma je Vaukmanova najnovejša »grenko-sladka« serija San Lorenzo trenutek, ko je to mogoče, saj v vsaki gesti ustvarja prostor splošnih družbenih nasprotij, med črno-belim in barvnim, statičnim in gibljivim, temo in svetlobo, užitkom in bolečino, tesnobo in svobodo, kar gledalca odmika od ustaljene cone udobja. Prav ta ista razmerja pa seveda zrcalijo tudi umetnikova instinktivna razmišljanja o umetnosti, vsakdanjem življenju in intimi. Včasih preprosta, včasih zapletena podoba izza sprožilca se nanaša predvsem na način opazovanja ali dojemanja Vaukmanovega okolja, hkrati pa razkriva osebno angažiranost, s katero umetnik povzema svoje neposredne izkušnje, vključno z notranjimi konflikti in soočanjem z mehanizmi, znotraj katerih deluje.

*Tadej Vaukman je pri založbi Rostfrei Publishing izdal knjigi, ki se posvečata serijama del Dick Skinners (2015) in Grandheroes (2018).


INSTALLATION VIEWS