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P74 Gallery

Beli sladoled (Miha Perne, Leon Zuodar): Don’t look back

6 December – 28 December 2012
P74 Gallery, Trg Prekomorskih brigad 1, Ljubljana
Opening on Thursday 6 December at 8 p.m.

Curated by: Barbara Sterle Vurnik

The artistic duo Beli sladoled, comprised of Miha Perne and Leon Zuodar, received the OHO Group Award in 2011, the annual award bestowed to young visual artists by P74 Center and Gallery. Known for their unconventional attitude towards painting and drawing that they manifest in forms ranging from large-scale wall paintings all the way to fanzines, this time the award-winning artists will present their newest project Don’t look back.

In their work Beli sladoled characteristically intertwine elements of comic strips, graffiti, and pop art with an emphasis on drawing, figuration, and strong colours. It is a mixture of the different aesthetics and narrations which penetrated into the very medium of 1980s classical painting when art was reunited with the everyday life of contemporary society, a combination that is still present today. Their work contains a consciously over-objective chaoticness as well as primitive elements of painting and deformed figures which recall the work of Otto Dix and George Grosz. Beli sladoled go beyond the aforementioned frame with their unconventional imagination. Despite the awareness of the social context, the artists remain on the level of commentary without venturing into the field of criticism, as they take a humorous and uncritical distance towards every theme (the art system, marginalised groups …). Their works are governed by paradox, mockery, self-irony, a dense and playful iconography of contemporary society, inspired and meaningful commentaries, as well as fluid and rather sophisticated drawing. A linear reading is crossed with chaotic threads of contemporary imagery.

Don’t look back is a multilayered project in which the artists deal with two questions: that of primitive human expression and that of the direct recording of one’s internal states. Thus the pair decided to create the entire project through drawings using only black ink. Drawing, which is already a constant in their work, makes this possible for them. As such they see in drawing a great artistic potential despite of, or exactly because of, the fact that it was, and still is – particularly in contemporary Slovenian art – perceived as outdated and in turn marginalised. With the exclusion of the past/primitive/obsolete in the context of the current they reach a paradoxical effect; in the same moment they also command us not to look back, and steer us and themselves only towards the present. This triggers questions of denial, acceptance, and repression. Their works, which, as they claim, are always thought of as a type of “Kinder Egg”, again bring the effect of surprise. Thus the exhibition itself has been conceived in a similar way.

Don’t look back is the result of a month-long drawing action which took place in each artist’s intimate environment. Following the principle of a daily journal, they committed themselves to drawing at a specified time each day on their own sheet of paper. Eliminating control and censorship and introducing automatism, chance, momentariness, stream of consciousness, and paradox remind us of the principles of the historical avant-garde of the 20th century. The element of a scroll, which the artists will unravel for the first time to themselves only at the installation and to the public at the opening of the exhibition, reminds us of ancient manuscript scrolls, which were a sort of predecessor to today’s comic strip, and thus the paradox comes full circle. Or were they only jokingly when saying during their work on the project: “back to the roots … don’t look back”.

Barbara Sterle Vurnik


Miha Perne
Born 22 April 1978 in Ljubljana. After completing his grammar school studies of photography at the Secondary School for Design and Photography, and attending his first year of study in the Art History Department at the Faculty of Arts at the University of Ljubljana, in 1998/1999 he enrolled in the Painting Department at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design. In September 2004 under the mentorship of professors Zmago Jeraj and Borut Vogelnik, he finished his university studies with the title of Academic Painter. Gardens.

Leon Zuodar
Born 23 August 1977 in Postojna. After completing his grammar school studies at the Secondary School of Postojna and finishing his first year of study in the Visual Arts Education Department at the Faculty of Education at the University of Ljubljana, in 1998/1999 he enrolled in the Painting Department of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design. In September 2004 under the mentorship of professors Zmago Jeraj and Borut Vogelnik, he finished his university studies with the title of Academic Painter. Skateboards.

The programme of P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Institute is supported by the Ministry of Education, Science, Culture and Sport and the Department for Culture of the Municipality of Ljubljana.