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P74 Gallery

Staš Kleindienst: Unknown / Unrecognised

18 December 2015 – 3 Januar 2016
P74 Gallery, Trg Prekomorskih brigad 1, Ljubljana

You are cordially invited to the opening of the exhibition Unknown / Unrecognised by Staš Kleindienst on Friday, 18 December 2015 at 19.00 at the P74 Gallery in Ljubljana.

On the displayed canvases in the exhibition Unknown / Unrecognised, it seems that we are seeing the world depicted from a distance. Before us, however, is not a uniform and linear story, but a moment comprising multiple details. Kleindienst’s works require an engaged view from the viewer, because they can only be seen as a whole when looked at from both near and afar. Even where it seems the events focus on one scene, we need to look carefully if we are to understand the “bigger picture”. The paintings are composed of several layers, moments and situations that are or are not interconnected, but only together form a whole. Individualized single parts each breathing one’s own life, each telling a different story, but bound by the same habitus, because they reside in a particular part of the same universe. The artist delicately compares public events and private, manoeuvring our view from the squares and streets, from nature between the intimacy of homes. With the harmony of the fragmented scenes he uncovers the veil of society. The contrasts in the content and form of the figures highlight everyday antagonisms; thus the crowd climbing Magic Mountain tells the story of social stratification because of the idyllic landscapes in the background thus the ecological and other destruction in the foreground are even more prominent. Despite the fact that the paintings are set in the countryside, that is, in an open space, the works stir a very uncomfortable anxious feeling of omnipresent surveillance. But the surveyors are not just drone cameras and uniformed individuals, we spectators are also the ones, who with our view observe (and co-create) the entire scene.

Judging by the title of the exhibition Unknown / Unrecognised we can also read the artworks as a depiction of another place and time, the artist’s imagination or even a dystopian future. In reality, the artist posits a tough, yet legitimate, question: is that which we see really something that we do not know or is just that which we do not want to know.

Depicted in Kleindienst’s works is not only the inevitable future in which some state of emergency of omnipresent control, of the army on the streets and of ecological catastrophes will become the everyday, but in them we can also catch a glimpse of the reflections of our own present. We can quickly associate the works entitled Monument to the Free World or Alien Invaders to current events and connect them to our new daily routines, characterized by the indiscriminate rising of control, xenophobia and wire fences.

Asta Vrečko

Staš Kleindienst (b. 1979) received his master’s degree from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Ljubljana in 2009. In his work he investigates the source, representation and naturalisation of power. In this context he is also interested in the mechanisms in the background of the system of contemporary arts, especially the production of values and the incorporation of artistic production within the historical context and discourse. He works primarily in the fields of painting, drawing and video.

Asta Vrečko has a PhD in art history and is researcher in the Department of Art History at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Ljubljana. She is also a member of the Institute for Labour Studies.