Lana Soklič, Distortion
12 January – 7 February 2023
Lana Soklič, a photographer of the youngest generation, is interested in analogue photography as it allows for a wide range of experiments and the inclusion of coincidences in the final image. She manipulates photographic materials through various film-developing techniques, the addition of chemicals, heating, and mechanical alterations to provoke irregularities, distortions, and colour anomalies in the original photographic images. She is interested in the traces that manipulations leave on film material. She draws content from her own memories and experiences and devotes herself to the research of psychological states. The latter is at the core of the series, after which the exhibition bears its title.
The Distortion series was created as a practical part of the artist’s diploma thesis, Depiction of mental disorders in photography (mentor associate professor Peter Koštrun, 2021), in which she dealt with how to depict a type of mental state or mental disorder with the help of photography. The basis for the series is six self-portraits (there are twenty-one final photographs) which she modifies through errors in the photographic process and manipulation of film negatives – specifically through experiments called “film soups”. These are instructions for home experimentation with film negatives which are processed with various substances, such as bleach, salt water, acids, and thinners. The artist then reproduced the resulting black-and-white negatives with an optical scanner as if they were made in colour, which gave the photos different undertones. The processing itself, however, creates fragile images that are distorted and covered with unrecognizable elements. She scanned some of the negatives one over the other, thus creating the impression of layering, overlapping, and obscuring, a kind of parallel to the division of the human psyche.
Lana Soklič’s works contain a distinctly emphasized atmosphere and present the viewer with an interpretation of feelings of anxiety, loneliness, numbness, and melancholy. The decision to use a small format additionally creates a feeling of intimacy. In places where the contours of the body are more recognizable, we can draw parallels with historical references of “traditional” depictions of emotional states. At the same time, we experience almost abstract images through the effects created in photographs by the manipulation of film negatives – from soft, rounded lines to sharp, saturated strokes and elements. The series was created during the time of isolation caused by the outbreak of the epidemic when the presence and width of mental health issues became apparent.
The exhibition is part of the “Youth” series – a professional presentation of artists of the younger generation, which is one of the important program orientations of the P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Institute.
Lana Soklič (1998, Ljubljana) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana in 2021, majoring in photography, under the mentorship of prof. Petar Koštrun, where she continues her Master’s degree. In recent years, she participated in the exhibitions Odboj (Banka Slovenije’s Mala Galerija), Nasledstvo: Dialog z grafiko (Banka Slovenije’s Mala galerija), Different Worlds (Photon Gallery), Odtujenost (AQ Gallery, Celje, 2022), Slovanski tarot (Jalla Jalla, AKC Metelkova, Ljubljana), Ponjava II (Tobačna, Ljubljana, 2022), Dialogue (Libertas Warehouse, Koper, 2021), Ponjava (Tobačna, Ljubljana, 2020).