Everything Must Go
9 June–9 July 2021
Aksioma | Project Space, Ljubljana
We are told that memes are the language of advertising – so what? Smetnjak has no problem with its jollity. You don’t have to be sad to do politics, declares Foucault, even if the thing you’re fighting is abominable. Except that the repugnant is not what we’re up against (it’s the mediocre!), and we’re not fighting it either (it’s tricks, not conflicts). Smetnjak’s memes don’t judge; they scramble the tired binary oppositions. To scramble is to complexify, to stuff with meanings, to weave a network of connections. Scrambling is the movement of schizophrenia but also of the capitalist market, which ceaselessly breaks up the continuity of any tradition. When it comes to culture, the market is the argument of our conscientious right-wingers, but isn’t it really just a smokescreen for more paranoid folklorisms? The leftist virtuousness, which refuses to compromise with the commercial, doesn’t vibe with us either. It’s a drag. We prefer to entertain, to disrupt, to sell. In this spirit, Smetnjak’s exhibition delivers its memes in every possible commercial format and puts them all on sale. Everything must go, we shout, if only for a moment!
Smetnjak is an anonymous collective from Slovenia that has been mixing memes with theory and art for over a decade now. Its memes seek to redirect the reality of everyday politics, where shit and mediocracy abound, toward something kinder and funnier. With a knack for going viral, Smetnjak’s work has been featured in countless feeds and sites like critical-theory.com, versobooks.com, adsoftheworld.com and artribune.com. Everything Must Go is its first solo exhibition.
Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2021
the Municipality of Ljubljana
Valentina Tanni et al.
Tactics & Practice #11: MemesteticA
19 May–2 July 2021