Live, Laugh, Love
25 January–20 February 2022
Kresija Gallery, Ljubljana
6–27 May 2022
City Gallery, Nova Gorica
Dan Adlešič, Sara Bezovšek, Lea Culetto, Olja Grubić, Emil Kozole, Tamara Lašič Jurković, Danilo Milovanović, Iza Pavlina, Iris Pokovec, Dorotea Škrabo – Skrabzi
Jure Kirbiš & Janez Fakin Janša
Part of U30+ production programme for supporting young artists
Live, Laugh, Love is a slogan of the society of positive thinking, positive affirmations and manifestations, a society that rejects all criticism as an attack on the human right to exist in peace. It is pulling the wool over the eyes, a passive-aggressive form of censorship, a new conservatism. In her text Conflict Is Not Abuse, Sarah Schulman draws attention to the increasing misuse of the rhetoric of “being attacked” to avoid accountability on a personal and political level. Rather than confronting legitimate (self-)criticism, it is often met with (self-)punishment, denial, scapegoating. Similarly, to claim that merely to live, laugh and love is the answer to the myriad of daily personal and social trials is at best a self-preserving delusion, or worse, a devaluation of one’s own agency and a method of maintaining docility. In an age fertile for conspiracy theories of all kinds, one might conspiratorially ask who it serves to have the slogan Live, Laugh, Love omnipresent in our various realities, from a coffee cup to social media. Or, to put it another way: if capitalism is so great, why then is everyone on Xanax?
Live, Laugh, Love showcases the work of ten artists on the spectrum of the millennial generation who would like to simply live, laugh and love, but their curiosity won’t let them. Faced with the threat and absurdity of reality, they each, in their own way, cope with conditions that do not allow them to live in blissful ignorance. Sara Bezovšek’s didactic collection of pop culture references and other internet resources is about the exploitation of people and nature, which is almost without exception the unstable foundation of a seemingly utopian society. Olja Grubić’s pop-up book is a tribute to the resilience of nature and a call for the ossification of urban fissures. Danilo Milovanović’s granite cube, presented in a museum-like manner, is a call for “direct action” and a commentary on the relationship between art and political activism. Lea Culetto’s handbag and outfit set addresses the question of the true price of fast fashion. Iris Pokovec’s toilet water tests the limits of the capacity of marketing presentation. Through the matrix of an LED screen, Emil Kozole gives political literacy to a new working class of artificial intelligence. Tamara Lašič Jurković’s meditation is not an escape into oneself, but a postulate on the inevitability of coexistence. Dorotea Škrabo – Skrabzi teaches how to experience a break on the internet and succeed while doing so. Iza Pavlina demonstrates the alchemical power of the artist’s authority to turn the abject into an object. Dan Adlešič’s vase is a playful synthesis of technological innovation and the DIY principle.
The works were produced by Aksioma Institute for Contemporary Art in 2021 for Sebastian Schmieg’s Gallery.Delivery project. In 2018, the German artist conceived the format of a group exhibition to be ordered online: an individual or company places the order and the exhibition, packed in a white cubic backpack, is delivered to the client by a bicycle courier who sets it up, presents and dismantles it in an hour and a half. The host can also buy the works. The size of the individual projects was dictated by the fact that the works travelled together in a 45 x 45 x 45 cm white cube. Most of the works are thus smaller or use mainly performative and interactive approaches to fill the space. In the current exhibition at Kresija Gallery, the works have been moved from the white cube of the courier’s backpack to the white cube of the gallery space, where they are on view for the first time to the general public. The move has changed the character of the exhibition and the works in it, but still retains the commercial component, as the free works – others are already in private collections – can also be purchased. Swap the repressive message of the Live, Laugh, Love wall sign for one of the anxious-joyful artworks in the exhibition!
Dan Adlešič is an artist, designer and conductor of short circuits – moments when fiction and reality align and fuse.
Sara Bezovšek is a visual artist, active in the fields of graphic design, new media and experimental film. In her work she researches, stores and collages the visual references she encounters while browsing online and watching movies and TV series. Through appropriation she creates new narratives on what kinds of content people consume, what they share on social media, how visual material is broadcast on the internet, and how it changes and affects users in different contexts.
Lea Culetto is a feminist artist whose practice is mainly focused on personal experience. She uses embroidery, assemblage and mixed media to create objects and installations that challenge notions of “femininity” and feminism through the prisms of fashion, the gaze and the body.
Olja Grubić is a visual artist and performer whose practice is mainly focused on the basic conditions of existence. By staging her own body, she explores the possibilities of freedom within the patriarchal and capitalist oriented society. She puts herself into an “engaged” position and often uses elements of humour and satire to cut into the structure of everyday life.
Emil Kozole is a designer who works in the context of socio-political structures. He focuses on the use of graphic design as a form of investigation in fields such as internet identity, digital surveillance and emerging technologies. Much of his artwork has been commissioned and exhibited internationally and featured in magazines such as Wired, Le Monde and Der Spiegel.
Tamara Lašič Jurković is a transdisciplinary designer focusing on societal and environmental issues of the 21st century and the role of design in their consideration. Her practice is based on the principles of regeneration, posthumanism and speculative design.
Danilo Milovanović is an artist based in Ljubljana. Creating situations that speak for themselves while producing complex meanings in simple ways is a significant feature of his work. His choices of medium and approach are always defined by ideas, mostly related to the production of urban spaces and everyday social dynamics. These temporary actions are often post-produced in a studio and presented as video installations, documentary movies or physical artwork.
Iza Pavlina concluded postgraduate studies in painting at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana in 2017, after having received an award for special achievements there in 2015. In her work she often creates fictitious identities with which she enters various contexts and spaces to explore certain economic and social systems and the power relations and occurrence of social anomalies within them.
Iris Pokovec is a visual artist based in Ljubljana. Since 2017, all her art production is conducted through her own art brand Menažerija, under which she produces contemporary curiosities built upon (and using) the language and tools of today’s consumerist pop culture. Her practice consists primarily of painting and print-based media with a focus on the relationship between present-day consumer plastics, 21st-century marketing slogans and contemporary pop nihilism.
Dorotea Škrabo – Skrabzi is a visual artist, designer and social media entertainer who primarily deals with the phenomenon of photography and video on the internet. Her research is focused on new media, popular culture and art, especially through the limitations of social networks. She regularly produces short online videos where she develops a critical relation towards popular trends.
Jure Kirbiš is a curator of contemporary art who lives in Maribor, Slovenia. He works at UGM | Maribor Art Gallery.
Janez Fakin Janša is a conceptual artist, performer and producer. He is a co-founder and co-director of Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana.
Authors: Dan Adlešič, Sara Bezovšek, Lea Culetto, Olja Grubić, Emil Kozole, Tamara Lašič Jurković, Danilo Milovanović, Iza Pavlina, Iris Pokovec, Dorotea Škrabo – Skrabzi
Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2022
Part of U30+ production programme for supporting young artists
We would like to thank the following for lending the artworks for the exhibition: Adam Giacomelli, Borut Krajnc, Iris Pokovec & Matej Tomažin, Ištvan Išt Huzjan, Jana Jovanovska, Lara Paukovič, Ljudje, Maja Bogataj Jančič, Mateja Vidmar, Mila Peršin, Moja, Nejc Šubic, Nika Oblak & Primož Novak, Olja Grubić, Peter Rauch, Sara Bezovšek, Tanja Hrovat Svetičič, Tanja Oblak Črnič & Aleš Črnič, Tatiana Kocmur & Boštjan Čadež, Urša Chitrakar, Vera Matič.
Sound editor for the project Hacked Meditation: Mauricio Valdes
the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana