press release

9th Triennial of Contemporary Art "Dead and Alive"
10.10.2019 - 12.01.2020

Performance: October 10, 6–7pm, Ištvan Išt Huzjan, The Last Kolo
Opening : October 10, 8–11pm

The avant-garde in Slovenia is alive and dead at the same time. What brings about the “collapse” of one of the two states of the avant-garde is not a law of nature or culture as we might intuitively expect, but the act of observation. The aim of the exhibition is to simulate an experiment of parallel aesthetic universes where the properties of and correlations between the artworks are not established according to linear time.

A new political attitude that could be called visceral has emerged out of the dilemma that gives rise to the anxiety of survival as human bodies oppressed by power and normative identity. And it is no coincidence that it is creating new links between the formerly socialist and the formerly colonial territories. The democratic subjectification of politics is based on a process of negotiation between the pleasure principle of self-realization and the rational demand for universal equality. Visceral politics, taking into account unequal or unjust initial conditions on the subjective and universal levels, is expressed by multitudes on a planetary scale. It sees the current world of exploitation and imposed fixed identities as substantially ill, as real madness, as necropolitics. It does not allow acting with a view to creating balance, but expresses itself through disgust, obscenity, and unspeakable gestures in “dialogue” with a death drive that prevents the political on a planetary scale.

Being alive and dead at the same time is not only an ontological state of dealing with form, matter and the past, but on the level of social reality, a matter of material conditions. The observation of such a reality that only allows artists to devote themselves to artistic work for short periods of time renders the “dead” state of the avant-garde true. The post-socialist transformation of material conditions of cultural workers has created a dead spin, especially for the younger and upcoming generations. It is an issue that U3 will articulate in a collective manner under the title Towards a Collective Skin.

Since the decline of post-conceptual art, contemporaneity has been construed by various movements as a dismissal of any kinship with both the historical avant-garde and its postwar neo-avant-garde renaissance. Certain artists take inspiration for authenticity and originality in the history of applied arts, fashion, craft, preindustrial craftsmanship, shamanism… or at the opposite pole, in hacking all kinds of anonymous hardware, consumer software, algorithms and applications in order to finally return to altered material objects again. The 9th edition of U3 seeks to liberate the category of contemporaneity, replacing esthetical identification (with the new) with esthetical entanglement (with the other). It restages parallel esthetic universes from the time prior to the decline of post-conceptual art. Entangled particles observed by quantum physicists interact in a specific way—the quantum state of each cannot be described independently of the state of the others. “The spin measurement affects the system, causing the set of probabilities to reduce to only one of the possible values immediately after the measurement.” One of the interpretations says that the fall of a particle into one state results in a certain present, while all other possibilities exist as parallel universes. What is exciting for the curator is to engage with these parallel universes. What is new for art history here is that artworks “may not have definite properties prior to being measured,” speaking about physicality, and less about meaning. Perception reduces the set of probable properties of an artwork to a single entity. Further on, art historical observation makes other entangled movements (they may be competing, contradictory movements) immediately collapse into an opposite state. Repairing the collapse induced by perception and interpretation is an experiment that must allow a glimpse of the artwork in an indefinite, spinning state. The past is available to the present quantum art observer of the 9th U3 not only as “full of unfulfilled historical promises,” but as an array of equal parallel universes, where the set of each work’s probabilities is preserved – dead and alive at the same time.

Urška Aplinc & Sara Aplinc, Nika Autor in collaboration with Meta Krese, Andreja Hribernik, Andrej Šprah, Nace Zavrl and Les Films du Jeudi, Živa Božičnik Rebec, Mateja Bučar, Vuk Ćosić, Lenka Đorojević, Ryuzo Fukuhara, Marina Gržinić & Aina Šmid, Đejmi Hadrović, Borut Hlupič (Holland), Ištvan Išt Huzjan, Stane Klančnik, Barbora Kleinhamplová, Alexey Klyuykov & Vasil Artamonov, Lene Lekše, Iza Pavlina, Franc Purg, Peter Rauch, Edvard Ravnikar, Teja Reba, Maruša Sagadin, Maja Smrekar & Oleg Kulik, Andrej Škufca, Aleksandra Vajd, Otty Widasari, Dalibor Bori Zupančič