Crises and New Beginnings: Art in Slovenia 2005–2015

– group exhibition

Moderna galerija +MSUM – Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Ljubljana
22 December 2015 – 3 April 2016

Curators: Bojana Piškur, Igor Španjol, Vladimir Vidmar

The exhibition aims to present a selective overview of developments just past or still taking place, and attempts to define the main phenomena and trends in contemporary art in Slovenia over the past decade.


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Igor Štromajer participating with:

Deleting Net Art Works, 2011


Memory is there to deceive.

Expunction is a project by mobile Internet communicator Igor Štromajer. Between 11 May and 16 June 2011, Štromajer, a pioneer of net art both in Slovenia and worldwide, ritually deleted a number of his classical net art works produced between 1996 and 2007. He expunged one net art project per day, permanently deleting it from his online server, so that the projects are no longer available at the Intima Virtual Base. He deleted 37 net art works altogether, amounting to 3,288 files or 101.72 MB.

Those of Štromajer’s projects that were not on the Intima Virtual Base online server at the time of expunction but are permanently loaded on the servers of the galleries and museums that have acquired them through purchases or donations (Centre Pompidou in Paris, Ars Electronica Lab in Linz, Computer Fine Arts Gallery in New York, MNCA Reina Sofía in Madrid, etc.) were (and still are) inaccessible to the artist for deletion.

The Expunction project broaches the questions of temporality, duration, archiving, and accessibility of (net) art works that automatically change over time as the hardware and software change (browsers, players, applications etc.), slowly but inexorably losing their functionality and consequently also their content. The artist’s basic premise in this project was that whoever creates, programs, and composes art is also entitled to deprogram, deconstruct, and delete it. This is not an act of violence or destruction, but rather the observation of the natural rhythm of birth, life, and death, cyclically repeated and oscillating in natural amplitudes. In a way, Štromajer has erased history, including his own personal history, since he believes our memory serves to deceive us, to misrepresent rather than paint and describe the past. A deceptive memory can be erased without qualms, since it does not portray a real picture of the past it speaks of, but always only a deceptive, distorted image. For this reason the deleted works or their remaining fragments, undeletable once they have been made publicly accessible since the World Wide Web is so widely spread and fragmentary, tell us much more about the originals (original works) than the originals themselves. With its empty slot and precise documentation, a nonexistent work, or rather its absence, points out the ephemerality of a net art work, telling at the same time much more about the deleted work than the so-called actual original could.


Number of deleted net art works: 37
Number of deleted files: 3.288
Amount of deleted files: 101.72 MB

– Deletion frequency: one (1) net art work per day
– Started: 11 May 2011
– Duration: 37 days (last project deleted on 16 June 2011)
– Subject: net art works by Igor Štromajer, created between 2007 to 1996, were being deleted, erased from the original server

List of artists:

Nika Autor | Jože Barši | Marko Batista | Viktor Bernik | Goran Bertok | Rok Biček | BridA/Tom Kerševan, Sendi Mango, Jurij Pavlica | Vesna Bukovec | Jasmina Cibic | Miha Ciglar | Špela Čadež | Ana Čigon | Maja Delak & Luka Prinčič | Jon Derganc | Aleksandra Domanović | Lenka Đorojević & Matej Stupica | Milan Erič | Vadim Fishkin | Tomaž Furlan | Bojan Gorenec | Meta Grgurevič & Urša Vidic | Dejan Habicht | Minna Henriksson | Miha Hočevar | Maja Hodošček | Ištvan Išt Huzjan | IRWIN | Matjaž Ivanišin | Sanela Jahić | Janez Janša & Janez Janša & Janez Janša | Jaša | Sergej Kapus | Staš Kleindienst | Matjaž Klopčič | Marko Kociper | Kaja Kraner (Neteorit) | KSEVT – Cultural Center of European Space Technologies | Andreja Kulunčić & Ibrahim Ćurić & Said Mujić & Osman Pezić | Tomaž Lavrič | Tanja Lažetić | Zmago Lenárdič | Pei-Ying Lin, Špela Petrič, Dimitrios Stamatis, Jasmina Weiss | Polonca Lovšin | Izar Lunaček | Davorin Marc | Luiza Margan | Jurij Meden | Domen Ograjenšek (Neteorit) | Alen Ožbolt | Passaporta (Mara Ambrožič, Jasmina Cibic, Mery Favaretto, Meta Grgurevič) | Marko Peljhan | Borut Peterlin | Alenka Pirman | Anja Planišček & Katarina Čakš | Tadej Pogačar & The P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Museum of Contemporary Art | Tjaša Pogačar (Neteorit) | Marika & Marko Pogačnik | Uroš Potočnik | Marjetica Potrč | Mark Požlep | Arjan Pregl | Luka Prinčič | Marija Mojca Pungerčar | Franc Purg & Sara Heitlinger | Tobias Putrih | Peter Rauch | Viktor & Daria Radić | Maruša Sagadin | Sašo Sedlaček | Iztok Sitar | Jože Slak – Đoka | Ana Sluga | Small but dangers | Zoran Smiljanić | Tomo Stanič (Neteorit) | Mladen Stropnik | Vlado Škafar | Andrej Škufca (Neteorit) | Nika Špan | Igor Štromajer | Miha Štrukelj | Andrej Štular | Apolonija Šušteršič & Bojana Kunst | TEMP | Irena Tomažin | Polona Tratnik | Aleksandra Vajd & Hynek Alt | Veli & Amos | Via Negativa | Matej Andraž Vogrinčič | Tao G. Vrhovec Sambolec | Workers and Punks’ University


Crises and New Beginnings: Art in Slovenia 2005–2015

The exhibition aims to present a selective overview of developments just past or still taking place, and attempts to define the main phenomena and trends in contemporary art in Slovenia over the past decade. Covering a wide range of fields and thus also involving the collaboration of several professionals and experts, it is a sequel to the exhibition trilogy from ten years ago, which presented, over three consecutive years (2003 to 2005) the trends in Slovene art and related fields by decade, since 1975.

This past decade we have witnessed two major social changes that seem contrasting at first glance. The first is the global financial crisis; the saving of the banking sector the crisis sparked has seriously undermined the welfare state and wrought havoc in the public sector in Slovenia. Those public cultural institutions and artists that have survived the budget cuts have been forced to identify and pursue new survival tactics. While this change is all about shortages and austerity measures, the other change advocates prosperity, offering up innovations and giving the appearance of being the better option. We are talking about the magic of technology, the imperative of the across-the-board digitization and general online accessibility. The neoliberal politics of austerity has made the digital paradigm all the more attractive. The story of the technological turn has overshadowed the more depressive story of the political and economic downslide, while the two phenomena are in reality very much intertwined.

In their works, artists react to the numerous contradictions of the ideological and cultural discourses around them critically, though often also ironically and playfully. Analyses and reflections of their own personal daily circumstances require an exploration of broader and more complex structures determining and shaping their experiences and social events. Artists systematically exploit the potential of a productive – though often paradoxical – use of those multilayered and complex conditions and circumstances of their work that are traditionally understood as obstacles. They deal with the various spatial and cultural determinants of their sphere of activity, their enmeshment in the institutional and production machinery of the art system, and the limitations and exigencies as potentials and advantages, all with constructive irony and a somewhat false staging of their own position.

The new generation of artists has replaced nostalgia with melancholy, the banality of the everyday with an elevated pathos, and realistic expectations with overblown ambitions. Despite the general apathy and a sense of powerlessness due to the circumstances of transition they manage to incorporate a good measure of passion in their work. Extoling the everyday seems to have become a constituent part of the stand taken by most young artists who are either still searching for or establishing their positions within the system.

In addition to art in the narrower sense of the term we wish to present also certain practices from related fields and genres, such as the comic strip, photography, design, architecture, film, and performance art. There fields have all developed along their own, slightly different lines, which go beyond the scope of this exhibition, except where they overlap or intertwine, revealing certain common formal and topical contexts.

Rather than being a classic overview of trends, phenomena, and fields, the show is designed around interpreting key topics and issues, i.e., we have tried to identify the most fundamental and compelling issues in contemporary art in Slovenia, as well as its nodes and contradictions. This interpretation underpins the exhibition display, which also includes a comprehensive chronological documentary presentation.

Exhibition opening: 22 December 2015 at 8 p.m.
Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, +MSUM, ground, first, and second floor


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