Paintings (of a female friend) and titles of paintings yet to be created
UGM Studio, Trg Leona Štuklja 2, Maribor
4 August–30 September 2023
opening: Friday, 4 August 2023, 19:00
curator: Andreja Borin
Milan Golob's solo exhibition at the UGM Studio will feature a third of his work from the past two decades (approx. 550 small-size paintings), three video/audio works, and a list of titles of paintings that have yet to be created (approx. 6,500 titles).
Golob painted four circles at random for the first time about twenty years ago. They have been a constant in his work since then. In his small-size paintings, colour, background, painted circles, geometric grid, and other elements interact differently. Every detail is crucial. When the painting is finished, the artist assigns it a title that is just as important as the painting itself. He initially searched for the titles of the paintings among renowned personalities in the fields of art, literature, history, science, etc., but now the majority of them he discovers when travelling, particularly when visiting graves. The title of a painting could be, for example: Joan Beaufort (1407–1445), Zmago Jeraj (1937–2015), Sylvia Plath (1932–1963), Ljubica Rafajlovič (1932–1958), Boro Đukić (1951–2013), Hafsa Mouini (2014–2014), etc. A painting labelled after a Scottish queen, a Slovenian painter, an American poet, a male stranger, a female stranger, and a child — to take the above random selection as an example — can be found side by side at the exhibition in the same room and the same row. A sort of creative take on the danse macabre. In this dance, which recognises no boundaries of gender, age, place, or time, each participant joins with only a few coordinates: the first name, the last name, the year of birth, and the year of death. Four points, four circles on the canvas of a lifetime.
Golob's paintings create an extraordinary network of connections through which we might intercept the glimpse of a higher order. The relationship between first and last names is both coincidental and intentional. The year the painting was created is both coincidental and intentional. The dash-drawn space between the years of birth and death is both hypnotically charged and incomprehensibly open to the unknown. At the intersections of these coordinates we might perhaps sense the dimension and interplay of human existence in a given space and time — and also beyond.
The artist's creative efforts are fuelled by numerous works on art, science, and spirituality. In his work, he innovatively combines a conceptual reference with traditional painting (which he works on at night). This way, his night-time effort gradually constructs a massive grid system of connections between earthly and otherworldly (inter)spaces on the thin line between an artist-weirdo and a philosopher-physicist. We are viewing these (inter)spaces as (un)intentional visitors in this exhibition — all candidates for the title of a painting. This connects us to the coordinate network more than we would like and raises our awareness of transience, preciousness, and uniqueness ... of us here, and of them there.
Milan Golob (b. 1963) earned his bachelor's degree in physics from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Technology (FNT, now FMF) in Ljubljana in 1987. He then graduated from the Department of Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts (now ALUO) in Ljubljana in 1993. He was the editor of the fine arts magazine Likovne besede / Art Words from January 1996 to December 2000. He has participated in solo and group exhibitions both at home and abroad and has won numerous awards and prizes, including the Prešeren Student Award for painting (1992), the Henkel Art Award — Nominee (2005), the Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant (2003), and the Working Grant of the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia (2007). He lives in Radenci and works in nearby Kupšinci.
Added: text by Milan Golob