Mladen Stropnik with Nataša Berk, Bojan Mijatović and Dominik Štibernik / Pristava—Gaberke—Veleje
Mladen Stropnik / Pristava–Gaberke–Veleje
with Nataša Berk, Bojan Mijatović, and Dominik Štibernik
UGM Studio, Trg Leona Štuklja 2
8 December 2023–8 February 2024
opening and performans: Friday, 8 December 2023, 19:00
curator: Živa Kleindienst
Mladen Stropnik began his artistic career exploring the expanded field of painting, and today his intriguing oeuvre encompasses paintings, works on paper and canvas, collages, drawings, videos, performances, and objects. Stropnik situates his artistic practice in the spaces of everyday life, drawing from them but also intervening in them with artistic gestures derived from conceptualism and minimalism to create freely associative meanings. The artist reflects his personal experience of the everyday, the familiar, the immediate, and translates this experience into works of art that offer the viewer a direct aesthetic experience, which is always bound to and conditioned by the individual's field of asociations. In this way, Stropnik's intimate experience is transposed into the collective space and becomes a kind of social commentary that cannot always be verbalized. In this exhibition and building on the fact that work is everywhere and everything is work, Stropnik focuses on work that is and remains invisible, i.e. work in the context of the artistic process. Presented here are "facts" or works of art that show his work and reveal his methods, procedures, and thought process, i.e. how and what the artist actually arrives at in his creative process.
Stropnik's motifs most often move between minimal drawing strokes, abstraction, and repetition. His artistic process can seem elusive, or as curator Jernej Kožar writes in the catalogue of his solo exhibition Družmirje at the Ravne Gallery, "complex and sometimes difficult to access, which [Stropnik] often mitigates with humour." For this reason, and the fact that work is everywhere and everything is work, the artist focuses in this exhibition on work that is and remains invisible, i.e. work in the context of the artistic process. He presents his "facts" or works of art that illustrate his artistic methodology and reveal the processes and the system through which the artist thinks – that is, how and what the artist actually arrives at in his creative process. In addition, space in all its dimensions plays an important role in the artist's oeuvre and in the exhibition itself; as the title of the exhibition suggests, the space of the artwork, the physical spaces of everyday life, geographical space, and digital space.
By recording "vivid and exceptional scenes from everyday life", as the artist himself puts it, Stropnik presents humorous situations, spontaneous quirks, and an array of moods to the viewer. The drawings, short texts or words that he has been posting regularly on social media for several years now in the form of photographs or short videos reveal the artist's dedication to detailed, in-depth observations of life in all its spontaneity and banality. When "reading" his "facts", which the artist offers to the viewer with his brand of otherwise abstracted formalism and minimal gestures, the meaning is conveyed largely through clever, humorous titles, while the artist still leaves room for the individual's own interpretation.
The exhibition also includes a work entitled kevin, which exists in both physical and digital form (digital art collectible) and can be purchased as such. In the exhibition space, the work, which is exhibited as a photograph, can be accessed in its entirety using the Artivive app. The work in augmented reality and the art object titled NOTHING, which was created especially for this exhibition and is also available for purchase, further testify to the artist's exploration of space, his play with different artistic media, and his reflections on the physical and financial accessibility of contemporary art. Alongside the digital works, Stropnik has also concived a performance entitled Jaspers, which will take place at the opening of the exhibition.
Just as in the past – and which has in fact become an established practice of the artist's solo exhibitions – the artist has invited artists Nataša Berk, Bojan Mijatović, and Dominik Štibernik to showcase their works. Stropnik not only exchanges creative ideas with fellow artists, but also concrete works of art, which he then integrates into his solo exhibitions.
Mladen Stropnik lives and works in Ljubljana. His work has been presented in various solo and group exhibitions in Slovenia and internationally, including at the Niles Essanay Museum of Silent Film (Fremont, California, 2018), DUM Project Space (Ljubljana, 2018), Richter Collection – Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb (2017), Apoteka Gallery (Vodnjan, 2015), ŠKUC Gallery (Ljubljana, 2014; 2013), Gregor Podnar (Ljubljana, 2013; 2009, Berlin, 2020), Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (Ljubljana, 2015), and the International Centre of Graphic Arts (Ljubljana, 2016; 2014; 2012).
Special thanks to: Jaka Babnik, the family of Michael Jaspers, Martin Petrič, Gregor Podnar, Muzej-Museo Lapidarium, and Novigrad-Cittanova.
The exhibition is made in collaboration with Gregor Podnar, Vienna.