The Slovenia Times

Slovenia's Bienale Showcase Illuminates Path to Change through Cooperation


The main message of the performance by a diverse team headlined by Jaša is that cooperation and exchange of ideas can mediate the message of change and hope, Michele Drascek, one of the two curators of the show, has told the STA.

Jaša (full name Jaša Mrevlje Pollak) worked with the architect Kuno Mayer to erect a tall construction that comes across as a fortress. The exterior is minimalistic and monochromatic, but the interior features warmer hues of brown.

There is electronic or classical music playing in the background, interrupted by utterances that Jaša shouts through the slits in the fortress, such as "This is not the season to be silent," or "As sharp resistance as knives we respond."

Drascek says UTTER is a "logical continuation his work". "In his previous work Jaša has used poetics without fear of speaking about inner beauty, which he ultimately used for his message of hope as well."

The show will be dynamic, as chalkboard slogans will change and the other performers will respond idiosyncratically. Spectators will be invited to become a part of the performance as well.

The performance will be carried out 28 times in weekly intervals, each one lasting seven days. The cycle peaks on day four, when the performers come together in singing a chant called Togetherness.

Jaša himself remains tight-lipped about the precise mechanics of the show, given the changing substance and revolving performers.

But he revealed that over the 28 weeks it will evolve into a completely new form. The fortified structure, initially closed, will gradually open up, indicating that this is not a hermetically sealed project born out of an isolated concept.

Indeed, Jaša says the performance poses the question of whether individuals are closing themselves to the world or protecting the world from themselves, which forms the guiding line of the entire installation.

He describes it as an oscillation "between aggression as necessity and lyricism".

UTTER is the first Slovenian Bienale project to be put up at the Arsenal, the main venue of the event; Slovenia had previously showcased its art in the off-site A+A gallery.

Curator Aurora Fonda said the new location gives Slovenia a more prominent position, as the Arsenal attracts larger crowds.

She says Jaša has made good use of the Arsenal space. "Jaša confronted visual art, architecture, music, performance, sculpting as well as poetry. This is not easy, I think the result is very good."

The Slovenian pavilion will open on 9 May, the official launch of the Bienale.


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