Laterna magica
BOGDAN LEŠNIK Ambi(val)ents of Marko Kovačič
BOGDAN LEŠNIK Visions of Ordinary Life
JURIJ V. KRPAN The Lost Horizon
RASTKO MOČNIK The Loving Sights



For a long time, I've been fascinated by my grandad's passion for collecting. He lived in a small cottage, with a wood-shed beside it, and every year he added a new wood-shed. In them, my grandad stored all kinds of objects he found and believed he'd definitely need one day. As a child, I used to enthusiastically explore these little museums of non-functional objects.

The political turnaround from socialism to democratic capitalism made it necessary to settle accounts with regard to object-symbols of the former period. We are constantly facing the fact that, in the past, we lived in illusions, and that currently, in a world of changed values, we can not always find our way. I thought that I had to react to this situation. Therefore I wanted to clear the wood-shed of my artistic past. My position is not a nostalgic one, but I am aware that, emotionally and spiritually, I am caught in the universe of my youth. I feel that objects from this unrecoverable past belong to me even more, for they represent the past to which the present no longer refers. They have acquired the status of my personal relics, since they reflect my ideas and a period which I shall never be able to experience in the same way again. My museum amalgamates personal mythologies and ideologies from my youth, and the inherited museum inclination, the strategy of storing discarded objects (some of these relics are already 10 or 15 years old). I select objects which provoke associations within me, I store them. Only after a certain period do these found objects turn into works of art. In most cases I modulate these found objects; they are like a materialised diary which is not being written in ink on paper, in a notebook, but with objects themselves, and with interventions thereupon. Sometimes these interventions happen at once, sometimes only after a period of time. The objects are built into my imagination like stones in a mosaic.

The Story of Television

When I was young, we had a TV set which was a piece of furniture, and because of the radiation, it was not to be looked at for more than twenty minutes a day. This TV set never left our house; whenever necessary, a mechanic came and repaired it on the spot. Since the TV set was old and frequently broke down, it often happened that I could see inside the TV from behind. When the TV was already quite old, and as I grew up and began to learn what faults there could be, I looked in it myself, found a blown fuse, bought a new one in a shop, and put it in. Thus I became familiar with the TV from both sides, and it grew so close to my heart that when we bought a new one, I preserved it as a souvenir of my youth. At the end of the eighties, I became aware of human dependence upon television, of the extent to which people believe everything this medium communicates to them. This was the period when the first signs of the Balkan crisis started to appear: Miloševič came to power; Serbian policy started to battle against the internal enemy. At that time, however, everything did not seem to be so disastrous yet. In 1989, I was invited to participate in the Yugoslav Documenta exhibition in Sarajevo. I pondered the kind of a piece I should do for this exhibition. And I made my first TV set. In my installation, I repeated the ground plan of a three-nave, Old Christian basilica which stood on the Sarajevo fair grounds where the Documenta exhibition was being held. I named this work Prediction of Zeus. The TV set had no screen, and central to it was a tiny soldier throwing a bomb. If Zeus was the superior ideological leader of the Ancient Greeks, if he protected them from enemies by throwing his spear, in our time this role was taken over by a Partisan with a gun and a bomb standing in a heroic pose. I wanted to satirise the situation which was starting to develop in the then Yugoslavia. Soon afterwards, I lost my studio, I was left in a narrow space and started to think in what direction I should take my art. I had the TV set, and it seemed adequate as a field of vision, it became part of the work which continued from before. It also conceptually stimulated me as a space where I could continue to deal with the problem of the power of the video medium (the essential topic of my work in video art). As an artist working in the field of visual art, I could not avoid being fascinated by modern technology. It is precisely by means of video art that an artist can creep into the spectator's living room, which is the symbol of intimacy, privacy - it is everyman's miniature kingdom.

Edited by Nadja Zgonik
(M'ARS, Magazine of the Museum of Modern Art Ljubljana, Vol. V/ No. 3,4, 1993)

go up