installation, sand, stones, water collected from rivers Soča/Isonzo and Nadiža/Natisone, pigment, manhole cover mold, sanding,
variable dimensions, 2020
The installative composition of elements, entitled Gray Area, explores the concept of division; more specifically the circumstances that favor and facilitate it. The starting point of the artist’s reflection on the problem of division is the individualization of two rivers that cross a border between two countries, thus changing their names. The presentation begins to take form through documented excursions to different sites along the river banks where prime materials and information are collected. It is therefore an extended investigation and research rather than an artwork limited strictly to the final visual product. The collected materials transform through a meticulous procedure of mixing, molding, drying, then shaping and sanding of compositional elements. This newly acquired form gives us an image that combines the natural flow of water with an architectural manmade element that directs the water’s navigation and plays with the ironic concept of an infertile division. The architectural element chosen to represent this idea is a manhole cover taken from a historical building that the architect envisioned to both accompany a river and act as its bank. The manhole constitutes a threshold between white, black, and gray waters as viewed, perceived, and put to use accordingly. In a similar way, manmade borders attempt to dictate division and highlight differences rather than the shared elements, inevitably resulting in gray areas. Gray Area, the artwork, reconfirms its core concept through an established relation between visual art and literature with the introduction of a disrupting element, acting almost like a glitch. The inclusion of the uncanny blue pigment, referring to the (mis)perception of a water’s color, forces the viewer to reconsider and reinterpret previously made connections between the artwork and its title, thus managing to reconfirm itself and continue its conceptual flow.
This project was realised during a residency period and with the support of Galerija Dobra Vaga and Kino Šiška.
Photo credit / installation view at Dobra Vaga Gallery:
Lana Špiler / Kino Šiška
Photo credit / documentation, collecting materials: Enej Gala