Kozjansko apple, 2014, mixed media on canvas, 175 x 190 cm

Biodiversity, now! Gallery PLEVNIK – KRONKOWSKA

Natural disasters caused by climate change, shrinking of natural habitats, irrational expansions of urban areas, heavy exploitation of natural resources, regional and global conflicts, dictation of the unsustainably-oriented capitalist society and ossified patterns of thinking constitute only some of the factors demonstrating that we have come to a turning point where we can in fact see the world changing before our eyes.
This blatant change is what supplies the artist with the problem-core in her study project. On the artistic level, she explores and at the same time illuminates the problems associated with the loss of biodiversity and other issues related to preserving our natural environment and self-sufficiency. We are faced with short, intimate narratives of everyday life; a life which is still subconsciously forming both the individual and the collective idea of the autonomous, of the authentic.
The result are visual traces of artistic work, varied in technique (drawings, collages, mixed technique on canvas), which construct a mesh of reflections on this landmark spirit of our time. On the artistically-formal level of her works, the artist accosts the spectator with standard (post)modernist art vocabulary, which she elevates with contemporary visual images. On the semantic and problem level, the works create a cross-section of the traditional and the contemporary, generating the very tension that maintains the balance of the artistic works as a whole. Genre motifs and still lifes, both motifs of banal everyday life, are complemented by the artist with small acts of artistic intervention (annotations and collages) which displace the artworks’ centre of gravity from the primary, visual level to the deeper level of symbolic and iconographic interpretation. Understanding the works is what ultimately constructs the focal point of the artistic and the narrative.
The message of the artist’s handwriting, “innocently” lurking on the visual field, is an integral part of the art, together with the cocoons entrapping images of plants, the segments/intersections of images, the genetic code and the artist’s idiosyncratic style. At the same time, it surpasses the artistic by deepening the focus from the idyllic to the political. This transition is smooth but obtrusive and perfectly mirrors the gradual loss of the natural environment that allows us to survive. Consequently, the message conveyed through the exhibition could be understood as a critique of society, encapsulated by Voltaire in Candide’s final sentence: »We must cultivate our garden«.

Matija Plevnik