Jože Šubic: Nine Stations of Your Taste

Having graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts, Ljubljana (1984), painter Jože Šubic (Maribor, 1958) entered the Slovenian fine art scene in the era when new image was flourishing. He has been exhibiting continually since 1981 both in solo and group settings, participated at art colonies at home and abroad and received several awards for his works. His techniques include painting, drawing, and graphic art. Since 2000, his creativity in fine art has been expanding ever more from the graphic surface, which was at first marked by figural art, and later increasingly by sensual layers of colour, to space and the material reality. His spatial installations embrace objects from everyday life, organic materials, which are then transfigured into meaning-charged objects that broadly address the spectator by way of their associative power. Wood, iron, plastic, leather, skilfully worked and fused into new poetical wholes, are displayed throughout the space.
The artist has inventively reinstated a dialogue between the specificity of the space and visual elements, the so-called objects-stations of taste: 1. Govori z menoj / Talk to me. 2. Dan in noč bar / Day and Night Bar. 3. Opraševalke / Pollinators. 4. Do neba poslinjen / Slobbered up to the skies. 5. Iztisnjeni popki / Squeezed gemmae. 6. Nabiralec solz / Tears collector. 7. Banquet. 8. Senseless kiss for sale. 9. Brbotajoče orgle / Bubbling organs. In Šubic’s installation, the accurately elaborated objects are unique mediators. They are composed of various materials, the basic construction is of wood, in spots worked with copper, fur and leather, receptacles are made of baked clay and found objects are also added. Each object bears a different message or claim, inviting the visitor to embark on a – not only outer visual-aesthetic, but also inner-contemplative – journey.
Taste, as a subject matter of Šubic’s art, outstretches the bodily-sensorial environment, reaching into directions of unique aesthetical taste and perhaps even balance. On the other hand, it entices us into excess, leading us from within the context of the exhibition space (which always implies the space of political power) away from the present and ordinary meanings. Spaces in which artistic strategies are applied are also the locus of all kinds of promotion of mimesis, from fashion, sport, art to sexuality shaped to suit the dominant ideology. Art fills the space with the potentiality of the resistance of the body and with it the articulation of a different living space that is also a space of different tasting and experience. Šubic’s objects-stations in many respects touch upon and address individual taste.
Šubic’s project encourages the debate about the socially institutionalized forms of taste as well. In this respect, his art is a refreshing novelty in the Slovenian space, for it poses a set of questions about taste in connection with personal and life styles, about alimentation and, in the broader sense, about mechanisms, principles and elements of social regulation of taste. In this present era in which the border between “authenticity” and “kitsch” is completely fused, what is coming to the foreground is “popular taste”, which in most cases evades the criteria of authenticity, innovation and creativity. What is at work is the massive profanation of such criteria in mass media and among their non-selective audience. For this reason, Šubic’s project is welcomed by all those who have the urge to question their own criteria of taste.
The key element, as well as the symbol and metaphor, is the receptacle of clay that Šubic fills up with various substances to stir, in places, a physical response: unexpectedly stimulated senses awake the viewer’s taste, both aesthetical and gustatory. In this way, the artist thematises and stimulates the sense that is usually overlooked by the field of fine art. By way of visual processing, he offers the spectator new possibilities of identification.
In the case of this art installation, the presentness of sensing represents that very barometer of the successful disruption of the aesthetic distance of the fine art dimension which is loyal to the modernist aesthetic that allows the irrevocable engagement of the spectator with the exhibited materiality.
Šubic sees taste as a factor of social stratification to which are unavoidably linked taboos, values, violations, feelings of shame and guilt as well as slavering, adulation, fawning and hypocrisy, as well as the recourse to intimacy and the search for a space of discretion for the ethical-moral catharsis in the spheres of the sublime. The exploration of taste unveils the complex theme of the materiality of the body: body taboos, fear of impurity, etc. Visual and symbolic elements emanate a unique eroticism that with passing years has turned into the belief that the aesthetical must be grounded in life, in the experience of the body and its materiality.
Šubic’s project is a poetically articulated, multilayered and intelligible work that inventively and subtly transposes the theme of taste to the fine art world. The installation sets the stage for performativity, processuality and reciprocity. Thematisation of taste humorously rebukes the proverbial Slovenian Cankarian pathos, as well as the pathologies of contemporary society in which Everyman is the author of a specific symptomatics. The instalment of these objects in the specific exhibition space points – not without provocation – to the concealing and disclosing of such symptomatics that is largely conditioned by moral prejudices. However, the struggle for emancipation at the subjective – and last but not least sensual, the tasting – levels, carried out through loyalty to the gesture of choice, never proves a failure. The taste of life’s unrest, of cognizance, of infinity… The taste of love.
Mojca Puncer
(translated by Tanja Passoni)

18 March 2011 – 30 March 2011
Opening: 18 March 2011 at 8 pm
KiBela / KIBLA Maribor

Kindly welcome! Admission free.

KiBela, Space for Art is open every day 9.00 am to 10.00 pm, Saturdays 4.00 pm to 10.00 pm, the gallery is closed Sundays.

MMC KIBLA wishes to thank the following for their support: EU-EACEA, Culture Programme, Brussels, Slovenian Ministry of Culture, Municipality of Maribor and Office of Youth. KiBela programme is part of the European X-OP project.

Photos (author Matej Kristovič)



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