EKO ART Maribor

19 August–10 September 2016
KiBela, space for art MMC KIBLA, Maribor, Slovenia

Group exhibition EKO ART Maribor – artists:Maša Gala, Stojan Grauf, Lado Jakša, Robert Jurak, Milan Ketiš, Ana Pečar, Eva Petrič, Gregor Pratneker, Lucija Stramec, Maja Šivec and Jože Šubic.

When politician and poet Lovro Toman wrote the poem Mar i bor in the second half of the 19th century, he certainly didn’t know he was about to attribute a new meaning, not only to the designation, but to the city itself – a meaning that has since become traditional: the sense of the word ‘mar’ implies caring about something, and ‘bor’ (derivative of the German ‘Burg’, from the historical German name Marburg) implies ghting for something, hence the town motto “I care, and ght for the city”.
The city motto is tting, indeed, and the sense it implies has stuck with the town of Maribor constantly – as well as its inhabitants. The river Drava used to be considered (this, however, is most certainly not the case today) as the main potential and driving force of the city’s development; in the early 20th century, up until the Second World War,
Maribor was the most rapidly evolving city, as well as one of the largest economic centers in the country. After declaring independence and the breakdown of the Yugoslav market, Maribor was struck by severe unemployment. This caused the once proliferating industrial town on the banks of the river Drava to slowly slide into a state of underdevelopment, and become virtually peripheral.
But the river endures. And the people persevere in this place. Close to 120.000 inhabitants, among them over a
hundred artists, passionately and persistently devoted to their work, as they help to co-create this local cultural and artistic space. They care, we can safely say, in the words of Lovro Toman.

Hence, the group exhibition by eleven artists, who are presented with artworks in di erent media, from traditional paintings, oil or acrylic on canvas, through sculptures, installations, photographs, a video, and even an opening-event multivision, all combined into an integral artistic set-up – a spatial installation, the exhibition titled EKO ART Maribor. Each of the artists renders the theme of Ecology and art in the city by the river Drava in their own way. The invited artists were not chosen randomly, the selection was based on the idea of involving di erent generation artists, which are also – in some way or another – representing the local Maribor area: both older and younger generation artists are involved, all of whom are in some way related to Maribor; the “naturalized” or local ones, as well as those who do not live here, but their works have been show- cased in this area before.

The idea for the entire project was conceived by Maja Šivec. It is an upgrade of the Eko Drava project, which has been realized for ve years in a row in Lent: with the support of the Maribor Diving Club, they have been “rescuing” the river Drava, and creating artworks in the meanwhile.

A comprehensive epilogue to the artworks was the opening ceremony multivision titled E-KOsovel ART, performed by artist and musician Lado Jakša, which thematically rounds up the EKO ART exhibition through the artful layer of photographic visions, accompanied by a live, original music performance with typographically inscribed texts by visionary poet Srečko Kosovel, lyricist Karl Hmeljak, musical pedagogue and improviser Stephen Nachmanovitch, and painter Jože Slak, and which addresses issues of “intellectu- al” ecology, a committed social and societal critique on artistic thought and creation.

The strategies of approaching the theme of ecology and art are, apparently, quite di erent. Some artists use natural, ecological materials, others address the problem through critical photography, or nd inspi- ration in recycling procedures, still others in natural blending. The belief behind EKO ART as a concept is that nature is perfect by itself, i. e., exactly the way it is, and humans are rather an exception found in na- ture, because they manipulate it and aggressively alter its appearance, purpose, and function. The vision, and thereby the
substance of the project is to use naturally acquired materials, which have not yet been modi ed by men and employ them to create useful and artful products; along with recognizing such materials as some- thing that gains the function withdrawn from nature only through human interference. And that’s what artistic creation is: ecologically irreproachable.

Exhibition curator: Nina Jeza


  About the exhibition

Opening on Friday, 19 August 2016, 8 p. m.

The exhibition will be showing until 10 September 2016.

KiBela/MMC KIBLA, Maribor, Slovenia
KiBela, space for art, is open on weekdays between 9 a. m. and 10 p. m., and Saturdays between 4 p. m. and 10 p. m.

Photo: Kristijan Robič

Photo: Maja Šivec

Photo: Zdenko Frangež

Photo: Zdenko Frangež

Photo: Domen Ulbl

Works, photo: Maja Šivec

Photo: Domen Ulbl



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