Marko Šajn: Free Hugs

Marko Šajn: Free Hugs
1 March–6 April 2024

You are cordially invited to the opening of the solo exhibition Free Hugs by Marko Šajn, which will take place on Friday, 1 March 2024, at 7 p.m. at KiBela, space for art.

*The exhibition has been extended until 6 April 2024.


In preparing the exhibition, which opens in the spring month and combines analog painting and sculpture with contemporary digital interfaces, the artist used the free website for his paintings, which generates images with the help of artificial intelligence. The passwords he entered often contained the words “hug”, “group hug”, “embrace”, etc. Based on this and other online data, he received images according to which he modeled his paintings. However, the machine processing led to various deformations, which he had to rework and edit. His work can therefore be defined as a visualization of communication in a triangle between “machine” and “human” perception of the “conceptual”, which, like interpersonal communication, is never perfect, as it always contains a noise between sender and receiver that depends on various parameters and must be “corrected” again and again.

Marko Šajn is active in various fields of art. The stylized, reduced and typified human figure, which is the central motif, functions in the indeterminable environment as primary, primitive and abstracted, as if the author wanted to say that communication takes place when at least two poles are attuned to the same level and the lower this level is, the easier it is to establish it. This not only touches on the fact of our coexistence and cooperation, but also emphasizes the same relationship with the machine when he shows through the process of creation that also machine communication is better with less information, as more data brings more opportunities for noise, which then needs to be fixed to avoid interpersonal misunderstandings and machine errors.

Since the artist does not know until the end what the image created by the artificial intelligence will look like, he is surprised and ready to intervene. He leaves open the interpretation of the relationships between humans and between humans and machines, as well as the processes of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the construction of images, with all the anomalies that arise from “misunderstandings”.

But when the figures connect, combine and embrace, they are born in a community and, as in dancing, build the elementary relationships of contact and touch, a real closeness that arises when they give up their individuality and image, their ego. When they become the same and turn into a mass that transforms the formal composition into a choreographed visual language of impersonal images and visually ritualized bodies. Celebrate with us and enter the mass. Be the humane individual imprint in a technologically standardized landscape.


Marko Šajn (1990) enrolled at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana in 2011 to study painting and printmaking. He has presented his work in several solo exhibitions, including at the House of Culture in Pivka (2019), the DobraVaga Gallery (2019) and the International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC) in Ljubljana (2023), as well as in group exhibitions, the most important of which is Prints and Imprints 2 at the MGLC in Ljubljana (2022). He works in the House of Culture in Pivka and in the Riso Paradiso risographic collective in Ljubljana. He lives and works in the countryside near Pivka.

The artist’s website:

< Marko Šajn: 4 human figures in a crouching group hug; acrylic on canvas, 2023; photo: Simon Avsec

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Photo: Archive ACE KIBLA

Photo: Archive ACE KIBLA



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