Vito Oražem and Lela B. Njatin: Signum Punctum

Vito Oražem and Lela B. Njatin: Signum Punctum
10 May–8 June 2024

You are cordially invited to the opening of the exhibition by Vito Oražem and Lela B. Njatin entitled Signum Punctum, which will take place on Friday, 10 May 2024, at 7 p.m. at the KiBela, space for art.


Worded images and depicted words. Letters and sentences, stories and views, wells of thought, springs of light. Pillars of consciousness and containers of memories. Glimpses in the mosaics of our intertwining between the perceivable and the imagined, the meeting point of the ineffable at the center of the story. Narratives. Walks through reality and through the monuments of creation. Through space-time, through the spaces of sensation and existence. Life. Images. Signs. Moments. Transient in the past, timeless in the present. Instant and captured. In the visible and the expressible. In the existing and the moving. In wholeness and unity.

The duality, the duality of observation, the ambiguity and simplicity, the vastness and purity, fuses text with image, unzips the photograph, unbuttons it, and lets it drop to capture time in the story, in that infinite space where horizons converge.

The works on display are composites of photographs by Vito Oražem and words by Lela B. Njatin. In one of their previous exhibitions, which they put on Instagram, they ask: “What does the word contribute to the photograph; what does the photograph contribute to the word.” Through the participation or response of visitors on the platform, they “wanted to find out how communicative is the 'additional effect' that is created when we connect a photograph and a textual unit, that is, the additional effect' of the way in which it exists in the photograph for itself or the textual unit for itself.” With the analogue format, they have “intervened” on the digital environment during the pandemic and have linked the analogue and the digital in their own way, which can be debatable at a time when almost every electrical device is also digital.

Their visual-verbal art is expressively subtle and has multiple meanings: sometimes the words draw the image into a melody, at other times the image draws the words into a rhythm. The reciprocity of the two elements and their interaction with other influences in the space where their works are installed resonates in the audio-visual harmony that we compose with our presence. The duality of the “media” establishes a dialogue, as if by looking and hearing, by thinking and feeling, we find ourselves in real and at the same time parallel worlds, where the text also becomes visual and, together with the photograph, forms its own, intimately perceived meta-meanings, thus turning the confrontation with their works into an individual meditation.

At the same time, the textual part can also be seen as visual, as it contains graphic elements that build on the basic aesthetic with mimicry, concealment and mystery. In the process of intertextuality and interpicturality, the two layers overlap, and just as photographs can have multiple meanings, it is the same with words. Even if they seem comprehensible, especially when they are written, they do not (as a rule) have only one meaning either, and they can live many lives in different phrases, for which the exhibition expects the viewers/readers to activate the impression, to recognize the clues and to reflect.


Lela B. Njatin is a self-employed interdisciplinary contemporary artist and writer. She holds a PhD and has graduated in philosophy and literary comparative studies. She lives in Ljubljana. In her works she often combines the visual and the literary, but mostly she moves creatively between different artistic media, using approaches and materials outside the traditional parameters.

In 1980 she made her debut as a visual artist in the group exhibition Desevididasenekidela at the Fine Arts Salon in Kočevje. In 2013, she held her first solo exhibition I Didn't Want to See, But I Saw at the Vžigalica Gallery/MGL, Ljubljana. Her major solo exhibitions are the following: 2015 – Djevojka sa pisštaljkom. Koliko drugih je u meni, koliko mene je u drugima at the Institute for Contemporary Art, Zagreb; 2020 – Anatomy of Home Science at P74 Gallery, Ljubljana; 2023 – City Peak. Fixating the Point III at the Gallery Gallery, Ljubljana. Some of the selected exhibitions are: 2012 – Life Cycle (European Capital of Culture Maribor, installed in Murska Sobota); 2016 – The Nation Will Write Its Own Judgement (51st Maribor Theatre Festival, Maribor); 2019 – Here. Once and Today at the Novo Celje Manor (ZKTŠ Žalec); 2022 – The Return of the Gaze (MGML/Cukrarna, Ljubljana), Prints and Impressions 2 (MGLC, Ljubljana) and May Salon: The Blue Line - From Renaissance to New Media (ZDSLU, Ljubljana; installation at the KIBLA PORTAL, Maribor); 2023 – May Salon: Mystery of Gea (ZDSLU, Ljubljana; installation at the Zasavje Museum, Trbovlje) and 2023/24 – Always Available (Modern Gallery, Ljubljana).

Two documentary films have been made about her visual work: 2014 – Lightnings in Kočevje (directed by Rudi Uran), produced by Studio Kramberger Uran, Maribor, and 1983 – Lines of Force (directed by Marijan Osole), produced by ŠKUC-FORUM, Ljubljana.

Vito Oražem was born in 1959 in Ljubljana, lived in Kočevje until 1978, then studied Media Science, Photography, Literary Theory and Art History in Münster, Kassel and Osnabrück, and holds a M.A. Artium (MA). Since 1972, he has been working with photography, in between with mail-art, experimental film, xerography and holography. Since 1980, he has held lectures and written professional articles on media-immanent aesthetics, and also articles on other artists, e.g. Michael Najjar 2001, Duane Michals 2004, Jochen Gerz 2006, Ilka Lauchstädt 2009, Stanko Oražem 2014, Xu Bing 2020, co-publisher of Vipecker Raiphan, Revue für Medien-Transformation 1981–84. From 1988 to 1998, he created multimedia light installations with holograms, video and computer animations. Since 1992, he has lived in Essen, where he is a member of the board of directors of the Design Zentrum Nordrhein Westfalen/Red Dot Design Museum and since 2018 he has been the managing director of Red Dot.

His first solo photographic exhibition was held in 1977 at the Kočevje Fine Arts Salon. Later he participated in festivals and exhibitions, among others in Basel (FotoKopie – Fotografie und Imitation 1989), Berlin (Räume aus Licht 1991, Holographic Network 1996), Dortmund (Reservate der Sehnsucht 1998), Essen (LichtFormen 1993), Hamburg (Feuer Erde Wasser Luft 1993), Hanover (Fotovision 1988, Die aufgehobene Zeit – W. H. Fox Talbot 1989, EXPO 2000 1996), Genoa (MEDIARtE 1983), Jena (Botho-Graef-Kunstpreis der Stadt Jena 1998), Karlsruhe (Multimediale 2 1991), Kassel (Photo Recycling Photo 1982, Ausstellung auf Plakatwänden 1982), Ljubljana (GT Gallery 1990, New Tendencies in German Holography 1991, The Eye and its Truth 2001, Signature – Composites of Photographs and Texts 2015, Ljubljana Bows Down to Slovenia III: Kočevje 2019), Melbourne (The Antipode Media Arts 1992), Montreal (Image du Futur 1990 and 1991), Osaka (AU International mail art exhibition 1984), Osnabrück (Experimental Film Workshop/Europäisches Medienkunst Festival 1983–1990), Perugia (Olografia, Holografie, Holography, Avanguardia dell' Arte Olografica 1992), Ribnica (Recognize and Discern 2006, Expatriots I 2010, Expatriots II – I Carry It All With Me 2013), Wrocław (Film poza kinem 1985) and Zagreb (Westeast 6 1981, Media-Scape 1991) and again in Kočevje (DASEVIDIDASENEKIDELA 1980, Kočevje 2000–2040: Photo-essay in four acts, first act 2001, second act 2011, Signature. What exists, what is happens, what is narrated 2022).  He is represented in the collections of Zentrum für Kunst und Medientechnologie, Karlsruhe, Skulpturenmuseum Glaskasten, Marl, Kunstmuseum Moritzburg, Halle (Saale), Museum of Holography Chicago, MIT Museum, Cambridge, Modern Gallery Ljubljana, Miklova hiša Gallery, Ribnica, Kočevje Regional Museum.

< Vito Oražem and Lela B. Njatin. Composite XVII, digital photography and digital print, 2018 (detail); photo by Vito Oražem

MMC KIBLA/KiBela, Ulica kneza Koclja 9, Maribor
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Photo: Janez Klenovšek

Photo: Janez Klenovšek



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