Artist: Maja Babič Košir
Venue: Ravnikar Gallery Space, Ljubljana
Curator: Piera Ravnikar
Photo: Mario Zupanov
Visual artist Maja Babič Košir, sculptor and painter, curiously blurs the boundaries between mediums in her new series of artworks, which includes paintings, drawings and large-scale collages, as well as sculptural works and spatial installations. The artist’s intuitive creative process is, as always, anchored in a contemplative, introspective principle. Drawing material from her surroundings and her personal history, she translates each event of her inner world into a visual world in the cycle of impulsive artistic interventions, remaining faithful to a sensual and intense visual language and a raw, (seemingly) unpolished and wild aesthetic.
The artworks are thus a document of the artist herself in a specific moment and space. Certain series from the recent years, such as the still ongoing processes of composing the collages entitled Love Letters, but also the series of explicit, raging monotypes, appear like emotional outbursts in diary form, precisely because of their narrative nature and reminiscence of letters. Particularly exciting are the Love Letters compilations that the artist began to create when she discovered a rich family archive of a wide variety of materials: envelopes, cardboard, colourful papers of different textures, shiny adhesive tapes, cut-out letters and other papers with visually appealing, tactile qualities.
In a similar language, she also continues with the new series, Turnmeon. From the production, which began in the isolation of a hotel room, when the artist was stuck abroad last year, it is clear that Babič Košir stems from a background in sculpture. The desire to expand into the space is clearly indicated by the installations, which attempt to at least partially deny the decorativeness and two-dimensionality of the collages and paintings, even if they are not very flat, as they achieve a multidimensional effect through the layering and stacking of materials. Although the saturation from the artist’s past creative periods may have become more refined and individual pictorial components as well as overall compositions are now more clearly defined, the artist does not strive for perfection – on the contrary, she even welcomes a certain shabbiness, mistakes that are not mistakes, or as she says herself rubbish and poetry. Consequently, this is how she also investigates the plasticity of the material and its sensory dimensions. Her interventions in it are minimal: she always submits to the recycled material she finds – either in the family archive or on her travels – (stones, textiles), uses it as she finds it, composes it with no or very few interventions into a new whole, whose new charge is now completely detached from the meanings that the individual materials may have carried before.
The present exhibition consists of various artworks such as collages made from materials used by the artist’s father as a window dresser, a photographic work by the artist’s ex-husband, as well as objects that have nothing to do with art, such as a neon sign that was a lucky find in an antique shop, and stones from her travels through Africa placed in a contrasting combination with pink Plexiglas. For the author of the artworks, these are, as always, in their essence a means of purification. From the selection of the artworks and their placement in the space, it is perhaps more evident than ever that Babič Košir both creates her own art and experiences it with therapeutic zeal. The artistic process is thus a healing process; through a series of metamorphoses, both material, in which the material of a forgotten, worn-out object is transformed into something new and light, and spiritual, thanks to which “the painful memory can become the sweetness of being”, the artist builds a new archive of her own. Turnmeon is a collection of objects, remnants of a time, it is an archive of stories about remembrance, about the transformation of pain, about old skins we have thrown away, about the alchemy of art – it is an archive of different love stories.