Past exhibitions

5 Flowers 8 Photographs

By 19. 1. 2019 May 12th, 2019 No Comments

Tanja Lažetić
5 flowers 8 photographs

12.02.2019 – 23.03.2019

I like watching the opening of flower buds. I wait for that special moment when the flower is fully blossomed. They’re artificial, even though they grow and age, which is why I search for the true colors of what I see. I photograph buds, too, but not wilting

Tanja Lažetić
5 flowers 8 photographs

I like watching the opening of flower buds. I wait for that special moment when the flower is fully blossomed. They’re artificial, even though they grow and age, which is why I search for the true colors of what I see. I photograph buds, too, but not wilting and rotting, because decorative flowers were not made to grow old. – T. L.

Hardly any motif in the field of art history has been depicted, discussed and interpreted as often and in so many ways as a flower. It is the carrier of such a wide array of symbols and meanings – their interpretations range from classical myths of Narcissus and Daphne, to Christian interpretations of flowers as symbols of virtues and biblical tales, to Romantic literature of the 19th century, which intensely associated flowers with love and beauty. Because of their historic role in art, flowers are such a powerful semiotic sign, their depictions so drenched in socio-historic meanings, that the notion of a neutral gaze is completely unimaginable. Out perception is consciously or subconsciously saturated with associative meanings. The artist Tanja Lažetić is aware of this, questioning past connotations of flowers in her photography and placing them firmly in the sphere of contemporaneity.

An aspect of flowers that has been inspiring artists throughout the centuries, is their ability to symbolically depict the cycle of human life – they embody the beauty of youth in full bloom, the wilting of middle age and finally, the inevitability of death. Flowers are associated with dying since the classical age, which introduced myths of flowers blossoming from spilt blood or graves of the deceased, symbolically marking a new beginning or life blossoming out of death. Cut flowers as symbols of the transience and futility of life are most clearly observed in 17th century painting, where they are closely connected to the vanitas motif – the symbolic depiction of life’s fleeting and trivial nature, memento mori, which reminds us of the inescapable end. From this perspective, a bouquet of cut flowers, whose lifespan is cut short through the very act of plucking, is a clearly recognizable symbol of life’s evanescence. The motif, which artists such as Jan Brueghel brought to its peak, reflected the wider mentality of Western Catholic population, which perceived earthly life as a moral trial period before a soul transcends into paradise (or damnation).

However, the perceptions of the spiritual and physical world in today’s Western society are entirely unlike those of baroque Catholicism of the 17th century, a fact Lažetić clearly emphasizes. Assuredly, the vanitas motif, in the previously described sense of the word, still remains present in contemporary art. In photography, the slow falling of petals and wilting of flowers was interpreted by Jan Saudek and Michael Wesely. In contrast, Tanja Lažetić does not seek inspiration in the beauty of transience and death and the particular aesthetic of decaying plants. She presents her flowers as quite the opposite, as shiny, almost plastic objects, whose decay is far from sight. In contrast with baroque’s perception of life coming to an end, Lažetić’s flowers reflect a society which does not want to, perhaps cannot, deal with death and mortality. Youth, vitality and visual perfection are virtues of the highest value, while weakness, disease and old-age are regarded with fear and rejection, a fact proved by the ever more desperate attempts at prolonging human life. That is why her flowers are modified, perfected, “improved” towards the perfection of eternal life. Through digital modification, the artist finds their “true” colors.

In our desire to own prettier, longer-lasting flowers, they are imported from abroad with little regard to their origin. The artist considers flowers to be an artificial construct, since the very notion of decorative flowers is becoming less connected to nature or at-home gardening. Most flowers that are available in shops are imported from abroad, brought to our local flower shops through the Netherlands. Lažetić questions these practices and in that sense conceptually continues her project Migrants, exhibited in Gallery P74 in 2010. In the project, she has researched the questionable origins of our everyday groceries, warning us of the potential dangers of international import. Although this aspect of the project is less emphasized in her flowers, it additionally demonstrates their artificial, unnatural character, while also speaking about the prudent approach of the artist to her photographed subjects.

Beautiful and fragrant, they are in this world to help reproduce plants. Wind can pollinate smaller petals, but larger flowers need to be pleasantly shaped, of attractive colors and most importantly, smell inviting. They need to attract insects, birds, sometimes even bats, who will walk over them, insert their beaks in them, collect pollen, drink nectar, and spread it from blossom to blossom. – T. L.

Perfection and beauty expected from decorative flowers clearly allude to a more widely prevalent problem – a society which seeks these qualities in people, and most obviously in women. The connection of flowers to women is practically self-evident and establishes itself on two levels. From the socio-historic perspective, flowers always belonged in the domain of female artists, since women were prevented from attending art academies, training in the painting of the nude and, consequently, producing large-format historic compositions. They were limited to painting still-life bouquets and the confines of their home garden. Furthermore, a connection is established on the level of iconography, as women figures were frequently personified by flowers, the latter connected to femininity since antiquity – the nymph Chlorys who transforms into Flora through Zephyr’s rape, Daphne, who morphs into a laurel tree during her flight from Apollo, and later Mary, often depicted as a rose or a lily. Flowers, it seems, share two crucial common characteristics with women – they represent love, beauty, youth and offer aesthetic pleasure upon sight. Simultaneously, they have a clear reproductive function with connotations of eroticism and seduction, due to their role in pollination. Thus, Tanja Lažetić is investigating the motif of flowers in relation to her own position as the artist, while also questioning the very nature of its depiction.

5 Flowers 8 Photographs is a project that examines the questions of durability, mortality and social expectations. The artist reflects parallels of youth, visual perfection and artificiality in her flowers. They are perfect, luminous, exotic – fictional. Such flowers (and such people) do not exist anywhere except in our imaginations. The questions Lažetić poses are the following: should flowers be appealing, flawless, artificial? Should we? And what is the cost of perfection?

Hana Čeferin

Tanja Lažetić

Born in Ljubljana. Lives and works in Ljubljana, Slovenia.1987-1993 Studies at Faculty of Architecture, University of Ljubljana1995 First prize at the International Competition of Design – Trieste Contemporanea, Trieste, Italy1999 artist in residence in New York by grant of Ministry of Culture of the Republic Slovenia and SCCA-Ljubljana2001 artist in residence in Vienna by a grant of KulturKontakt, AustriaNominations at the //international media/art award, ZKM, Karlsruhe, Germany2005 artist in residence in Berlin by a grant of Ministry of Culture of the Republic Slovenia2011-2014 member of an international artist group ABC (Artists’ Books Cooperative)2013 artist in residence in London by a grant of Ministry of Culture of the Republic Slovenia2014 artist in residence in Holon, Israel by a grant of The Israeli Center for Digital Art2015 Award Unicum 2015 at III International Ceramic Triennial, Ljubjanaartist in residence in Shanghai, China by a grant of The Swatch Art Peace HotelBronze Award at The Second International Nanjing Festival, Nanjing, China2017 Rihard Jakopič Recognition, Ljubljana, Sloveniaartist in residence in Nida Art Colony, Lithuania


2017- The Witch is not at Home, Kiosk, Nida Art Colony, Lithuania- Billion Dinar Girl, Gong Gallery, Solkan, Slovenia, Curator: Nataša Kovšca
2016- If we weren’t here…look, immediately the grass is growing, Institute for Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Curator: Janka Vukmir- Gasoline Stations, Again, Gallery Spot, Zagreb, Curator: Sandra Krizić Roban- What’s Art Got to Do with It?, Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Curator: Vladimir Vidmar2014- 6 Swimming Pools behind Broken Glass, The Israeli Center for Digital Art, Holon, Israel, Curator: Ran Kasmy-Ilan2010- The Migrants, P74 Gallery, Ljubljana2006- Dialogue in the Kitchen, Volume I, P74 Gallery, Ljubljana2005- The Rustling of Our Native Forests (with Dejan Habicht), P74 Gallery, Ljubljana2004- The State of Things (with Nina Mesko), City of Women, Ljubljana2003- The Big Erotic Calendar (with Dejan Habicht), P74 Gallery, Ljubljana2002- Patterns (with Dejan Habicht), Cankarjev dom-Small Gallery, Ljubljana2001- Weather report (with Dejan Habicht), CIX Gallery, Skopje (Macedonia)- Out of the blue (with Dejan Habicht), Gallery of Contemporary Art, Celje- Snapshot (with Dejan Habicht) Ivan Grohar Gallery, Skofja Loka2000- Hansel & Gretel (with Dejan Habicht), Alkatraz Gallery, Ljubljana1999- Traces (with Dejan Habicht), P74 Gallery, Ljubljana1994- Three Side Screens, ŠOU Gallery, Ljubljana


2018- Heavenly Beings: Neither Human nor Animal, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana, Curators: Zdenka Badovinac, Bojana Piškur- 20 Years of Nova Gorica City Gallery, Nova Gorica, Slovenia- IV. International Ceramic Triennial Unicum, National Museum Slovenia, Ljubljana- Selection from the Collection, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana, Curator: Bojana Piškur2017- Revealed views, Miklova House Gallery, Ribnica, Slovenia, Curator: Polona Lovšin- Utopia / Dystopia: Architecture, City, Territory, City Art Gallery of Ljubljana, Curator: Alenka Trebušak- O Livro Disperso / The book Dispersed, Casa das Artes, Porto, Curator: Unstable Media- The Most Beautiful Place in the World, Gallery of Fine Arts, Osijek, Croatia, Curator: Sandra Križić Roban2016- Pixxelpoint 2016, Kulturni dom Nova Gorica, Slovenia, Curator: Rene Rusjan- I.A.S.A  International Artist Space Agency, Dizaldov Gallery, Berlin- The Glass Celling, K18 Gallery, Maribor, Slovenia, Curator: Irena Borić- The 3rd Nanjing International Art Festival – Parallel Exhibition, China, Curator: Yu Liang- XVIII Fotosrečanje, Kulturni dom Gorizia, Italy- The Most Beautiful Place in the World, Klovičevi Dvori Gallery, Zagreb, Croatia, Curator: Sandra Križić Roban- Ed Ruscha: Books & Co., Gagosian Gallery – Beverly Hills, USA, Curator: Bob Monk- On Revolution’s Road, Museum of Yugoslav History, Belgrade, Serbia, Curator: Marko Jenko- On Revolution’s Road, Moderna galerija, Ljubljana, Curator: Marko Jenko- Beyond the Globe | 8th Triennial of Contemporary Art – U3, Moderna galerija, Ljubljana, Curator: Boris Groys- Timeless Ophelia,  Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana, Curator: Vasja Nagy2015- Crises and New Beginnings: Art in Slovenia 2005–2015, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana, Curators: Bojana Piškur, Igor Španjol, Vladimir Vidmar- Pixxelpoint, Media Art Festival, Nova Gorica, Slovenia, Curator: Igor Štromajer- Nika Špan: Was it a car or a cat I saw, Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Curator: Vladimir Vidmar- Re: Follow-ed (after hokusai), Cabinet Du Livre D’Artiste, Universite Rennes, France, Curator: Michalis Pichler, Tom Sowden- The Second International Nanjing Festival 2015, Nanjing, China- Between Democracies 1989-2014: Commemoration and Memory, University of Johannesburg, South Africa, Curators: Judy Peter & Richard Gregor- A Big Mess, Big Space, Shanghai, China- III International Ceramic Triennial Unicum, National Museum Slovenia, Ljubljana– Ed Ruscha: Books & Co., Gagosian Gallery – Paris, France, Curator: Bob Monk- A Bag of Fibes, Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design, Jerusalem, Israel, Curator: Ran Kasmy-Ilan2014- Mundus Vadit Retro, Kibla Portal, Maribor, Slovenia, Curators: Aleksandra Kostič, Žiga Dobnikar- Brighton Photo Biennal, Brighton, UK- City Perspectives, Photon Galerie, Vienna, Austria, Curators: Dejan Sluga, Vesna Bukovec, Metka Zupanič- Fluxjob, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis, USA , Curators: Jeff Rathermel and Keith Buchholz2013- +386 Impressions, Calcografía Nacional, Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, Spain, Curator: Breda Škrjanec- Festival der Regionen – Digging Up, Eferding, Austria- Ed Ruscha Books & Co., Museum Brandhorst, Munchen, Germany- Directed: The Intersection of Book, Film and Visual Narrative, Minnesota Center for Book Arts, Minneapolis, Curator: Jeff Rathermel- Dowry, Collegium Artisticum, Sarajevo, BIH, Curator: Dunja Blažević- Ed Ruscha Books & Co., Gagosian Gallery, New York- A Fair, University of Kansas Art + Design Gallery, Lawrence, Kansas, Curator: Travis Shaffer2012- Dowry, Nova Gallery, Zagreb, Croatia, Curator: Dunja Blažević- The Ed Show, The Digital Art Gallery London South Bank University, London- Beetwen the real and reality, Gallery Third Belgrade, Belgrade, Serbia, Curator: Jelena Veljković- ABCED, Mews project Space, London- Dowry, Center fro Cultural Decontamination, Belgrade, Serbia, Curator: Dunja Blažević – Hidden Publics, Motorenhalle, Dresden, Germany, Curators: Andrea Domesle, Walter Seidl- The Artist Book in Slovenia 1966-2010, AKTO 7- Festival for Contemporary Arts, Bitola (MAK), Curator: Tadej Pogačar- Video in Progress 2 / City PerspectivesVideolake Festival, Tihany, Balaton Lake, Hungary, Curators: Vesna Bukovec, Metka Zupanič- HELP/LESS, Printed Matter, New York, Curator: Chris Habib-  Dowry, Trieste Contemporanea, Trieste, Italy, Curator: Dunja Blažević- It doesn’t always have to be beautiful, unless it’s beautiful, Art Gallery of Kosovo, Priština, Curators: Galit Eilat and Charles Esche– Roaming. Copy-Left, Alkatraz Gallery, Ljubljana, Curator: Alessandro Castiglioni- Prints and Impressions, International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Curators: Breda Škrjanec, Božidar Zrinski- Dowry, Museum of Contemorary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana, Curator: Dunja Blažević- Hidden Publics, Emil Filla Gallery, Ústí nad Labem, (Czech Republic), Curators: Andrea Domesle, Walter Seidl- 20 for 15, P74 Gallery, Ljubljana, Curator: Tadej Pogačar2011- The Artist’s Book in Slovenia 1966 – 2010, The Digital Art Gallery London South Bank University, London, London, Curator: Tadej Pogacar- Photoobjects, Simulaker Gallery, Novo mesto (Slovenia), Curator: Jan Babnik- Follow-ed (after Hokusai), P74 Gallery, Ljubljana, Winchester Gallery, Winchester, Arnofini Gallery, Bristol, Curators: Michalis Pichler, Tom Sowden- Hidden Publics,Skuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Curators: Andrea Domesle, Walter Seidl2010- Hidden Publics, , Graz, Curators: Andrea Domesle, Walter Seidl- 9+9, International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Curators: Breda Skrjanec, Bozidar Zrinski- The Artist Book in Slovenia 1966–2010, Kresija Gallery, Ljubljana, Curator: Tadej Pogacar- Mladi levi Festival, Ljubljana- U3 – An Idea for Living, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Curator: Charles Esche- The Renaming Machine, Open Space, Vienna, Curator: Suzana Milevska- At Home: Architects France and Marta Ivanšek, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Curators: Martina Malesic and Anja Planiscek- Sweet Nowhere, City Art Museum, Ljubljana, Curator: Alenka Gregoric2009- Video in Progress 2: City Perspectives, Parakino, Laznia Centre for Contemporary Art, Gdansk, Curators: Vesna Bukovec, Metka Zupanič- Political practices of (post-) Yugoslav art, Museum of Yugoslav History – Museum 25th of May, Beograd, Curator: Jelena Vesic- Around the World of Art in 4.380 days, Alkatraz Gallery, Ljubljana, Curator: Saša Nabergoj- 3, Academy of Fine Arts, Trebinje, Bosnia and Hercegovina- 28th Biennial of Graphic Arts, International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Curator: Božidar Zrinski- The Renaming Machine, Miroslav Kraljevic Gallery, Zagreb, Curator: Suzana Milevska- Photonic Luminatic, Photoport Gallery, Bratislava, Kultur Zentrum Korotan, Vienna and Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana, Curator: Dejan Sluga- Closed for annual leave!, Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Curator: Alenka Gregoric2008- (Not) a Photograph, Obalne galerije Piran, Curator: Vasja Nagy- Obviously, it’s not obvious / GIFT, P74 Gallery Ljubljana, Curator: Lotte Juul Petersen- Video in Progress2 / City Perspectives, Photon Gallery, Ljubljana, Curators: Vesna Bukovec, Metka Zupanic- Museum in the Street, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Curators: Zdenka Badovinac, Bojana Piskur- Photonic Luminatic, K2 Contemporary Art Center, Izmir (Turkey)- A Third Look, International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Curators: Breda Skrjanec, Bozidar Zrinski- Minus five minutes, P74 Gallery Ljubljana, Curator: Polonca Lovsin- Renaming Machine, Jakopic Gallery, Ljubljana, Curator: Suzana Milevska2007- Political, Velenje Gallery, Velenje, Curator: Maja Skerbot- K2 SUR*VIVER, Miroslav Kraljevic Gallery, Zagreb- Lost Highway Exhibition, Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Curator: Alenka Gregoric- Every Man is a Curator / Jeder Mensch ist ein Kurator, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Curator: Zdenka Badovinac- As in Real Life, P74 Gallery Ljubljana, Curator: Julia Schäfer2006- Arteast Collection 2000+23, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Curator: Zdenka Badovinac- Normalization, dedicated to Nikola Tesla, Gallery Nova, Zagreb, Curator: WHW- Intimate (with Dejan Habicht), Obalne galerije Piran, Curator: Vasja Nagy- Interrupted Histories (with Dejan Habicht), Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Curator: Zdenka Badovinac2005- 2 Live, Koroska Fine Arts Gallery, Slovenj Gradec, Curator: Saso Vrabic- Territories, Identities, Nets (with Dejan Habicht), Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Curator: Igor Zabel, Igor Spanjol- obroc/ring, P74 Gallery Ljubljana2004- To Think the Space, P74 Center and Gallery, Ljubljana and City Gallery Nova Gorica, Curator: Dejan Habicht- The Kitchen (with Dejan Habicht), Koroska Fine Arts Gallery, Slovenj Gradec, Curator: Saso Vrabic- Twinklings (with Dejanom Habichtom), Gallery of Extended Media, Zagreb, Curator: Alenka Gregoric2003- U3 – Here and There (with Dejan Habicht), Museum of Modern Art, L jubljana, Curator: Christine Van Assche- My Little World (with Dejan Habicht), Gallery of Contemporary Art Celje, Curator: Nevenka Sivavec- Replay, P74 Gallery, Ljubljana, Curator: Dejan Habicht- Far away (with Dejan Habicht), Art Museum Eskilstuna (Sweden),Curator: Alenka Gregoric- Intermedial, A+A Gallery, Venice, Curator: Tadej Pogacar- Start, Karas Gallery, Zagreb, Curator: WHW2002- Intermedial, Gallery of Contemporary Art Celje, Curator: Tadej Pogacar- Decay & Readymade (with Dejan Habicht), Feistritz im Rosental (Austria), Jesenice (Slovenia), Cave del Predil (Italy), Curator: Inge Vavra- Start, City Art Museum Ljubljana, Curator: WHW2001- Women’s room / woman’s view, ULUPUH, Zagreb, Curator: Marina Grzinic-Vulgata (with Dejan Habicht), Gallery Trafó, Budapest, Curator: Gregor Podnar- Machen sie mir dieser Land wieder… (with Dejan Habicht), Pavel Haus, Potrna/Laafeld (Austria), Curator: Aleksandra Kostic- //international media/art award 2001, ZKM Karlsruhe- Medi@terra, Athens/Sofia/Belgrade/Maribor/Frankfurt- ARS AEVI, Rendez-vous 3 (with Dejan Habicht), Sarajevo, Curator: Zdenka Badovinac- Vulgata (with Dejan Habicht), Neuer Berliner Kunstverein, Berlin, Curator: Gregor Podnar- The Nude in Slovenia(Photography), Jakopic Gallery, Ljubljana, Curator: Primoz Lampic2000- U3 – Vulgata (with Dejan Habicht), Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, Curator: Gregor Podnar- Argos 2000, Vevey (Switzerland), Curator: Sigismond de Vajay- Panoramika (with Mateja Medvedic and Dejan Habicht), P74 Gallery, Ljubljana1999- The Taste of City (with Dejan Habicht), ŠKUC Gallery, Ljubljana, Curator: Gregor Podnar, Tadej Pogačar, Igor Zabel1997- This art is recycled, ŠKUC Gallery, Ljubljana

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