A curated exhibition — The tunnels of Kranj / 2016
»At our first visit to the tunnel, we immediately got the feeling that there was something more to those stains. After a thorough examination, our suspicions proved correct.« — ZEK crew
№ 49 on the left, № 48 on the right
A damp tunnel, illuminated stains of calcareous sinter on its walls, and at the end, a gift shop. In the gift shop: T-shirts, lighters, calendars, posters, coffee mugs, magnets, keychains, jigsaw puzzles, frisbees, notebooks and postcards with motifs of the illuminated spots on the walls of the damp tunnel. It sure is a ZEK exhibition all right.
The stains speak to the artists, and they in turn see in the stains an opportunity to give meaning to the magnificent chaos of the art of nature—but alas, the collective soon renounces their right to assign it. Next, a bitter realization: Their endeavor was no more than a futile struggle—man is insignificant, nature is eternal. Though spirit-crushing, the realization does not break their will of self-expression. ZEK decides to seize the right to manipulate nature’s poorly-copyrighted material, but the artists finally yield under an artistic majesty of such a huge magnitude, suddenly rendered ignorant children who cannot make sense of their own existence. The collective monetizes on something that does not belong to them—but they did find it first.
At the beginning of the previous century, reproducing art made it less authentic; in ZEK curation, reproducing art is precisely what makes it authentic. Retiring to the position of a curator demands a method of a new, complex formal ingenuity. The concept of the exhibition itself has been re-examined; the vaguely suggested motifs of the stains are quenching the unquenchable thirst for interpretation. The obsession with meaning has resulted in the saturation of meaning—and, perhaps, in the light at the end of the tunnel.
It is probably not a coincidence that the collective decided on the exhibition of the Gift shop, a pearl of the contemporary socio-economic order—a shop that sells gifts. It appears that at its core, ZEK’s strong auto-reflexivity continues to be rooted in carefree shenanigans.
— Nika Jurman
Photos by Primož Zorko
Exhibition coverage by Radio-Television Slovenia 1