Complex works and a continuous critical socio-political stance run like a red thread in the second exhibition of Marilena Preda Sânc at Gaep, which reflects the gallery commitment to present artistic positions that have significantly influenced the development of artistic discourse in the region.
Marilena Preda Sânc, who has been active internationally since the first half of the 1980s, has presented her work in numerous group and solo exhibitions in the region and beyond. This new exhibition at Gaep aims to present the artist’s engaged position through her early historical works from the 1980s and 1990s. Many of these works – in the media of painting, collage, photography, video and video performance – were created in specific social and political contexts, which also express very particular conditions of production. The focal point of the so-called engaged artistic practices is always the ‘otherness’ of the image of dominant media, thereby opening the possibility for a necessary critical reflection of society. Consequently, this is also true for this particular exhibition, which seeks to highlight the artist’s fundamental formal and conceptual basis through the works she created in almost two decades and to relate them to the established discourses, especially gender identity and feminism. One needs to stress the element of non-tangible, not in relation to the materiality of the medium, but rather in relation to the fact that the artist’s engagement exists and is active beyond the ‘prosthetic media’ such as painting, photography and collage. This is very much grounded in the artist’s body, actions and her critical thinking. Significantly less evident, the engagement is revealed in the reflection of the surrounding space in which the artist positions her actions – no matter if she thematises personal living space, as it happens in the early stages of her practice, which explore the relation between object, subject and space through painting and works on paper in an almost sculptural way, or if it is more of a performative examination of gender identity and social transfers within particular ideologies, as it happens later.
The exhibition defines Marilena Preda Sânc’s position as an artist, while also being a direct reflection of the state of the world and a narrative of stray social values, which emerge though relationships within our contemporary society. Preda Sânc is not a passive observer, but a social and political subject, who defines herself in relation to surroundings; at the same time, her activity also challenges this space. It is not so much about discovering physical boundaries and abilities, but more about establishing a possible space for social and political action. The artist’s works and projects continually challenge viewers with the realities of the socio-political panorama, but also transmit the artist’s own stance, which is never detached. Thus, the works precisely indicate a firm personal attitude towards the issue that the artist is addressing. Her tireless engagement with social processes and the way this is grounded in form prove that her already historically acclaimed work maintains its relevance today. At first sight, the artworks and projects in the exhibition Subjective (De)Constructions may seem provoking, but a more attentive look reveals a profound responsiveness which articulates our social reality in a straightforward and comprehensive manner.
Text by Tevž Logar, curator