Žiga Kariž (born 1973) is Slovenian visual artist, working in a cross section of classical visual art practices, mostly painting, conceptual art and new media. His work is exhibited worldwide, including the Venice Biennial (2003, 2011) and the São Paulo Biennial (2002). Since 2010, he has been a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana.

Kariž stems from the field of conceptual painting. During its initial stages the image on the painting is constructed with the characteristics of the technical transferor of the image in mind which brings a unique history to the painting. Kariž forces the viewer to recognise the ‘pseudo-religiosity’ of the painting as described by the theoretician John Berger. In his works the isolated film scene or magazine image finds itself in the context of elite decor and thus demands a new reading. Kariž’s projects continuously question the relation between the work of art and society, politics, ideology and economy.

In 2007 the artist officially changed his name to Janez Janša and started working with two artists, Janez Janša and Janez Janša. The three artists joined the right wing Slovenian Democratic Party (SDS), headed by Janez Janša, determined to uncompromisingly follow the party’s motto: ‘The More of Us There Are, the Faster We Will Reach Our Goal.’ The consequences of changing their names, which was merely a personal decision, defined the life and practice of the artist over the past six years. The project is entering an unchartered art situation, in which life is understood as a work of art and is as such linked to the current biopolitical issues.

Parallel to this Kariž continued creating his solo projects in which he keeps returning to the image and the research of ideologies that are inscribed within its structure. In the late 1990s he deconstructed the painting which enabled him to renter the field of personal in the painting (as well as any other medium he uses) in a new, altered way. His new projects continue with this theme, however with the addition of latent eroticism. The game with markers that constantly percolate and fail to accept a solid or final position, without ever becoming empty (as they stir powerful emotional reactions), remains a basic characteristic of Žiga Kariž’s artistic practice.

Petja Grafenauer