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Freud! Marx and I are coming!

FREUD, MARX AND SELF

The structure of Žiga Kariž’s works is complex and partly derives also from the modernistic tradition. With the latter the author establishes his own fine art poetics, embedded between personal memory and media image. In his latest series of paintings, he draws on Matisse’s nudes (Nu Bleu I–IV, 1952), a series of four cut-outs representing a female body with intertwining legs and an arm stretching above her head.

In this project, as well, Kariž’s works remain ambiguous and hybrid. Their ambivalence lies in the entrapment between the pornographic tendency towards shameless nudity and the erotic inclination towards concealing the essence, whereas their hybridity is founded on Duchampian use of ready-made.

The historical line of nude female representations for lustful male gaze Kariž upgrades with a fourfold version of the nude, with images of four pornstars against green background. The author does not resort to reproduction in order to appropriate what has already been seen but rather for setting a motif into a contemporary context, into the age of media and technology on the one hand and heterogeneity of Self and body on the other. He, too, creates nudes using the cut-out technique. He forms bodies by gluing together standard format cut-outs (10 x15 cm) of photographs taken from the web. Thus, the solids are afforded a sense of hapticity, associated with skin, while the act of gluing may be nostalgically reminiscent of childhood compilation of picture albums.

Apart from the abundantly explicit sexual connotation, the new paintings are marked by colour reduction. In the context of mediatized image, the green background may be seen as a chroma key strategy, with which the colour can be replaced by a random picture during the composition process. In this way the artist establishes his own neutrality, while allowing the viewer to place the female actors into a setting of their own desire. The relationship between the body parts and particularly between the genitals and the gaze in the ideational concept allude to Žižek’s notion of interpassivity. The latter refers to a situation in which the object assumes an active role, the role of Super Ego, thus becoming the one that truly enjoys the exhibition and its own exhibitness, while the viewer is left with their value judgment, dependent on their selection of memories and images.

In counterpoint to the images of women, the exhibition also features a sculpture series composed of elements of consumption culture. Psychoanalytical reading to which alludes the title of the project Freud, Marx and Self offers the key to understanding the symbolical sexual undertones—the male principle in erect, empty bottles of Heineken and child principle in the remains of Nutella packaging.

In this project, as well, Kariž’s works remain ambiguous and hybrid. Their ambivalence lies in the entrapment between the pornographic tendency towards shameless nudity and the erotic inclination towards concealing the essence, whereas their hybridity is founded on Duchampian use of ready-made.

Alenka Trebušak