Sašo Sedlaček

Fernetiči / Fernetti, video still, 2008

20 March - 4 May 2008
Mala Galerija, Slovenska cesta 35, Ljubljana

Lost Territories
(Nepremičnine cona A / Immobili zona B)

Probably every European nation carries a larger territory in its memory, which sometime in the past extended well beyond its present-day borders. Territorial maps, mostly drawn after wars, are compromise solutions made by the superpowers, who are never interested in local characteristics. But a territory is not only an abstract notion. At the personal level it is above all a piece of real estate: an individual's territory is his house or apartment.

One such historically traumatic region for Slovenes and Italians is Trieste and its surrounding area. Once a splendid Austro-Hungarian city and one of the most cosmopolitan in Europe, it lost its central European hinterland after the First World War, became an insignificant Italian port and started to decline. Historically speaking, Trieste was the window onto the world for many Slovenes and consequently it indelibly marked Slovene culture. Of all great cities, it is the closest to Ljubljana, although it has never seemed farther away than it does today.

Bringing the two cities together and eradicating the border in people's minds would be mutually beneficial. Trieste needs the hinterland from which it was severed so many years ago, as well as trade routes to Central and Eastern Europe that lead across Slovenia. And Slovenia needs another urban multicultural centre apart from Ljubljana and Maribor, in order to set up an urban axis as a counterpart to its present-day distinctly mono-cultural environment.

In Kosovo, Albanians bought overpriced real estate from the local Serbian population for several decades and consequently established an independent state. Real estate in Trieste, which is an hour?s drive away from Ljubljana, is at the moment cheaper than in Slovenia. Today there is no longer a need to create new countries or officially move the borders in Europe. As is evident in Kosovo, these can be moved simply from one apartment to another.

Sašo Sedlaček

In his complex work, Sašo Sedlaček deals with environmental issues in the broadest meaning of the word, including a Slovene national image that is redefined within global trends of technological redundancies, ecological pollution and the spiritual void after the transition period. Sedlaček's point of departure is that we need alternatives or supplements in our search for future identity and that all manners of visual communications used in a certain country, region or continent are based on the foundations of local culture, social habits and mythology. Historical differences give rise to deviations in the form of communication or social interaction, which leads to the use of different colour schemes, pictures, typographies and messages. Growing global connectedness causes the blending of two very different principles because of contemporary technological tools and migrations.

The exhibition is based on research into specific aspects of the eradication of the border between Italy and Slovenia and trends in the development of the real-estate market in Trieste and its hinterland in the light of the historical and geopolitical specifics of space. It is based on different levels and focused on cultural influences in space, as well as the application of communication, social, political, symbolic and visual tools. According to Sedlaček, the completion of the transition and integration with the West dictates the need for new spatial and mental utopias.

Sašo Sedlaček (b. 1974) graduated from the Secondary School of Design and Photography in Ljubljana in 1993 and earned a degree in sculpture from the Ljubljana Academy of Fine Art in 2000. He received the 2006 OHO Award for young visionary artists.

Curator of the exhibition: Igor Španjol

The project is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia.

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