»£ CHF €«
Atelje Galerija, junij – julij 2012
In June and July 2012, Atelje Galerija staged an exhibition by renowned Slovenian sculptor Primož Pugelj with the meaningful title “£ CHF €”. Primož Pugelj presented himself at Atelje Galerija with the “£ CHF €” exhibition. Four of the newly created pieces (Black, Europe, the diptych Untitled and Benjamin) represent the continuity of responses of Pugelj’s productions to the happenings in society, which means that the exhibition is extremely socially-critical. With Pugelj, the integration of form and content is always a matter of the current moment. If his monumental sculpture called Hollywood, which stands on the lawn outside the Gruber Palace, merely a stone’s throw from Atelje Galerija, calls for local criticism, the exhibition “£ CHF €” calls for global or rather European social criticism. Where are we and to where have we drifted or been swept away? We are in Europe, and it seems that we have internalised some kind of status quo in relation to the nearly completely empty phrases about the overall crisis and the crisis of values. This is why it is important to consciously accept this soon-to-be artefact of modern society, rethink it and contemplate it through the sculptor’s production. Among things, works of art are always present in a very special way. Heidegger wrote that a work of art opens a world, establishes a historical world, lays the foundations and creates truths and guidelines that a society, a historical humanity, can use to shape the experience of the world. This is exactly what Primož Pugelj does. Though his works of art entitled Black, Europe, diptych Untitled and Benjamin speak for themselves, they all speak the same language contextually. Money pervades all our senses. Money fogs our view; the rustle of banknotes makes us responsive, their silence deaf. The language of some is currency, the others nothing but muteness. Who are we and to where have we drifted or been swept away? The question of the distinction between man and animal in the reflection on the crisis of values is very much topical. In a critical dialogue with a number of scientists and philosophers, especially Heidegger, the Italian philosopher Agamben defined the boundary within man. Only when man suspends his animality does he open himself to the world. However, by effacing his animality, man exiles his life to a zone of exception. The relationship between humanity and animality thus becomes a crucial moment in the theory of political emancipation. The apparent man/animal should remain Untitled. This is so that it only opens but never determines thought; just like Black, with which the artist in not searching for any deeper meanings, though its monumentality evokes a lot of attention from the viewer. Whether we want to or not, we are compelled to look at it, to face the blackness with a silent look or better yet with ourselves. In this way, Primož Pugelj is inviting us again to re-shape our experience of the present world.