Igor Štromajer
EGO MASSAGE
(Ceci n'est pas de l'art)

Solo Exhibition

Aksioma | Project Space
Komenskega 18, Ljubljana

14 May – 13 June 2014

Exhibition opening and artist talk by Constant Dullaart: WED, 14 May 2014 at 8 pm

 
 

I don’t want it to be essentially the same – I want it to be exactly the same. Because the more you look at the same exact thing, the more the meaning goes away, and the better and emptier you feel.” Andy Warhol

I have nothing to say and I’m saying it.” John Cage

I have no special message. I wish I did. It would be great if I had one.” Andy Warhol

Make love, not art.” Igor Štromajer
 
 

At a time when the Internet has become, as it were, dead code on screen, because giant corporations have usurped and radically transformed its initial idea; when even philosophy, social theory and media studies indicate that a true, radical future exists outside the Internet (“The future is offline.” Cf. the studies of Steven Shaviro, Professor at Wayne State University in Detroit, and Jussi Parikka, Professor at Winchester School of Art, University of Southampton); when we live in a so-called post-media reality – at such a time, the questions of virality and self-virality, transposition, constant translation, emptiness and repetitiveness, representation and identity are the key questions. With the exhibition Ego Massage, we tackle these questions directly. Ego Massage raises complex topical questions of translation of the digital into the analogue; far from exploiting the popularity of the concept of Internet meme, it takes a step further, returning memes to the real world, back to its biological (genetic) context.

Ego Massage is an urban performance and an installation project that attempts to transpose virality, social networking, memes and other contemporary web phenomena from the online public space to the offline public space, and from there to the exhibition space.

A while ago, artist Igor Štromajer introduced as his profile picture in all his social networks his own portrait with two circles (one red and one white) around his eyes. The resulting image was stylised, clear and instantaneously recognisable: perfect for viral diffusion. The author edited this profile picture into several hundreds of other photographs available online using automated web logarithms, services that facilitate quick, instantaneous photomontage. Mimicking the forms of diffusion of popular online media, the artist generated an “artistic meme”, that brought about not only the viral circulation of his own images, but also the spontaneous imitation and variation of his signature practice, with people editing these circles into their own profile pictures. (www.intima.org/ego-massage)



A meme is an idea, a form of behaviour or a style, which, within a certain cultural practice, spreads from one user to another. It works as a unit for the implementation of cultural ideas, symbols or practices that can be transmitted through writing, images, speech, gestures, rituals or other imitative phenomena. As a cultural phenomenon, a meme represents an analogy to human genes – it reproduces itself, it mutates and is therefore quick to respond to topical events. Although memes preexisted the Internet – some people say that memes are just the way our culture works – the Web has proven to be an extraordinary platform for the spreading of memes.

During the exhibition, the gallery will function as the headquarters of the public space intervention, and at the same time as the temporary folder where the idea is materialized and explained through hundreds of Štromajer’s selected and printed photomontages, where documentary material is collected and put on display, and where the awareness of the audience is enhanced with educational activities.


The opening of the exhibition will be accompanied by the presentation of Dutch intermedia artist Constant Dullaart, who also explores in depth the transitions from the Web into the real space and various forms of online and offline meme-performance.





Production:

Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana, 2014

Artistic Director: Janez Janša
Producer: Marcela Okretič
Executive Producer: Sonja Grdina
Public Relations: Mojca Zupanič
Technician: Valter Udovičić
Documentation: Adriana Aleksić

The programme of Aksioma Institute is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and the Municipality of Ljubljana.

Sponsor: Datacenter d.o.o.

CONTACT
Aksioma | Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana

 

Igor Štromajer
 
 

Igor Štromajer (1967) – www.intima.org – researches tactical emotional para-artistic actions, intimate guerrilla, and traumatic low-tech communication strategies. He has shown his work at more than a hundred exhibitions in more than 60 countries and received a number of awards (Moscow, Hamburg, Dresden, Belfort, Madrid, Maribor, Frankfurt). His projects form part of the permanent collections of such prestigious art institutions as, among others, Le Centre national d’art et de Culture Georges Pompidou – Musée national d’art moderne, Paris, France; the Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, Madrid, Spain; the Moderna galerija – the Slovene Museum of Contemporary Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia; Computerfinearts – net and media art collection, New York, USA; and the Maribor Art Gallery, Maribor, Slovenia. As a guest artist, he lectures at universities and contemporary art institutes worldwide. He lives in Ljubljana and in Frankfurt.

 
 
Artist talk by Constant Dullaart
 
Aksioma | Project Space, WED, 14 May 2014 at 8 pm
 
 
 
Constant Dullaart
 
 

Constant Dullaart (NL, 1979), a former resident of the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam, lives and works in Berlin. With a practice focused on visualizing Internet vernaculars and software dialects, a political approach critical to corporate systems influencing these contemporary semantics becomes clear through his minimal and sometimes bricolaged gestures. Editing online forms of representation, and the user’s access to it, he creates installations and performances online and offline. Rather than seeking merely to write a book to be placed on a library shelf, so to speak, Dullaart is interested in animating the very concept of the library itself. His work has been published internationally in print and online, and exhibited at venues such as MassMOCA, UMOCA the New Museum in New York, Polytechnic Museum in Moscow, Autocenter in Berlin, and de Appel, W139, and the Stedelijk Museum in the Netherlands. Dullaart has curated several exhibitions and lectured at universities throughout Europe, most currently at the Rietveld Academy in Amsterdam.

 
 
Constant Dullaart: Letter to Jennifer
 
 

Dear Jennifer,

Sometime in 1988, you were sitting on a beach in Bora Bora, looking at To'opua island, enjoying a holiday with a very serious boyfriend. The serious boyfriend, John, took a photograph of you sitting on the beach, not wearing your bikini top. John later became your husband and father to your children Sarah, Lisa, Alex and Jane.

This photograph of a beautiful moment in your personal history has also become a part of my history, and that of many other people; it has even shaped our outlooks on the world at large.

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