Maja Babič Košir

Ciao Amore

17/01 —10/03/2024

A deeply-rooted essential aspect of the human experience, a multi-layered emotion that is hard to define. An inexhaustible source of the philosophic, artistic and scientific examination. Attraction to people, animals or objects, stealing our attention and seizing our life-space. Caring and concern through good times and bad, compassion or empathy. Affectionate and unconditional, but also parasitic and toxic. Love is complicated. 

Ciao Amore, I no longer want to see you.

The works of Maja Babič Košir are at once diverse in material, expansive, and minimalistic, concrete and fluid in interpretation. Visual fragmentation, variability and the artist’s intuitive approach make them exist in a peculiar temporal interspace connecting past to present. Put up on delicate foundations and temporarily anchored in a particular moment of time they naturally claim space of their own. We observe intimate archives or the finds of accidental encounters. They are taken out of their original context and embedded in new causal relations, thereby intensifying our hunger for exploration as triggered by their inherent visual appeal and rigorous selection.

In her broad-scale intermedia practice Babič Košir incorporates sculpture, object, collage, assemblage, photography and complex spatial installation. By re-using and re-contextualizing found or inherited materials she creates intimate monuments which organically draw on the individual or collective memory. Various objects with more or less of a straightforward purpose spark her curiosity and trigger her imagination. While respecting their formal qualities or aesthetic features, she re-evaluates and analyses the ties to the original owners. Through an act of creative selection and subsequent re-configuration Babič Košir communicates themes related to the transience and fragility of being, to forgetting, ageing, loss and relationships. 

The large solo exhibition Ciao Amore in the RAVNIKAR draws upon the author’s line of work that she has been continually unfolding since 2018. Deeply affected by her father’s death, she started researching, analysing and processing the estate of his graphic and design art works. She combined manifold discarded materials, foils, sheets of paper, envelopes and drafts into a series of collages and assemblages titled Love Letters, which in the process became a metaphor of a transformation of a traumatic and complicated relationship and the path of reconciliation. In her current project, she proceeds to introduce to the intimate-public discourse the troubled relationship with her mother, manifesting it through objects in mother’s possession. In the gallery space, Babič Košir creates a complex environment naturally divided into two narratives re-evaluating family ties, emotions, various forms of affinity, options of forgiveness, or forsaking the material aspect of being.

The right side of the gallery is dedicated to the father, presented in a reductive minimalistic installation. Vertically stacked plastic rectangles are painted in light pink, author’s distinctive colour, evoking nonfunctional pillars, styled towers or piled-up layers of diverse emotions and memories. Aesthetization of the found material is self-evident, however, so is the inability to part from it. The innocent pink applied brings about an agreeable visual and emotional layer, as well as a sort of a cleansing or conservation principle, further expanded by deformed plastic processed into ready-made objects which create time capsules and materialize unique moments.

At the father’s side, the found material is applied within a process leading towards re-establishing a connection to another human being, whereas the mother’s side illustrates the complicated relationship with self. The installation of various more or less visually appealing pieces of furniture (kitchen parts, a nightstand, a leather car seat) embodies the inability to let go of the material fragments of life. Hoarding of unused items can be the result of common impulsive buying, indecisiveness or fear of squandering, at the same time it is rooted in a trauma or a loss, providing relief from emotional stress to those affected and serving as a means to deal with the current state of play. As documented by one of the audio recordings, the mother’s desire to let go of the hoarded items is strong, however, she simply lacks the ability to do so. Maja Babič Košir does not judge her. She uses the items to build a monument, and accepts her for what she is. Love may be complicated, but as long as there is a flash, like that of the found neon letter L, it still does exist.

Ciao Amore, I hope to still see you again.

Michal Stolárik & Piera Ravnikar
Text & Curator

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