This project, a most complex one in any perspective you will going to look at it. The entire city center was involved and very open to our experiment. We could not know, that this project should go one for more years to come and that it would stimulate many other groups of people and organisation to go a similar way, trying to bring art into the city!
Symbiotically cohabiting with the commercial offer, the artworks of the political artist Jean Toche were exhibited from June 24th until July 24th all over the displays of the Glavni Trg (Main Square). A conducting system on the floor indicated the single exposed works within the “city-gallery”. The works, a combination of text and photography, plotted by the artist, invite to observe, not merely the shop-offers, but also actual important issues of global importance. An invitation to keep in mind, what kind of world we are obviously prepared to accept on a daily base.
A group of befriended percussionists running around the city center, our exhibition space, inviting passers-by to the opening ceremony, announced the opening. That time major, Matjaž Zanoškar welcomed the initiative and after some motivating words and compliments, we went on for a walk to look and discuss the arguments offered by the New Jersey based artist.
Being able to show Jean Toche is an important matter for the city, not only due to Toche’s historical importance and his up to date comments on actual political issues, but especially due to the fact, that Toche represents exactly the kind of art, that in a “Peacemessenger City” should be shown; social-aesthetically.
The exhibition was accompanied by a paper-catalogue, which we could also register as an official art-catalogue listed worldwide with ISBN 978-961-92775-1-5.
Thanks to Jure Praper for the work on the layout, Matthias Reichelt for his text and the photographs of Jean Toche and Ka Kwang Hui.
The catalogue was laid out in every shop, cafe or other space in the city-center, for free. The usual contribution boxes offered the possibility to support this initiative to every and each person that got caught by this action, but remained rather an educative instrument than a tool for refinancing the project. Once more lots of volunteering was needed! Incredible work, thank you, Janja Bartelj!
About the artist
Jean Toche (USA) born in Belgium became an US citizen in the nineties. He is a political artist who started as abstract expressionist in the fifties and became interested in Destruction Art in the sixties. 1969 he founded together with Jon Hendricks and Poppy Johnson the Guerilla Art Action Group (GAAG), which existed until 1976. They attacked the nonpolitical art system with actions, happenings and manifests and focused on the ruling racism, sexism and the war in Vietnam. In 2002 after severe disease, he was back with strong mail art. Since 2006, he is producing big-plotted photo-text combinations commenting repression, nationalism in the US as well as abroad. Toche does not accept national borders and acts on behalf of a world citizenship. In his work, he is always up to date with his comment.
Further informations about the artist at the NO!art internet page.