Jože Barši | Ljubljana 2007



June 22, 2007 – August 15, 2007

Galerija Gregor Podnar is pleased to announce Close Reading, a solo exhibition by Jože Barši. Close Reading unites an older work by Jože Barši, the sculpture Orlando (1993), with a new cycle of text-based works, which over the past five years have been at the center of the artist’s investigations.

The title ‘close reading’ points to the careful examination and presentation of text. As Martha Woodmansee has noted, from the medieval period right up to the Renaissance, new writing gained value on the basis of its similarity or derivation from older texts. She cites St. Bonaventure, for whom there existed only four kinds of writer: the scribe (scriptor), the compiler (compilator), the commentator, and the author (auctor).

In his most recent work, Jože Barši places less emphasis on the notion of authorship and instead describes what he does as a form of copying, selecting and compiling, and commentary. In his textual works, we see a number of thematically different texts that all feature an extremely precise presentation of the content – through color highlighting, underscored and circled passages, and special signs between the lines and in the margins. By marking up the text, Barši changes its appearance and thus puts into question its mediated communicative value even as he draws attention to the need for a close reading.

In the exhibition the new work on display is juxtaposed to one of Barši’s key sculptural works from the early 90s, a period when he and others (e.g. Marjetica Potrč) made a powerful impact on Slovene art with their ‘narrative sculpturality’. The present exhibition not only thematizes ‘close reading’; it also urges a re-reading of Jože Barši, one of the most original artists to appear in recent decades in Slovenia.

Jože Barši lives and works in Ljubljana. He has taken part in a number of major international exhibitions, including the 4th Istanbul Biennial (1995), the 47th Venice Biennial (1997), the 1st and 2nd editions of the U3 Triennial of Contemporary Slovene Art, and the 24th International Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana.

This exhibition has been made possible by The Cultural Department of the City of Ljubljana