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“You won’t find any artists here.”
I met Luka Zabret (also known as Ðabret) at the Academy Of Arts in Ljubljana. “You won’t find any artists here.” He made fun of me and of course I felt stupid to speak to people on the street, if they knew any artist who might wanna take part in my project – not really sure how to define what being an artist means in that occasion.

Luka_ProzessAnyway he and some other students showed me around the ateliers. Busy people, working with paint on huge formats, nude paintings, coal sketches, the whole shebang.
Luka told me that he is considered as an always-future-intellectual, one that would never reach the state of a real intellectual, but is constantly aiming for it.
As if aiming wasn’t enough. Can there actually be a point when you have become an intellectual, or have become an artist?!

“When you had 3 or 4 exhibitions, you can define yourself as an artist.” he was told. That doesn’t mean any kind of exhibition counts. It must be one of quality and style. The exhibits should be presented under adequate conditions, on white walls and not for example in a profane surrounding like in a café. The work must be considered as art by the recipients, not only as a social event.

“Banksy got his rats, I got my chickens.”

Luka never planned to go to art academy. Originally he wanted to study at the film university, but kind of ended up at “Akademija za likovno umetnost in oblikovanje”. Also drawing and painting, which he is actually really good at, were techniques discovered coincidently at high school. Right now Luka studies New Media, but works with different kind of techniques. At the moment he is into Graffiti and Stencil Art. His Banksy related chickens represent the shape of Slovenia. “Banksy got his rats, I got my chickens.”
Luka avails his self of well known images and shows them in different context, as for example his Raffael-inspired Putti, taking pictures with smartphones.

“Untitled, of course!”

We sat down in one of the ateliers and started working with Patricias short story. After reading it he got stuck with the passage in which she wonders what difference it made if a person never existed. He immediately came up with the idea of showing someone who wasn’t there. For this idea was already circling in his mind, he decided to use a photograph he recently made. A person behind a curtain. The lines of the face disappear behind fabric, only blurs of shadows remind of what’s underneath. The drapery becomes its own motive, receives its own legacy, not showing the object underneath, but showing its absence.

Luka_Prozess3
Luka took out his sketchbook, which was just an old random book. Like Erwin from Vienna, he finds it more interesting to draw on a preset background, rather than on blank pages.
He started drawing one of the photographs with coal. It was only intended as a sketch, but brought it to the point immediately. The shadows, framing spots of written words that made the connection to the medium of text. Luka decided to continue working with it, for it was exactly what he was looking for.
“How would you like to title it, or do you want to leave it untitled?” I asked. “Untitled, of course!”

Luka_Prozess2

The actual work didn’t take long, but was accompanied by long conversations about how art is received these days. If it still can find its place in times of “visual rape” as Luka said.
Studying art, for the sake of itself, diving deep into its matter, taking oneself into isolation, not drowning in the flood of images and remaining true to the things that are of meaning, not those to fill the pockets, seem to be tasks for a lifetime.
Maybe the images we create are just surfaces to look at, memories of ideas, repetitions, curtains in front of empty spaces, to be filled with what we know and with what we imagine.
Luka’s drawing of a person that doesn’t exist, just showing the “shadow of someone who isn’t there”, will come with me to Zagreb and find another artist. The idea will be continued and extended.