Welcome to the online catalogue produced on the occasion of the retrospective exhibition An Introspective: V.S.S.S. (Veš slikar svoj dolg / Painter Do You Know Your Duty, 1985–1995) +– Alen Ožbolt (Works 1995–2018) at Moderna galerija in Ljubljana (6 February – 30 August 2020). In addition to providing a chronologically structured and highly informative overview of the oeuvres of V.S.S.D. and Alen Ožbolt, the exhibition aimed to give insight into their extremely profuse production through a selection of works emphasizing the cyclic repetition and intertwining of motifs, content, and forms, a number of partial reconstructions of former spatial works, a selection of paintings and sculptures, and fragments of works that have changed over time or no longer exist. This entanglement or entwining of motifs reappearing in Alen Ožbolt’s work, changed almost beyond recognition, decades later, has impacted also the concept of this online catalogue. Not restricted in physical space it allows us to present works that could not have been displayed at the exhibition (in full), either due to the spatial restrictions of the museum or the nature of the site-specific, one-time spatial installations that now exist as photographic documentation. The virtual environment of the online catalogue further allows non-linear reading, moving between works, spaces, and times, spatially expressed thoughts, ideas, fragments, notes – an approach that coincides with the very nature of V.S.S.D.’s and Alen Ožbolt’s artistic production.
Like the exhibition, this online catalogue consists of two parts/subpages, exhaustively showcasing the artworks, exhibitions, and texts by and about V.S.S.D. and Alen Ožbolt. Their oeuvres are presented through wide selections of works in the Catalogue of Works (the photographs were largely taken by Bojan Salaj), while their verbal/textual/book works are in the Letters, Words, Sentences section. In V.S.S.D.’s and Alen Ožbolt’s artistic practice, the format of the artwork was/is highly dependent on the physical space of its production: the artist occupies the space, transforming it into a total work of art, a spatial installation or spatial painting, as V.S.S.D. named this specific spatial-painterly-sculptural medium from the start, i.e. the first V.S.S.D. exhibition in 1986. This approach completely blurs the boundary between exhibition and artwork (or art project), making them one. Our selection of the key exhibitions/artworks/spatial paintings/art projects highlights the milestones in V.S.S.D.’s and Alen Ožbolt’s artistic practice; the presentations of exhibitions also include selections of works that had been exhibited. The original background music on the exhibition subpages was composed by Mario Marolt for V.S.S.D.’s exhibitions.
Since words are one of the fundamental materials in V.S.S.D.’s and Alen Ožbolt’s artistic practice, often constituting an important part of the artwork or exhibition, the individual V.S.S.D.’s and Alen Ožbolt’s texts are included in the presentations of the exhibitions.
The online catalogue further includes several texts by other authors: new texts by Branko Cerovac, Andre Dekker, Bojan Gorenc, Tomo Stanič, Tomislav Vignjević, and Alenka Zupančič, here published for the first time, and reprints of a text by Mladen Dolar and an interview with V.S.S.D. conducted by Boris Čibej. Also the artists, Alen Ožbolt and Anonymus (Janez Jordan), wrote new texts for the exhibition, while the introductory texts to the production of both were written by the exhibition curator Martina Vovk. A comprehensive bio-bibliography and a selection of exhibitions were compiled by Jana Intihar Ferjan. The online catalogue was edited by Alen Ožbolt and Martina Vovk, while its design, development, and execution are the work of Marko Damiš.