Art of History - Through the Body
Muzej novejše zgodovine, Ljubljana, 1994
"The Art of History - Through the Body" is the title of an exhibition and project concieved in the late spring of 1994. The idea behind it was to fill previously empty museum premisses with something to address particular issues through the use of museum inventory, fine art works and everyday objects. The issues were to be relevant to the spirit of the premisses, their context and location, and therefore the visual material was to be selected mainly from the "in situ" musem depots.

The act of selection and the strategy of transfer from a depot (the space hidden to public) or office premisses (the intimate, private place within an institution) to exhibiting halls was of utmost importance. The inversion and "shifts" would enliven empty museum space as a space of new construction of meanings, and exhibition would not hide mecanisms and the framework within which is emerges and functions.

The selected fine art works have followed the problems of the body in two directions (which, however, intersected frequently and were therefore in most cases impossible to discern); the body as an index of the immersion of the individual in the symbolic net (the ideology, the collective, the "masses") on the one hand, and the physical presence and consequent healing of the body (which escapes symbolic reality) presented through extreme emotive conditions, torture, pain, injury (the substance of life), on the other. The works of art, the artefacts, and the musem and office fittings were all aranged in sets of particular significance to create mutual dialogue, tension, ore even opposition.

"Art of History - Through the Body" project developed through daily visit to depots, offices and the exhibition premisses of the museum. The key component of the project was the physical presence of the author during preparation, installation and throughout the exhibition. But as important as the story of the body is the story of the museum itself. In the fifties during the time of intensive construction of socialism, the mansion became the Musem of National Liberation with a permanent musem exhibition. As to its quality and quantity, the collection was very specifically related to the period of the National Liberation Struggle (1941 - 1945), and to socialist revolution in Slovenia. These exhibits, together with further exhibits of heavy arms, were removed at the end of the eighties. The musem became an empty space with a renewed historical casing.

This loss of identity left a vacuum between the old order, now no longer valid, and the new order yet to be constructed. The museum retained an exterior simillar to all other museums, but with the essential difference: there was no interior within. It was this unusual (critical) position of the Museum of Modern History that was crucial for this project. To put it in other words: the title itself referes exactly to the unbearable situation in which a new narative is not established an veryfied, and new laws are not yet written.