Bukovec. Vesna.

by Urška Jurman

Born in Ljubljana in 1977. She graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana (2002), also completing her MFA there (2006). She works independently and in the group KOLEKTIVA (with Lada Cerar and Metka Zupanič). Her work has featured in several solo and group exhibitions. (Centre and Gallery P74, 2003 and 2005; Simulaker Gallery, 2006; Miklova hiša Gallery, 2009) (25th International Biennial of Graphic Arts, MGLC, Ljubljana, 2003; Territories, Identities, Networks: Slovenian Art 1995–2005, Moderna galerija, 2005; Kunsthaus, Graz, 2006; Koroška Gallery of Fine Arts, Slovenj Gradec, 2008; etc.).

Vesna Bukovec’s artistic work finds its expression in a variety of media (video, photography, drawing, installation) and approaches (research, appropriation, participation, etc.), with irony being a frequently used artistic strategy. In her earlier works Bukovec self-reflectively examined the purpose and role of an artist (Local Issues, 2003) and art in contemporary society (Contemporary Art for Parents, 2002; Is Art Necessary? Why?, 2002). Subsequently she began to critically deal with consumerist culture and the way it affects the production of subjectivity under the conditions of contemporary capitalism (Shopping, 2006; Consumer Culture, 2007). Another constant in her work is the analysis of the way mass media function – in particular the way reality is represented on television. In such works Bukovec appropriates selected (television) footage and reedits it into a narrative that subverts the media reality (Important News, 2003; The Price of a Spectacle, 2008; Please Wake Up Every Morning, 2009). Lately, she has turned her attention to ‘instant’ psychology, particularly to the self-help culture and the imperative of positive thinking, which importantly shape and express contemporary subjectivity (It Will Be OK, 2009; White Performances/Positive Affirmations, 2010). Also the series of drawings Positive Illusion (2009) presented at U3 is a work of this type. In her drawings, Bukovec brings together text from psychological tests gauging a person’s positive life orientation, happiness, hope and the like, and images she has appropriated (drawn) from commercial Internet photo archives. The series comprises 37 drawings divided into five groups, most of them bearing the title of a psychological test: Revised Life Orientation, Subjective Happiness, Hope, Satisfaction with Life, Positive Affirmations. Combining psychological tests and images from commercial Internet photo archives stems from the artist’s exploration of the laws of consumerist culture and the effect it has on a person’s identity. The self-help culture and the dictate of a positive life orientation can be most successfully perpetuated in contemporary consumerist culture, which offers the individual a profusion of means (including the discourse of therapy) still deemed necessary for the achievement of his/her goal: self-fulfilment and a happy life. But since an overall harmonious identity always remains out of reach, people have forever new products and services at their disposal, to bravely tackle this endless task in whose final success they must, of course, believe to be able to engage in the process.

Vesna Bukovec, from the series Positive Illusion, ink on paper, 21 x 29,7 cm, 2009

Featured text was published in the catalogue of U3 – 6th Triennial of Contemporary Art in Slovenia: An Idea for Living. Realism and Reality in Contemporary Art in Slovenia, Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana, 2010; published by Museum of Modern Art, Ljubljana

Works mentioned in the text:

Exhibition info

Slovensko | English

Vesna Bukovec deluje na področju sodobne vizualne umetnosti.

Je članica umetniške skupine KOLEKTIVA.