As it is, so be it
From the 23rd of January until the 20th of February 2020, Gallery Škuc hosted an exhibition titled »As it is, so be it« created by the artistic duo LEALUDVIK, Lea Jelenko and Matjaž Komel. The curator of the exhibition was Tia Čiček.
At the exhibition, the artists presented four of their latest works which are extended by the use of different mediums. Through their works, they are exploring and unobtrusively presenting their own relationship as well as our involvement in traditional social and sexual constructs on a wider level.
Each work was presented in its own gallery space. In the first room we saw a television playing a video with a printed drape hanging on the wall behind it, under a shared title »Four Eyed Monster« (2018). With the help of augmented reality, which was enabled through a virtual medium (a mobile app), they extended an analogue zine* of the same title into a repetitive video. Overlapping and merging bodies, moving hands and slightly weaker video quality all unite into a distorted image of a trapped imaginary monster, which to them is an allegory of their relationship. The drape features a printed clip of the video and was constantly fluttering from the wind of a fan. Such technique of presentation allows them to blur the boundaries between the analogue and the digital medium.
The next gallery space represented the core religious center of the exhibition, which gets its ethereal ambiance from white curtains covering the walls. Main theme of the objects displayed, an embroidered banner and a patterned rug, was the artists’ interest for adoption, alteration and combining of religious symbols and images that were used by different religious cults of the 20th century.
One of these cults is the Process Church of The Final Judgement that was established in the 1960s by Mary Ann MacLean and Robert de Grimston. It operated until mid-seventies in the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Mexico. Artists developed the exhibition title »As it is, so be it« from Grimston’s words (»Brothers, as it is, so be it.«) with which he addressed his followers.
The banner featured embroidery of the artists’ overlapping bodies, with an aureole around their missing heads and a flower in place of their merging sexual organs. Also featured in the embroidery was the title of the exhibition which was repeated in the rug. The symbolic motif of merging bodies once again represented their relationship, this time through falsely religious objects. Such naming also applied to the rug with an optical illusion pattern that creates a hole in the floor. It also features imaginary symbols from occult rituals that challenge the viewer into thinking about their own tragic fate of disregarding the ego.
In the third gallery space one found a floor screen that plays a continuous loop video titled »Teufelskreis« (2018) which can be roughly translated into »vicious circle«. Video featuresdone of the artists’ crawling body that moves across the screen in different directions. Through crawling, they trying to demonstrate our entrapment into widely accepted sexual roles and rigid capitalistic system. The video repeated infinitely. This feature showed our inability to escape from established social regimes into which we are forced from early childhood through nurture and education.
The last and at the same time the main gallery space displayed the artists’ latest work »Fish Love« (2019), which featured a three channel video installation and a sculpture of two body casts. The video presented three views of the artists’ ritual in which they eat each other’s body casts. Playing in the background was an audio recording of them reading a transcript of a viral video about a rabbi that was questioning himself about a very relevant topic for today’s society, so called »fish love«. Through the work, they are once more reevaluating their own partnership, the modern meaning of such relationships and the issues of romanticized love. The gesture of feeding themselves alludes to the sacrifice of the ego each individual must make in a relationship.
About the authors
Lea Jelenko (1986) graduated from Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering in Ljubljana, programme Graphic and Interactive Communications. She works in the fields of video and graphic design. Matjaž Komel (1987) graduated from Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, programme Visual communication design. Beside the LEALUDVIK project he also works in the fields of graphic and fashion design. They are partners both personally and professionally.
Through the LEALUDVIK project, they work on different design fields, from visual communications to graphic design and zine production. The project follows their intimate relationship through photography and video technique. Their work was presented at several independent and group exhibitions as well as events, for example at Independent Biennial in Kino Šiška (2015), »ZineZine« in P74 Gallery (2016), MGLC (2017), »Four Eyed Monster« in Kino Šiška (2018) and »AIR4 [100 artists] [100 artworks]« in Ravnikar Gallery Space (2019).
* Zines are booklets, mostly self-published in small batches with small production costs.
As summarized from the exhibition’s brochure (Gallery Škuc, 2020).
Vita Rau, Ljubljana, February 2020