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Andrej Lamut & Maruša Uhan: Drastic Measures

21. 6.–19. 8. 2023
Galerija Fotografija, Ljubljana, Slovenia

All photos by Andrej Lamut
The exhibition Drastic Measures brings together the work of Maruša Uhan and Andrej Lamut. Each in their own way, the artists delve into phenomena and situations that are, for the most part, a completely invisible part of our everyday lives, until they reach such extremes that they begin to affect us. Thus, phenomena that were initially quite ordinary become the focus of our interest or that which directly influences our experience of the world. It is then that their dark sides, their sinister images, and our human smallness come to the surface.

In his project Invasive Alien Species (2021), photographer Andrej Lamut turns his focus to invasive plant species that infiltrate foreign ecosystems and start displacing indigenous species. Because he started working on the project during the epidemic, when public life ground to a halt, he directed his gaze toward the immediate surroundings of his home, where he discovered a surprisingly large number of plant invaders. He removed these intruders from their environment, meticulously documented them, and visually presented them as true “aliens”. In abstract and hermetic forms on paper, they assume unusual shapes that seem foreign and unrecognizable, as well as evidently organic. The effect is further intensified by the direct application of emulsion onto paper. The images are captured on paper made from Japanese knotweed, an invasive species – whereby the medium – in addressing the issues of discarded paper and our general disdainful attitude towards plants – complements the content of the work. The series Invasive Alien Species is a commentary on the environmental disaster and the gradual destruction of ecosystems, as well as our understanding of invasiveness and alienness, and of the threat they represent.

Maruša Uhan's project High-maintenance (2022–) is an ode to weather and an abstract attempt to track and understand this omnipresent phenomenon. Through a collage of different facts about weather and weather-related changes, the video essay’s focus is predominantly on the human desire to observe, get to know, and predict the weather. Despite weather forecasting technology being rather advanced, weather forecasts often turn out to be never-ending games of chance, more akin to gambling than science. In fact, meteorological forecasting has given rise to a special kind of gambling – betting on the weather. By researching this type of (illegal) betting in Cambodia and on the internet, Maruša Uhan explores the paradox of our urge to understand the weather in combination with our absolute inability to control it. Instead of the expected images of the weather, the video consists of shots of foamy soap cyclones and storms created by revolving carwash brushes. The artist understands these as microsimulations of weather – the only spaces where humans have the local climate under complete control. The artificial environment, with its atmosphere and cyclicality, resembles a small storm that can not only be accurately predicted but also mechanically controlled down to the tiniest detail. The romantic slow-motion scenes of the scrubbing carwash brushes spinning carry a sentiment of melancholy that evokes intimate memories of rainy days, while the choreography of endless spins immerses us in the monotony of controlled chaos.
Mastering the unmanageable is an endeavour that Maruša Uhan and Andrej Lamut address in their works. In doing so, they do not document the actual human effort of subjugating forces that are stronger than us but show us everyday phenomena in a new light. They visualise the untamability of ecosystems and the elusiveness of weather through objects and concepts that testify to the invisibility of the omnipresent, until its revelation in a moment of discomfort or threat that creates a desire for understanding and control. 
Project is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, the City of Ljubljana, Department of Culture and Triglav Insurance Company.

Etc. is a annual magazine, dedicated to showcasing current artistic production from the Baltic to the Balkans.
Based in Ljubljana, Slovenia, each issue is dedicated to a relevant topic in art and life. Founded to promote emerging artists, its goal is to initiate a dialogue, inspire collaborations, and challenge set views.