2018Visual arts

TACTILE DIALOGUE: Eileen MacDonagh (IRL) and Bojana Križanec (SLO)

On Friday, 8 June 2018, at 7 p. m., the Špital chapel in Celje is hosting the opening of Tactile dialog, an exhibition by sculptors Bojana Križanec and Eileen MacDonagh.

Academy-trained sculptor Eileen MacDonagh comes from the Irish region of Kerry, and is considered as one of the most esteemed and respected sculptors in Ireland. In Slovenia, she is presenting a selection of her most recent works, which were created especially for this occasion. She mainly works in stone, and the statues showcased on this occasion are also made of limestone. Apart from smaller-sized works that have been featured in many exhibitions both in Ireland and abroad, including shows in Portugal, Scotland, Japan and India, she is known for her large sculptures in public spaces. Her work is included in numerous collections.

Eileen MacDonagh explores the color, texture and density of the materials she uses (granite and limestone), constantly searching for new challenges and alluding to the technological reality that surrounds us. Many of her sculptures are driven by a fascination with geometry. She is inspired by the purity and ubiquity of geometric principles and the way in which geometric rules govern the universe, and deeply influenced by books such as Robert Lawlor’s Sacred Geometryand Fritjof Kapra’s The Tao of Physicsin which formal patterns are linked to ideas, religions and to the physical make-up of the universe.

Sacred geometry, which is also the impulse behind the works exhibited in Slovenia, is a metaphor for universal order, the cornerstone of knowledge for secret mystery schools regarding this hidden order in the Universe that describes the translation of energy into matter; the art of creating forms and a view of the world, by which we ascribe special meanings to numbers and certain geometric proportions, even though they are simply another form of vibration, or “crystallized music”. The most fundamental shapes in sacred geometry, which are also the ones most hidden, are three-dimensional forms, known as Platonic solids, named after the philosopher Plato, who first described them.

Sacred geometry involves sacred universal patterns used in the design of everything in our reality. It has been called the language of light, the “blueprint of all creation”, the “harmonic configuration of the Soul”, the “divine rhythm which results in manifest experience”, its images and shapes imprinted in the DNA, in the atoms and molecules. The sacred geometry of the flower of life is as old as the world. All creation is based on that basic pattern. It is considered foundational in the construction and design of mysterious structures such as temples, mosques, monuments, churches, altars. The flower of life radiates the harmony of sacred geometry and represents infinity. It is the pattern of life, according to which all creation was created, and it pervades all creation. The basic bodies (forms) of scared geometry constitute the fundamental forms of energy in the Universe.

Bojana Križanec is undoubtedly the most active, persistent and consistent sculptor of her generation in Slovenia, as well as a highly original performer and video artist. Her unique, one-of-a-kind, highly recognizable and authentic style and a wide, entirely authorial approach to processing different materials (stone, ceramics), coupled with a distinct color scheme, express specific motifs. These range from figures, landscapes, various objects or organs, to entirely abstract forms, into which she incorporates colors through a combination of different stones, or by means of applying a ceramic glaze. Her works have won her international acclaim and many awards and recognitions.

Her works reflect perspectives from the history of fine arts, sculpture, and different world cultures. Some suggest a hint of antiquity, others seem influenced by the renaissance; her abstract works are a meditative link between various visual techniques, she studies the used materials thoroughly and incorporates her personal motifs into the realm of contemporary art and the sphere of current social issues – to express what she perceives with her mind, what is motivated by her most intimate thoughts, and to process this mental reality with all the precision of a master sculptor. There is always something more in the works of Bojana Križanec, it has that additional quality, a unique artistic encoding, which makes her unequalled, and attracts us to her work.

The exhibited amorphous sculptures, their structures defined by a combination of two different stones, expose the allure of opposites that inspire the artist and establish relationships in equivalent ratios of color (red-white, gray-white), hues (dark-light), materials (the lighter, softer and the darker, tougher) – the works inspire a meaningful inner dialog (good-bad). Through their playfulness and at the same time serenity, the works call out to be touched, which is why a total, comprehensive experience is achieved by way of the sense of touch, and by activating more senses at a time.

With a distinct approach to sculpting, recognizable performances and her typical style, she introduces novelties to the field of visual arts by connecting different fine art periods and combining aspects of eastern and western cultures into an authentic fine art practice, which requires no words. Her creative inventiveness, imagination and knowledge surpass the established dimensions of space-time. If we compare her play of motifs on the level of Slovenian, but also world art, we could perhaps come to a conclusion that Bojana Križanec’ complex artistic practice is a kind of an artistic action per se. Bojana Križanec is one of those artists that follow a natural way of placing (Slovenian) fine art on the world map, as she attracts interest with each of her exhibitions, performances, or actions.

First at the Špital chapel in Celje, and later in July at the Negova castle, Eileen MacDonagh and Bojana Križanecwill reveal to us how their Tactile dialog unfolds. It is about the co-existence of their forms, created by processing natural materials, various types of limestone found in Europe, which the artists consider as “their own”, and about the materialization of ideas, with which they have filled the stones. The two artists’ dialog “in stone” can be interpreted through several dimensions: the first one is subtle and emotional, the second is experiential, creative, crafty, the third is material, basic, elementary, the fourth is symbolic, explorational, metaphysical.

In the same way that geometric rules govern the universe, the purity and versatility of shapes allude to reality in its multiplicities, which connect world cultures and constitute civilization in a concord of differences, physical and spiritual, material and philosophical, discerned and perceived. The relations between materials and forms open up a space of dialog, to which the artists introduce their own poetics and pose questions (both individually and jointly), the answers to which lie both in the uniqueness of their art works, as well as in the different ways of interpretation that arise from a great work of art.

Eileen MacDonagh

Eileen MacDonaghwas born in 1956 in Geevagh, Ireland, and has worked as a sculptor since the 1980’s. She received a Diploma in Sculpture at the School of Art, Regional Technical College, Sligo, Ireland and an Art Teachers Certificate from the Limerick School of Art & Design. In 2004 she was elected to Aosdána, the Irish organization that recognizes artists that have contributed a unique body of work.
Her works have been shown in numerous exhibitions in Ireland and abroad, they form part of many collections and appear in public spaces across Ireland and in other countries.

Bojana Križanec

Bojana Križanec was born in 1973 in Celje, Slovenia, and graduated in sculpting from the Famul Stuart School of Applied Arts in Ljubljana (now Academy of Arts Nova Gorica). Her works – sculptures, installations and performances – have been presented in numerous solo and group exhibitions on locations across Slovenia and Europe, all the way to China, winning her numerous awards and recognitions.

The exhibition will be showing until 22 June 2018. Open from Tuesday to Sunday (closed on Mondays) between 4 p. m. and 8 p. m. Admission free.

Contact: Bojana Križanec 031-333973

<BOJANA KRIŽANEC, DIALOG, Untersberg and Adnet limestone, 40 x 32 X 17 cm

<EILEEN MACDONAGH, FROM SACRED GEOMETRY, Irish limestone


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