pretty dirty

Pretty Dirty was the final exhibition of the 2005 curatorial course, organised by the School for Contemporary Arts, Center for Contemporary Arts SCCA – Ljubljana. The exhibition was based on the research of Slovene contemporary art production of the last decade (between 1995 and 2005). The concept was based on the phenomenon of personal hygiene. Studying the art production dealing with this subject, it was evident that this socially determined phenomenon can be perceived on various levels of human existence. It is related to physical, social, mental, moral hygiene, to micro- and macro-space, to language and metaphors. The essays, following the introduction, were the result of questioning, associations, thoughts, numerous discussions among the course participants, as we were developing the exhibition concept, together with our mentors.

[title] Pretty Dirty [Čisto umazano]
[artists] Martin Bricelj, Lada Cerar and Sašo Sedlaček, Damijan Kracina, Maja Licul and Metod Vidic, mimikrija, Mirjam Marussig, Alenka Pirman, Tadej Pogačar, Sašo Sedlaček, Primož Seliškar, Alenka Spacal, Polona Tratnik, Tanja Vujinović and Zvonka Simčič
[curators] Ivana Bago, Miha Colner, Ida Hiršenfelder, Monika Ivančič, Nina Kodrič, Mojca Manček and Tanja Pavlič
[mentors] Alen Ožbolt, Nevenka Šivavec
[proof-reading] Boris Marinkovič
[photography] archives of the artists
[design] Maja Licul and Metod Vidic, mimikrija
[web design] Damijan Kracina
[venue] ŠKUC Gallery, Ljubljana
[duration] 24th June to 22nd July, 2005
[context] World of Art School for Curators of Contemporary Art
[production] SCCA, Center for Contemporary Arts-Ljubljana
[coproduction] ŠKUC Gallery
[acknowledgements] participating artists, Barbara Borčić, Toni Ćaleta, Dušan Dovč, Alenka Gregorič, Damijan Kracina, Tevž Logar, Antonia Majača, Boris Marinkovič, Maja Licul and Metod Vidic, Saša Nabergoj, Alen Ožbolt, Joško Pajer, Nevenka Šivavec, Miško Šuvaković, Eugen Vodopivec Borkovsky, technical crew of Škuc Gallery: Atila Boštjančič, Art Centre Središče
[supported by] Ministry of culture of the Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana Municipality, Krka Inc., Lush Inc., Snaga Inc., Zagorje Clinic

The hygiene is related to the object of the body, the perception of which, as well as the perception of its direct sensations, has been gradually becoming more self-reflective, transforming through the course of complex civilization processes. The hygiene is expressed through fine manners, expansion of the private sphere and self-control. The human nurtures his body out of his own needs, while at the same time there is an ever stronger interference between the intimate and the public. The body cleanliness is a matter of sight and smell; it is maintained through the use of water and chemical products that clean the body in the name of beauty. Cleanliness on the micro level is related to cleanliness on the macro level. Such ritualized habits and praxes are taken for granted by most people and are concordant with the present day perceptions of cleanliness. The body cult is also supported by the numerous media, that hold a key role in reflecting and promoting the ideals of masculinity and femininity in contemporary society. The trends in representation and perception of male and female bodies are primarily cultural, closely related to the politics of the sexes, economic relations and the popular culture of a certain time. The advertising, cosmetic and fashion industries determine the social aesthetic standards, the private space and the public sphere, material reproduction, tradition and the idea of progress. Cleanliness is the basic norm of cultivation and, as a cultural value, it defines social positions, social differences, social responsibilities. Within different systems, not only the totalitarian ones, hygiene had the meaning of fighting against social and, sometimes, moral dirt. It was used as a sociopolitical slogan, directed against the morally filthy and political rebels in society. Marginal spaces are still today, in the eyes of majority, perceived as points of disease, centers of criminal energy and social revolt. The processes of “hygienization” are related to the field of social re-education, the standards of urban hygiene, to dealing with one’s own body and diseases, with constant improvements of urban space. In order for the true success of the “hygienization” process it is, of course, necessary to purify the “human heads” as well.

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