mit Lucija Klauž

Sarah-Lea Langner: Interview mit Lucija Klauž
Publiziert am 17. September 2022

You were part of the SVETLOBNA GVERILA public art project in Ljubljana this year, what did you do there?

I made a projection on the stairs on the bank of the Ljubljanica river. In the summer when the festival takes place the stairs are used as benches where people come to sit.

My project was focused on words and sentences that can be read both from the left side to the right and from the right to the left while retaining their meaning. They are called palindromes.The only difference is the orientation of the letters and the position of spaces and punctuation marks. I positioned the chosen sentences on the edges of the stairs and animated them at one moment showing them without any spaces and punctuation and then gradually adding spaces and punctuation back in one by one.

As the theme of the 2022 edition of the festival was shadows and reflections, I wanted to use parts of the language that on a visual level reflect back into themselves. I was interested in how focusing on the visual and structural aspects of these pieces or strings of language affects their meaning since the longer the sentences the more convoluted the contents become. With the length, they become more and more meaningless.

Lucija Klauž. SVETLOBNA GVERLIA Ljubljana 2022. Foto DK (4)_1498x1000
Lucija Klauž. SVETLOBNA GVERLIA Ljubljana 2022. Foto DK (2)_1499x1000
Lucija Klauž. SVETLOBNA GVERLIA Ljubljana 2022. Foto DK (5)_1498x1000
Lucija Klauž. SVETLOBNA GVERLIA Ljubljana 2022. Foto DK (3)_1500x1000
Lucija Klauž. SVETLOBNA GVERLIA Ljubljana 2022. Foto DK (6)_1498x1000
Lucija Klauž. SVETLOBNA GVERLIA Ljubljana 2022. Foto DK (1)_1498x1000
SVETLOBNA GVERILA Ljubljana 2022. Fotos: DK

In your projection you show a picture that was made in Gelsenkirchen. What is the subject/theme of this photograph and why did you choose it?

I chose the photograph out of a batch that I was sent by the GOLDSTUECKE team, upon request prior to visiting the city for the first time. It was taken at dusk. The sky is a vibrant blue color with small clouds but mostly clear. It depicts a smaller shopping mall or a building with multiple smaller businesses all closed with matching white doors but one that is barely visible in the corner of the image. There are two people passing in opposite directions. In the right part of the picture is a large tree, its branches reaching over to the other side of the image. The picture is one of my first impressions of the city.

I have never visited Gelsenkirchen-Buer before so I don’t have any orientation points in the city that I could navigate the area around or understand the wider context of the area in the picture. The chosen image is a random point around which my thinking about the city is centered even though I don’t know where it is and it levitates in space as does the virtual object I end up making from the photograph. Upon arrival and exploration, the understanding of the city changes and it keeps changing with every gained experience constantly being remapped in my head.

For Gelsenkirchen, you work with coding and decoding to generate your artwork from a photograph. Can you explain how that works and how you developed this method?

The photograph is inserted in 3d-modeling software. I begin with a flat surface in a virtual space. Its three-dimensionality is gained by using the light values of the pixels in the photograph and assigning them a different property in my case that property is height.

With this reassignment, the points of the image are pushed into space creating a virtual object. I further manipulate with the relationship between light and dark which in turn change the shape of the object and that is how it is animated. The same photograph I used to make the object is then assigned as the virtual environment in which the object is existing in. It is reflective, therefore its reflective surface shows parts of the environment that is not present in the exhibition space. The reflection points outside of the gallery space.

You show your finding not on a screen but as a projection which allows seeing it in a larger scale. Why is that important?

When projected on a larger scale, the object affects the light and mood of the space it enters. I think it also becomes more a part of the space when a screen would still separate it from it or only position it inside of the room instead of the object becoming part of the room. The projector also gives it some transparency that a digital screen wouldn’t and I think that makes it feel lighter and more ephemeral.

In your former artworks your main focus was on languages and the transformation of texts. How did this inspire you to work with decoding images?

My fascination with texts is centered around the loss of meaning in repetition and the contradictions that this idea brings.

One of my previous projects is rewriting lorem ipsum (a Latin text) onto an aluminum plate that I then print on paper as an etching. With rewriting it over and over again in the same plate it becomes unreadable. It turns from being a text to being an image and oscillates between the two.

The text also loses meaning for the person doing the repetitive transcription. Language falls apart when I focus too much on its individual parts. Repetition is used to reinforce something not destroy it or change it to the point of it being almost unrecognizable. But repeating certain processes like writing and rewriting or translating texts from one language to another and back again many many times does exactly that.

This core idea can be applied to the objects I’m making now in a way. The cyclical nature of changing something from a tridimensional state into a flat surface and back to 3D as well as the idea of transfer into new environments or time periods. An image of a place is handed to me, I move it to a virtual environment and then back to the physical returning it to the place it came from when traveling and exhibiting there. The oscillation between a flat surface and a tridimensional, immersive one is also a way these two practices can be connected as well as attempting to understand, decode or inhabit an environment or text.

You will stage your artwork in the Werkstatt, an art space that has been founded by Many Szejstecki. In his artworks, Many Szejstecki furthered his mining experience in an artistic way. He worked with grids that made his panoramas look like early 3-D simulations on the computer. And indeed, he later worked on his collages on a Commodore 64 PC.

Szjestecki was born in Breslau/Wroclaw in 1931, moved to Germany in 1947, and worked as an enigeer in coal mining until 1978. From 1965, he continuously worked as an artist, and in 1976 he founded the Werkstatt, the place you will work in. Please check on him and let us know what you think about his work.

The works of Many Szejstecki were a wonderful discovery for me. When I familiarized myself with some of his art that is available online I was very happy and honored to be able to inhabit his space with my own. Printmaking is a technique that is very dear to me and the way he approaches space is very interesting. The grids he makes look both like an image of something that is very close to us and very grounded but at the same time very far away like a view from above or from the future. It looks like a technical drawing in a way but it has a poetic flare to it. I see it as mapping of an area which gives me this sense of movement and possibility of ist endless dispersal into space that potentially exists beyond the image. I think our artistic practices would get along well.

The guiding idea of the GOLDSTÜCKE project in 2022 is “Textures Of The City”. We want to discuss with artists and audiences: How we shape our surroundings with our way of living. How do we shape our cities in the way we use them? What are conventions and codes that transform our urban environments? What are the narratives we generate? How do you see your work in this kind of thematic framework?

Our way of living is very much focused and geared towards progress. That is why our way of living is very linear and oriented towards the future. There isn’t much time left for reminiscing or looking around. I think that significantly shapes the way we navigate places. We pass through to get somewhere else. Usually somewhere where a working task awaits us. In turn, the way space is shaped is naturally more and more dictated by productivity and the efficient use of space.

I think the term of efficiency could also be debated. What is efficient and what it serves? In that way, our surroundings have become very claustrophobic to live in. For the most part, we only use them. I am charmed by the idea of deriving practiced by the situationist international in the sixties where they would travel the city of Paris randomly without planning and with no real destination in mind. I like how it rejects the domination of utilitarian paths in a city which begin to be more and more important factors in the way a city is shaped. In that way, wondering becomes rarer and rarer as well as the discovery of something new that would open space up as well as bring out new possibilities of wandering through it. I think art in public space has a lot of potentials to help with that when it breaks the walked-in patterns of a place it enters.

What does it mean for you as a young artist to be part of an exhibition project like the GOLDSTÜCKE?

The project I’m presenting depends a lot on traveling to new cities and environments. Being invited to cooperate has been an opportunity to make another rendition of this artwork for which I am very grateful. I am a young artist who is still studying art at university so it means a lot to me to be able to exhibit internationally which I will do for the second time in Gelsenkirchen after participating in the INTERFERENCE YOUNG MASTERS this summer in Tunis.

Would you say that your art is adaptable to anywhere in the world and could be understood as a universal language?

I think this is a difficult question where I can easily get ahead of myself. I think the topics I’m attempting to address are fairly universal but the way I approach them changes with every destination I get to bring my artwork. I think the statement I make despite trying to find a certain distance through which to view a topic an idea or a problem will always have my personal biases previous experiences and peculiarities written into it. What I find interesting about it the most is how can I enter a space also knowing that if I were to return with an artwork sometime later I had to enter it differently. Maybe it is not supposed to be universal at all. Entering a new environment is bound to come with discomforts and misunderstandings that are much more beneficial to understanding each other than universality.

Which of the other artistic positions at GOLDSTÜCKE do you recommend to visitors and why?

I haven’t seen any of the spaces in person so my answer is based only on a small amount of pictures which seems to be a reoccurring way to do things for me. I am especially curious about the work of molitor & kuzmin who will present their work in a movie theater. A cinema seems like a very charming space to inhabit with artwork and I’m looking forward to visiting it.

Do you already have other upcoming projects you would like to talk about? If so, where?

The next project I’m doing is going to take place in Ljubljana, actually in a phone booth that is used as a gallery. Ljubljana is the city where I live now most of the time and where I studied.

I’m exploring the question of living there from a perspective of someone who moved there a couple of years ago for school and has been using only a limited amount of routes therefore the city has been opening up very slowly and remains somewhat unfamiliar after years spent there. I plan on adding more and more layers of views of the landscape surrounding the booth to its surfaces covering it with layers that each layer reaches farther from the point of orientation.


Lucija Kluaz. Digital Objects (Tunis) 2022.