Leon Zuodar, The Noodle

22. 12. 2020 - 14. 03. 2021
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Leon Zuodar: The Noodle#021, screen print on paper, 2020. Photo: Jaka Babnik.

Drawing, printmaking, painting, zines, animation and comics are the various media that Zuodar uses and masters with confidence. He is committed to the simple communication of content. Instant impact and humour. When he uses an “outdated” phone and social networks, he does not think about increasing the number of his subscribers and the potential influence and reach of his drawn animations. Nor does he care about a fascination for dusty technology. He merely incorporates their limited applicability into his work as a practical starting point, given the possibilities available today. In addition, he uses a random algorithm to select the cover image for each individual published “Noodle” and prints everything in silkscreen on felt, whose velvety surface increases the tactility of his drawing and softens the flatness of the artistic expression.

Curator: Božidar Zrinski

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The Noodle, a short film about the work of Leon Zuodar

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The exhibition is based on a series of short phone animations created by Leon Zuodar with a Samsung GT-C3350 called The Noodle between 2014 and 2015, in the period before the flood of smartphones and social networks. The first animations were produced during his travels through Europe, more precisely in Konstanz. Most of them were created during his residential stay in Berlin, and some of the last animations during his art residency in Rennes. He posted the interactive ha-ha-haiku animations on his YouTube channel and sent them by e-mail to a selected audience with the headline “A noodle a day keeps the doctor away”, a short, everyday, two-second dose of morning humour. After a good week, a colleague, who did not know who the sender was because the animations were from The Noodle, replied with a wish and a request: “As much as i like this short animations it's little bit too much for me to get one in my mail every day. Could you unsubscribe me? ” Among the many responses Zuodar received daily, this was an example of an extreme reaction to the quality and obvious spam-like nature of the messages. During the production of the animations, he kept various parts of the documentation such as drawings, collages and notations in a notebook, a kind of storyboard, or artist’s book. This material was the starting point for reflection on the artistic potential of the purposefully conceived, low-quality humour based on poor sound and drawing quality, transmitted exclusively via a YouTube channel and e-mail, in a gallery context.

The poor quality of the animations and sound ties in with Zuodar’s relationship to printmaking and photocopying, since it is precisely the aesthetics of the bad copies made with worn-out photocopiers that often serve as matrices for his prints. The exhibited works are thus randomly selected images from the low-quality Noodle animations, which are enlarged and photocopied, and finally printed using the silkscreen technique.

Drawing, printmaking, painting, zines, animation and comics are the various media that Zuodar uses and masters with confidence. He is committed to the simple communication of content. Instant impact and humour. When he uses an “outdated” phone and social networks, he does not think about increasing the number of his subscribers and the potential influence and reach of his drawn animations. Nor does he care about a fascination for dusty technology. He merely incorporates their limited applicability into his work as a practical starting point, given the possibilities available today. In addition, he uses a random algorithm to select the cover image for each individual published Noodle and prints everything in silkscreen on felt, whose velvety surface increases the tactility of his drawing and softens the flatness of the artistic expression.

The pleasure and love for making art, perseverance and patience, are easily recognised in his works. He has developed a recognisable pictorial language on a simply conceived drawing. This is succinct, without additional emphases, modelling and corrections, without caricatured additions, with serious and well-considered humour. It has a flat and childishly naive effect, which is precisely what makes it so narratively explicit. When we see it in a zine, it surprises us again and again. It has a clearly expressed point that can entertain us in various contexts with its content and sincere pictorial roguishness. Mostly these are simply drawn figures with just the right amount of additional artistic subtlety and feel for relevant and timeless themes. In some cases, they represent a good critique of the current situation within the field of creativity, fine art, economy of art, politics and nature. They are so simple and straightforward that we simply have to believe them.

With his multifaceted accessible and applied drawing, Zuodar is certainly one of the initiators of the new wave of drawing in Slovenia, which can be followed in the currently revived zine production, street art, alternative comic production and DIY animation. This type of production deliberately distances itself from the concepts of academic drawing. One might even say that he has helped to develop a trendy drawing style based on an effective narrative that deliberately questions the norms of high art, supported by the trash aesthetic offered by worn-out technology and broken photocopiers.

Božidar Zrinski