Neža Jurman: Audible Lines

16. 12. 2022 - 12. 02. 2023

16. 12. 2022–12. 2. 2023
MGLC Grad Tivoli

Friday, 16. 12. 2022, at 13.00
Opening and guided tour of the exhibition with the artist Neža Jurman and the curator of the exhibition Božidar Zrinski.

The exhibition Audible Lines presents the latest series of prints in silkscreen and risograph printing techniques as well as sound recordings on audio cassette. It is based on years of research and collecting film situations in the form of screenshots, where the added subtitles describe various background sounds, influencing the understanding of a particular film frame and its overall audio content. The prints are the result of carefully selected subtitled footage and intervention with photography through rasterisation, copying, digital collaging, the addition of original drawings and random formal artistic solutions created in the process of transformation. The works as a whole and each of them individually create an ambience that appears when looking at the image, understanding the sound described and hearing the audio composition in the space.

Neža Jurman's work is based on the exploration of the synthesis of sound recording and visual image, which has frequently been a central theme of artistic ambition in art history. In silent films, dialogue was presented as a single frame with a caption and film projections were regularly accompanied by live music. Wassily Kandinsky, for example, often titled his abstract paintings with the names of classical music compositions. The fusion of image, illustration and described sound came to the fore especially in Pop Art and in the art of comics and animated film, where we can note the use of interjections and thus the emphasised specific role of language in the representation of a particular sound.

An interesting phenomenon can be observed nowadays, especially in the popular film industry and online film portals, which offer services in various cultural milieus and provide appropriate captions and subtitles, thus expanding the accessibility of their content. It is in the context of subtitling and translating film dialogues and the primary sounds of film, that we can observe a tendency to consistently add captioning to secondary soundtracks. These are usually inaudible and accompany a particular film frame in the background, such as the hum of the wind or the sound of footsteps, and sometimes the melody of indeterminate background music is also described. It is precisely this moment that constitutes the context that Neža Jurman takes up. She is interested in the different levels of perception of the combined image and sound that are interwoven in this process: the screenshot taken at a particular moment, the secondary background sound described and the perception of the individual, who composes a new image and imaginary sound from this information. In the conceptual sense, she explores image and sound that are separated from the primary source and appear before us fused into a new whole. This is done through digital post-processing of the original image, composition, collage, insertion of drawings, illustrations, etc. In fact, her print matrices are created in a similar way to how a DJ processes and mixes music or a VJ uses visual images, whose rhythm follows the sound and vice versa. When looking at the prints, we follow a certain logic of observation within which we first recognise the real elements and the results of the secondary processing of the image and the text describing the sound. In the context of the exhibited graphic works, the complexity of the ambience is reinforced by a real sound composition in the space, which was created precisely by collecting the described sound recordings and the recordings of various other sound sources. The sound composition was created together with the sound artist Joe Summers.

Neža Jurman's prints are based on an understanding of the frozen image with subtitled sounds as a visual ambience that emphasises the ability of our imagination to create specific sound effects in presented visual circumstances. The question is how we can combine image and sound, and whether the provided audio interludes facilitate our visual reading and how the subtitled sound directs our gaze, influences mood, determines time, clarifies action, defines characters, connects elements, and describes space and its features. In all of this, the exhibition raises the question of how aware we are of our everyday acoustic surroundings.

Božidar Zrinski