Maribor is the second largest city after Ljubljana in Slovenia with population of 95,200 so far is the smallest city on our journey. In 2012 Maribor is a European Capital of Culture, the city is decorated with flags and large balloons on the side of the road advertising this fact. It has been very easy to meander around the streets of the town and we felt that within a few hours we knew the city quite well. Wandering around I have recorded various sounds of: a railway station, almost empty of people but still full of vibration and the reverberated sounds of rolling stock idling at the platforms; sounds of an outdoor fridge generator; the general ambience of sound on the various squares where time was very slowly passing by and music of the Romani band who played walking around the town advertising the Gypsy Night event in a local bar.
In the evening I was invited to the opening of the performance of Croatian artist Sinisa Labrovic http://labrovic.com/ at the Ex-Garage – the contemporary arts venue Ex-garage which is run by the son:DA artistic tandem in a former garage in Maribor. http://www.culture.si/en/Ex-garage
Labrovic in his performance walked into the space of the garage where the ceramic urinal was placed on the floor, he picked it up and did what a man would normally do with such an object, with the only difference was that the urinal was not connected to a wall or the sewage system. The performance brings the Duchampian ready made to it’s use in the gallery environment. As Duchamp brought the ordinary everyday object which is connected with everyday necessity to the state of the art, Labrovic brings the everyday bodily function to the same level. Central Europe and the Balkan’s states have gone through so many political and social changes in the last 80 years but at the same time the every day cycle of life has to remain the same. To me although Labrovic performances work on so many levels this is how I read this piece in context of my journey.
It has been great to meet artists running the gallery space Metka Golec and Miha Horvat and artists attending the opening.