Following the survey exhibitions of Marko Pogačnik in 2012 and Andraž Šalamun in 2017, both held in the Moderna galerija, we are now presenting the third founding member of the OHO group, one of the most outstanding art phenomena in Slovenia. The exhibition is dedicated to the year 1968.
In the 1960s, Matanovič was active as a member of the OHO group. Later, in 1986, he founded the Pomegranate Center near Seattle, Washington, where he lives, on similar principles. Working at the intersection of art, ecology, economy, healthcare, and education, the Pomegranate Center helps communities design and build gathering places. Its interdisciplinary projects are founded on the principles of interdependence and collective explorations of living spaces.
The exhibition comprises four chapters. The artist’s production in his OHO years is presented with a number of his rapid installations in parks, forests, fields, and rivers: working with wooden sticks, string, candles or rolls of paper, Matanovič injected simple interventions into the sites as part of OHO’s Summer Projects. His later work in the Pomegranate Center, where he made his skills available to what communities wanted to create, is showcased with parks and community gathering places collectively designed and built using local materials and expertise. “Art fitness” refers to his lifelong practice of drawing, started at an early age and now resulting in works in pencil, watercolor, ink, and simple sculptures. The last part of the exhibition is dedicated to the artist’s current solo work: he is showing a new series of installations that will show how his post-OHO art practice would have progressed had he continued in that vein.
Milenko Matanovič was born in 1947 in Ljubljana. He studied art history, wrote concrete and visual poetry, did paintings and made objects using industrial materials. Later he made “poor” objects and installations with hemp, wood, rubber and iron. In the Summer Projects period he produced several works dealing with balance and tension, and in the final OHO period several conceptual projects. He also worked in the fields of film, happenings, and music. In 1971 he joined the Šempas Family commune, which he left by the end of the year to travel in order to broaden his experience. Initially he lived in Scotland, and in 1973 went to the United States, where he has lived ever since, working as a thinker, teacher, and artist, preparing communities for the future. He has worked with communities across the US and elsewhere, helping them build over 50 community gathering places, lectured at conferences and universities, and mentored community leaders. Matanovič is the author of several iconic Slovene artworks: The constellation of the candles in the field corresponds to the constellation of the stars in the sky (1968), Mt Triglav (1968) in Zvezda Park and Wheat and string (1969). His works have been featured in major exhibitions and are included in important art collections, such as that of the New York MoMA.