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Visiting lecturer: Jaka Babnik

Jaka Babnik (1979) graduated in Cultural Sociology and History from the University of Ljubljana. From 1998 to 2006 he worked as a photographer and editor of photography for the skateboard magazine Pendrek. He wrote and directed several renowned Slovenian skateboard movies, such as Damage (2002) and Listen to Srečna Mladina (2006). In 2006 he co-founded the trans-Balkan street magazine Kontejner, and remained its editor until 2009. In 2007 he turned to more diverse genres of photographic practice; he became a professional photographer, mostly working with institutions and individual artists, while also becoming more distinctly involved with photography as an art form. In 2009 he published and exhibited We are dogs!, a series of photographs that led to his being awarded second place in the 2010 Emzin Photography of the Year competition. Between 2012 and 2014 he worked on a series that he called Jebodrom, taking a more topographical, anthropological and exploratory approach to his photography. Between 2015 and 2017 he worked on two different projects, Holy Land and Heroes of my Time, both of which used photography to explore silenced historic phenomena and events. For the 2019 show Pygmalion Babnik took the unconventional approach and adopted the myth of Pygmalion as a frame to search, document and appropriate different objects, that carry (either visually or symbolically) an aspect of the state of perfect fulfilment, while also questioning the relationship between the object, photography (photographed object) and the viewer. Despite the situation with pandemic in 2020 Jaka managed to finish and present two new works. Time Leveling, realized in collaboration with the Museum of Yugoslavia in Belgrade, was conceived as a study of historical memory, which is created through efforts to leave behind one’s trace or to “make history.” The project traces the changing sociopolitical landscape, symbolically portrayed by the number of memorial books in the House of Flowers, Tito’s mausoleum, from 1980 to this day. And the second one, based on Babnik’s initiative in a form of a newspaper, Photography for Illustration Purposes Only, that addresses visual and theoretical aspects of clichés in visual culture – patterns, principles and formulas that have been repeatedly and continuously used to create effective and compelling images.

In addition to his artistic and photographic work, Babnik is also a co-founder and co-owner of RostFrei Publishing. He lives and works in Ljubljana.

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