Fresh Pain II



Visual artist Boris Beja exhibits a unique spatial installation in the Likovni salon Kočevje (Kočevje Art Salon), combining different materials and means of visual expression. He in general uses different media in his art production, from sculpture, drawing, collage, photographs to objects which he combines in complex installations. In doing so, he always very thoughtfully makes use of space as a starting point for reflection, placing his installation in it as an organism which enables the viewer to perceive (also sensually) the artist’s point of view.

With his spatial intervention in Kočevje, Boris Beja puts the pain of the subject in the foreground. Pain as the state of mind of an individual, pain as a result of discomfort or distress. By placing two sheds facing each other in the main gallery room, the artist offers the visitor a place where they can sit down and ponder or internalize their pain. Between the sheds, one after another sheets of paper are hung from the ceiling to the floor, into which the artist has repetitively cut the words “Fresh Pain”. Much of Boris Beja’s artistic production is dedicated to building new patterns, to ornaments and repetition. By finding a rhythm, by repeating words over and over again, the rhythm of prayer is developed. The rhythm of a mantra which leads to consolation. He illustrates consolation with empty spaces in the paper where letters have been cut out, thus dispelling the “pain”.  The repetition of the inscription “Fresh Pain” in the same typography somehow calls attention to the often overlooked pains which can be concealed, suppressed and invisible. As Boris Beja explains himself, these can be hidden behind the walls and inside our bodies. In spite of much knowledge about various emotional states and distress, pain is still a taboo topic in modern society.

Beja often underlines the multilayer character of his motifs by using various materials and ways of presentation. By layering architectural, sculptural, painting and video objects in the gallery room, he in a way depicts different levels of consciousness, reality and experience. All elements serve him to create harmony of form and content. This is also the case at the present exhibition where in addition to the already mentioned objects he employs hand-made ceramic plates into which individual letters are stamped. These read as “Fresh Pain”, but Beja distributes them on the wall at random, without proper order. The same typography of the letters forms a subconscious association in the viewer with the phrase which the artist has cut into the paper sheets. Thus, the viewer puts the letters in the right sequence in their mind or makes a mental connection to the previously seen. In this way, the artist alludes to the multilayer nature and different types of pain, in which each one is personal. It is a unique experience of a person who is suffering. Beja says that he wants his work to call attention to “the will and power of thoughts that try to control the body”.

To complete the whole in the gallery room, Boris Beja employs a video object, thus offering a kind of salvation. No matter how unbearable the pain, it wears off with time.  Like the gust of wind which tears apart the sheet of paper with the “Fresh Pain” perforation, and this then disappears into the clouds. The sky. The universe.

Through his spatial interventions, Boris Beja is engaged in a dialogue with the social situation of modern times. By exploring everyday life and personal experiences, he calls attention to the exclusion or limitation of an individual. He connects negative sensations that occur as a result of habits in everyday life with the space of living. Therefore, he has set one of the objects also inside the inner part of the Kočevje market which in the past served as an exhibition space. By setting his art installation in a public place which today serves as a market, he draws attention to the past function of the place and connects it to the activity of the present-day Salon.  Thus, during the term of the exhibition in the Kočevje Art Salon, random visitors to the market will also be offered the possibility of contemplation, the possibility of shelter, and a place of reflection, where they can become aware of themselves and physical and mental limitations imposed on them by society.

Nadja Kovačič