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Exhibitions and Projects
23 November 2016 – 12 February 2017


Milan Pajk

Seagull, gone-astray
deep up into the river

Scratches from walls,
Scratches from
thickets. Scratches – guapo –
from India.

foxes smear
their eyes with

in silence, chains
rattling. And what’s in
your oubliette?

That storks
brought you piece
by piece and that I 
put you together.

Tomaž Šalamun

On Pajk's Marpissa and Šalamun's Seagull …

Marpissa sounds exotic. It has been, perhaps, photographer's accidental choice since he gave up his Land-Rovered voyages to all kinds of deserted and, above all, exotic places. Who could tell? A dusty road takes you from Marpissa past Marmara in Prodromos via Lefkes to Marathi, the quarries of the noble Paros marble, snow-white, glittering, granulated, compact and spotless stone, most highly valued sculpture material between the Cycladic idols and Medici Venus and all to the 7th century A. D., only to extract the last bloc exceptionally for the construction of Napoleon's mausoleum in 1844.

Whoever has had an opportunity to admire the so-calledHead of a Goddess from Chios of the 3rd-to-2nd centuries B.C. in the Boston Museum of Fine Arts will never forget the crystalline texture of whiter-than-white stone, so sensuously suggestive that one could feel the goddess's pulse of veins and her muscle tone. The soft translucency in the bright daylight reveals her as an embodiment of the Aphrodite Urania, so strikingly vivid that one wants to touch her soft cheek and press it against his own.

Twenty-three centuries down the road, the pendulum of the Pygmalionian passion reached at Paros its second amplitudinal extreme point in the textures under the lens of Milan Pajk's camera. While repressing the seductive whiteness of the Parian wonder of creation – of nothingness and everything at once – the photographer averted his eye and turned towards the banal, the ephemeral chiplet of creation that can never be degraded to nothingness: Georges Bataille's le crachat, its repulsive beauty, the tartness of arrested evanescence, senseless insignificance of the accidental. Images painted by the divine hand – shapeless brecciations, immaterial light and shadow – their formlessness is re-called to beauty by the eye and lens only.

A seagull, strayed, drafts from walls, woods and India, berry-slush, chain-rattling, an oubliette…

In the most unusual and even dreadful way reflection imposes itself in the juxtaposition of the image and its anti-image – of pain and suffering and incapacitation of the two worlds separated by millennia. Once upon a time hundreds of thousands of slaves amidst the white wound of the slashed island's bedrock, in blood, sweat and tears, no hope, no future; today hundreds of thousands of the wretched in limbo on the islands of Greece …, nobodies, in neglect, travelling without a destination, nowhere …

All this makes Pajk's photographs tart and bitter and their black-and-white poetry makes their sense.

  • Exhibition opening, video

Author of the exhibition
Milan Pajk

Graphic design
Ranko Novak

Andrej Smrekar

Project was supported by
Tiskarna Povše
Cvetličarna Galerija Marjan Lovšin

Official wine of exhibition openings 
Radgonske gorice d.d.

23. November 2016–29. January 2017
Extended until 12. February 2017
National Gallery of Slovenia
Prešernova 24
1000 Ljubljana