Let's review the facts here: six graphic and one industrial designer, an architect and a mysterious honorable member. Although most of them are related to the same alma mater (Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Ljubljana), there is more schooling seen from ZEK's output than input. Its prowess and specifics lie in its drive to continuously reflect the contemporary world, its awareness that nobody can properly comment on culture without at the same time creating it, and its ability to apply relativity to aspect and context. Conventions get broken because they are being surpassed, not because they cannot be met. Although precise concepts and technical perfection are never questionable, ZEK is mentored by the muse of relaxation (lat. Relaxia). The comments mostly target all that is transitory, vague and mediocre. Supporting what was just said, ZEK prefers to deliver a substantial zero rather than an indefinite something. This visual collective records everything that goes on outside our frame of perception in a humorous way. What you see is a selection from a wild depository of top notch cultural articulation, worth every bit of your attention.
An exhibition of 6 unique artworks organised by — Ravnikar Gallery Ljubljana, 2018
Aruba fractal origami, 2018
Jamaica fractal origami, 2018
Bermuda fractal origami, 2018
Bahama fractal origami, 2018
Key Largo fractal origami, 2018
Montego fractal origami, 2018
Po uspešni uprizoritvi skrbno izbranih gorskih reliefov (2014), ZEK s tehniko fraktalni origami tokrat zajame površino morja v določenih časih. Razstavljena dela so prikaz najboljših točk morja, ujetih v edinstvenih trenutkih njihovega obstoja. Pri subtilnem razkrivanju dimenzij, ki jih lahko prenese dvodimenzionalna forma, gre za vzpostavitev intrigantnega polja, ki slehernika vodi do vprašanja minevanja. Morska gladina se nenehno spreminja. Vse, kar je podvrženo zakonitostim časa, računa na spomin, ki ga lahko odnesemo s seboj. Ponovno uporabljena tehnika fraktalni origami, verjetno od prebrisane konceptualizacije minevanja spet ni za pričakovati nič manj, osvetljuje enkraten prizor iz življenja skrbno izbranih gladin. V živo ste ga za vedno zamudili, tudi če nemudoma vzamete svoje stvari za na morje in jo mahnete na morje, saj morje, kljub svoji mogočnosti, ne ubeži procesu konstantnega spreminjanja. Konceptualna občutljivost tako dokumentira svetovno dogajanje, ter s tem sočasno ruši in ustvarja iluzijo resničnosti. Fragmentacija sveta brez posega v njegovo integriteto je nabrž že drugi presežek na področju fraktalnega origamija. Uprizorjene gladine so reflektiran prikaz neke resničnosti. V iskanju nikoli površinske lepote površja utegne čepeti odgovornost do sveta, po kateri vedno znova hrepenimo. Avtorska gesta temelji na formalističnih zakonih, matematično natančnem opazovanju in analizi mogočnih gladin. Poleg bohemsko-intuitivnega obvladovanja likovnega jezika je znanstvena nota razstavljenih del zahtevala podvig čez morje informacij, da bi izračuni nazadnje našli svoje mesto v umetnosti. Tako najnovejša ZEK intervencija ni zgolj likovna interpretacija, ampak tudi izrez realnosti, ki sega čez meje razstavljenih formatov. Morda je vse odvisno od neobstoječih meril in s tem, dela opozarjajo na neulovljivo strukturo časa ter na izmuzljive razsežnosti prostora. Prav odsotnost meril in strani neba omogoča človeku, da se vsaj za trenutek preneha čuditi; bodisi nad lastno neznatnostjo bodisi nad nič manj lastno, zgrešeno predstavo sveta okrog njega.
— Nika Jurman
A curated exhibition — The tunnels of Kranj Kranj, 2016
»At our first visit to the tunnel, we immediately got the feeling that there was something more to those stains. After a thorough examination, our suspicions proved correct.«
— ZEK crew
A damp tunnel, illuminated stains of calcareous sinter on its walls, and at the end, a gift shop. In the gift shop: T-shirts, lighters, calendars, posters, coffee mugs, magnets, keychains, jigsaw puzzles, frisbees, notebooks and postcards with motifs of the illuminated spots on the walls of the damp tunnel. It sure is a ZEK exhibition all right.
The stains speak to the artists, and they in turn see in the stains an opportunity to give meaning to the magnificent chaos of the art of nature—but alas, the collective soon renounces their right to assign it. Next, a bitter realization: Their endeavor was no more than a futile struggle—man is insignificant, nature is eternal. Though spirit-crushing, the realization does not break their will of self-expression. ZEK decides to seize the right to manipulate nature’s poorly-copyrighted material, but the artists finally yield under an artistic majesty of such a huge magnitude, suddenly rendered ignorant children who cannot make sense of their own existence. The collective monetizes on something that does not belong to them—but they did find it first.
At the beginning of the previous century, reproducing art made it less authentic; in ZEK curation, reproducing art is precisely what makes it authentic. Retiring to the position of a curator demands a method of a new, complex formal ingenuity. The concept of the exhibition itself has been re-examined; the vaguely suggested motifs of the stains are quenching the unquenchable thirst for interpretation. The obsession with meaning has resulted in the saturation of meaning—and, perhaps, in the light at the end of the tunnel.
It is probably not a coincidence that the collective decided on the exhibition of the Gift shop, a pearl of the contemporary socio-economic order—a shop that sells gifts. It appears that at its core, ZEK’s strong auto-reflexivity continues to be rooted in carefree shenanigans.
— Nika Jurman
ZEK x LIMITED EDIT111ONS
An exhibition of 111 unique artworks organised by LIMITED EDIT111ONS project in Poligon Ljubljana, 2014
The exhibition pieces are a representation of mountains with heights from 4,000 m to 6,000 m at a specific time in their existence. The subtle unravelling of dimensions intrinsic to the two-dimensional form leaves room for thought, interpolating the everyman into the problem of transience. That which is subjected to the laws of time is inevitably contingent on recollection; this time, we can take it away.
The recherché technique of fractal folding—the cunning conceptualisation of transience would have no less—illuminates a singular scene from the life of rigorously selected mountains. It has been lost ever since, and even packing your climbing gear immediately and heading to Mt. Sneffels (4312, San Juan Mountains, Colorado, USA) will not do—the mountain, regardless of its enormity, cannot escape constant change. Conceptual sharpness is a tool of documenting the world events, simultaneously disrupting and constructing an illusion of reality. The fragmentation of the world without jeopardising its integrity may very well be an unprecedented achievement in the field of fractal folding.
To effectively grasp the intricacy of the construction of exhibition pieces, we have to be cognizant of the fact that the mountains portrayed are not among the most topographically prominent—predominantly represented in public discourse has so far been the notorious geographical bourgeoisie. The no less valuable champions of the mid-levels depicted are reflections of a certain reality. In the same vein, the topography of a summit cannot be given precedence over the foot of a mountain. Searching for beauty in moderation and appreciating the nature, no matter its proportions, just may effect the responsibility towards the world that we have longed for time and time again.
The authorial gesture is founded on principles of formalism and the mathematically precise geographical data from the lives of majestic summits. In addition to the bohemian intuitive mastering of the language of visual arts, the scientific aspect of the exhibit pieces called for an expedition through heaps and mountains of paper, securing the calculations’ place in art. Rather than suggesting a mere artistic interpretation, the most recent ZEK intervention is therefore an excerpt of reality, transcending the limits of an exhibition piece form. It could be said that its entirety is held up to absent standards, emerging as a reminder of the elusive structure of time and the fleeting comprehensiveness of space. It is precisely the absence of standards and cardinal directions that enables us to cease to be amazed, be it at our own insignificance or at— likewise our own—misguided conception of the world around us.
— Nika Jurman
An exhibition of objects marking ZEK’s 11,8 year jubilee in abandoned bomb shelter Ljubljana, 2012
Wanna Seat? (2012) holes in chair
Heads or Tails? (2012) mixed media
Stag Party (2012) horn, metal, cork and a bit of wine
What Right? (2012) sheet metal
Space Jesus (2012) mixed media with lobster
KEZ (2012) mirror
Cream Cakes (2012) granite
The Dark Reverend (2012) wood, acrylic paint, polyester mini
Intergalactic, Planetary, Planetary, Intergalactic (2012) Rotring 0.5mm on dark paper
Allen (2011) polymer clay, acrylic paint
Let Them Be (2012) button
Scribble (2007) scribble / with Martin Šoštarič
God Balls? (2012) God’s balls on ceiling
CX (2012) stainless steel, Sugino bolts
Multiply (2012) print on foils / photo: Vladimir Mićković
The Matter of Space is Only a Matter of Time (2012) iron zero point
Ψ (2011) mixed media / with Martin Šoštarič & Andraž Tarman
Bricks (2012) graphic series
Perfect Balance (2012) acrylic paint on ferroconcrete
ZEK (2004) mixed media
YOLO (2012) tattoo
Was (2012) stump, ghost / with Marko Marovt
19,69×19,69×19,69 (2012) spray on canvas
Enfant terrible of the Slovenian design scene, the ZEK Crew, burrowing through the interspaces of contemporary art, street art and design, set up an exhibition in May 2012, a sort of a retrospect , marking their 11.8th jubilee. The works, displayed in a bunker, were crafted in a do-it-yourself fashion of artistic avant-gardes of the previous century.
Although the auratisaton of the group is just a euphemism for branding, this process cannot be repudiated, but, evidently, public visibility does not exclude quality of expression. So what do the conceptual jokers have in store this time around? The dramaturgy, linking the chambers of the bunker, which abounds with a new, uomo universale-like approach and a focus on three-dimensionality, once again reflects their elusiveness and perfectionism. Defined by clarity of surprisingly palpable ideas, bound into their own pop-internet era, they are poetic in tangibility and incorrigibly inclined to absurdity, the banal, vulgarity, cynicism, satire, irony, and verbal-visual witticisms. Whether a mark of superiority, a hedonistic experience, an outlet for the unconscious or a tool of sexual selection, humour sheds a personal light on the object, rendering it unequivocally familiar, cathartic, and often better than cautious argumentation. A socially specific phenomenon, it helps forge and enhance ties, but can equally be a source of tension in a communicative relationship. The incongruity between the expected and the real demands the immediate abandonment of typical roles and the conventional ways of thinking. The ZEK Crew insists on this humorously unhindered, but potentially subversive, Weltanschauung. Baldessari summarizes it best: They will not make any more boring art.
— Lara Plavčak
Book Of Impressions (2012) book, impressions
An exhibition organised by Emzin featuring ZEK lenticular posters in Avla Gallery, NLB Bank Ljubljana, 2009
Belgrade Design Week
Laser printed graphics on gradient paper, Belgrade, 2009
Read more about The ZEK Crew
Let's review the facts here: six graphic and one industrial designer, an architect and a mysterious honorable member. Although most of them are related to the same alma mater (Academy of Fine Arts and Design, Ljubljana), there is more schooling seen from ZEK's output than input.