Aleksander Velišček
born 1982 in Šempeter pri Gorici, Slovenia — he lives and works in Nova Gorica
About
Aleksander Velišček
born 1982 in Šempeter pri Gorici, Slovenia — he lives and works in Nova Gorica

History, politics and power – economic power but also the power of images – are focal points in Aleksander Velišček artworks. Velišček who lives and works between Venice and Nova Gorizia can be linked theoretically to the writings of Slavoj Žižek, who claims that there is a close relationship between politics and painting.

Velišček is a painter who deals with strong themes and who grew up in times of intense political change as well as of changes in economic and mediatory power of imagery. The artist, who lives in Nova Gorica – the border city between Italy and Slovenia and until the nineties the symbol of the division between the east and west – has first-hand experience from sociological, economic and ideological transformations of the then Yugoslavia and of the emerging Slovenia. Ever since he was a student at the Academy of Fine Arts of Venice and an artist of The Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation, his artistic research has been focused on human figure, on the physicality of the body, on its gestures and proportions.

In 2014, Aleksander Velišček was – thanks to his extraordinary ability to portray the human face – invited to the exhibition Shit and Die of Maurizio Catellan co-curated by Myriam Ben Salah and Marta Papini at Palazzo Cavour in Turin, where he was asked to portray some celebrities of the city.

Velišček uses images from the mass media reflecting, through his art, today’s state of media overexposure that characterizes contemporary society. His art approaches to the sociological analysis of the Slovenian philosopher and sociologist Slavoj Žižek, who in his book The plague of fantasies wonders why today dreams and secrets are immediately externalized in public space. In the virtual world, the sphere of intimacy is more and more exposed and made vulnerable to possible exploitation.

Recently the artist is working on portraits of Joseph Beuys, Julian Assange, Chelsea Manning, Edward Snowden, Anna Stepanova Politkovskaja, Pope John Paul II, Stanley Kubrick and Walter Benjamin.  In a very complex and accurate process the stratification of the oil colour transforms the painting almost into a sculpture. Velišček’s painting technique leaves a consistency of the human flesh to appear frozen. These portraits seem to be suspended between the black background and the frame covered by glass. The artist made frames are constructed with wood, metal and glass and fulfil more than the task of display cases. In some cases these massive frames are even double glass-fronted and the painting appears to be a sculpture or an installation behind bulletproof glass. The depth of this frame, that contains metallic structures inside, works like an orthopaedic prosthesis that sustains the frozen flesh of the human figure.

Aleksander Velišček has graduated in 2010 at the Venice Academy of Fine Arts. Currently he’s living and working in Venice and Nova Gorica. He was an Art in Residence at Atelier Bevilacqua la Masa in Venice in 2012 and in the same year he won the Mariuccia Paracchi Testori award in Milan, Italy. In 2014 he was selected by Maurizio Cattelan, Myriam Ben Salah and Marta Papini, the curators of SHIT AND DIE, an exhibition took place during the artfair Artissima in Turin.

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