Nastja Utroša is holding her first solo exhibition, titled Net, at the DobraVaga Gallery.
In a series of scratchboards, she questions the concept of the herd instinct, the different behaviors of people in a group, and their unconscious entanglement within numerous social structures. The inspiration for the dark works in smaller sizes, created on laminated canvas, originates in her parallel exploration of the behavioral traits of certain fish species. A specific biological phenomenon, called shoaling or schooling, characterizes fish that stay in a group for hydrodynamic and, above all, social reasons. It is not just an ordinary school, but a complex, incredibly synchronous structure of fish, which, with the help of such a group, are more successful in defending themselves against predators, find food and partners faster, and successfully save energy due to their harmonious movement. They glide side-by-side at a precise physical distance and with high responsiveness; if one fish changes the direction of swimming, the others follow it synchronously.
At this point, the artist discovers parallels with human society, as people as social beings also move in different groups, where we often follow the impulses and behavior of other individuals. Because we tend to imitate those we value or who are valued by others, we quickly become part of a system where a sense of free decision-making and thinking is no longer self-evident. Precisely because of our closeness and connection, we can fall into the trap even faster together, just like a compact school of fish gets caught in a net despite its ingenuity and harmony.
Nastja Utroša (1995) is a young Slovenian visual artist focused on illustration and graphics. In 2018, she graduated in architecture from the Faculty of Civil Engineering, Transportation Engineering and Architecture in Maribor. Since 2019, she has been attending a master’s degree in urban planning at the Faculty of Architecture in Ljubljana. In 2019, in tandem with the JNŽ studio, she participated in the Ventura Future exhibition, which was featured at the Saloni del Mobile design week in Milan, the Maison et Objet fair in Paris, and the Kunsthall Oslo gallery in Norway. This year, she and JNŽ studio are featured together at the Exhibition of Slovenian Design – The Future of Living in Vienna. Her works most often reflect the consequences of various socio-political activities on the individual. She utilises minimalist aesthetics, grotesque elements and bizarre motifs, which, in addition to anthropomorphic creatures and geometric interweaving, also include four-legged friends and fish suitable for the gallery space.
Curator: Maša Žekš
Organisation: Kino Šiška / DobraVaga