|Artwork created during residency|
|Artwork created prior to residency|
Residency: October – November 2012
Already in Sumerian religion a world tree grows at the beginning of time. Its transplantation by In- anna can be considered the first account of imposition of order through culture. In Christianity the tree symbolises the loss of paradise. As opposed to the Babylonian predecessor there are two trees in Christianity, one of life and one of the knowledge of good and evil. The con- sumption of fruit from the wrong tree marks the ‘renunciation of immortality, but also the beginning of all systems of heredity. Thus, the tree of knowledge also functions as the first family tree, not be- cause the first parents ate from it, but because they started the project of human pro- creation in its shadow. It is not by chance that the chapter of the fall from grace in the Book of Genesis is followed by the story of the two sons and their murderous conflict .. Since then..the tree of knowledge- the genealogical tree – the real tree of life represents the only hope for immortality, that we have any claim on’. (Thomas Macho: Stammbäume, Freiheitsbäume und Geniereligion, Anmerkungen zur Geschichte genealogischer Systeme, in: Sigrid Weigel, Hg., Genealogie und Genetik: Schnittstellen zwischen Biologie und Kulturgeschichte, Berlin 2002, S. 19)
Caused by a period of religious intolerance in 12th-14th century Spain, in the interplay of Christian, Jewish and Islamic mysticism, the traditio- nal family trees undergo a reform. In the wake of the French revolution they turn into trees of freedom. Elias Canetti writes about the central role of trees and forests for the sense of German nationalism.
Simultaneously, the long standing tradition of the motif of the tree in art history evolves. Generally speaking the tree represents history, rootedness, growth, home, shelter and a connection between heights that are out of reach and a web of roots underground.
Miha Cojhter’s work consists of an installation of a tree stump that stands upright and its fluores- cent, luminous plexiglas shadow, which sets into motion and likewise embodies the linear dispersal of growth. Working at the intersection of art and design he aesthetically and poetically elaborates on issues with which we are confronted on a daily basis. Thus, he poses some of the most intrinsic questions: What comes after death? What is there at all? What is visible, what only imagined and what is it to be? His work incorporates transformation and highlights the fact that not seeing a certain thing does not mean that said thing does not exist.
He does not create a shadow, but an aura or spiritual image of nature, which emits light from its synthetic material body. The dead tree is reborn as sculpture, its nature develops itself anew.
My residency went from October to November. During my time in Utica, I was working on a sculp- ture that respresented time, death and the unseen, the sculpture can act as metaphor for the city. We think of depressed cities as places of death, however, they are thriving centers of life. I was enjoying the city of Utica and had many opportunities to create art. I think that this residency cre- ates many opportunities for artists to focus on their work and improve. I think that many artists get ideas while in the city because of its history, architecture, and relationship to nature. The staff is extremely professional and made me feel welcomed as if into a family.
About the Artist:
Miha Cojhter (born 1984 in Celje, Slovenia) is a Masters student at the Interface Cultures Lab at the University of Art and Design in Linz, Austria. His work is based on finding spatial concepts and understanding the importance of public, private, virtual and real worlds. He integrates architectural and artistic approaches into his art. Furthermore, he thematizes serious issues of contemporary society by integrating them into his projects in a playful way.
His recent work includes projects in Austria and Slovenia such as Oriplayground, Drawing with the Sound, Touriscop, Nikoli Odrasle (Illustration for the picture book „uganke“), Pfarmer and The Secret of Quick Cutting.