Janez Janša, Janez Janša, Janez Janša – Podpis / Signature


Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana and Koroška Gallery of Fine Arts, ISBN 978-9619219218, Ljubljana, 2010, English, Slovenian
One of the artistic projects that has been successfully able to challenge the bureaucratic concept of identity in its very essence is undoubtedly “Janez Janša”. The three artists who all changed their names to that of the Slovenian prime minister have gone a long way since they started to play with their new identities, misleading media and the public through various actions. The uniqueness of a name, and consequently of all its formal manifestations, has been deeply investigated by the trio. Documents (especially their precious new passports) were produced and placed in controversial legal territories. If Heath Bunting has thoroughly studied (and afterwards applied to individuals) the abstract way of defining an identity following the official UK government guidelines, the Janez Janša group has explored from the reverse angle, testing the system with ordinary acts that have generated highly ambiguous results (through their choice of names). In a limited edition 600-copy print (needless to say, signed by the three of them), this catalogue takes the signature as symbolic proof of one’s identity and its role in art. In his essay Petja Grafenauer writes a history of the essential historical role of the signature in works of art, specifically concerning authenticity and value. The displayed work includes nine triptychs with all the combinations of the artists’ signatures under their current and previous names, all painted by another artist: Viktor Bernik. Once again a Kafkaesque mechanism is successfully triggered by Janša(s), this time with the help of handwriting experts.