Primoz Bizjak

Artist selected by Moscoso, Manuela at 2010

Although I travel a lot, I prefer to work on places I know well and which I have around me every day. In this way, in recent years Madrid has become the centre of my interest.

The main subjects of my nocturnal incursions are places that have lost their original function or had it temporarily suspended – places where there’s a strong feeling they’re being ‘reclaimed’ by society. With a head-on approach I try to show the subject as it is, as an important document that talks about the past and present whilst submerged in an undefined time. It’s no longer about a ‘moment’, but a temporary space able to capture the unsettling, sublime dimension as a result of long, nighttime exposures that reveal colours and shapes invisible to the human eye.


1. What made you choose art as a profession?
It’s not about choosing the profession, but growing and evolving as an artist. It’s an ongoing process; you never stop looking. I enjoy this work and I like the idea (and the need) to be able to leave a mark.

2. How would you define your work?
As a reflection of my life. I mean that sometimes I have to hang by a rope and enter places ‘with or without permission’ to carry out my work. In the end I can use different forms to speak about other things, but a major part is this personal story that is often forgotten or unnoticed.

3. What subjects are you interested in?
I’m interested in the urban landscape. Not so much the architecture I represent as the stories behind it – stories about our society and our way of living. I’m interested above all in abandoned places or places going through a transition. Places that have temporarily lost their main function. I’m also fascinated by how light can sometimes make us see the same place in different ways or even reveal things the eye cannot see. I’m a curious person: as a child I spent whole days in the fields behind my house, looking for pieces from the First World War. Now my curiosity is the source of my work.

4. What resources – formal or otherwise – do you use in your work?
I work with two large cameras. My compositions are front-on and stick to the essentials. I don’t look for unusual perspectives, escapes, compositions, etc. I think that’s students’ stuff. I’m far more interested in the object itself, what’s in front of me, and I try to show it as it is. Much more important for me is the viewpoint, both in terms of form and concept.

5. What relationship does your work have with reality? What are your raw materials?
Reality is my raw material.

I’m very interested in photographs as documents, and history, memory, stamps its mark on my work, although that’s not my only interest.

6. What, according to you, is the point of art?
For me it satisfies a need, a desire. I think that we almost all have a need to leave a mark on the land in one way or another, either as people or as a society. But it’s difficult to believe that art can change the world. I document this world and if I manage to get people to think about the subject, then in a way I’m happy.

7. How do you hope the public will receive your work? What audience are you aiming at?
My first audience is me. Obviously things change and it’s not like when you were a student and in principle you almost didn’t think that what you were doing would one day be shown. Over time things change and you’re always more aware of that and how important it is. But I think it’s a good idea not to lose this kind of innocence completely. Photography itself is one of the most ‘democratic’ forms of expressing yourself. And we live in a time when we’re bombarded by images. I try to make a few pieces that are able to speak to a wide public.

8. What qualifications have you got? What do you value most from your time in education?
I started my education in Slovenia as a transport logistics engineer. Although I finished my degree, I soon realised I wanted to try and be an artist. So I enrolled at the Fine Art School in Venice, which became a fairly normal option for many Slovenians. Already after the first year I felt a need to study further away from home and, thanks to the Erasmus exchange system, I spent my second and third year in Madrid. I finished my degree in Venice, although like all artists I’m still studying and growing every day. It’s not a subject that finishes when you graduate. I remember that I didn’t collect my degree certificate for almost two years, because I had no use for it… Probably what I value most from this period are the contacts and friends I made.

9. How would you define your current professional situation? And in the future?
I don’t think anyone finds it easy when they finish their degree. Today, being an ‘artist’ is only a small part of what you need to be, professionally speaking, and college doesn’t prepare you for that. Although I currently live in Madrid, and have spent most of my time here in recent years, the Slovenian Ministry of Culture is supporting me by paying my social security contributions (pension and medical insurance). This doesn’t solve all my economic problems, but it certainly helps keep moral up when it’s a struggle to survive and carry on creating.

10. Many artists say it’s difficult to make a living from their work; how do economic considerations affect you when it comes to work? Do you think this has a bearing on your work?
We’re conditioned by everything around us. But we shouldn’t be paralysed by this and do nothing because of the poor economic situation. You have to believe in yourself and fight. It’s true that it’s not easy to earn a living just from sales of your work, because it’s very irregular income. I’m currently working on a personal project commissioned by Venice City Council on former military buildings on the Venetian lagoon. In the short term, this eases some of my economic worries and lets me finance other projects. In the future I’d like to do something similar in Madrid. I think what I’ve done here over the years, off my own bat, is also of value to the city. I don’t rule out the possibility of giving classes, seminars, etc. but first I’d like to establish myself as an artist.

11. What do you look for or expect from your relationship with promoters and curators? What advantages and difficulties have you found with these relationships?
I have to say I found it more difficult to make contact with promoters and curators in Madrid than in Spain. It was probably my own fault, because I’m not a big fan of contests, but I’m happy when my work gets selected for an exhibition or event. I’m grateful for this selection and the chance to show my work in Madrid. Sometimes I like to carry out work in collaboration with curators or gallery owners right from the start.

12. What do you think sets the arts scene in Madrid apart from elsewhere? What would you say are its pluses and minuses?
From an official perspective, I see a lot of institutional involvement in the Madrid arts scene. There are a huge number of contests and I know people who work seriously and have gone a long way in Spain thanks to this system. Personally I owe more to the city in terms of the many exhibitions and cultural activities on offer on the Madrid scene. In addition, living in a city like Madrid has put me in contact, and often led to friendships, with many people in the art world, which undoubtedly enriches you as a person and as an artist.


Curriculum vitae

Primož Bizjak
Šempeter pri Gorici, Slovenia, 1976.
Vive y trabaja entre/Lives and works between: Madrid, Venezia.

Formación Académica/Education
Licenciado en Pintura, Accademia di Belle Arti di Venezia.

Exposiciones Individuales/Solo Exhibition
Focus on the Invisible, Lipanje Puntin Artecontemporanea, Roma; Lipanje Puntin Artecontemporanea, Trieste.

Fotografia Europea Reggio Emilia 2007, Reggio Emilia, Italia.
Slovenski kritiki izbirajo, Cankarjev Dom, Ljubljana.

Forte Marghera, Galerija Gregor Podnar, Ljubljana.
Remains, Festival PhotoEspaña 2006, Galería Begoña Malone, Madrid.
Forte Marghera, Centro Cultural Candiani, Mestre, Italia.

GUF, Garaža za Umetniško Fotografijo, Maribor, Slovenia.
Gemine muse 2004, Museo Navale di Venezia.

Hic et nunc sulla fotografia e oltre, Palazzo Cecchini, Cordovado, Italia.

Exposiciones Colectivas (Selección)/Selected Group Exhibitions
Somewhen, Jarach Gallery, Venecia.
A proposito del espacio, OTR. Espacio de Arte, Madrid.
Photonic Moments 08, Cankarjev Dom, Ljubljana. D'est, giovani artisti sloveni, Art Verona, Verona.

Christopher Cutts gallery, Toronto.
Close to Dark, Jarach Gallery, Venezia.

Biennale di Venezia, 10 Mostra Internazionale di Architetura, CZ_VPI2006, CZ 95 Centro Zitelle Culturale Multimediale, Venezia.
Biennale Adriatica di Arti Nuove – Contagio 2, San Benedetto del Tronto, Italia.

51 Biennale di Venezia, Atelier Aperto, Venecia.

88 Colettiva Giovani Fondazione Bevilaqua La Masa, Venecia.

Proyecto sobre ex-edificios militares de la laguna veneziana. Encargado por: Ayuntamiento de Venecia.

Paesaggi di transizione, Marcon, Venecia. Proyecto de encargo.

Forte Marghera, Marghera, Venecia. Proyecto de encargo.

Becas y Premios/Awards and Grants
Premio Marqués Valle de Tena, Madrid. (Selección)

Premio Banca Aletti Verona, Verona. (3er Premio)
Slovenski kritiki izbirajo, Cankarjev Dom, Ljubljana.

Venice Village, proyecto expositivo de un artista extranjero residente en Venecia, Venecia. (1er Premio)

Obra en Museos y Colecciones/Works in Museums and Collections
Biblioteca di Reggio Emilia, Italia.
Centro Culturale Candiani, Mestre, Venecia.

Primož Bizjak, Forte Marghera, Mestre, Centro Culturale Candiani, 2006.