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Ljubljana
Saturday, December 3, 2022

Otherwise, I am just a housewife, but I do not know…

By: Dr Damijan Prelovšek

At the latest exhibition in Plečnik House or where is our taxpayer money going…

The so-called Plečnik year is passing without my participation, and with the present record, my silence will certainly be taken care of in the future as well. I see Plečnik differently from those who run institutions dedicated to him. What is it about? The director of the Ljubljana City Museum, who also manages the Plečnik House, got together with experts from Italy and Germany to come up with a plan to deceive naïve Slovenians once again. A good two dozen domestic and foreign experts from various fields of humanism and art were involved in the project, all of whom have one thing in common: at least 99.9 percent of them have never met Plečnik, or rather, know nothing about him. Among them was the master chef Ana Roš, who prepared a tomato salad in honour of Plečnik according to a special recipe, and the actress Saša Pavček joined the event with a declamation by the poet Hans Carl Artmann that “a person can be a poet without ever writing or uttering a word.” He claims that Artmann visited Ljubljana during Plečnik’s lifetime, and even if he did, they probably did not meet in person, he at least certainly saw his Križanke theatre, which is certainly a weighty argument that we must involve him in the entire event.

The plan, how to pull the audience by the nose, is based on a fictitious letter, which the curators of the exhibition coined in English and has also been translated into Slovenian. In it, the housewife Urška Luzar reported to Plečnik about the events in his house during his long absence. The paragraph that I am quoting in its entirety is especially telling: “I remembered the incident with the toilet when I could not prevent the city council from installing a flushing toilet in the house during your absence. They concluded that you would like the new toilet bowl. I will never forget your comment. ‘I want to hear shit fall.’ Yeah, you said ‘shit’.” This incredibly obscene quote alone contains a whole bunch of made-up nonsense. The architect was never informal with his housekeeper, she never wrote him letters, during her service he never left Ljubljana for a long time, and the housekeeper would not dare to change anything in the house on her own initiative, etc. In general, Plečnik considered the English toilet to be one of the most important civilisational gains of the modern era, and he did not use a “latrine”, as is written in the so-called letter.

With this famous document, the curators of the exhibition called on the artists to display or rather partially hide their products around the house and garden and mix them with Plečnik’s. So, they filled the kitchen sink to the top with a variety of vegetables. The museum assured me that during the duration of this event, that is, until January 8th of next year, they will make sure that there will always be fresh carrots, beans, cabbage, lettuce, etc. in the sink, that is, in short, everything that the artist chose at the market, and they will eat what they have served. In Plečnik’s bedroom, someone inserted a plaster cylinder into the architect’s shoe. The continuation of this profound imagination is a white shoelace hanging from one of the cupboards upstairs. You definitely have to be a great artist to be able to present your creative power in such a minimalist way. Plečnik’s drawing utensils are inserted into small ceramic holders of various strange shapes. The visitor must be very careful to distinguish the accessories from the originals because this is the main charm of the whole event. On the staircase, they removed some of Plečnik’s photos from his trip to Italy and replaced them with colour shots of the interiors of his house. What sense that makes, I do not know.

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