24 January, 2020

The exhibition “You’ll Be Home Here Now” is based on a photographic analysis of the prison environment and its impact on the everyday reality of individuals who are imprisoned in a total institution, as well as on their relations with the outside world and their own past.

The photographs of the prisons are formally determined by the conditions in which the project was carried out. In this sense, the institutional context of the spaces documented by the author determines the compositions and visual elements that are allowed or forbidden to be shown. For example, the frames must not reveal cameras or other almost omnipresent security elements that could potentially compromise the security of the specific institution. Great care has also been taken to preserve the anonymity of the prisoners, which again limits the expressive space of the photographs and poses specific challenges for the artist in depicting prisoners’ everyday life. In line with these constraints, the artist has skilfully focused on documenting the details of the prisoner’s living environment, bringing into the gallery an almost monochromatic world of spaces that form a kind of landscape in “institutional green” and prison greys, rarely broken up by the more colourful details of the personal objects that prisoners are allowed to keep. On the one hand, the prison represents a physical structure in which formal punishment is carried out for transgressing certain fundamental social norms. But at the same time, the prison, which brings together a heterogeneous multitude of persons within a purposeful architecture, is also a specific social and cultural environment that is often established as a parallel world to the formal organisation of this total organisation. By documenting the usually invisible interior of prisons, the photographic exhibition of prison images aims to provide the public with a deeper, more detailed and multilayered insight into the real, existential life of a total organisation. For those on the outside, it will give a glimpse into the hidden interior, bringing closer the real images of the confinement, emptiness and loneliness of prison life, and thus also stimulating new and different reflections on those who serve their sentences in prison.

The photographs were taken during a supervised visit to the male prisons in Dobje, Maribor and the open ward of the prison in Rogoza near Maribor. The photographs are supplemented with handwritten statements by some of the prisoners, which open up a more personal dimension of prison life and confront the viewer with the subjective reality of life under complete surveillance and without any elements of privacy, which are a self-evident part of fundamental human rights outside prison. The quotations are chosen to add to the narrative arc of the photographs and to encapsulate the narrative component of the exhibition, from entry into prison, to initial isolation, integration into prison society, contact with the outside world, spending time and finding meaning and shreds of privacy in prison, to exit from prison. The photographs and quotations act as recorders of the stories the men tell, giving them a voice to tell the paths they have taken to reach the point that broke their lives in another direction, the direction of moving slowly in a circle. The photographs show an image of this daily, slow and endless circling in the despair of the isolation room, the anxiety of solitary confinement, the limitation of goods, the overcrowding of shared rooms, the confinement to a few square metres of daily living with people they did not choose and probably never would.

The exhibition will be on view until 28 February 2020. Admission is free.

The exhibition is supported by the Municipality of Maribor.