Teja Ideja draws an image of Ljubljana as it was drawn and interpreted for us by architects, sculptors, painters, photographers and graphic designers before our time. Each of them organised the space for us in their own way, and we can walk around the city observing it through the prism of the development of the former provincial town into a capital city that serves as a meeting place for many people and images, including those that we bring to Ljubljana from elsewhere. Teja Ideja, too, builds this life in a graphic field with a limited format.
The shaping of tradition in Teja Ideja’s work methods flirts with the all-pervasive tourist propaganda, as exemplified by Peter Kocjančič and Janez Trpin. In the foreground are large coloured surfaces in harmoniously designed compositions, inhabited by selected spatial elements that are depicted flatly with only occasional overlaps, exploiting a method of translating motifs that is reminiscent of illustration, thus enabling the shapes and objects to establish invisible relationships and connections with each other. Through the colour harmony, the space on paper or any other medium becomes a place of memories, meetings, divergences, connections, amalgamations, associations and so on. It is a mistake to attribute the nostalgia of pop tunes to these places. With the help of illustration and graphic processing, supported by a refined colour scale in the background, there is also a carefully measured dose of information on the visual surface of the works, creating a thoughtful and balanced composition. Within a limited space, all of this offers the viewer an insight into places where he or she can feel at home, safe and sound, while at the same time providing an opportunity to expand the observed spaces with his or her own imagination.
In Teja Ideja’s creative work, space becomes a place of encounters, connections and memory images, a place of content and a field of dialogue between the heritage that the artist portrays, interprets and draws inspiration from, and the contemporary world where we, the users of her ideas, are with her. In these images, where humour also finds a place, we do not tire of the well-known depictions of Ljubljana’s Skyscraper, all twenty dragons from the Dragon Bridge, Plečnik’s architecture or the Ljubljana Castle, because Teja Ideja’s articulation in the field of visual art invites us to reflect – not about what is depicted, but rather how it is depicted. Behind the apparent simplicity are relationships between artistic elements and spatial keys that prioritise the classical exploration of drawing and the artistic space with which the artist constructs and tells stories about the places in which we live, the places that we sometimes co-create.
Text: Boris Beja
Teja Ideja: Greetings from Ljubljana