solo exhibition

Klemen Zupanc

2. – 23. 12. 2022

2. 12. at 7pm

Mojca Grmek
Klemen Zupanc is a painter of the younger generation who often takes the banalities of everyday life and the established modes of existence and functioning of contemporary society as the starting point for his work.

As part of his exhibition in Pivka, the artist presents the permanent collection of the Musée de Schalar, a renowned museum for the archaeology of lake fauna, which deals with the life of Škalar, the sea monster of Šalek, whose existence has been considered a folk legend for many years.

The museum dates back to 1922 when people began to notice the strange shape of what looked like a large animal under the surface of the lake in Šalek Valley. A research institution was established that hired esteemed experts in various fields, who systematically recorded, analysed and preserved a variety of evidence establishing the existence of the supposed lake monster over the following decades. Over time, the museum became less and less concerned with proving the existence of the monster and more with its physiognomy and eating habits. It was discovered that the Škalar is biologically unique in the world as an osteocambiar organism that sporadically replaces its endoskeleton instead of the exoskeleton to meet the demands of its growing physiognomy, and each replacement requires a huge intake of carbon, which the organism needs to consume in a short period of time to produce a new endoskeleton. It is interesting to note that the timing of the alleged renewal of the endoskeleton and the location of the monster’s habitat coincide remarkably well with the appearance of the Šalek Lakes, suggesting that the Škalar consumed so much coal in the subterranean world of the Šalek area that the surface collapsed and the lakes were formed. At this point, however, the situation became complicated for the museum researchers, as the unspoken but quite clear implications of their theory about the carbon-based feeding cycle of the osteocambiars fell out of favour with the socialist authorities, who refused to acknowledge the existence of a giant animal beyond their control. The authorities disbanded the team of experts and closed the museum for the next decades. Only after independence did the political landscape change enough to allow the museum to resume operations. A new generation of experts has published a comprehensive theory on the feeding cycles of the lake monster, based on earlier studies and their own research. They found that alternating carbonogenic and cellulogenic feeding cycles occur in the life of the Škalar, during which the organism must ingest sufficient amounts of cellulose to increase the surface area of its scaly integument and adapt it to its new body size. Cellulose can be obtained from a variety of natural sources but is most commonly found in cellulose products such as paper banknotes. This finding, like those of the previous generation of museum experts, has provoked a strong political reaction. It turns out that the huge financial hole created by the construction of the sixth block of the Šoštanj Thermal Power Plant (TEŠ), whose investment costs rose from the original 650 million euros to an incredible 1.4 billion euros, coincides exactly with the new cellulogenic feeding cycle of the Škalar, which puts the developments in the TEŠ6 story into a completely new light.

The exhibition presents the development of the museum and the diverse archaeological material relating to the existence, physiognomy and feeding habits of this famous lake monster. At the opening of the exhibition, the collection will be presented by the Museum’s Director, Klemen Zupanc.

The hosting of the permanent collection of the Musée de Schalar is co-financed by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, the Municipality of Pivka and Artiko – company for the digitisation of images d.o.o.

Klemen Zupanc (1989) graduated in Painting from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. During his studies, he received the Prešeren Award (2013). His work has been presented in several solo and group shows in Slovenia and abroad. His solo exhibitions include the P74 Centre and Gallery in Ljubljana (2013), the Celje Art Salon (2015) and the DDT Gallery in Trbovlje (2019). He has also participated in group exhibitions, among others, Prints and Impressions, International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana (2012), Visual Art in Šaleška dolina and Zgornja Savinjska dolina from 1975 to 2015, Velenje Gallery (2015), Triglav after Triglav, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana (2018). His works are represented in several collections, including the collection of MG+MSUM, Ljubljana and the collection of Velenje Gallery. He lives and works in Ljubljana.

Exhibition programme

Sonja Vulpes

solo exhibition

4. – 25.10.2024

Education programme

Creativity programme

Poems in Prints / Maksa Samsa

printmaking workshop and exhibition

3. – 7. 6. 2024

Društvo Hiša kulture v Pivki
Snežniška cesta 2
6257 Pivka
Opening hours during the course of the exhibitions:

Tuesday–Thursday 10.00—14.00
Friday 14.00–18.00
Saturday 9.00–13.00

The Hiša kulture gallery in Pivka programme is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, the Municipality of Pivka and everyone who makes a donation of any amount.