What is State of mind?



I got the inspiration for this exhibition from the ‘štimanice’ at Pleterje. I ‘took’ the ‘štimanica’ from the acoustic room of the Holy Trinity gothic church at Pleterje Carthusian Monastery, modified it and created a resonant ceramic vessel which hides its ‘essence’ in its interior, similar to the way the ‘Pleterje štimanica’ also hides its ‘essence’, up to the moment we allow ourselves to discover this essence.


A state of mind is a CHARACTERISTIC which we attribute to people, it is our essence which defines us and at the same time gives the possibility of cognition and free thought. I decided to connect the idea of man and of vessel, his ‘pot’, his ‘state of mind’ in various shades and shapes. A pot as an element of the project represents a form, an essence is given to it by content which is not necessarily visible to the eyes.


For the realisation of the project I created several clay instruments, clay musical instruments and various resonant vessels from which a friend, Lado Jakša, conjured a whole stream of all sorts of sounds. We recorded them at the place where I found my inspiration, in the Pleterje gothic church. I experienced the recording as a culmination, an experience of fulfilment, as a combination of many events into an harmonious whole. I am particularly grateful to all those who allowed us to record in this special place. Lado edited the recorded sounds in a studio and created eight compositions. A friend, Matej Jenko, with the help of computer technology succeeded in ‘returning’ these compositions back to the vessels I exhibit.


I exhibit eight vessels in the gallery, hung so they give the impression of floating in the room. Eight vessels are set up in a circle because the number eight describes all directions in the space and because it means infinity and wholeness.


Each of these ‘floating’ vessels carries within itself an artistic expression which is supposed to associate the viewer with diverse states of mind. The artistic expression is embedded within thoughtfully selected colour glazes, their effects evoking various emotional states with the viewer.


Lado gave eight musical messages to the vessels. Each of them together with the visual message announces to the viewer our comprehension of various frames of mind. An harmonious whole can be experienced by the viewer only through observation and listening from the centre, at the point where the wholeness can be recognised. At this point we are surrounded by eight contents, ‘eight souls’ which oscillate in perfect harmoniousness and concord.


Individually exhibited objects are intentionally not accurately named. I wish that every man would recognise the essence in the individual vessels. I do not find the shape of the vessels important. I changed the gallery into an empty darken room so that one cannot see the forms of the individual vessels. The interior is important therefore the vessels are only illuminated inside. To preserve the magnificence of the empty room it is desirable during viewing the exhibition that five visitors at the most enter the gallery.


In this project I connect ceramics with various media: computer technology and music, photography and video. For this occasion Lado Jakša created a CD with music and Tomo Čonkaš a DVD with a film about the project. Nika Oremuž, Klemen Klemenc and Lado Jakša created photographs on the theme of State of Mind which are offered for viewing.


We can imagine how the masters of the old architecture have carefully listened to the ‘breathing’ of sounds in the space which they had created, how does it sound and resonate, at which places there is more or less of it, how the aliquot tones and the shades of the sound colours radiate in the room.
Singers were moving around it and testing all these acoustic shades, and by adding the clay vessels, štimanice, trying to improve even more this ambient sonority. They were looking for suitable places in the upper parts of the walls and built them in where their effect was the greatest.
Here the master of clay modelling Igor Bahor found an inspiration for his new creative vision. For this exhibition he pictured the resonance of sounds of his dedicated clay vessels and other clay ‘musical and sound instruments’ as a ‘STATE OF MIND’, as a resonance of our internal mental states , in an ambience, thoughtfuly dedicated to art, sound and light. Some of his vessels formally derive from exact copies of Pleterje štimanice, others are pure artistic creations that with special apertures, mouthpieces and ‘acoustic’ structure of their surfaces enable the creation of heterogeneous music resonances, echoes, rhythms, from soft smoothly ‘sliding’ tones up to dynamic ‘shakes’ and trembling, from low bass ostinatos to light, high noises, sighs and expirations … as the acoustic ambience, where the music was created, ‘breathes’.
The space of Pleterje church offers its spiritual acoustics openly to music, above all to that which is born in the ambience itself, which listens to it, responds to it and allows itself to be drawn into its inspiring and almost infinite echo.
During making music in this place the sonorous colour reaches almost every tiny corner of the exciting Gothic architecture, its screams multiply into the cascades of tones travelling through the space and intertwine like some magical contour lines whose density and dynamic are changing according to the direction and inclination of the sonorous column created by a musician.
Chords and harmonies floating in the air are born by the sequence of long tunes, with repeating the rhythmic patterns and synchronic movements of the musician through the room, the whole ambience is aroused in the repeated trembling and at the end, long after the sound finishing it lands as an sonorous comet somewhere ‘above’. Every inhalation, every expiration and even a tiny breath spreads around the miraculous acoustic space as a silk membrane which colours itself with subtle shades of the aliquot tones.
Like this, the musician with his magic musical instrument or with his voice finds himself in an iridescent kaleidoscope of sounds which inspire him from moment to moment for new musical movements, the acoustic of the room returns them back and he responds spontaneously anew to them. Every violent provocation of sonorous radiations without listening to the acoustic of the space and co-oscillation with it, is here condemned to a chaotic soullessness or dull soundlessness. The listening to the room itself and simultaneous hearing of himself allows the musician an experience of joy of a direct sonorous-ambient creative inspiration.
In this way, the visionary clay musical instrument, the musician, the magical place, its acoustic logos and the inventive spirit of all creators flow into one.

Lado Jakša

Taking part in the project ‘State of mind’ are:

Igor Bahor – potter, project leader and author
Lado Jakša – musician, composer and photographer
Matej Jenko – J-LAB – soundtrack and sound effects
Tomo Čonkaš – STUDIO MOZAIK – video
Matej Balažič and Uroš Meža – BIRT – logistics and technical support
Jana Bahor – organisation of the event
Nika Oremuž – design of press releases and photography
Vid Bahor – administration of the web sites www.stanjeduha.si and www.stateofmind.si

Professional help and support:

Jovo Grobovšek – Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage of Slovenia (ZVKDS), Novo mesto Regional Office
Jože Simončič – Kartuzija (Carthusian Monastery) Pleterje
Ivica Križ – Dolenjski muzej Novo mesto
Urban Magušar – Gallery in the Magušar house

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