The OHO Files: Interview with Andraž Šalamun
ARTMargins Online publishes exclusive interviews with former members of the Ljubljana-based OHO Group, which formed in the late 1960’s and consisted of Milenko Matanovi?, David Nez, Marko Poga?nik, and Andraž Šalamun. It belonged to the wider Slovene OHO Movement and regularly collaborated with this wider circle of intellectuals and artists.
Andraž Šalamun (born 1947) graduated from the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana. He was an active member of the OHO Group. Later on he devoted himself to painting. In the 1970s he was interested in abstract painting. In the 1980s he was influenced by the Italian Transavanguradia, and painted large canvases with animal subjects. He lives in Koper on the Slovene coast.
Beti Žerovc: How, when, and why did you become a group?
Andraž Šalamun: Destiny.
BZ: Did you as a group feel connected to the works Marko Poga?nik had produced before, or did the group feel like a new, independent structure? Did you perhaps refer to the pre-OHO productions of yourself, Milenko and David?
AS: It felt like a new, independent structure.
BZ: Can you describe the interactions within the group, the manner of collaboration between the group members?
AS: Usually, one amongst us would be more “driven” than the others in a certain moment, and would then pull the rest of the group into it.
BZ: How did you work? How did you prepare for an upcoming exhibition? Did you produce works especially for exhibitions, or were they made independently and then later exhibited?
AS: We worked all the time and then picked works for exhibiting.
BZ: You seem to have been intensely aware of the great potential and power of events. Was this intuitive or did you discuss these things, perhaps theorize about them?
AS: I think it was more intuitive.
BZ: Did you invite viewers, for instance, to come and see your installations in natural settings? Who was invited and how?
AS: It varied.
BZ: What are your memories of the breakup of the group? Did you all agree that the breakup was necessary? How and why did it happen?
AS: The time came when we had to part and go separate ways.
BZ: How did you work in the period directly following the breakup?
AS: I returned to painting.