In Exercises in Style Jaka Babnik focuses on some of the most fundamental questions about creating photographic and/or art works. In a manner of stylistic exercises he explores transformative tools and unwritten criteria that enable, and constitute, so called quality photograph or work of art, from the point of view of its technical and formal implementation, as well as in terms of choice of subject matter and its intended purpose. He is interested in images which are, due to one’s trained cultural and aesthetic codes, visually attractive and formally faultless; however, these images on their own may not convey nothing in particular.

In a way, the series is a result of exercises in knowledge of art theory which is indispensable tool for creative work in the wider field of visual culture. At the same time, art theory is the foundation to determine rules, patterns and formulas that artists and creators, whether they like it or not, have to follow because they have been proven effective. Therefore, Babnik undertook artistic research in which he primarily turns to himself and his own visual perception. Thereby he establishes the discourse about the ontology of photography and visual culture, as well as he contemplates about knowledges, experiences, cultivated aesthetics, symbols and memories that determine each individual and his or her way of consuming images. He also turns to (self)irony and humour as he is well aware that he can’t be exempt from his cultivated cultural code that deeply designates his creative or commercial work. Furthermore the series serves as a starting point for collective reflection of so called “learned predictability“ which was, with the help of several collaborators, published in the form of articles, opinions, essays and interviews in two self-published newspaper, “Photographs for Illustration Purposes Only” (2020) and “Exercises in Style” (2021). – Miha Colner

Contributors to the newspapers: Goran Bertok, Miha Colner, Ana Čavić, Jovan Čekić, Chris Eckman, Nika Grabar, Marina Gržinić, Ibro Hasanović, Uroš Hočevar, Jasna Jernejšek, Mića Karić, Davor Konjikušić, Borut Krajnc, Saša Kralj, Martina Malešič, Robert Marin, Katja Praznik, Sandra Križić Roban, Lenart Kučić, Tevž Logar, Boštjan Pavletič, Matija Plevnik, Peter Rauch, Duba Sambolec, Dušan Savić, Luka Martin Škof, Jožef Školč, Miško Šuvaković, Leon Zuodar.