Claudi Sovrè is a Prince of Pop

Claudi Sovre (CLOUDY), born in 1994, is a gradute of the Department of Photography at the Higher School of Applied Sciences VIST (2019). He has already participated in the group exhibitions at the Slovenian Etnographic Museum (2013), Kino Šiška- Center for Urban Culture (2016), gallery Dessa (2016), the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia in Berlin (2017), Photon (2017), Layer House gallery Mahlerca studio (2017), Museum Šenčur (2017) and Prešeren House (2020). As a solo artist he debuted with multimedial introduction show BadReligion (2014) and since then presented a trilogy of photo exhibitions- Once Upon a Future (2015), Renaissance (2016), Cloudy (2018).

In addition to numerous presentational photographs for music, theatre, film and sport, he is the author of January 2017 cover of National Geographic Slovenia: Gender Revolution, January 2018 cover of GEJM, a special edition of Wrong- »magazine, where everything is right’«, New Edge magazine’s editorial »Adam into Madam« (2018) and »The art of drag through the medium of photography« article published in DIGITALNA KAMERA, the magazine for contemporary photographers (2019). His intermedial project SOVRE– an art intervention in public space- was supported by the Ministry of Culture, Republic of Slovenia (2018). In 2019, he became a part of Ljubljana Fine Artists Society and also started his master study programme on Academy of Theatre, Radio, Film and Television (UL AGRFT) at the Department for Scene Design (module: Costume Design).

More than anything else, he appeals to the viewer to recognize that even though photography is historically an underrated art form, it can surely be created as carefully as its closest relative- painting. Rather than taking a raw photograph or more precisely, documenting reality, he’s capturing an exagerrated picture of an orchestrated situation. The visual appeal of the composition and dedication to the beautiful are usually conducted in the field of the domestic studio, during the implementation of a preconceived idea. Thus, in the conceptual sense, he returns to the roots of Anton Sovre, the greatest Slovene translator of ancient texts, and in the classical proportion of portraiture to his grandfather, academically trained painter Savo Sovre. He mostly works in the genre of fine-art photography in which he expresses himself through fashion.

More than a photographer, he sees himself in the light of a visual storyteller who, for the success of the final product, tests the professions of an art director, scenographer, costume designer and sometimes even a model; he believes that in order to have a successful product, photographer must understand both sides of the camera and experience how it is to be »the one who is looking and the one who is being looked at«. The captured image on the camera is merely a sketch which, through the process of physical or digital post-production, ultimately reaches the desired form of photo-collage. He is the master of make-believe and that is why his style usually consists of surrealism, maximalism, hyperaesthetics, kitsch glam, romantic machismo, glorified femininity, subtle eroticism and retrofuturism. Conceptually, he draws inspiration from greek mythology, italian renaissance, french burlesque, english circus, japanese anime, soviet propaganda, russian ballet, american pop culture etc. Also, the naming of his artworks usually comes from folk sayings, proverbs, song verses or quotes, as well as the titles of exhibitions which follow each other in a special order like the levels in a video game.

For maximalist like him, »more is more« and even though we are all aware that perfection does not exist, he is constantly trying to catch a glimpse of it like a true masochist. Therefore, the final product cannot be classified as an ordinary portrait that reflects reality »here and now«, since the author would prefer to show the human form larger than life, in the style of the mighty presence of Renaissance sculptures or comic book superheroes. As a vicitim of nostalgia, he offers the resurrected images which could also serve as a warning because of the history repeating itself. Therefore his visual expression is most often manifested through the images of archetypes that are presented with a modern twist. In that sense, we can call him a modern classic- an individualist who marches to the beat of his own drum, daydreams a lot and tries to hold on to that child-like naivety that keeps him from never fully growing up. These heightened versions of his subjects (of worship) are also taking part in pop-art’s ideology that transforms everyday phenomena into works of art. Their authentic makeover, halfway between reality and fiction, is a product, resulting from many years of collecting second-hand clothes combined with flea market props. On the other hand, his scene design usually comes from remaking /recontextualizing his street photography combined with the avant-garde techniques of the 20th century.

He is a follower of the traditional portraiture rule which says- the result of the effort must always flatter the subject. So the fact that photography grants us a certain version of immortality always fascinated him- it goes hand in hand with the Native American idea that being photographed equals stealing a part of your soul; but after all that is the price of achieving the everlasting beauty. At first sight maybe just a fan of escapism, his works also subtly deal with social topics which are always wrapped up in a bow. He himself says that reality has already deserted him (too) many times, so he prefers to paint a »pretty picture« and create an idealized, almost utopian world that allows him to breathe with an open mind and create without limitations. That’s why, the final product always carries a message based on the only existing universal religion: hu(man)-with either his relation to the external world, or his struggle with the internal world. »Cloudy«, a pseudonym, which is also a homonym of his name, says it best- always on a mission to weather the storm.

So if Madonna is considered the queen, Jackson the king and Britney the princess of pop, the popular culture has never “officially” awarded the title of prince, which this time for 2 months Claudi claims. So welcome to his utopia!

Access to the virtual gallery will be available via the website, and live viewing will be possible at Dunajska 63 in Ljubljana until 27 November, from Monday to Friday between 8 am and 6 pm.

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