My old vegetable garden shape designed by the sculptress Rene Rusjan
Milena Kosec was born in January 1947 in Ljubljana (Slovenia, EU), where she has lived and worked her entire life. In 1974 she graduated in technical mathematics at Ljubljana University. In 1971 she started her first job at the Jožef Stefan Institute. She planned and led the elaboration of new applications for different fields in different companies, usually by means of the most current computer technology. By the end of year 2002 she was retired. In the years between1975 to 1983 she primarily devoted herself to her family.
Her artistic work began spontaneously with her first work “Državica Ptičjestrašilna” (The Pocket-size State of Scarecrows) in 1992. After that, she performed several public actions which commented on events in Slovenia intertwined with her own intimate stories. In 2007 she decided that she would no longer produce anything material-based nor document her work. In 2008 she was invited to the European Contemporary Art Biennial MANIFESTA7, with one of her immaterial projects Random Private Conversations.
After her last art action in 2012, Milena read a lot about the situation in her country and the world in general. Bewildered by the vast and contradictory information available and the number of the contemporary artists with similar practice, she became unsure if her critical approach to art was still relevant. This has made her stop her art practice and return to the question: "what are the basic needs for life?" Having "water and food" as her answer to this question, she decided to improve her knowledge on them through manual work and organic gardening. Her first attempt at gardening this past year made her realize that she needed more education about various aspects of organic gardening.
During her residency, she will continue to educate herself on this front and provide a monthly report on her experiences in gardening for a year, from one autumn to the next autumn. She feels that this on-hiatus activity may be helpful for her art practice in the future.
At the beginning I would like to express my thanks to Matt and Shinobu, co-directors of RFAOH, for the unusual experience of being in residence for a full year.
First of all, as a RFAOH resident, I feel it is the greatest luxury and privilege, in light of today's normal western life style, that I have had the opportunity to grow my own organic vegetables, prepare, cook and eat them fresh every day. I had this rare opportunity to spend my time mainly for nourishing myself in the best possible way. It seems that this is possible only in very primitive societies or in art. Thinking that we could go back and produce healthy organic food for everybody is a big romantic utopia. Only very rich people can afford to buy strictly organic food and only healthy owners of good land with a lot of time can, in favorable climate conditions and clean air, produce enough for himself and his family.
Another benefit of RFAOH is to be in contact, with other unknown residents from afar, on the internet. Suddenly I feel a personal contact with so many different residents from all over the world. I recognize that the web offers an additional dimension to our normal life.
If I look back at the beginning of my residency, I see that I quickly stopped thinking about art and art systems. All my thoughts have been focused on organic gardening, world problems about healthy food, physical work in the garden and in the kitchen. Thanks to the residency, I take gardening very seriously. I improve in my organic gardening practice which changes my outlook on life and western art.
Last month I couldn't work in the garden, so I had more time to think about my future in art. I decided to postpone my artistic activities for one more year. Meanwhile I will continue with my organic gardening. For me, personally, art is finding out about the unknown discoveries in life. I think my work is art when I feel I achieved more than I had ever expected (something bigger than I am). I think that for an artist, it is important to do, with an open heart, that which feels good and right. That is all. One can use, or not, art system for the realization of ones work. For art per se, this is not important. Art systems are always only at the service of ideology. Better not waste words about it. In general art reflects a specific epoch. Only time will tell us what is good, bad or not art at all.
Thanks again to all who have followed me on the internet.