Primož Bizjak

Guard Post

Vrtojba 2005, slide projection

The geography of Europe changed radically after 1989. We might define the prefix ex- as a symbol of a complete internal transformation of Europe. The former ”ex-” Europe had borders beyond natural borders, and often beyond the historical and social borders, too. It defined special ”extraterritorial” military zones where civilian life was strictly subject to military supervision. The military state border is a dividing and supervising force, it creates a sort of invisible presence which reaches deep into natural, populated areas. At the same time, it defines the modest usage of the civilian population in these areas. The ex military border surrenders the territory to a temporary, hanging dimension, a sort of no-man’s land. It no longer serves the function of exercising better control and threatening anyone who approaches, it simply drifts into oblivion, into the functional void of a Europe that no longer exists. The function-less military border is thus left not only to natural colonization, but to also to that slower, discrete colonization caused by man and the civilian society... 
R. Caldura: Photographing the border – reflections on the work of Primož Bizjak

A few months after leaving the Yugoslav Armed Forces, my father and I cycled a large portion of the so-called ”patrol route”. This route was used by military personnel to constantly control the state border. Just a few months had passed without military presence in the area and the route had already begun to fade away slowly. That route marked one of the beginnings, although I was not yet completely aware at the time of the numerous works I would later develop on the subject of the border. The ”frozen-in-time” areas which had lost their primary function became one of the main subjects of my work. From the Italian-Slovenian border via the Venetian lagoon, all the way to Madrid. This gave me the opportunity to showcase my curiosity, interpretation and poeticism in numerous independent and group exhibitions abroad.
P. Bizjak