Does the name of the artist say more about the society or about the individual? And what kind of knowledge does the name of the artist carry?
The book includes nine essays, one interview and documentation about the Janez Janša project, which took place in the summer of 2007, when three artists from Slovenia legally changed their names to “Janez Janša,” the name of the right-wing Prime Minister at that time. Starting from the question whether it is actually an art project or rather a private gesture, as the three artists had claimed, each author explores one of the implications of this “re-naming action” and the questions it raises in different fields – from the legal aspects in a comparative study, to the media impact.
Re-naming brings to light the importance of the name as a vehicle of individuality, of property and marketability – themes that are particularly relevant in the Western art system.
The Janez Janša project is subversive as it undermines patriarchal values of capitalism, in which the name is inherited from fathers and is functional to ownership. It also gives an example of the changing identity and role of the artist in Eastern Europe, from the socialist collectivist era to the present.
Contributors: Blaž Lukan, Amelia Jones, Zdenka Badonivac, Miško Šuvaković, Catherine M. Soussloff, Tadej Kovačič, Aldo Milohnić, Antonio Caronia, Lev Kreft, Jela Krečič
The Janez Janša Project
What is the Importance of Being Janez?
Catherine M. Sousloff
In the Name of the Artist
Janez Janša as media phenomenon
Perfect-bound paperback, full color
Distributed by: Revolver
Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana
Maska – Institute for publishing, production and education, Ljubljana, 2008
Language editing: Camille Acey, Dean DeVos