Uršula Berlot, (b. Ljubljana, 1973) studied philosophy at the Faculty of Arts for two years, then painting at the Academy of Fine Arts, University of Ljubljana, and at the Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris. She received her PhD in 2010 at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana, where she has been teaching since 2009 at the Chair of Theoretical Studies.
Uršula Berlot works as a visual artist, art theorist and lecturer, whose interests lie at the intersections of art, science and philosophy. Her artistic practice focuses on the invisible and immaterial aspects of reality, and often employ technologically advanced optical research tools (radiology, microscopy) in her explorations of the liminal aspects of perception. Her experimental and research-based art practice extends across various media and genres, such as light and kinetic installations, video, drawings and virtual (mixed reality) art. In her video, light and kinetic work, Berlot investigates various forms and expressions of psycho-emotional spaces, the aesthetic and technical potential of simulated nature, and the relationships between mind, body and media.
Her artistic practice often draws inspiration from scientific concepts and modelings of physicality, focusing on natural phenomena and the formative processes behind them, such as gravity, crystallization and vaporization. While some of her work builds on explorations of magnetism, ferrofluid dynamics and simulations of the natural using (artificial) artistic means and media (Observatories 2014-2016, Fluid Topography 2014), her more recent projects employ electron microscopy and nano-scale visualizations (Inverse space 2017, Polymorphic Imprint 2017, Bodyfraction 2020), all of which were developed in collaboration with physicists from the Jožef Stefan Institute – Department for Nanostructured Materials). These explorations of microscopic-level and nano-scale dimensions touch on certain macrocosmic questions related to our awareness of space and time, and perception of matter, life and being.
A significant part of her artistic research is devoted to the phenomenon of embodied perception, the subjective experience of reality and heightened forms of perception and awareness. Her interest in phenomenology of perception, neuroscience and cognitive sciences is expressed in both her artistic practice and her theoretical research. Based on the use of radiological medical technology (MRI scans, tractography) and in collaboration with neuroscientists (Clinical Institute of Radiology, University Medical Center of Ljubljana) she has created hybrid art forms and perceptually challenging video installations such as Pulsation, Introspection (Kaleidoscopic Gaze, Spiral Floating) and Fibertract Kaleidoscope. These dematerialized site-specific video installations, characterized by highly aestheticized technologism re-contextualize the results of medical diagnostic techniques and express them in the domain of art. Like her earlier light and kinetic installations (Reflective Transitoriness 2006, Reflection 2006), they are motivated by the idea of unsettling the viewer's common comprehension of space, time, matter, and subjectivity through the creation of a challenging sensory, spatial and optical frame capable of inducing specific perceptional states of heightened reflexivity and (self)awareness.
Berlot has also addressed these topics in her theoretical research into neuroaesthetics, in her exploration of consciousness through the notions of embodied simulation, intuition and intersubjectivity in the process of creating and experiencing art (Intuition in Contemporary Art, 2017; Neuroart, Neuroaesthetics and the Question of Consciousness, 2016; Space and Spectator: Embodied Perception in the Art of Installation, 2018; Pictorial Abstractions: Visualizing Space in the Eras of Modernism and Information, 2018).
Alongside these topics, her theoretical research also focuses on certain questions related to traditional aesthetics: the question of representation, simulation and mimesis in art, the conceptualization of minimal difference in the process of aesthetic discernment, and questions related to the intricate relationship between model and copy; and mirroring and duplication in the process of reproduction (Minimal Difference and Modern Mimesis, 2016; Duchamp and Mimesis, 2011; The Space of Infrathin Difference: Non-similar Similarity in Duchamp’s Art, 2010). Other writings include Biomimesis and Contemporary Art (2011), Art Between the Natural, Technological and Mental (2009), Aspects of Light in Contemporary Visual Art and Architecture (2004), and The Idea of Nature in Contemporary Art (2002).
Uršula Berlot has received several awards for her work (Schering Stiftung and Kunstlerhaus Bethanien art residency, Berlin, 2007; Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York, 2005; KulturKontakt art residency and Henkel Youth Artist Award, Vienna, 2004). Her work has been exhibited at Today Art Museum in Beijing, Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in Berlin, BA-CA Kunstforum Tresor in Vienna, Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana, and Haus der Kulturen der Welt in Berlin. Other important exhibitions include ‘Extra/Ordinary’ Plug-in New Media Art – Contemporary Istanbul (Istanbul, 2018), Museo Illuminato, Museo Revoltella (Trieste, 2013), 3rd Quadrilateral Biennial: Media Art – Angles and Intersections, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (Rijeka, 2009), Sci-Art, Gallery Enrico Astuni (Bologna, 2009), Glow 08: Forum of Light in Art and Architecture (Eindhoven, 2008), Transmediale 08: Conspire, Haus der Kulturen der Welt (Berlin 2008), and Art’Fab: l’Art-la Femme-L’Europe (Saint-Tropez, 2006).
Education and positions2014 – present
Associate Professor, Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana.
2010 PhD, Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia. PhD thesis: Mimesis: Infra-thin Dimension of Art and Nature. Ljubljana: ALUO, University of Ljubljana, 2009.
2008 – 2014
Assistant Professor, Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana.
2004 – 2007
Assistant, Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana.
2002 Master of Arts, Academy of Fine Arts, University of Ljubljana. Master thesis: Nature. Ljubljana: ALU, University of Ljubljana, 2001
2000 DNSAP: Diplôme nationale supérieure des beaux-arts, École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts, Paris.
1998 Bachelor of Arts, Academy of Fine Arts, University of Ljubljana. Graduation thesis: The Birth of Art from the Spirit of Music (Nietzsche). Ljubljana: ALU, University of Ljubljana, 1998
1992 – 1994
Faculty of Arts, Department of Philosophy, University of Ljubljana.
1992 Graduation, Secondary School of Natural Science and Mathematics, Ljubljana.
Awards and fellowships2010 Artist residency in London, given by Ministry of Culture, Slovenia
2008 University of Ljubljana, Academy of Fine Arts and Design: The Acknowledgement For the Important Achievements in Art
2007 Ministry of Culture Working Fellowship, Slovenia
2006 Schering Stiftung Fellowship, one year artist residency at the Kunstlerhaus Bethanien in 2007, Berlin
2005 Pollock-Krasner Grant, The Pollock-Krasner Foundation, New York
2004 Henkel Youth Artist Prize and Artist in Residency Grant, given by Kulturkontakt Austria, Vienna
2004 Special prize, ‘Ex-tempore Piran’, Obalne Galerije Piran, Piran
2003 Artist residency in New York given by Ministry Of Culture, Slovenia
2003 Purchase prize, ‘Ex-tempore Piran’, Obalne Galerije Piran, Piran
2002 Grand Prix ‘Ex-tempore Piran’, Obalne Galerije Piran, Slovenia, 2002
2001 Special Award, Sakaide Art Grand Prix 2001, Sakaide
2001 First Prize, Artists in Residence Annual Exhibition, Cité Intérnationale Universitaire de Paris, Paris
Work experiences2014 – present
Associate Professor, Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana. Courses: Theory of Space in Visual Arts (MA), Spatial Conceptions, Anatomy
2009 – 2014
Assistant Professor, Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana. Courses: Spatial Conceptions, Anatomy
2006 – 2010
Lecturer, Academy of Design (Visoka šola za dizajn), Ljubljana. Courses: Theory of Colors, Visual Language
2003 – 2006
Lecturer, private School of Italian Design Istituti Callegari, Ljubljana. Courses: Visual Culture, Color Studies
Guest lecturing and conferences2018 Beaux-Arts de Paris; visiting professor. Paris, January – May 2018
Geometry Encounter 2018, Faculty of Fine Arts of the University of Porto, Porto, 7. – 10. May 2018
2015 Transparentno telo: umetnost, medicina in tehnologija. 8. kulturološki simpozij: Telo in tehnologija. Ljubljana: Fakulteta za družbene vede, Univerza v Ljubljani, 15. 4. 2015
2015 Svetloba in prostor: umetnost instalacije v 20. stoletju. Ljubljana: Fakulteta za arhitekturo, Univerza v Ljubljani, 10. 3. 2015
2014 Understanding Consciousness: Neuroart and the Value of Neuroaesthetics. The Sixth Mediterranean Congress of Aesthetics: Facts and Values in Aesthetics. Florence: Villa Finaly, 27. 6. 2014
2013 Light and Kinetic Installations. Maribor: UGM – Slavija: 19. 2. 2013
2012 Art and Science. Udine: University of Udine, 19. 10. 2012
2012 L’art au regard de la nature, du paysage et de la technologie. Clermont Ferrand: Ecole Supérieure d’Art de Clermont Métropole, 28. 3. 2012.
2012 Umetnost v dialogu z znanostjo. Kognitivna čajanka. Ljubljana: Kavarna Mestnega muzeja, 7. 6. 2012
2012 Installations Based on Radiological Brain Images. Images of the Brain. Vienna: Institut für Kunstgeschichte, Universität Wien, 25. 6. 2012
2011 Duchamp and the Notion of Optical Tactility: V. Mediterranean Congress of Aesthetics. Cartagena: Universidad de Murcia, 4th – 8th of July 2010. In: Alcaraz, Maria-José (ed.). Art, Emotion and Value. Cartagena: Universidad de Murcia, 2011, p.p. 471-478. https://www.um.es/vmca/proceedings/docs/41.Ursula-Berlot.pdf
2011 From Transparency to Reflection. Creativity in Art and Science, Schering Foundation Fellows Meeting. Berlin: Harnack-Haus, 12th -13th of May 2011
2010 Light and Space. Bergen, Norway: Bergen National Academy of the Arts, workshop: 10th – 17th of Oct., lecture: 13th, 14th of Oct. 2010
- »BODYFRACTION« 2020
- »RGB MOLECULAR« 2020
- »BODYGAZE« 2020
- »An Ascent« 2020
- »Nebulae« 2020
- »SUSPENSIONS« 2019
- »ORCINUS ORCA« 2019
- »POLYMORPHICS« 2018
- »CAST TO THE BOTTOM« 2017
- »LIQUID SOLIDITY« 2017
- »INVERSE SPACE« 2017
- »RECIPROCITY« 2017
- »FLUID TOPOGRAPHY« 2014
- »FERROCRYSTALS« 2014
- »BODYSCOPE« 2012
- »FRACTAL« 2012
- »BUTTERFLY« 2010
- »PULSATION« 2007
- »VIRTUAL GLAZING« 2006
- »ATTRACTIONS« 2005
- »INCUBATOR« 2002
- »REFLECTION« 2002
• ‘Triennial of Central European Culture and Art / The Universal’, Olomouc Museum of Art, Czech Republic (upcoming)
• ’The Radical Reverberations of the Body’ – The Duckling Festival 2020, Celje: Center for Contemporary Arts Celje