OSKAR ANDREJ KOGOJ

who was born on the 23rd of November 1942 in Miren near Gorica, is a world-famous industrial designer, academic and, above all, an artist.

He attended the High School of Design (Industrial Design program) in Ljubljana, where he was taught by Bogomila and Marjan Pogačnik, Miloš Požar and other former students of Jože Plečnik. Kogoj continued his studies at the Scuola Ai Carmini in Venice and graduated in industrial design at the Istituto Statale d´Arte – Corso superiore di Disegno Industriale in 1966 (professors G. Mazzariol, M. De Luigi, M. Bellini, P. Torsello, G. Palatini, I. Zannier).
From 1957 to 1959, he also attended the »Nikolaj Pirnat« painting school in Nova Gorica, which was directed by Rafael Nemec, a Slovenian academic painter.
In 1961/62, Kogoj created the famous mosaic of Our Lady of Sorrows, which was designed by Tone Kralj (Slovenian painter) and is still located on the facade of the church of the Miren castle.

After completing his studies, he worked as an assistant at the Instituto Statale d´Arte – Corso superiore di Disegno Industriale in Venice and as a consultant to the Baby Mark company in Milan until 1969. From 1969 to 1971, he worked in the Research and Design Department of the Meblo furniture company in Nova Gorica. From 1972 to 1975, he worked as an assistant professor at the Department of Industrial Design of the Universita Internazionale di Venezia e Firenze.

During his studies, he visited France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Finland, Russia, Great Britain, USA, Mexico, Greece, Cyprus, Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, India, Thailand and Japan.

He acquired the status of freelance designer in 1971 and received the Prešeren Foundation Award the same year.

He is a member of many international art and design associations, such as ADI, DOS, ICSID, BEDA and ICOGRADA. In 1991, he co-founded the »Slovenska dvanajstija« association at the Saint Fortunate’s in Slovenia and is still a member. He has also been a member (Member No. 821) of the Circollo Artistico Veneziano association since 1996. He has been teaching postgraduate students at the University of Nova Gorica since 2004. In 2006, he became a member of the Timeless Slovenian Design Collection.

He has participated in numerous group exhibitions since 1963 and has had many solo exhibitions since 1970.
His works of art are kept in more than 100 museums and permanent collections all over the world. He has exhibited his works in more than 350 exhibitions in Slovenia and abroad and received more than 50 different international awards and recognitions for his outstanding work since 1969.


Oskar Kogoj, a Slovenian design ikon, can create unforgettable shapes through his touch and charisma. His designs do not only go down in the history of design but also touch the souls of those who obtain his creations.

We could say that he is a creator of images, for he, in a way, creates Slovenian fashion in terms of art and lifestyle, which he constantly shapes through his sensitivity to his surroundings and ability to coexist with it.
He is highly sensitive to the integration of the human soul with the laws of nature, and therefore his ideas are combinations of the transcendental with the material reality.

We should not forget that he is deeply committed to Slovenian tradition and open to the world as a whole at the same time. He is a great explorer of the forgotten knowledge of old civilisations, a worshipper of nature and a seeker of the truth.
His spirituality is strongly reflected in his work.

He says: »I never start a project without a spiritual experience. There is a lot of mental effort behind every task. Spiritual research and discussions, which are my way of preparing for a task, can last for several months or even years. Only then, the elements of a construction start forming in my mind. The process of design comes last, like clothing upon the body.

I have always been (and am still) searching, discovering, identifying myself and inventing without separating myself from the world I live in. I have found some answers in ancient worlds, in faith and faiths, in philosophy and reality, but I have still not answered all of my questions. When I seek, I create – I create, because I seek.
The search for the perfect form or perfection is a long process in one’s development. It can be like meditation and a search for what lies within us, for our inner divine substance. Aristotle and Plato said: "Man is the measure of all things! Man is creation and creation is man!" Man’s true revelation comes when he finds himself and realises that he himself is the creator!
A shape is energy, a shape is nature and nature is God’s creation. Art and design are an expression of one’s mental mood and suitable inspiration, which an artist strives to capture in a material form in order to create a legacy for future generations. At the same time, art reflects the culture and life of a certain nation or civilisation, which expresses its inner feelings and spiritual world in a visible form. Spiritual expression, artistic and technical truths, true art and true design can only come from a pure heart.«

That is how Kogoj describes his work. He is an artist who designs and creates various items from natural materials and integrates into them the knowledge he has obtained through research of thousand-year-old cultures – from Egyptian to Aztec civilisations, from Etruscan to Jewish as well as Venetic, Epidaurus and Vedas cultures.

In conclusion, we can say that Kogoj is a teacher of many and yet remains a student of his own teachers, among which Bhagavan Sri Sathia Sai Baba from India is closest to him.
In terms of self-searching, he remains a constant seeker and explorer as well as a critical observer and listener.

He lives and works in Miren, his home village.

STUDIO – KOGOJ’S CREATIVE CENTRE


Oskar Kogoj creates his works of art in his studio, which is arranged so that it evokes the creative process. He calls his studio the CREATIVE CENTRE.

As a designer, he believes that life is one long research process, and thus his research work is the most important to him. He says that he could not get any work done if he did not have the opportunity to explore and experiment.

Therefore, he works in an environment that is rich with energy and yet is energetically clean at the same time.
It is difficult to capture from a single viewpoint all of the details of Kogoj’s studio, to see all of the repetitive beauty that a designer can discover and extract from everything around him, including a stone floor, a wooden table or a shape that he takes from nature and brings into his creative process.
When in his creative space, he is always near the Vipava River, which is a part of the yard where he works and a part of his childhood, for the river has been his companion since his earliest days.

In his studio, his apartment and his yard, there are many small details that are of great importance. Each detail has a history, an interesting secret that is hard to explain. Each detail speaks about the years the artist spent researching, designing, creating and longing for things that are good, beautiful, honest, pure, energy-rich...


OSKAR KOGOJ AND NATURE’S METAPHYSICS


What is the secret of Oskar Kogoj’s design? How does he manage to create works of art that gain our admiration time again and again, despite the fact that consumerism and consumption are taking over Western society, a society becoming obsessed with changing and discarding everything that is not completely new and modern?

It seems that Oskar Kogoj’s productions and works of art manage to free us from the bonds of tedious habits and fashion trends. They promise to be our companions for life. They comfort us by making us know that they will outlive us and pass on to our descendants something that we used to own, admire and love.

That is usually the fate of all works of art, and therefore we can safely say that the designer from Miren has an incredible ability to give an artistic touch to everyday objects. Kogoj’s creations demand admiration. They invite us to touch them, caress them and use them to our benefit. His chairs, for example, are both beautiful and extremely comfortable. His cups are cut in an energetic, rich and rustic fashion to prolong our pleasure as we slowly sip wine and chat. Even tap water, which comes from the water supply systems of our polluted cities, seems to become fresh and pure again in Kogoj’s glass masterpieces.

Kogoj’s design, his so-called nature design, not only brings to life forms borrowed from nature, but also and above all strives to create shapes that would cause us to recognise and appreciate nature’s life energy again (energy design).
Kogoj does not limit his research to observing and admiring nature but wishes to understand nature’s secrets. Therefore, he explores forgotten knowledge, rediscovers the teachings of ancient and traditional cultures and applies them to his design (he seeks inspiration in archaeological artefacts and ethnology), for he believes that old cultures had an intense, genuine and certainly unspoiled relationship with nature.

Primordial energy? Hidden forces of nature? Is Oskar Kogoj an esoteric author? I wouldn’t say so. Let’s just say the designer from Miren is mysterious in his own way. Nature, to him, is the materialisation of the supernatural, the secret of creation. Kogoj’s design is based upon biological, voluptuous, sensual shapes, which are always associated with the female as the source of life, the primordial goddess, the Neolithic Venus, the mighty mother and Mother Nature. God and Nature are one and the same!

Roberto Roda, Ferrara

GALERIJA OSKAR KOGOJ  NATURE DESIGN, Katjuša Kogoj Mužina s.p., Miren 125, 5291 Miren
telefon 00386 (0)5 395 42 00   fax 00386 (0)5 30 544 33   email oskar.kogoj@siol.net
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