My Name Is Janez Janša is a 2012 documentary film about three contemporary artists, one of them the film director, who in 2007 all changed their name to that of Janez Janša, the then Prime Minister of Slovenia.
Signified as an artistic gesture this particular name change provoked a wide range of interpretations in art circles in Slovenia and abroad as well as among journalists and the general public. From banter to conspiracy. In the documentary individuals, artists and academics from all over the world share their thoughts about the meaning and purpose of one’s name from both private and public perspectives. Reasons for changing one's name are explored as the film draws references from history, popular culture and individual experiences.
In Slovenia the film has been labelled as pornographic and as degenerate art by some of the press close to the government. On the other hand, the director of Slovenian Film Centre in his analysis said that the film is not to be judged by politicians, but by film critics and the audience.
The idea for this documentary sprang from a personal experience. In 2007, I legally changed my name, together with two other Slovenian artists, to Janez Janša. Janez Janša was the Prime Minister of Slovenia at the time and suddenly there were more Janez Janšas acting together within the same physical and media space. The system of reference of names started to crack…
This made me reflect on issues such as identity vs identification, multiplicity vs multiplication, the name as an interface between the private and the public, and the personal name as a brand.
I have dealt with these and many other questions in numerous lectures/presentations at various universities and museums around the world. On these occasions, I started discovering dramaturgical possibilities of the story that I was telling and constantly reshaping, amending with regard to the audiences’ responses. The draft for the script of the film My Name Is Janez Jansa was thus the result of a series of direct interactions with the audience. The theatrical piece “The more of us there are, faster we’ll reach our goal” served as a study for the script as well.
For Janez Janša, Janez Janša and Janez Janša, life, artistic practice, theoretical reflection and political involvement are not divided. For almost 10 years now, through their work, they have been building a complex narrative structure on topics such as proper names, identity and the signature, particularly focusing on the legal aspect of art practices and on the political imaginary in law. The central characteristic of their production is an ambivalence on multiple layers, crossing the borders of formal and media conventions.
Janez Janša is a visual artist, working in the cross section of traditional visual art practices, conceptual art and new media. In 2003 he represented Slovenia at 50th Venice Biennial. He showed his work in Sao Paolo biennial, Prague Biennial, Limerick Biennial and on numerous other venues.
Janez Janša is artist, writer, performer and director of interdisciplinary performances as well as conceptual and visual artworks. His work contains strong critical and political dimension and it is focused on the relation between art and social and political context. He is author of the book JAN FABRE – La Discipline du chaos, le chaos de la discipline, Armand Colin, Paris 1994) and has been editor in chief of MASKA, performing arts journal from 1999 to 2006. He is the director of Maska, institute for publishing, production and education based in Ljubljana, Slovenia.
Janez Janša is a conceptual artist, performer and producer living in Ljubljana, Slovenia. He is the author of numerous videos, performances, installations, and new media works which have been presented in several exhibitions, festivals and lectures around the world. He is the director of the film My Name Is Janez Janša, co-founder and director of Aksioma – Institute for Contemporary Art, Ljubljana and artistic director of the Aksioma | Project Space.