Binarna Zdravljíca could be described as a minimal-conceptual work. A white on white tactile labyrinth that appears and disappears based on light. The artwork dives into the world of computers, mathematics, linguistics, and geometry, while showcasing Slovenian history, poetry and the interrelation between all these disciplines.
When Merhi visited the center of Ljubljana in 2016 he saw the Prešeren Monument, a bronze statue of the Slovene national poet France Prešeren. The statue faces the window where his adored Julija Primic used to live. The window has a small sculpture of Julija. The artist immediately felt in love with the story of Prešeren and Julija. When he was back to the Tivoli Mansion, he saw some text in gold color and calligraphic style engraved in the pavement. He asked about it and was told that it was the Slovene National Anthem (Zdravljíca), a poem written by France Prešeren in 1844. At that moment he knew that he had to do something with it.
For Merhi, poetry is as important as oxygen. But the artist doesn’t follow the traditional path. He combines poetry with computer code to create new forms of visual expression. Merhi developed a system to display any form of text as geometric patterns. He first translates the text into binary code, replaces the ones and zeros with lines, converts the data into a vector graphics format, and then compresses the image to make one continuous block. He applied this procedure to the Zdravljíca. However, he didn’t make a print employing ink. Instead, he transferred the image to paper by means of a blind embossing technique.