The 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts: Birth as Criterion
16. 6.–29. 10. 2017
The 32nd edition of the Biennial of Graphic Arts, in collaboration and in co-production with many partners, once again delivers an extensive array of exhibitions and events. The main exhibition entitled Birth as Criterion, which will be on display at MGLC (Tivoli Mansion) and in the newly renovated Švicarija Creative Centre, was this time subjected to an interesting experiment through which the main Biennial exhibition was gradually drawn up in its selection of artists. A simple mechanism was used: the recipients of the Grand Prize of the past five Biennial editions – Jeon Joonho (2007), Justseeds (2009), Regina José Galindo (2011), María Elena González (2013) and Ištvan Išt Huzjan (2015) – were invited to propose one artist to participate in this year's event. These artists were then invited to nominate the next five participating artists. The process consisted of five more rounds and at the end, the 32nd Biennial was supplied by the names of about thirty participating artists. By doing so, the thirty-second Biennial edition sets a transgressive moment for its biennial starting point, aiming to radically transform – not only the content of the event, but also its structure. This is already suggested by its title Birth as Criterion, which alludes to the poem of modernist twentieth century poet Jure Detela – a poem that provided the surge for self-reflection, which the Biennial has subjected itself to. Or in other words, even when the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts rejects the framework of a thematic exhibition, it stems from a poem. Yet, this is such that it resists to provide a leading theme to the exhibition, but calls for a break with its radical questioning of all polarity. The break introduced by Jure Detela's poem resonates in the rhizomatic structure of this year's Biennial, which – without the central figure of the curator – instead functions as an entity that produces its own self. By leaving its comfort zone, whether in terms of biennial tradition or established protocols of conceiving contemporary art exhibitions, Birth as Criterion foregrounds a diversity of relationships – a multiplicity that does not possess a single common concept, but instead exists as a continuous flow of meaning, offering a multitude of potential connections and interactions among the artworks.
In addition to the main exhibition Birth as Criterion (MGLC, Švicarija and ŠKUC Gallery), the thirty-second Biennial also presents the traditional exhibition of the winner of the Grand Prize of the previous Biennial, this time Ištvan Išt Huzjan, a presentation of work by Peter Gidal, winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award of the 31st Biennial, a project by the winner of the Audience Award of the 31st Biennial of Graphic Arts, Meta Grgurevič, a Maria Bonomi retrospective at the Jakopič Gallery, as well as a vibrant discursive programme with an international symposium. As far as other projects are concerned, there is also the international billboard project a good neighbour in cooperation with the Istanbul Biennial, the book presenting the work of Argentinean poet Alejandra Pizarnik, as well as the print portfolio of the artists included in the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts on display at the Kresija Gallery.