The Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts Through The Poster

6 August − 3 December 2015

NLB Gallery Avla

opening 6 August 11 a. m.

Nowadays, as we are surrounded by images and messages displayed on various media, the poster, as the oldest form of visual communication, has already been pushed aside. The history of the poster is closely connected with invention and development of print and it flourished with development of industrial and consumerist society. The poster, which conveys cultural and artistic messages, reached its peak at the turn of the 20th century. Today such a poster is more than anything else a collectable and it no longer pursues its basic mission, which is attracting crowds to arts and culture events. Now collections of posters make it possible for us to follow and interpret cultural and historical events.

The Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts is an event that has chosen not to abandon the poster, even though the organiser is fully aware of its value, which is now somewhat cultural and historical rather than communicational. An overview of the Biennial through its posters is at the same time an overview of historical developments, tastes over time, and also the development of local graphic design.

This year it has been 60 years since the 1st international graphic exhibition was organised under the baton of a nine-member Organisation Committee, presided by France Stele. Secretary General at the time was Zoran Kržišnik, who later became its spiritual leader. It is evident from the minutes of the Organisation Committee that they set the framework and structure of the exhibition, criteria and technical rules for the exhibitors and the scope of visual communications to accompany the exhibition. At their second meeting they decided that a bilingual catalogue and poster would come along with the exhibition. Riko Debenjak started working on the poster, and a wood engraving Dance of Kurent, carnival figures from Ptuj, made by France Mihelič, was later selected as its leading graphic. It was printed in 500 copies and a Pablo Picasso’s graphic found its way to the cover of the catalogue due to the set of circumstances at the time. (Picasso's graphics arrived at the exhibition at the last moment, when the catalogue was already placed in the press, so the Committee decided at its 12th meeting to put a reproduction of a Picasso’s graphic on the cover, which was initially supposed to feature a graphic by Miha Maleš.)

From the first to the eighth international graphic arts exhibition, the process of making a poster was based on an invitation sent out to the artists to outline it. Ivan Picelj’s poster for the 5th international exhibition most likely broke with tradition because it was so different from previous posters. It was no longer a reproduction of an artwork laced with typography of letters, but a contemporary graphic design transmitting visual communication about this particular art event. Next year the Committee invited Jože Brumen to participate and the way he saw the visual image of the entire exhibition was so elemental, that he created both the poster and the catalogue cover (by reproducing a Riko Debenjak), and he also made a logotype by building upon the design of the previous Picelj’s posters. Since 1969 the poster and the cover of the catalogue represented a part of the Biennial design, which was practically always based on a concrete graphic arts collection, and after 1975 on a graphic of one of the award-winning artists from the previous Biennial. After 1971 the Biennial posters were therefore based on graphics by Janez Bernik, Adriana Maraž, Tetsuya Noda, Andrej Jemec, Lojze Logar, Dan Allison, Günther Uecker and other. This convention was interrupted by the 24th International Biennial of Graphic Arts in the new millennium, which revived the exhibition by challenging its structure, internal organisation, relations with the local and international public and the performance of the curator, and also by bringing a new promotional approach with new designs and tools unifying the visual identity of this event. Same as the difference in the concept of future Biennials, a constantly changing design by a different designers or a group of designers who were allowed to use visuals as they saw fit has also become its regular feature. Art graphics as the basis for visual communication has disappeared from the poster, replaced by graphic elements composing the visual identity of each upcoming event.

mag. Breda Škrjanec

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ARCHIVE

Drop-in zine workshop with Hamja Ahsan

Saturday, 28 September, 10.00–18.00, DobraVaga

Hamja Ahsan is an artist, activist and curator, who lives and works in London. He is the author of Shy Radicals: Antisystemic Politics of the Militant Introvert and the founder of the DIY Cultures festival of creative activism, fanzines and independent publishing. He is presenting himself at the Biennial with a referendum and inviting visitors to the venues of the Ljubljana Biennial to vote for these zones to join the seceded Aspergistan Federation. He will be conducting a drop-in (fan)zine workshop with visitors over the age of 18, which will reflect the message of the Biennial exhibition.

Advance bookings are appreciated, to be made to petra.derganc@mglc-lj.si.

Free of charge.

Foto: Urška Boljkovac. Archive: MGLC.

WE WISH YOU GOOD MORNING AT MULTIVISION!

As part of the Multivision project (www.multivizija.si), which explores the diversity of identities through multimedia creation, we are organising relaxed morning conversations with interesting dialogue partners to talk about identities, otherness as an experience of social exclusion, and socially engaged creation in response to the social challenges of contemporary society.

We invite you to join us for relaxed morning conversations with three interesting women over tea or coffee at Švicarja in Tivoli, in the inspiring ambience of the Batič Sculpture Studio, from 10.30 to 11.00.

On 7 August 2019, with singer-songwriter, researcher, mentor and publicist Katarina Juvančič, who will take us through the musical creation of stories about women.

On 21 August 2019, with researcher and scientist Mirjam Milharčič Hladnik, PhD, who will introduce us to the concept of assembled identities.

On 4 September 2019, with writer, researcher and scientist Svetlana Slapšak, PhD, who will take us into the interweavings of science and art that talk about women, identities and love.

All welcome!

The event is part of the Multivision: Multimedia, Dance and Theatre Training for Vulnerable Groups project. The project is funded by the European Union from the European Social Fund and the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia. 

The event is organised by the APIS Institute in collaboration with the International Centre of Graphic Arts.

* The conversations will be recorded and subsequently posted on the web and the social networks.

TUESDAY GUIDED TOURS

6. 8.–27. 8. 2019  Multiple venues

Every Tuesday in August a guided tour of the galleries in the city centre will be held, starting at 18.30, meeting point at Equrna Gallery.

Guided tour with reflection on the Biennial

Tuesday, 17 September, 17.00

Guided tour starts at MGLC.

Admission payable, guided tour free of charge.

Photo: Urška Boljkovac. Arhiv: MGLC.