About the biennial

The Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts is one of the oldest biennials in the world. Its emergence in 1955 pinpointed Ljubljana and the visual art of Slovenia on the world map.

The Biennial is highly esteemed by international measure and is recognized as a high-quality event, whereas Slovene art has in turn become well-known outside Slovenia’s borders because of the Biennial. It is the printmakers that most widely represent Slovene art in the museums of the world, something which the Biennial contributed to, as well as inviting artists to major international exhibitions.

During its sixty years of existence, the Biennial has helped to raise the quality of Slovene artmaking. By regularly presenting the works of artists from different cultural backgrounds and artistic environments, it has had an impact on local goings on. It also greatly contributed to the formation of the Ljubljana school of graphic arts and those art pieces that represent the highlights of classic printmaking production. The Biennial took shape during a period when printmaking and its reproductive techniques grasped perfectly the disposition of art and society in general. That was precisely the time when pop art was coming to the fore in Great Britain and in the United States. Post-war capitalism, consumer society and the loose division between so-called high and low culture greatly affected the production of art. Art became an object of consumerism, yet another product on the supermarket shelf, placed next to the cans of soup, where Andy Warhol had put it. In this climate, the Biennial made a head start in becoming one of the world’s renowned art events. As the oldest manifestation of this type, it has also encouraged the emergence of similar types of events around the world.

Between the ends of the seventies and the eighties, the currents in the art world changed. The focus was again placed on the so-called originality of the artist’s hand, which pushed printmaking as a mass production technique into the background, whereas the events of the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts went through a period of crisis. The nineties re-established art inclined towards printmaking, which held an interest for the attributes of post-industrial society, environmental awareness, political correctness in various scopes and its communicative capacities. And so the International Biennial of Graphic Arts once again gained prominence. After 2001, it also began to make active connections with reproductive techniques other than printmaking, such as photography, film and computer programs. The 24th Biennial in 2001 embarked on the process of revitalization, checking the structure, organization, attitude towards the local and international public, curatorship. The self-reflection and questioning of its role will continue also with the biennials to follow.

 

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Švicarija–Ljubljana’s “nest of art”

On the European Cultural Heritage Days 2017, we invite you to join us in Tivoli Park at the Švicarija Creative Centre for a lecture on the history of this historic building and guided tour of the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts: Birth as Criterion.

Saturday, 30 September, 11.00–13.00, Švicarija Creative Centre, admission free

The history of the so-called Švicarija will be presented by Tatjana Adamič and Aleksandra Renčelj Škedelj, conservators of the Ljubljana Unit of the Slovenian Cultural Heritage Protection Institute (ZVKDS), which also actively participated in the renovation of the building.

The lecture will be followed by a guided tour of the main exhibition of the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts: Birth as Criterion in the company of art historian Gregor Dražil

The Little Biennial Dwarf Children's Corner is open during the guided tour. We provide creative art animation combined with day care, and are counting the days to the start of school. Children and accompanying adults are invited to join us free of charge.


Photo: Urška Boljkovac. MGLC Archive.

 

The 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts: Birth as Criterion

Trapped in perception?
Public guided tour of the main exhibition of the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts: Birth as Criterion, conducted by Hana Ostan Ožbolt
Tuesday, 26 September, at 5 pm, guided tour starts at MGLC

In the search for an answer to the question of how art can be approached differently, this year's 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts introduced certain innovations: the exhibition without the central figure of the curator, the process of selecting the participating artists was taken over by the artists themselves, and instead of a concept, the artists were confronted with the poem by Jure Detela Birth as Criterion, which served as a way of stimulating a response from the artists.

Hana Ostan Ožbolt will present those art projects in the guided tour that she thinks particularly emphasize the experimental structure of the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts.

Hana Ostan Ožbolt graduated in Comparative Literature and German Studies, and is currently completing her master's degree in the Department of Art History. She was part of the 15th generation of the School for Curators and Critics of Contemporary Art. She now writes occasionally and works within the field of contemporary art between Ljubljana and Berlin.

The Little Biennial Dwarf Children's Corner is open during the guided tour. We provide creative art animation combined with day care, and are counting the days to the start of school. Children and accompanying adults are invited to join us free of charge.


Photo: Urška Boljkovac. MGLC Archive.

The 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts: Birth as Criterion

This week at the Biennial

Film projection
Kenji Mizoguchi: Ugetsu (Ugetsu monogatari, 1953),
Wednesday 20 September at 8 pm,
The Slovenian Cinematheque (Miklošičeva 28)

Workshop for young pepople 14+
Experimental animated film
Thursday, 21 September, 16.30–19.30,
Švicarija Creative Centre

Public guided tours of the exhibition Maria Bonomi: Printmaking Forever (Jakopič Gallery)
Saturday, 23 September, at 16.30,
in the English language
Sunday, 24 September, at 16.30,
in the Slovenian language

The 32 Biennial of Graphic Arts on a guest visit in Prague
Saturday, 23 September, Prague (Czech Republic)
We are being hosted at the Ljubljana presentation of the architect Jožef Plečnik in the Czech capital.


Kenji Mizoguchi: Ugetsu (Ugetsu monogatari, 1953),