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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ARCHIVE

ANNOUNCING A NEW EXHIBITION

Nataša Berk: 1st Unlimited Edition

2. 4.–19. 5. 2019

Opening:
2 April, at 7 pm
Švicarija

The exhibition is part of the year-long programme of Švicarija, which in 2019 focuses on the analysis of the state of independent journalism and the right of the public to information in pursuit of the slogan community, art and nature. The participating artists question the credibility of images and their meanings at a time of the oversaturation with visual impulses and analyse the ambiguity of media messages on the world wide web.

The spatial intervention by Nataša Berk and the group of artists at Švicarija presents their diverse visual production, which usually takes place in the virtual space of the world wide web and social networks. On this occasion, it has moved into a physical space. Together, they explore the phenomenology of the image within public circulation and its impact on the perception of reality. In ironic ways, they address the norms of the advertising industry, the tendencies of the mass media, voyeurism and the social convention of the individual’s appearance. Thus, works devoted to the consideration of the nature of the image in everyday life are presented as part of the exhibition. In such a way, photographs, videos and collages open up the questions of understanding visual culture in an era when the public space has become saturated with contents and images, questions about the manipulation of the image and the ambivalence of its meanings.    

Curator: Miha Colner


Photo: Nataša Berk.

THE 1ST GUIDED TOUR OF THE EXHIBITION

TODAY

Photographic Images and Matter: Japanese Prints of the 1970s and
Japan, Yugoslavia and the Biennial of Graphic Arts: Documents of Collaboration

Tuesday, March 26, at 5.30 pm
in English
at 5 pm in Slovenian

Admission for the exhibition, the guided tour is free.
Conducted by Gregor Dražil, Museum Information Officer.

Warmly welcome!

Opening of the exhibition

Photographic Images and Matter: Japanese Prints of the 1970s and
Japan, Yugoslavia and the Biennial of Graphic Arts: Documents of Collaboration

opening:
Friday, March 22, at 6 pm

22. 3.–19. 5. 2019

The exhibition is made up of two sections. The first, bearing the title Photographic Images and Matter: Japanese Prints of the 1970s, is dedicated to Japanese printmaking of the 1970s and was organised by the Japan Foundation, while the second, the documentary section, is entitled Japan, Yugoslavia and the Biennial of Graphic Arts: Documents of Collaboration and has been prepared by the International Centre of Graphic Arts.

The travelling exhibition Photographic Images and Matter, with a selection of the most representative artists, presents the orientations within Japanese printmaking of the 1970s, which was the golden age of the print medium in Japan. The curator of the exhibition Kyoji Takizawa has made an attractive selection of artists, who have received many awards within the international arena and form the core of the modernist and avant-garde scene of the 1970s.

The documentary exhibition Japan, Yugoslavia and the Biennial of Graphic Arts: Documents of Collaboration, on the other hand, illuminates one of the many socio-artistic chapters tied to the history of the Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana. Through the selection of pictorial, archival, photographic and other material, it aims to show the communication between the geographically and politically disparate countries as part of an ambitious international art event like the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts. Exhibition authors are Nevenka Šivavec and Gregor Dražil.

The exhibition is accompanied by an international symposium under the same title, taking place in the month of May.

Exhibition design: Ivian Kan Mujezinović and Mina Fina.


Tetsuya Noda: Diary, September 11, '68 (woodcut and silkscreen).