Cycle of Guatemalan Film at the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts

 

Tuesday, 29 August, 17.00–21.00 (premiere), Švicarija Creative Centre
Sunday, 8 August, 16.00–20.00 (repeat screening), Švicarija Creative Centre

Free of charge.

The cycle of eight documentary, fiction and short films shows three views of the turbulent history of Guatemala: The period of the Civil War, the postwar period and the experimental age of Guatemalan film. The selector of the cycle is Alberto Rodríguez Collía, a participating artist in the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts.

Film evening programme
Mary Ellen Davis: The Devil's Dream (Las quimeras del Diablo)
Luis Argeta: Guatemalan Christmas (Navidad Guatemalteca)
Diego Sagastume: My Mom Rules
Evelyn Price in Loco González: Anatomically Correct (Anatómicamente correcto)
Julio Hernández Cordón: Dust (Polvo)                      
Teatro de los Vagos: The Intertidal Zone (La zona intertidal)
Juan Brenner in Byron Mármol: Joy Vincio
Carlos Amorales: Orellana's Fantasy

The viewing of the films is free of charge. There is one break with refreshments during the cycle.

 

THE DEVIL'S DREAM
Mary Ellen Davis
, Canada, 1992, 68'
Combining lyricism, realism and irony, this documentary explores the soul of this paradoxical country. We discover not only the beauty of the landscape, the people and their creative imagination, but also the wretched conditions of life, the spectre of violence and a pervasive sense of the absurd.
Guatemala is a society split between native and non-native, rich and poor, civil and military. Those who dare to protest, risk their lives. In this documentary, the people tell the story in their own words.

GUATEMALAN CHRISTMAS
Luis Argeta, Guatemala
, USA, 1976, 4'
In the middle of a house in ruins after the earthquake trembled, two women are preparing a ritual by killing a turkey. They proceed to serve its blood while we hear that a typewriter machine sound converts into a machine gun firing.

MY MOM RULES
Diego Sagastume
, Guatemala, 2010, 13'
On a flat roof, a bored child wanders completely alone, lurking for anything that may be a source of entertainment. Anything will work to kill the time in an almost desperate loneliness driven by abandon.

ANATOMICALLY CORRECT
Evelyn Price and Loco González
, Guatemala, 2016, 12'
This is a video that captures a non traditional theatre play that was performed in an abandoned house. Among the rubble, a woman erupts with a visceral monologue, crawls up the walls, slides on the floor trying to relieve herself of the pressure from a complicated existence lead by an oppressive society.

DUST
Julio Hernández Cordón
, Guatemala, Spain, Chile, Germany, 2012, 80'
A married couple produce a documentary about women looking for their husbands and fathers who disappeared during the Guatemalan Civil War. Amongst them, they meet Delfina and her son Juan. After sixteen years, the woman continues to search for her husband. The ghost of Juan's disappeared father chases him constantly, until he finds himself in danger of his own life and those of others.

THE INTERTIDAL ZONE
Teatro de los Vagos
, Guatemala, Salvador, 1980, 15'
A compromised teacher encourages his students to stand for what they believe in. We follow the courageous teacher in the period during the protests as he chats after class or grades students' papers alone in his quiet house. He lives close to the ocean, where the low tide sometimes reveals sombre surprises.

JOY VINCIO
Juan Brenner and Byron Mármol
, Guatemala, 2011, 14'
Through an intricate, complex and stylish perception, ten stories from the 1990s in Guatemala are reinterpreted. Some stories had a profound impact on a generation, others, on just a single person. Teenage sex tapes, an aristocrat murderer, or a magician hiding his sexual preferences to his family, are among the stories.

ORELLANA'S FANTASY
Carlos Amorales
, Mexico, 2013, 6'
Joaquín Orellana is a contemporary musician, his work spans for more than 50 years. He is renowned for creating very singular instruments that require a precise way of performing on them. He also had to create a new way of writing and reading music, a new method needed for a correct interpretation of his music. The vigorous and simplistic traces of this new alphabet, combined with its performance, remind of a beautiful choreographed dance.

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From the Biennial Prize Winners Collection: Shifts in the Canon

Robert Jančovič, Rez I Nazenie-Pasca/, 1996, colour woodcut

 

Exhibition:

From the Biennial Prize Winners Collection: Shifts in the Canon

7 November 2019–23 February 2020

Every review of the history of the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts is also informed by the stories inscribed by the prize winners of this exhibition. The selection made by the jury members – esteemed and influential art critics, curators, art dealers and other experts from all over the world – was, for many years, the only intervention into the seemingly multitudinous mass of exhibited artworks. The eagerly awaited and often critically-acclaimed decisions imparted the event with a touch of creative competition and were the driving force of the discourse that was generated by the exhibition in the professional and general public as well as the media. After every Biennial, when the hundreds of exhibited prints disappeared from the halls and what remained was only their trace in the form of an exhibition catalogue, a handful of selected works and artists – the winners chosen by the most prominent international jury – were inscribed into the history of the biennial in capital letters, and hence into the annals of worldwide printmaking.

In a sense, the exhibition of works by the prize winners from the collection of the MGLC – International Centre of Graphic Arts aims to get us thinking about the message of the awards of the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts in the context of the canon of post-war art. Most often, the jury did not validate the Biennial’s basic guidelines regarding the quality of the artworks, nevertheless, their decisions spoke volumes in various other ways. The wavering between the need to consolidate already established directions and discover new, unknown ones can be noticed throughout.

On the other hand, the exhibition offers an insight into the collecting policy of MGLC, an institution based precisely on the heritage of the Biennial. Particularly those works that have been acquired by the museum through purchase and donation in the recent period and works that have not been especially exposed will be on display. They have been arranged chronologically into three main sections from the first exhibition of prints in 1955 to the present.

The shifts in the exhibited works from the first two periods, from 1955 to 1977, and from 1979 to 2001, can primarily be seen in the form and content of the graphic print. The prints demonstrate the emergence and consolidation of new artistic directions in the 1960s and 1970s, especially the distinct aesthetics of art informel, geometric abstraction and pop art. From the pool, not lacking in art celebrities of the older generation, the juries often awarded the most coveted prizes to young artists, the rising stars with highly innovative artistic insights.

The shifts in the printmaking of the late 1970s can also be seen in the award-winning works. With the era of popularity of the more contemporary printmaking techniques having subsided, classical ones, especially intaglio printing, came to the fore again, along with the greater popularity of smaller formats and more intimate subject matter. The award-winning works from the 1980s and 1990s do not bring about any essential artistic innovation, but rather exhibit an interlacement and diversification of established aesthetics and approaches.

With the new millennium, the Biennial experienced some radical shifts and breaks. The display of works in national pavilions was replaced by an original, curatorial approach, which has recently undergone attempts at inquiry and experimentation. At the same time, the range of artwork formats has gradually expanded. A leap from classical printmaking to the art of printing in a diversity of techniques occurred, whereas later the Biennial has also adopted performative as well as other contemporary practices. The two processes have, of course, also impacted the meaning of the prizes and the physical dimensions of the awarded works.

Authors of the exhibition: Nevenka Šivavec, Breda Škrjanec and Gregor Dražil