25th International Biennial of Graphic Arts

From the Cradle to the Grave, Selected Drawings by Damien Hirst

10 June−28 September 2003



25th International Biennial of Graphic Arts at Moderna galerija, installation view.
Photo: Bojan Salaj.

Christophe Cherix, curator of the Graphic Arts Cabinet of the Museum of Art and History in Geneva, conceived the Biennial as a complex display including an exhibition of contemporary graphic work, a documentary exhibition about the history of the International Biennial of Graphic Arts from 1955 to date, prepared by Breda Škrjanec, and a symposium entitled "The Producers," led by Lionel Bovier, on the relationship between publishers and artists.
The exhibition of contemporary graphic work wass based on the importance of the multiplied image as a means of communication. The common feature of the exhibited works − artists' books, newspapers and magazines, photocopies, posters, newspaper interventions and projects, and prints − was the fact that they document the artists' ideas about their realized or unrealized, past or future projects.

Artists and projects:
John M Armleder, Art & Project, Vesna Bukovec, Vidya Gastaldon, Isa Genzken, Liam Gillick, Fabrice Gygi, Pierre Huyghe & Philippe Parreno, Irwin, Ivana Keser, Antinomian Press (Ben Kinmont), Kiosk, Ivan Kožarić, Polonca Lovšin, M/M, Lucy McKenzie, Robert Morris, Gianni Motti, museum in progress, Onestar Press, Raymond Pettibon, Permanent Food (Maurizio Cattelan & Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster), Seth Price, Tadej Pogačar & P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Museum of Contemporary Art, Allen Ruppersberg, Anamarija Šmajdek, Josh Smith, Erik Steinbrecher, Xavier Veilhan, Dan Walsh.

Locations:
International Centre of Graphic Arts, Moderna Galerija, the Gallery at Cankarjev Dom, The National Museum of Slovenia, Park Tivoli, the billboards of Proreklam-Europlakata, the newspapers Dnevnik, Delo and Der Standard.

The catalogue of the 25th Biennial of Graphic Arts

The 25th Biennial of Graphic Arts was accompained by a catalogue in Slovene and English which received the prize for the most beautiful book in Switzerland in 2005.


From the Cradle to the Grave, Selected Drawings by Damien Hirst

As the award winner of the 24th International Biennial of Graphic Arts in 2001, Damien Hirst had a solo exhibition at the 25th Biennial. He exhibited a comprehensive volume of his drawings, ranging from the humorous ones made for friends to preparatory sketches for his installations and paintings. Over one hundred works, loaned from public and private collections, as well as the artist himself, were on view. This was the first presentation ever of Hirst's drawings and his first personal exhibition since he took a break in 2000.

A catalogue in the form of a newspaper was published to accompany the exhibition.
The exhibition was organized by the British Council. Producer: International Centre of Graphic Arts 
Biennial is supported by: Adria Airways, AFAA, Autocommerce, British Council, Cultura 2000, Delo, Dnevnik, Embajada de Espana, Gorenje, Institut français Charles Nodier, Istituto Italiano di Cultura in Slovenia, Lek, Ministarstvo za kulturu Republike Hrvatske, Mlinotest, Mondrian Stiftung, Österreichisches Kulturforum, Petrol, Ljubljana, Prohelvetia, Proreklam-Europlakat, RTV Slovenija, Samex, Schweizerische Botschaft.

 

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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