The 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts - Artist Talks  

The Artist Talks series presents some of the participating artists of the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts. The series aims to introduce the art practice of a particular artist to the broader public, as well as to encourage a dialogue between the artist and the local cultural protagonists. The setting of the Artist Talks invites informal discussion on the presented art practice, but also ways of making connections between the visiting artists and the local context.

ARTIST TALK WITH CARLOS MONROY

Tuesday, 25 April, at 6 pm, Lecture Room (MGLC ground floor)

His work is mainly based on performance, within which he explores the potential of the body that turns into a political and aesthetic tool at the moment it becomes conscious of its own revolutionary potential to criticize, praise and reveal the ways in which the state, capital and violence, as well as social pressure, affect our lives. Carlos Monroy develops work in various mediums with these notions in mind. He lives and works torn between Bogotá and São Paolo.

      

Photos/ Carlos Monroy: Latino Love 2, Sabedoria. Courtesy of the artist.

ARTIST TALK WITH ALEJANDRO PAZ

Wednesday, 5 April, at 6 pm, Lecture Room (ground floor)

Alejandro Paz, one of the visiting artists of the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts, will present his art practice as part of the programme. Because of the open structure of this year's Biennial, Alejandro Paz is currently in Ljubljana exploring the context within which he will position his work for the Biennial.

Alejandro Paz is an artist and architect who lives and works in Guatemala. He has carried out projects within the field of architecture and design in the United States, Guatemala and Central America. His art practice deals with the political and social aspects of constructing individual and collective identities. He often expresses himself through socially sensitive performances and installations, carried out in the public space. For his performance Guardaespaldas (April 2002), he hired a bodyguard to protect a tramp during his "work day" on the streets of Guatemala City. He has exhibited in solo and group exhibitions, at the Biennial in Havana and São Paulo. Alejandro Paz was chosen to participate in the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts by Regina Jose Galindo, winner of the 29th Biennial of Graphic Arts.

Photos: Alejandro Paz: Guardaespaldas (2002). Courtesy of the artist.

 

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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