THE 33RD BIENNIAL OF GRAPHIC ARTS: CRACK UP – CRACK DOWN

7. 6.–29. 9. 2019

The 33rd Biennial of Graphic Arts was curated by the Slavs and Tatars art collective. It should not be overlooked that the central role of the curator as the selector of the works presented at the 32nd Biennial edition entitled Birth as Criterion acquired a chain mechanism in which the choice was left entirely to artists. As Slavs and Tatars participated in this biennial, Birth as Criterion in a very special way influenced the design of the 2019 Biennial.

The collective’s extensive editorial output, complex use of visual language and voracious research practice made them a particularly resonant fit with the history of the Biennial and its contemporary role. Slavs and Tatars is an internationally renowned art collective devoted to an area East of the former Berlin Wall and West of the Great Wall of China known as Eurasia. Since its inception in 2006, the collective has shown a keen grasp of polemical issues in society, clearing new paths for contemporary discourse via a wholly idiosyncratic form of knowledge production, including popular culture, spiritual and esoteric traditions, oral histories, modern myths, as well as scholarly research. The collective’s practice is based on three activities: exhibitions, publications and lecture-performances. Their work has been the subject of solo exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, Salt in Istanbul, Vienna Secession, Kunsthalle Zurich and Ujazdowski Centre for Contemporary Art in Warsaw, among others. Slavs and Tatars has published ten books to date, including Wripped Scripped (Hatje Cantz, 2018) on language politics, Friendship of Nations (2nd edition, Book Works, 2017) on the unlikely rapport between Iran and Poland between the 17th and 21st centuries, as well as Molla Nasreddin (currently in its 2nd edition with I.B Tauris, 2017), a translation of the legendary Azerbaijani satirical periodical. Their focus on Eurasia challenges our often times one-dimensional way of seeing relationships between science, religion, power and identity. We saw them in Ljubljana in the Systems and Patterns show in 2012. The exhibition was curated by Nevenka Šivavec, MGLC Director.

For their curatorial début, Slavs and Tatars wanted to re-engage with the origins of the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts. “After a thaw in the idea of medium-specificity over the last 20 odd years, we would like to refocus on ‘the graphic’ today, both in a literal but also strategic sense. In an age of mashed up futures and scrambled pasts, the role of the graphic in public discourses and polemics seems particularly relevant today.”

The focal point of the exhibition of the 33rd Biennial of Graphic Arts was the idea of satire as a distinctly visual language, with the ‘graphic’ that marks the history of the Biennial being understood and questioned in the broad field of the expressive, uninhibited, even lurid. Is each joke, as George Orwell maintained, a tiny revolution? Or does laughter and satire deflate the pressures and tension which could otherwise lead to political upheaval? Slavs and Tatars looked to humour as both strategy and content. The visual glut of our times has spawned new aesthetic languages whose messages and discourse we often find distasteful. Though the graphic arts and satire each have their own distinct specifics, they both claim to speak for and to the people.

Find out more about the 33rd Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts on the Biennial’s new website: bienale.si.

 

Honza Zamojski, The Gathering and The Meeting, 2019. Installation view at the 33rd Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts, 2019.
Photo: Jaka Babnik. Archive: MGLC.

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Notice of closure of MGLC and Švicarija

The International Centre of Graphic Arts and MGLC Švicarija will be closed to the public in line with the official guidelines of the National Institute of Public Health of the Republic of Slovenia (NIJZ) and the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Slovenia in order to prevent the spreading of coronavirus (Covid-19). This provisional measure is being taken to ensure the health of visitors and museum workers. The forthcoming programme will be adapted to the situation and the recommendations of the NIJZ as they arrive.
You are welcome to drop by on the MGLC social media sites: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!


Photo: Katja Goljat. MGLC Archive.

NEW ACQUISITIONS

Elisabetta Benassi:
Storyboard, (You'll never walk alone)
Collection of Art Publications

In this book, the artist has taken two separate stories and interwoven them. The photographs in the book are actually a collection of stories from two of the artist’s videos, You’ll never walk alone and Timecode. The common thread is Pier Paolo Pasolini.

The main protagonists of the first story are Bettagol, who is the artist’s alter ego, and a young man, strikingly similar to Pier Paolo Pasolini, riding a motorcycle. In a parallel to this story, as a comment or a video soundtrack, images appear of the old Totò and the young Ninetto, the main characters from Uccellacci e uccellini, the film where Pasolini poetically transposed the theme of the end of ideologies. Pasolini seen from the artist’s eyes, without nostalgia and with the intensity of real experience, is brought into her present. This imaginative twist offers no conclusion, giving the reader/viewer the opportunity to fill the gaps in it himself.

The book was published in 2002 by Onestar Press in Paris. It has 150 pages printed in black and white offset, it comes in a paperback with a colour cover, and was published in an edition of 250.

Damien Hirst:
I Want to Spend the Rest of My Life Everywhere, with Everyone, One to One, Always, Forever, Now…
Collection of Art Publications

This dynamic and provocative collection of Hirst’s ideas and obsessions is a powerful combination of text and visuals. It contains visual narratives based on drawings, words, photography, typography, pop-ups, special inserts as well as other special effects, which make this book unlike any other.

This extensive publication – Hirst’s first – contains the artist’s statements and words along with his selection and arrangement of images. It is a dazzling collection of the artist’s ideas and obsessions about life and art. The book encompasses the full range of Hirst’s paintings, sculptures and installations that have been produced up to the date of publication – and which continue to provoke both scorn and admiration among critics and viewers. An essay by cult novelist Gordon Burn looks at Hirst’s work and the breadth of its impact.

The book, which has more than 700 colour illustrations, was designed by Jonathan Barnbrook. This is a landmark publication that has redefined the fine art monograph. The book was published in 1998 by Booth-Clibborn Editions, London, in English, on 330 pages. It comes in a hardback, with stitch binding and an illustrated cover.

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Kitch'n Megazine

All creatives, artists and other enthusiasts in isolation – let’s get together and cook something up!

MGLC extends an invitation to create a collective document of the time and the unexpected situation that has shocked and shaken the world over. Let’s stay at home and devote our time, which suddenly seems to be overly plentiful, to the pleasurable sides of life. Get a piece of paper ready and use the power of the recipe that you have been keeping under wraps for so long – paint, write, glue, cut, roll, rub off, fix the texture … All contributions sent in will be printed and compiled into a booklet – a zine, received by every single participant.
Learn more about our campaign!

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