The Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts Through The Poster

6 August − 3 December 2015

NLB Gallery Avla

opening 6 August 11 a. m.

Nowadays, as we are surrounded by images and messages displayed on various media, the poster, as the oldest form of visual communication, has already been pushed aside. The history of the poster is closely connected with invention and development of print and it flourished with development of industrial and consumerist society. The poster, which conveys cultural and artistic messages, reached its peak at the turn of the 20th century. Today such a poster is more than anything else a collectable and it no longer pursues its basic mission, which is attracting crowds to arts and culture events. Now collections of posters make it possible for us to follow and interpret cultural and historical events.

The Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts is an event that has chosen not to abandon the poster, even though the organiser is fully aware of its value, which is now somewhat cultural and historical rather than communicational. An overview of the Biennial through its posters is at the same time an overview of historical developments, tastes over time, and also the development of local graphic design.

This year it has been 60 years since the 1st international graphic exhibition was organised under the baton of a nine-member Organisation Committee, presided by France Stele. Secretary General at the time was Zoran Kržišnik, who later became its spiritual leader. It is evident from the minutes of the Organisation Committee that they set the framework and structure of the exhibition, criteria and technical rules for the exhibitors and the scope of visual communications to accompany the exhibition. At their second meeting they decided that a bilingual catalogue and poster would come along with the exhibition. Riko Debenjak started working on the poster, and a wood engraving Dance of Kurent, carnival figures from Ptuj, made by France Mihelič, was later selected as its leading graphic. It was printed in 500 copies and a Pablo Picasso’s graphic found its way to the cover of the catalogue due to the set of circumstances at the time. (Picasso's graphics arrived at the exhibition at the last moment, when the catalogue was already placed in the press, so the Committee decided at its 12th meeting to put a reproduction of a Picasso’s graphic on the cover, which was initially supposed to feature a graphic by Miha Maleš.)

From the first to the eighth international graphic arts exhibition, the process of making a poster was based on an invitation sent out to the artists to outline it. Ivan Picelj’s poster for the 5th international exhibition most likely broke with tradition because it was so different from previous posters. It was no longer a reproduction of an artwork laced with typography of letters, but a contemporary graphic design transmitting visual communication about this particular art event. Next year the Committee invited Jože Brumen to participate and the way he saw the visual image of the entire exhibition was so elemental, that he created both the poster and the catalogue cover (by reproducing a Riko Debenjak), and he also made a logotype by building upon the design of the previous Picelj’s posters. Since 1969 the poster and the cover of the catalogue represented a part of the Biennial design, which was practically always based on a concrete graphic arts collection, and after 1975 on a graphic of one of the award-winning artists from the previous Biennial. After 1971 the Biennial posters were therefore based on graphics by Janez Bernik, Adriana Maraž, Tetsuya Noda, Andrej Jemec, Lojze Logar, Dan Allison, Günther Uecker and other. This convention was interrupted by the 24th International Biennial of Graphic Arts in the new millennium, which revived the exhibition by challenging its structure, internal organisation, relations with the local and international public and the performance of the curator, and also by bringing a new promotional approach with new designs and tools unifying the visual identity of this event. Same as the difference in the concept of future Biennials, a constantly changing design by a different designers or a group of designers who were allowed to use visuals as they saw fit has also become its regular feature. Art graphics as the basis for visual communication has disappeared from the poster, replaced by graphic elements composing the visual identity of each upcoming event.

mag. Breda Škrjanec

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ARCHIVE

The Švicarija: Community, Art and Nature Project

Tivoli – Art with Nature, lecture
Olga Paulič: Tivoli Architecture

TIVOLI ARCHITECTURE
Thursday, 18 October, at 6 pm
admission: 2 eur

The beginning of the architectural design of Tivoli Park is represented by the stately architecture of Tivoli Mansion and Leopoldsruhe Mansion (the Cekin Mansion of today). Later, buildings intended for leisure activities started to appear, especially sports and recreational facilities, as well as entertainment facilities. We must also not forget the important cultural buildings on the edge of Tivoli, which are, unfortunately, cut off from the rest of the park because of the railway line.


Tivoli Mansion.
Photo: Matevža Paternoster. MGLC Archive.

The Secret Life of Books,
literary panel discussions
Nature, Society, People

Wednesday, 24 October, at 6 pm
free of charge

Book: James Lovelock, A Rough Ride to the Future

How are nature and society connected? Do people also create and build nature? What are the links between the environment and social change? How does nature affect an individual? The starting point for the discussion is drawn from the ideas of the Švicarija: Community, Art and Nature project.

Guests: Janez MarkešMitja Pucer and Ajda Pistotnik, led by Nika Kovač.

YOU ARE INVITED TO JOIN US IN THE CHILDREN'S STUDIO IN THE ŠVICARIJA CREATIVE CENTRE!

Creative workshops, animations and guided tours of the building are held for children every Friday. The studio operates free of charge every Friday from May to November, from 10 am to 1 pm. The activities are led by the gallery mentors Petra Derganc, Tina Boc, Petja Kolenko and Katja Kovše.

You may like to book your visit by writing to the following e-mail: petra.derganc@mglc-lj.si.

ARTISTS ON A VISIT!

TODAY

Talk: Marie Lukačeva (Prague) and Fokus Grupa (Rijeka)

Tuesday, 16 October, at 6 pm
Tobacco 001 Cultural Centre, free of charge

The talk presents the artists visiting Ljubljana, who are staying at the residency centres of Švicarija Creative Centre (MGLC) and Tobačna 001 Cultural Centre (MGML). Currently resident and working at the Švicarija Creative Centre is artist Marie Lukačeva from Prague, whereas the Fokus Grupa duo from Rijeka is having its residential stay at Tobačna 001 Cultural Centre. We will talk with the guests about creative practice, the emerging work as part of the residency stay and other related issues.

Marie Lukačeva is a participant of the two-month residency programme at the Švicarija Creative Centre, which is taking place as part of an inter-institutional exchange between the Futura Project, Prague and MGLC, Ljubljana.

Fokus Grupa is a duo that is being hosted as part of the residency programme of the Museum and Galleries of the City of Ljubljana and will present itself with an exhibition project at Tobačna 001 Cultural Centre at the end of its stay on the 24 October of this year.

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Photo: Fokus Grupa.

Theme-based guided tour of the retrospective exhibition by Riko Debenjak

TODAY

16 October, at 6 pm, admission for exhibition
The Karst World of Riko Debenjak and Zoran Mušič
dr. Nataša Ivanović, art historian


Photo: Jaka Babnik. MGLC Archive.

NEW EXHIBITION

Matjaž Geder
Preparations for Improvisation

17. 10.–11. 11. 2018
opening: Wednesday, October 17,
at 6 pm

Matjaž Geder is an art teacher at the Murska Sobota  II  Elementary School. It is precisely the pedagogical profession that has a profound influence on his creative world, which is constantly in passing from a direct and illustrative visual language to more complex conceptual and symbolically conceived images. He puts the rigid school system, which is based on a way of thinking that is both clichéd and indiscriminate, under critical comparison with the attitude towards the destigmatisation of mental illness, which come surprisingly close in his works.  A selection of works created in the recent years is on view, as well as a series of new prints, produced specifically for the exhibition.


Matjaž Gedr: Step-ping, 2018, monoprint, 66 x 100 cm.