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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Watch out! Wet print! #9

Pri Zlatem stegnu (Nataša and Katja Skušek): Unicorns Come and Unicorns Go

7. 11.–4. 12. 2017

opening event:
Tuesday, 7 November, at 5 pm
the TAM-TAM Street Gallery at Vegova (opposite Glasbena matica)

Pri Zlatem stegnu, they play about with taste. In fact, they play about with the taste for food and the taste for art.
Pri Zlatem stegnu is an art project by Nataša and Katja Skušek, which has been ongoing since 2004 in various forms, from spatial installations, to video works, objects, photo-collages, fine art graphic prints, drawings and performances. The project brings the questions related to food preparation and eating as the basic human need to the forefront in a humorous and light manner. 


Pri Zlatem stegnu: Unicorns Come and Unicorns Go.

Upcoming exhibition

Boris Jesih: Connections

30. 11. 2017–11. 3. 2018

Boris Jesih (1943) established himself as an artist at the end of the 1960s as part of the expressive figuration circle of painters. Under the influence of pop art, he responded to the characteristics of the spirit of the time with his geometric transformation of everyday objects, later also turning predominantly to landscape. As a printmaker, he excels in the techniques of relief printing and flat printing, with superior results in colour lithography. As a prize winner of the 13th International Biennial of Graphic Arts in 1979 (special prize for a young artist), he attracted attention with his series of lithographs, a set of which is part of the MGLC collection. Beside the lithographs, the retrospective exhibition also presents drawings, paintings and photographs, which highlight the connections between his creative process and his works. 

Boris Jesih: A Doors (1983, color lithography).

The 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts: Birth as Criterion

THE PRIZES OF THE 32ND BIENNIAL OF GRAPHIC ARTS HAVE BEEN AWARDED

The Grand Prize winner of the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts is Alejandro Paz, for the work Hypodermic (2017, intervention), the work was made for the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts.

The recipient of the Research Residency Award is Carlos Monroy, for the work Baphomet. One single birth made incarnate. (2017, performance and video installation), the work was made for the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts.

The jury of the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts:
Anne Barlow, Mike Cooter, Bige Örer in Maruša Sagadin.

The recipient of the Audience Award of the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts is american artist Christopher Myers, for the work Detritus of Dreams (2016).


Alejandro Paz: Hypodermic (2017).
Photo: Jaka Babnik. MGLC Archive.