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

Enter your e-mail:
ARCHIVE

ALEJANDRA PIZARNIK, NOCTURNAL SINGER

The book Cantora nocturna / Nocturnal Singer, which presents the work of the cult Argentinian poet Alejandra Pizarnik (1936–1972) in a bilingual Spanish-Slovenian edition, has been published. The book was one of the projects of the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Art: Birth as Criterion.

It offers a representative selection of the poet’s work from all her poetry collections and from the poems that had not yet been collected into books, her essential prose Bloody Countess and notes in which she spoke about her work.

The editor of the book is Miklavž Komelj; its translators are Nada Kavčič and Miklavž Komelj. The essays on the poet and her creations have been contributed by Nada Kavčič, Miklavž Komelj and Yucef Merhi. The book was designed by Ivian Kan Mujezinović.

EVENING WITH MANCA KOŠIR: STORIES ABOUT BOOKS AND PEOPLE

Tuesday, 11 December, at 6 pm

Guests: multimedia artist Eva Petrič, scientist dr Miha Kos and translator Luka Krek
Music: duo Čemomka

 

Milton Glaser, Posters

23. 11. 2018–3. 3. 2019
opening: Friday 23 November, at 1 pm

The artist and his posters will be presented at the opening by the expert of visual communications, Petra Černe Oven, PhD.

Milton Glaser (1929, New York) is one of most important graphic designers in the world, who has designed hundreds of corporate images, magazines, newspapers, books, LP covers, and has created thousands of posters during his career spanning over fifty years. He has been inscribed into the world history of design with his iconic “I love NY” logo. Milton Glaser has decided to donate thirty-five original posters (created between 1966 and 2016) to the City of Ljubljana, which will enrich the collection of the International Centre of Graphic Arts after the exhibition.

A special thanks on the occasion of the exhibition goes to Mirko Ilić, who came up with the idea for the donation in 2017, when he was hosted at the Festival of Tolerance as a lecturer and the author of the TOLERANCE exhibition. The show is organised every year by Mini teater and the Ljubljana Jewish Cultural Centre with the support of the City of Ljubljana (MOL).

GUIDED TOUR OF THE EXHIBITION BY Nathalie Du Pasquier

Tuesday, 18 December, at 5 pm
admission payable to view the exhibition, guided tour free of charge

The guided tours are conducted in Slovenian (beginning at 5 pm) and in English (beginning at 5.30 pm), led by Museum Information Officer, Gregor Dražil.


Photo: Urška Boljkovac. MGLC Archive.

30. 11. 2018–3. 3. 2019
opening: Friday November 30, at 1 pm

The opening will be accompanied by a guided tour given by the artist Nathalie Du Pasquer and the curator of the exhibition Kate Sutton.

Nathalie Du Pasquier’s compositions transform the interiors of the International Centre of Graphic Arts into a series of immersive microenvironments, sampling from over three decades of the artist’s paintings, prints, drawings and murals, as well as a new series of silkscreen prints, which was produced precisely in the screen-printing studio of the International Centre of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana.

Du Pasquier first made her name with vibrant, eye-catching graphics and textile prints shaped by the artist’s eclectic influences, boundless imagination and impulse towards experimentation. Since the late 1980s, she has focused primarily on painting, building up a tremendous body of work, much of which has yet to be exhibited publicly. Fair Game shuns a chronological ordering in favor of forging more intuitive formal affinities between the various series. Assorted elements or objects appear and reappear in different compositional configurations, like a card in a deck that takes on new powers and limitations with each hand dealt. This visual vocabulary is distilled in a new series of silkscreen printed modules – or as the artist calls it, “virtual furniture.”

Curator of the exhibition is Kate Sutton.


Nathalie Du Pasquier: Mensola piena, 2011, oil on canvas.