About the biennial

The Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts is one of the oldest biennials in the world. Its emergence in 1955 pinpointed Ljubljana and the visual art of Slovenia on the world map.

The Biennial is highly esteemed by international measure and is recognized as a high-quality event, whereas Slovene art has in turn become well-known outside Slovenia’s borders because of the Biennial. It is the printmakers that most widely represent Slovene art in the museums of the world, something which the Biennial contributed to, as well as inviting artists to major international exhibitions.

During its sixty years of existence, the Biennial has helped to raise the quality of Slovene artmaking. By regularly presenting the works of artists from different cultural backgrounds and artistic environments, it has had an impact on local goings on. It also greatly contributed to the formation of the Ljubljana school of graphic arts and those art pieces that represent the highlights of classic printmaking production. The Biennial took shape during a period when printmaking and its reproductive techniques grasped perfectly the disposition of art and society in general. That was precisely the time when pop art was coming to the fore in Great Britain and in the United States. Post-war capitalism, consumer society and the loose division between so-called high and low culture greatly affected the production of art. Art became an object of consumerism, yet another product on the supermarket shelf, placed next to the cans of soup, where Andy Warhol had put it. In this climate, the Biennial made a head start in becoming one of the world’s renowned art events. As the oldest manifestation of this type, it has also encouraged the emergence of similar types of events around the world.

Between the ends of the seventies and the eighties, the currents in the art world changed. The focus was again placed on the so-called originality of the artist’s hand, which pushed printmaking as a mass production technique into the background, whereas the events of the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts went through a period of crisis. The nineties re-established art inclined towards printmaking, which held an interest for the attributes of post-industrial society, environmental awareness, political correctness in various scopes and its communicative capacities. And so the International Biennial of Graphic Arts once again gained prominence. After 2001, it also began to make active connections with reproductive techniques other than printmaking, such as photography, film and computer programs. The 24th Biennial in 2001 embarked on the process of revitalization, checking the structure, organization, attitude towards the local and international public, curatorship. The self-reflection and questioning of its role will continue also with the biennials to follow.


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David Lynch: Fire on Stage

13. 4.–29. 7. 2018

The first presentation of the American film director, scriptwriter, photographer, painter, musician and printmaker David Lynch in Slovenia. The Fire on Stage show offers a selection of seventy fine art graphic prints produced in the lithography technique. The presentation is rounded off by paintings from private collections, watercolours, as well as a selection of experimental and animated films. By interweaving the sombre and the mysterious, which overflow his entire spectrum of art, a Lynchian atmosphere is created, which will be followed in the installation by the multi-award-winning set designer Branko Hojnik.

David LynchA Parting Kiss, 2007, lithography.
Curtesy: Item Editions.

The Švicarija: Community, Art and Nature Project

Tivoli Hotel between Memories and Dreams
A sensory approach to learning about cultural heritage

● Workshops take place from March to May.
● introductory sensorial workshop, Saturday 24 March,
10.00–14.00 15.00–19.00
Sunday, 25 March, 
10.00–14.00 15.00–19.00

● Summer Museum Night, 16 June, first public guided tour by the participants of the project
● Advance bookings to: lili.sturm@mglc-lj.si or senzorium@gmail.com
● The closin date for application is 15 March

The art education programme includes a sensorial workshop with a final presentation for the public. In the first stage, participants are introduced into the sensory tools of communication and staging. In the second stage, we connect with the cultural heritage of Tivoli Hotel, the so-called Švicarija, which was the gathering place of the Ljubljana bourgeoisie at the beginning of the 20th century. Workshop participants explore and listen to the history of the building through various perspectives of sensory perception. In the final stage of research, visitors are taken through the originally staged snippets of its history.

Concept and implementation: Barbara Pia Jenič, founder of the Senzorium Theatre, author and director.

Photo: Urška Boljkovac. MGLC Archive.

Worskhop for children
The White Chrysanthemum or the Artist in Motion 

● Workshops are held on Saturdays in two parts, from March to May and from September to December.
● The final performance of The White Chrysanthemum is a synthesis of the workshops, Friday, 28 December.

The White Chrysanthemum is a work written by Ivan Cankar during his residence at Švicarija. The controversial essay is still surprisingly topical today. And what message does the author convey to the young people of today? 

The White Chrysanthemum or the Artist in Motion project consists of workshops for the production of movable sculptures (mobiles) lasting several months long, two guided tours of the workshop participants around the Švicarija Creative Centre and the concluding New Year's performance. The workshops connect several artistic disciplines and are based on various dimensions of creating.

●Concept and implementation: Barbara Bulatović, director and puppeteer.
●For children from 8 years of age and over.
●Free of charge.
●Advance bookings to alenka.mikuz@mglc-lj.si

Spring part: From Image to Form
● Saturdays: 10 and 24 March, 7 and 21 April, 5 May, 10.00–14.00; concluding guided tour, Saturday, 12 May.

Through the creative process, children conceive a character of their own choice from the passages of The White Chrysanthemum. They approach their chosen character in various creative ways (visual, technological, dramaturgical and handcrafted) and produce moving figures that are similar to puppets, yet different.

Autumn part: Storyline in the Space
● Saturdays: 29 September, 13 and 27 October, 10 and 24 November, 10.00–14.00; concluding guided tour, Sunday, 2 December.

At the beginning of the second part, the children prepare a storyline together for The White Chrysanthemum New Year's performance. In the process of working on the interpretation of the character placed in the space, we use the manipulation, animation, dramaturgy and scenographic approach defined in the storyline.

The final performance of The White Chrysanthemum, which represents the synthesis of the year-round workshops, will be put on during the festive time, on Friday, 28 December.

The workshops are part of the Saturday Workshops programme run by RogLab, Stripburger magazine, Trajekt Institute, MGLC and the Švicarija Creative Centre.

Photo: Urška Boljkovac. MGLC Archive.


Sunday guided tour of the exhibition Švicarija: Community, Art and Nature in English

Sunday, 25 March, at 3 pm,
admission: 2 eur

One-hour long guided tour with adaptations in the Slovenian language.
Conducted by art historian Matic Ferlan.

The Švicarija: Community, Art and Nature project, by which the Švicarija Creative Centre is being introduced into the cultural life of the capital, derives from three basic elements that have marked the history of the building: community, art and nature. The project consists of an exhibition and supplementary exhibition programme inspired by the building that actualises the history of Švicarija, in such a way providing the guidelines for its activities in the future.

The multifaceted exhibition consists of four sections: History, The Stojan Batič Memorial Studio, Architecture and Art. The exhibition takes us through the history and social life of the building, it presents us with activities of the artists in it and highlights its recent renovation. These sections are connected by the artwork.

Photo: Urška Boljkovac. MGLC Archive.