The 33rd Biennial of Graphic Arts

7. 6.–29. 9. 2019

The 33rd Biennial of Graphic Arts will be 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 forthcoming Biennial.

The collective’s extensive editorial output, complex use of visual language and voracious research practice makes 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 intend 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 will be the idea of satire as a distinctly visual language, with the ‘graphic’ that marks the history 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 look 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.

 

Slavs and Tatars: Molla Nasreddin, 2011. installation view of the exhibition Systems and Patterns, 2012 at MGLC.
Photo: Jaka Babnik. MGLC Archive.

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ARCHIVE

ANNOUNCING A NEW EXHIBITION

Nataša Berk: 1st Unlimited Edition

2. 4.–19. 5. 2019

Opening:
2 April, at 7 pm
Švicarija

The exhibition is part of the year-long programme of Švicarija, which in 2019 focuses on the analysis of the state of independent journalism and the right of the public to information in pursuit of the slogan community, art and nature. The participating artists question the credibility of images and their meanings at a time of the oversaturation with visual impulses and analyse the ambiguity of media messages on the world wide web.

The spatial intervention by Nataša Berk and the group of artists at Švicarija presents their diverse visual production, which usually takes place in the virtual space of the world wide web and social networks. On this occasion, it has moved into a physical space. Together, they explore the phenomenology of the image within public circulation and its impact on the perception of reality. In ironic ways, they address the norms of the advertising industry, the tendencies of the mass media, voyeurism and the social convention of the individual’s appearance. Thus, works devoted to the consideration of the nature of the image in everyday life are presented as part of the exhibition. In such a way, photographs, videos and collages open up the questions of understanding visual culture in an era when the public space has become saturated with contents and images, questions about the manipulation of the image and the ambivalence of its meanings.    

Curator: Miha Colner


Photo: Nataša Berk.

THE 1ST GUIDED TOUR OF THE EXHIBITION

TOMORROW

Photographic Images and Matter: Japanese Prints of the 1970s and
Japan, Yugoslavia and the Biennial of Graphic Arts: Documents of Collaboration

Tuesday, March 26, at 5.30 pm
in English
at 5 pm in Slovenian

Admission for the exhibition, the guided tour is free.
Conducted by Gregor Dražil, Museum Information Officer.

Warmly welcome!

Opening of the exhibition

Photographic Images and Matter: Japanese Prints of the 1970s and
Japan, Yugoslavia and the Biennial of Graphic Arts: Documents of Collaboration

opening:
Friday, March 22, at 6 pm

22. 3.–19. 5. 2019

The exhibition is made up of two sections. The first, bearing the title Photographic Images and Matter: Japanese Prints of the 1970s, is dedicated to Japanese printmaking of the 1970s and was organised by the Japan Foundation, while the second, the documentary section, is entitled Japan, Yugoslavia and the Biennial of Graphic Arts: Documents of Collaboration and has been prepared by the International Centre of Graphic Arts.

The travelling exhibition Photographic Images and Matter, with a selection of the most representative artists, presents the orientations within Japanese printmaking of the 1970s, which was the golden age of the print medium in Japan. The curator of the exhibition Kyoji Takizawa has made an attractive selection of artists, who have received many awards within the international arena and form the core of the modernist and avant-garde scene of the 1970s.

The documentary exhibition Japan, Yugoslavia and the Biennial of Graphic Arts: Documents of Collaboration, on the other hand, illuminates one of the many socio-artistic chapters tied to the history of the Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana. Through the selection of pictorial, archival, photographic and other material, it aims to show the communication between the geographically and politically disparate countries as part of an ambitious international art event like the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts. Exhibition authors are Nevenka Šivavec and Gregor Dražil.

The exhibition is accompanied by an international symposium under the same title, taking place in the month of May.

Exhibition design: Ivian Kan Mujezinović and Mina Fina.


Tetsuya Noda: Diary, September 11, '68 (woodcut and silkscreen).