THE 33RD BIENNIAL OF GRAPHIC ARTS: CRACK UP – CRACK DOWN

7. 6.–29. 9. 2019

The 33rd Biennial of Graphic Arts was 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 2019 Biennial.

The collective’s extensive editorial output, complex use of visual language and voracious research practice made 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 wanted 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 was the idea of satire as a distinctly visual language, with the ‘graphic’ that marks the history of 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 looked 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.

Find out more about the 33rd Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts on the Biennial’s new website: bienale.si.

 

Honza Zamojski, The Gathering and The Meeting, 2019. Installation view at the 33rd Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts, 2019.
Photo: Jaka Babnik. Archive: MGLC.

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From the MGLC Collection

Milton Glaser, Dylan (1966, offset)
Collection of Art Publications

The story of this poster, which was an insert on Dylan's 1967 album Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, goes as follows. After suffering serious injuries in a motorcycle accident in 1966, the singer-songwriter Bob Dylan was bedridden and rumoured to be dead. To generate positive publicity for his forthcoming album Bob Dylan's Greatest Hits, CBS Records commissioned Milton Glaser to design a special poster to be included with the album. Glaser depicted the singer in profile, with his abundant curly hair rendered in saturated colours that stand out from the background. The intense, almost psychedelic colours can also be seen as the spirit of the time and the flower power generation from the second half of the 1960s.

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Photo: Jaka Babnik. MGLC Archive.

Forward to the Past

"Am I a manager? Yes, I am."

Online event on the MGLC website and on the MGLC Ljubljana Facebook profile

Friday, 26 March, at 12 noon 

Following the recent publication of the book "Am I a manager? Yes, I am.", whose author is Gregor Dražil, MGLC curator, we are preparing an online video presentation highlighting interesting facts from the life and work of art historian and promoter of contemporary Slovenian art Zoran Kržišnik.

You are welcome to take a look!

Forward to the Past is an online campaign of the Slovenian Museum Association, which was taking place between 22 and 28 March.

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Welcome to Tivoli Mansion and Švicarija

On Tuesday, 13 April, Tivoli Mansion and Švicarija will once again open their doors wide. We kindly invite you to visit the exhibitions: Invader, Prints on Paper and Sonja Vulpes, Limbo.

And in Švicarija, you can view the Memorial Studio of the sculptor Stojan Batič.


Photo: Urška Boljkovac. MGLC Archive.