The Gallery of the New university – Faculty of Slovenian and International Studies
About the Gallery of the New university – Faculty of Slovenian and International Studies
The gallery is located in what used to be Miklavčeva’s or Drofenik’s house, which is inscribed in architectural history as the first building in Ljubljana with a skeletal reinforced concrete construction and a prefabricated steel facade. During the renovation of the spatial design and the exterior of the house, it did not lose the Secession elements of the time, but the black surface of the facade gives it an even richer, elegant look and emphasizes the Secession elements by capturing many passing glances. The New university – Faculty of Slovenian and International Studies resides in this unique, beautiful building, located among the rest of the buildings on the City Square in the city center of Ljubljana. The ground floor part of the building with large glass surfaces allows a view into the interior of the hall, which the university has dedicated to exhibition gallery space and the promotion of academic research, student activities and international integration activities. The view through the transparent glass walls of thoughtfully lit works of art has become both an artistic interior and an artistic exterior on the Town Square. The works are monitored daily by students and professors of the New university, passers-by, as well as tourists, who can view the exhibited works of art regardless of the gallery’s opening hours. Since the works of art in the aforementioned gallery are exposed to a narrower and wider public, the artist is both an exhibitor and promoter of the New university, and with socially critical content, he is also a mediator of art as a promoter of the city of Ljubljana. The New university therefore set high professional rules for managing the gallery program.
The exhibition program of the gallery is created with the aim of exhibiting and making available current contemporary domestic and foreign fine art. An artist should be a good ambassador of contemporary life and the daily problems we face as a society. That’s why the motto or content intention of the project is to connect different creators for the exchange of opinions, thoughts, new creative techniques and technologies in different art media, which are used to deal with contemporary social and cultural issues.
The exhibited works of art will represent modern life cycles that concentrically circle artistic creative thoughts: artistic conception, graphic engagement and the transfer of the socio-cultural process into an artistic form as a witness of life.
In the modern conceptual sense, the discussed topic is imbued with looking back to man’s search for his own natural starting points. But the cyclical renewal still rests on the ancient symbolic tradition. The content of the exhibited works can be linked to an ancient motif, typical of a deep contemplative perception of natural existence – ouroboros. Ouroboros symbolizes time and eternity, wherever you go you return to the beginning, the beginning is the end and the end is the beginning of everything, because the repeating solar year is the framework of the divine force of the earth. The symbol entered the Western tradition through ancient Egyptian iconography and the Greek magical tradition. It shows a snake or a dragon (the symbol of the city of Ljubljana “Dragon”). A snake biting its tail forms a circle, thus embracing the whole world and everything in it, where life repeats itself cyclically.
The selection of exhibitors connects academic painters and doctors of fine arts, who have been shaping the Slovenian and wider art scene for many years, into a common story. All exhibitors have already participated in many group exhibitions and have had a number of solo art exhibitions in Slovenia and abroad.
Dr. art. Jožica Medle, Head of the Gallery of the New university – Faculty of Slovenian and International Studies
1st Exhibition of paintings by Polona Tratnik: Opening
Polona Tratnik expresses her passion for creativity through various media; as an extremely sensitive and sensitive artist, she touches on many fields, in parallel with art projects in the field of biotechnology (37° C, Hair, Microcosm, Unique, Hair in Vitro, Initiation), she paints and writes novels, short prose, poetry, lyrics, and dramatic texts. She takes photographs and has been interested in music since the early childhood. She is involved in art and its engaged role in modern times. She is interested in the issues of art’s intervention in other social spheres, interrogates and analyses various fields of communication, the relationship between the artist and the work of art, the role of the viewer as a subject and their spatial presence.
All of us who were surprised by Polona Tratnik’s latest paintings, as we know her primarily as a scientist in the field of art philosophy and a biotechnological artist, should remember the thought of art historian Sir Ernst Gombrich who said that surprise and wonder are the result of the biological function of art, which keeps us curious and addresses our ability to accept the new and unusual.
A turn in Polona Tratnik’s creativity is not a typical post-modern turn. Painter and researcher Leonardo da Vinci, encyclopaedists of the Enlightenment, actors of the Art Nouveau movement under the influence of the development of microscopy and microbiological research, which can be visualized on the mantle of Klimt’s portrait of Adela Bloch-Bauer (1907) – artists throughout history have often been fascinated by modern scientific discoveries or they were educated scientists themselves, such as biologists and geologists. Research in biotechnology and neuroscience has also triggered a strong wave in contemporary art, which is looking for its raison d’être.
Recently, Polona Tratnik has been invited by the painting to listen to it and re-establish a dialogue with it. In this turn, we might have found ourselves in a similar position as spectators at the end of the nineteenth century in front of the Édouard Manet’s cult painting, Breakfast on the Grass (1862–63). The painting was shocking because of the illumination of social and sexual roles in the then bourgeois environment, represented by both male figures in perfect bourgeois attire, discussing very boring things apparently. Among them sits a naked woman, not a goddess, not Olympia, who spontaneously stares into the viewer face to face, like the naked truth. Something within the established and routine habits of the time had obviously changed so much that a kind of visual mutation of the painting was needed to accommodate the further development of modern painting.
However, Polona Tratnik is not interested in the aestheticization of microbiological forms, cells, viruses and bacteria, which in their forms and structure offer themselves for further artistic creation. Her view in front of the image avoids the inclusion of optical aids and techniques, such as the use of a microscope, perspective, and other models of visual thinking. She gently touches the painting, waiting for it to speak to her and responds to it. Unlike the processes of control and management, Polona Tratnik’s painting means opening, mindfulness. For her, painting is a creative medium that enables a way out of the apparatus society and genuine contact with the pulse of life.
Polona Tratnik’s extremely energetic paintings, created in the last two years, are on display to the public for the first time. They are passed on. They are open to reflection and wonder.
Vesna Krmelj and Tjaša Šavorič
About the author
Prof. Polona Tratnik is the dean of the Faculty of Slovene and International Studies at the New University and a research counsellor at the Institute IRRIS for Research, Development and Strategies of Society, Culture and Environment. She has an academic degree in painting, a master’s degree in sculpture and a doctorate in philosophy. She was a Fulbright researcher at the University of California Santa Cruz and a visiting professor at the same university, as well as at Capital Normal University in Beijing, Taik University (now Aalto) in Helsinki, and the National Autonomous University of Mexico in Mexico City. She is the president of the Slovenian Society for Aesthetics and a member of the executive board of the International Association for Aesthetics. She is the author of seven monographs published in four languages, including Conquest of Body, Biopower with Biotechnology (Springer 2017) and Hacer-vivir más allá del cuerpo y del medio (Herder 2013). In the world of art, she is established primarily as a pioneer of biotechnological art. She has exhibited paintings and hybrid art projects at prominent events in Australia.
2nd Exhibition of paintings by Breda Sturm: Turn over a new leaf
The painter carries with her prints of everything she has seen and felt so far, even when traveling the white world, and draws matrices of memories, especially the experience of New York, where she created her much more intimate white paintings that look without subframes with embossed round patterned accents concentrated in the expanse of aerial compositions, like edged napkins. In the present paintings, however, she conceived the original idea more monumentally into a richer, but equally ascetic cycle, conceived as a collection of ignorant pages or as a white enigma of secret writing, which the author eagerly eavesdrops on and with which it has no idea of translucent sign architecture, which only needs to be filled with concrete meanings, just as unfinished mysterious letters are imprinted on the floor plan of its relief foundations.
Looking at such signs, the painter subtly tunes the white matter applied on a white background to sound in the white silence of the canvas itself, harmonized in a constructional order filled with a disjointed rhythm of only patterns of form. With such moves, Breda Sturm joins the renewed tradition of modernist, with communication signs filled with historical records. He fills the carrier white in his paintings with his own white while writing characters, and when he turns a new sheet with each picture – painted together for two printing sheets – they all together form an optically orchestrated whole. In her silence, however, she waits for the sounds of messages, which the painter draws in relief on her white canvases with elusive signals like air plaster.
prof. dr. Milček Komelj
About the author
Breda Sturm in 2010 with prof. Tuga Šušnik and prof. Tomaž Brejc graduated with honors from the Academy of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Ljubljana. In 2003 she graduated from prof. Vojteh Ravnikar at the Faculty of Architecture, University of Ljubljana. She is self-employed in culture and works in the fields of painting, illustration, equipment and book design. She continued her studies in Italy, Spain and at The Art Students League of New York in the USA.
In 2007 she received a scholarship from the Society of Slovenian Artists for young promising authors in the field of illustration. Her works have been presented at exhibitions, among others:
The Magic of Art: Protagonists of Slovenian Contemporary Art 1968-2013 (Villa Manin, Italy / Künstlerhaus, Austria / Glyptothek HAZU, Croatia) 2014-2015.
Slovenian Contemporary Art SLOVENINDIA, New Delhi, India, Jaipur House, National Gallery of Modern Art, New Delhi, 2016
Painting performance with the group Arrhythmia Soundscapes and Taal Traces, India Habitat Center, New Delhi, India and at the National Gallery of Modern Art Mumbai, India, 2018.
Solo exhibition of graphics Turn New Leaf, created at the art residency at the Cité des Arts in Paris in September 2018, Open Studio Cité des Arts, Paris 2018, European Parliament, Brussels, 2018.
Since 2010 she has been a member of the Association of Fine Artists Ljubljana. He lives and works in Ljubljana.
More information at: http://www.bredasturm.com/.
3rd Exhibition of paintings by Mitja Fick: Lying Tiger, Hidden Dragon
The middle generation painter Mitja Ficko (1973) designs his paintings based on his own feelings and experiences, and most often he leaves the paintings to happen. His practice is characterized by intense play with space and perspective, and most of the paintings are built in one way or another on the principle of layering, re-overlapping and concealing. In the realization of this visual language and the construction of content, he helps himself by using variously rough glitters and a very specific, unique use of geometry, colors and textures. His atmospheric, subtle mystique-filled images are nowadays quickly recognizable by their varied, daring compositions, indefinable, fantasy content, and constant transition from the narrative to the abstract. The depicted scenes represent various excerpts of personal metaphors and experiences of feeling. The paintings, saturated with mysterious creatures and an ambivalent atmosphere, invite you into a world that encourages and encourages each viewer to observe the work and to interpret independently. At the exhibition in the Gallery of the New University on Ljubljana’s Mestni trg, works of smaller formats are exhibited, in which figurals and virtual narratives are much more expressive, in some places even emphasized. Unlike the recently exhibited, somewhat more abstract and glittering works in the Celje Gallery of Contemporary Art or the SLOART Gallery in Ljubljana, this fresh production is a bit more playful, pavlihasta and distinctly zoomorphic. The majority of the works were created in the last year, and slightly older works are also on display, such as the playful spotted horses Red Carpet (2020) and the hanging colorful ribbons Strange place (2019). Most of the works are dominated by thoughtful collage of volumes and constant overlap and combination of depicted subjects such as tropical birds, pennants, bloodthirsty tigers and domestic foxes. They are accompanied by the author’s favorite wrapped clouds, stylized trees and peripheral rainbows. The latest works are full of charming surprises and hidden details. The authors are interested in the artistic interweaving and creation of images that appear as a kind of illusion in an undefined space. Definable images of orange foxes, tall trees and milky pets move in a lack of space in a way that slightly irritates the viewer’s eye. The saturation of colors and shapes and the used collage strategy enable a wide range of delving into individual works that function in the sense of painting, but in linear space and time act as a perspective trick or illusion. Some of the works are based on animal puzzles for children. Exploring and composing wooden cubes depicting portraits of forest animals led the author to further play with composition and discover interesting combinations. He was also inspired by the format and versatility of a variety of children’s magnets and stickers, which are shown in the pictures in the form of humorous combinations, now animals, secondly weather phenomena, wave stars and even the interior. Even though the entrances to individual works are distinctly figurative, the author’s desire is to move away from the narrative and provide the viewer with an independent experience of understanding and feeling the image. Animals by themselves do not have a serious allegorical meaning or narrative arc. Sometimes they simply happen and occupy the most appropriate, artistically suitable place in individual paintings. Later, they may repeat themselves and play the role of a random protagonist in new mystical worlds and sensual occasions. Although some completely abstract paintings are presented, which are primarily built with geometry and color, the exhibition is united by the author’s recognizable figurals. The extremely fruitful period is reflected in a number of smaller experimental series, of which the most representative and interesting examples are presented at the exhibition. Mitja Ficko shows us his developing art world at the exhibition Lying Tiger, Hidden Dragon. It arises intensely, constantly strengthens, and encourages the viewer to take a bolder and unencumbered approach, reading and feeling.
About the author
Mitja Ficko (1973, Murska Sobota) graduated in painting from the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana in 1999 with professors Janez Bernik and Gustav Gnamuš. In 2002 he received his master’s degree under the mentorship of Metka Krašovec. During his career he has had solo exhibitions at the Equrna Gallery in Ljubljana, Kibla Maribor, Piran Coastal Galleries, Srečišče Gallery in Ljubljana, UGM Studio of the Maribor Art Gallery, Alkatraz Gallery in Ljubljana, Kvartirna hiša in Celje, Kusthalle Ravensburg, Galerie Sechzig in Feldkirch house in Ribnica, in the Städtische Galerie Villingen-Schwenningen, the Celje Gallery of Contemporary Art and the SLOART Gallery in Ljubljana. He has participated in numerous group exhibitions, such as Presences, KIBLA Portal, Maribor (2018), The Unheard of World I Have in My Head (Metamodernism and Metaromanticism in Slovene Painting, KGLU Slovenj Gradec (2019), Time Without Innocence. Newer Painting in Slovenia , Moderna galerija Ljubljana (2019), Apokalipsa 2020, Galerija Equrna, Ljubljana (2020), The Curious Minds in Die ich rief, die Geister, werd ich nun nicht los, LIA Leipzig International Art Program, Spinnerei, Leipzig (2020). and works between Ljubljana and Leipzig.
4th Exhibition New Collectivism: Posting forbidden!
Before us are the cultural posters of the art collective New collectivism, created on various occasions, mostly during the golden times of cultural posters in Slovenia, i.e. from the mid-1980s to the mid-1990s. Most of the exhibited posters are theater posters, which represents a particularly strong group of cultural posters, and in addition to these, there are film and music posters as well as posters in honor of the artists Srečko Kosovel and Toulouse-Lautrec. All exhibited posters are linked to a specific cultural event, which they address in a unique way. If the client expects from an advertising poster, whether market or political, a central message conveyed as unambiguously as possible, inviting purchase or political support, the form of a cultural poster allows for a high degree of creative autonomy. A cultural poster is linked to a cultural event, but compared to an advertising poster, it can be much more open in its message. The quality of a cultural poster can actually be measured in the opposite effect to that of an advertising poster, i.e. in the fact that it does not close, narrow and limit, but rather opens up meaningful dimensions, so that it can even add them to the original event to which it invites. The New collectivism achieves an extraordinary creative breakthrough precisely in this, which sometimes surprised the client to such an extent that he even forbade the postering of an already printed poster, such as the poster for Caryl Churchill’s play Girl and a Half. The artistic director of SNG Drama did not understand the inclusion of the politician Winston Churchill, who is otherwise not the subject of the drama itself, on the poster, which contributed to the artistic excess of the poster compared to the drama.
New collectivism emerged in the 1980s as a division of the larger art collective Neue Slowenische Kunst, responsible for design. The famous American art theorist Arthur C. Danto called this time the time “after the end of history”, when every artist can do what he wants, and no style or artistic direction is more mandatory or more important than others. Therefore, since then, artists have been nomadically wandering through history and through various cultural environments, from high art to popular market culture, from folk to political culture, and they combine, recombine or reposition found elements in various ways. The technique of eclecticism is essential to New Collectivism. At the same time, in the 1980s, they, as a section of Neue Slowenische Kunst, were characterized by inspiration in the rhetoric of political propaganda, preferably that which is particularly effective in a given space. In doing so, they evoke collective memory, but they do not build it, but rather destroy it. Art here is not in the service of politics. The markers that are used usually do not lead to the markers they were associated with in the systems from which they were taken. Instead, the decontextualized elements enter into new, unexpected connections and form entirely new compositions of meanings or nonsense. When the logic of the original meaning breaks down and the original signifier withdraws, another meaning may be offered in its place, which may not have been associated with the given signifier in any known system, which may come from a completely different context, and which may not bring semantic sense. For it is not necessary that all meanings are always determinable and definitive. On the contrary, the New Collectivism posters are designed to be semantically slippery.
But it is most likely not a mere randomness of the selection of elements, but rather a deliberate branching, in which the apology of art is intertwined with allusions to various socio-political ideas or prohibitions. In this world of art, historical figures, pop art, sots art, ancient mythologies, avant-garde and classical art, socialist art, political ideologies, food, erotica and pornography meet – all at once. Although this is really about life in all its diachronic and synchronic complexity – or because of it – some of the hints about society that are offered for viewing are sometimes acceptable and sometimes unbearable.
Dr. Polona Tratnik
About the author
The author of the exhibition is New Collectivism, which was founded in 1984 as the graphic design department of the Neue Slowenische Kunst movement. Its members are Darko Pokorn, Roman Uranjek (IRWIN), Miran Mohar and Dejan Knez. The New collectivism uses the retroprinciple method, which means electrical interference with relevant motives and their reintropeation.
New collectivism emerged in the 1980s as a division of the larger art collective Neue Slowenische Kunst, responsible for design. The famous American art theorist Arthur C. Danto called this time the time “after the end of history”, when every artist can do what he wants, and no style or artistic direction is more mandatory or more important than others. Therefore, since then, artists have been nomadically wandering through history and through various cultural environments, from high art to popular market culture, from folk to political culture, and they combine, recombine or reposition found elements in various ways.
5th Exhibition of contemporary photography by young authors from the collection of the Photon Gallery during the Month of Design
In the Photon Gallery – the Center for Contemporary Photography, since the beginning of its operation in 2003, we have paid personal attention to cooperation with artists working in the field of contemporary photography and connecting with partners from the region of Central and Southeastern Europe. We regularly exhibit the works of well-known as well as young yet unestablished photographers; accordingly, during the Design Month, we exhibited limited edition prints by young contemporary photographers from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE), which we believe show the future and spirit of modern photography.
As part of this exhibition, we decided to highlight the works of artists represented by Galerija Photon, including Aniko Robitz, Eva Petrič and Dino Kužnik, as well as the works of artists who worked with us in the Photonic School I and II educational program, or were exhibited as part of the Going East exhibition.
6th Exhibition of photographs by Tihomir Pinter: Portraits of Ljubljana old town
Pinter’s photographs of Ljubljana, which were created in the last 50 years, more precisely from 1970 onwards, are the result of the author’s way of observing and depicting reality with the help of a photographic camera. However, this is not a chronicle of the growth and transformation of the city, just as it is not a catalog of the most realistic depiction of buildings, their spatial coherence or picturesqueness, but rather the author’s completely personal interpretations of the city, its ambiences and images, just as these can be drawings or paintings by painters . With an artistically sensitive eye and a special sensitivity to geometric composition, spatial depth, scale, proportions and materiality, he is able to use his camera to connect and assemble parts of buildings and their details into new, unexpected wholes that tell as yet unknown stories about the city, houses and spaces. And especially about the magical dialogue of light and shadow. Photography is essentially a record of light. It seems as if Josif Brodski had Pinter’s images of Ljubljana in front of his eyes when he wrote that at sunset “the reliefs become looser, the columns more rounded, the capitals more undulating, the crowning walls bolder, the pointed tops of the bell towers stronger, the niches deeper, the apostles more draped, the angels they fly”. (Aleš Vodopivec)
About the author
Tihomir Pinter was born on January 19, 1938 in Bjelovar, Croatia, where he completed primary and secondary school. His older brother inspired him for photography as a child. Between 1954 and 1958, he attended a military medical school in Ljubljana, and in 1958 he moved to Sarajevo, where he got a job as a military technician. In 1960, he enrolled at the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry in Zagreb, where he graduated (1965), master’s (1973) and doctorate (1975). In parallel with his studies, he devoted a lot of time to photography. He was an active member of photography societies and clubs, exhibited independently and at group exhibitions. To date, Pinter’s photographs have been exhibited at 94 solo and more than 600 group exhibitions at home and abroad. For his creative work in the field of photography, he received many awards and recognitions, including the Janez Puhar Lifetime Achievement Award (2006). The National Association of Photographers awarded him the title of “Master of Art Photography”, and the International Photographic Organization awarded him the title of “Excellence FIAP”.
7th Exhibition of paintings by Jože Kumer: Tense bow
Jože Kumer presents a series of painting works entitled Tense Bow in the Gallery of the New University in Ljubljana. Kumer’s motif is also this time based on a myth, a reflection, even a tribute to the female anthropomorphic image as the primary starting point of all creation. It originates from the traditional depiction of the character of a woman, the bearer of the elemental essence, but with a reflection on today’s socio-critical topics and controversies. From this title, mother nature, earth, water, existence, but also war, transience and ephemerality become involved in the works. His works thus include reflection on our today and tomorrow.
The author has remained faithful to his own color dynamics and object form for more than forty years. As Marijan Tršar wrote about him already in the 1990s, Kumer’s emancipation of color stems from solid realistic foundations. The merging of the abstract figural of colored surfaces is based on an understanding of the materiality of matter, which can be perceived in him both in sculptural and present works of art, which results in a plastic treatment of the object’s shape transferred to the image field.
The design of the exhibition is bipolar. While on the one hand we are accompanied by the blue phase of the author, the blue of young memory in the figural, the symbolism of water and Krka, which provided the author with the background of his childhood, the other part leans towards a more solid base of warm earthy colors. The color blue represents both the sky and the sea and is associated with open spaces, freedom, intuition, imagination, inspiration and sensitivity. Therefore, it is not surprising that we are accompanied in blue by works with the motif of the Dangerous Kiss, Sail in the city and Resistance for clean water. Brown tones as stability and reliability are mixed with red energy and green harmony. These earthy tones pass into pure abstraction, and the series finally ends with an image of the author’s original city – Novo mesto.
About the author
Jože Kumer was born in 1953 in Novo mesto, where he later attended primary and secondary school, and graduated in painting from prof. Andrej Jemec and Prof. Milan Butina at the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of Ljubljana in 1981. He worked for six years as an art pedagogue at the Center of Secondary Technical Schools in Novo mesto, but then decided to become an independent cultural worker in the field of painting, sculpture and illustration. Today he lives and creates in Dolenjske Toplice, where he also led and organized sculpture colonies for many years.
doc. dr. Ines Vodopivec
8th Exhibition of graphics by Jasmina Nedanovski: She loves pink
Jasmina Nedanovski, She loves pink
Graphic artist and pedagogue Jasmina Nedanovski (1981) presents a selection of her graphics made in the letterpress technique at the She loves pink exhibition. These are woodcuts, linocuts and mixed media. She created works between 2008 and 2023.
Her artistic language changed during her studies and creation, and thus her earlier works are characterized by a more abstract style, which is the product of researching technique, learning about the effects of transparency and overlapping. During her master’s studies at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, more and more realistic style entered her works, to which she remains loyal to this day. She often expresses herself through an artist’s book and tries out different ways of communicating. For the exhibition project We are watching…, she produced printed deckchairs – objects in the room and interfaces in the form of QR codes, with the help of which the visitor could explore and extract new information. Throughout, her central medium of communication remains graphics. It adds some color to the classic black and white graphics, including red, green, brown, gray, ocher and blue. By introducing color, she additionally emphasizes the architectural form and construction of her works. In this way, she looks for variations of the motif and studies the different relationships created by color accents. An example of this is, for example, the works from the series We are watchinh…, Stay home, At grandma’s and She loves pink.
All of her works have in common that she investigates man, his traces of existence and work, and the objects that surround him and appeal to him. In her works, we recognize everyday objects that she researches in detail, carves into ballast and gives them the role of a central motif, such as, for example, a cup of coffee, a watermelon, a backpack, saffron, bonsai. These small objects combined into still lifes can be read as personifications. Such, for example, is the At grandma’s series, where a table with sweets, two cups of coffee and two chairs invites you to relax with a loved one and radiates homeliness and acceptance. Her works are permeated by grace, which in the series I love pink, she created with a portrait of her daughter, surrounded by her beloved ponies, the color pink, and on the window sill appears the motif of a flower watering can, which the artist often depicted in her earlier works. The She loves pink series is also interesting from the point of view of how the author changes the perception of space by changing the color layers and how the image moves from the two-dimensionality of the format. In the series Stay at home and in one of the last works Bonsai, the author’s persistent search for new design possibilities is expressed. The central motif of the backpack or bonsai is depicted floating in a space that is not bounded by a frame and merges with the background. The author takes inspiration for her works not only from her immediate vicinity, but often also from the history of art, she is especially fond of Pablo Picasso with his series of lithographs with a bull motif and the German expressionists, including Augusta von Zitzewitz, whose works offered her starting points to investigate the fusion of the motif with the base – the carrier.
In the exhibition, we walk from earlier works dominated by relaxation (Okape series, You and me), familiarity (At grandma’s series) and playfulness (Refresh your memory II), past works with a broader social theme (We are watching, Stay at home), where the viewer is encouraged to think about his own attitude towards migrants, to look at the fragile relationships and limitations in society, which are the result of changing society and its values, to return to personally sensitive stories that feed him with optimism and calmness (She loves pink series , Zafran III).
Jasmina Nedanovski (1981) graduated from the high school of graphics in Ljubljana and studied at the Faculty of Education in Maribor, where she graduated in graphics in 2006 with prof. Samuel Grajfoner. She continued her studies at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana and in 2010 graduated with honors from prof. Branko Suhy and Jožef Muhovič. She is a member of the Society of Fine Artists of Dolenjska, Bela Krajina and Posavina, participates in group exhibitions and art colonies and runs workshops for children and adults. Her works are in the collections of the Božidar Jakac Gallery in Kostanjevica on Krka, the Dolenjska Museum in Novo mesto, the Bela krajina Museum in Metlika, and in private collections. She regularly presents her works in group exhibitions, the present She loves pink exhibition is her sixth solo exhibition. She teaches at a primary school in Metlika. She lives and creates in Gradac in Bela Krajina.
Klaudija Cigole, art historian
9th Exhibition of paintings by Janko Orač: The glow of the depths
“Due to a too superficial understanding of American abstract expressionism of the 1950s and 1960s, when we overlooked the different, non-image-making starting points of most of its protagonists, we already anticipated the last paintings in history, for example. If we leave aside the fact that some artists will always like to reach for the brush and even willingly renounce their own attachment to space and time, today, when almost a hundred years have passed since the first manifestos for new art, we must make certain claims about the survival of the classical image (Judita Krivec Dragan, Podoba kot presežek videnega, DLUL, 2002, from the exhibition catalogue, p.8)
If we have satisfied the answer about the survival of the classic painting even before today’s time, then in the selection of Janko Orač’s latest paintings – he has forty years of artistic activity behind him today with an emphasis on the field of reproductive graphics – it is worth analyzing the artist’s approach in what is certainly for him also an innovation process interventions on the painting surface, which deserves the title of collage.
At this point, we must immediately ask ourselves the question about the function, amount and cause of such an intervention, which in Slovenian is called “glue”. Of course, the modern collage is no longer tied to the resonance of its original historical time when paper was discovered in China around 200 BC: the stylistic development of painting over the centuries has “loaded” many things on the collage. It could be said that its modern function can basically be a kind of correction, addition and new derivation of the pure painting process. A derivative, which is not disturbing and which complements and enriches the original painterly thought.
In Orač’s case, it seems that he introduces an element, or rather a moment of additional impulse, the concentration of the central orientation of an otherwise extremely colorful field, i.e. a kind of building up, which Orač, in his current painting phrase, not to say phase, is also able to renounce completely, minimize. And this in the name of its characteristic color variety of both cold (predominantly blue) and warm (predominantly red) tones in the field of pure abstraction. In this respect, it seems if we are discovering the meaning of such an awakened, true Janko’s raving after the colorful filling of the carrier. A carrier who, in such a capacity, reacts primarily emotionally: Orač’s example of the dominant modern-day lyrical abstraction, an emotional response to the sensitivity of the exterior in different seasons. In fact, the concentration on today’s summer and the already past, dead cold period is completely equivalent to that phenomenon, which in artistic approaches is called with the common denominator empathy. Empathy, which the artist must master in order to earn this title and which allows him to relax in the sense of giving away on the basic carrier. With such a revitalization, which can also be called historicization in relation to the original appearance of lyrical abstractism in the early decades of the last century, Orač deserves the title of poetic abstractist again.
This, let’s call it the poetic dimension, which is tied to and comes from the painter’s emotional charge, the impulse that is released in certain creative moments, could also be defined as his substantive dimension. A dimension that unfolds in colorful layering and which is complemented and enriched by the collage creative approach mentioned in the introduction with a special ease.
Janko Orač, painter and specialist in graphics
He was born on June 3, 1958 in Celje, and spent his childhood in Zibika. In 1997, he graduated from the School of Drawing and Painting, a professional high school in Ljubljana, with prof. Dušan Kirbish. He completed his postgraduate studies in art graphics at the ALU in Zagreb with prof. Nevenka Arbanas and obtained the title of university graphic specialist. In 1999 and 2008, he had the most comprehensive reviews of his now forty-year-old creative work in the Gallery of the Dolenjski museum Novo mesto, in 2002 in the Gallery of Contemporary Art in Celje, in 2011 in the Carinthian Gallery of Fine Arts Slovenj Gradec, and in 2018 a comprehensive exhibition of prints in Jakčev dom, Dolenjski museum Novo mesto. He received numerous awards at home and abroad for his works. He creates in the field of painting, drawing, graphics and spatial layouts. He lives and creates in Novo mesto and Zibika. He is a member of DLUD and ZDSLU. For many years he has been participating in painting colonies and symposiums in Slovenia and abroad (Croatia, Poland, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Spain). In recent years, he has been a guest of many graphic biennials and triennials abroad (Split, Livno, Bitola, Varna, Paris) and other international exhibitions.
10th Exhibition of graphics by Nevenka Arbanas: Links
This year’s latest linocuts by Nevenka Arbanas are bursting with the freshness of the luxurious color palette, which was created from deeply thought-out signs and symbols, marked by moments and traces of a permanent rumor and the author’s inexhaustible skill. We could even say that the fresh color tension contributed to the freedom of imagination and recognizable originality added new elements to the already used work processes.
Experiencing colors in Nevenka’s studio has a multifaceted meaning. This year, the visitor is addressed – purple, green and yellow, created from the palette of the monochromatic background of the seasons of the calm islands of art. Nevenka knows how to materialize in painting what we all think about – everyday life, summed up by a selected grapheme without unnecessary narration; about artists who are remembered by the modest footprints under the green canopies of often non-native species (trees), about friends whose common topic grew into philosophical discussions over time. Because these are the veins and roots of one of our friends, Tonko Maroević, who in 2018 wrote about “retrospective papers”:
“In any case, the outlines of plant leaves on the graphic paper challenge the idea that we are by no means talking about synonyms, but they associatively lead us to the idea that even in graphic processes there are limits to development and layering, similar to how we see the layering and branching of the network of leaf veins”.
But Tonko Marojević then spoke of the author’s black and white world as an overture, but I perceive it as a constant. At least once, I would like to explain that Nevenka’s “sheets” can be photocopies, recycled pages of old newspapers, building material as roofing, a luxurious range of gravure printing techniques, but especially letterpress printing (linocut), as epistolary forms written with ink. In order for everything to be consistent in the end, it is also consistently monochromatic. The foundation, however, is contained in the concept of vertical and horizontal works, selected for the present exhibition in Ljubljana, which can be read with the real experience of knowing graphic techniques and expanding the matter of a certain medium. The horizontal and vertical rectangles, like penetration “through the window” (whether it is in Iž, in Zagreb, or Ljubljana) in the creative frame, truly represent a memory of the achievements of Nevenka’s retrospective in Klović’s mansions. They lead even further, towards conversational whirlwinds of suggestive topics and almost towards the branching roots of individual visions of her art. The integration of various elements of the refined artist’s view according to the possible motif and the highly (technologically) finished execution prove that only an expert like Nevenka can convey the latter to young people (it is not related to the occasional eclecticism or nostalgia of combinations).
Figural, zoomorphic, anthropomorphic stimuli are indeed potential motifs to be overcome. This happens if we know the results of occasional experiments in complex techniques (woodcut or linocut), which follow the long timeline of our excellent graphic artists, where Albert Kinert, Tomislav Krizman, Frane Paro and many others met in an ideal “confrontation”. Nevenka constantly upgraded the knowledge acquired in Gröningen, Paris and Prague, selflessly passed it on to the talented, and by choosing poets who recognized and loved “this”, deeply anchored the latter in the understanding of poetry.
And last but not least, the most important: the recent exhibition of Nevenka Arbanas in Novo Mesto at the Janez Trdina Cultural Center, from April 14 to May 12, 2023, with an accompanying text by Ivana Rončevič, is only the latest of the newer and more successful connections/links of her presence on the international scene , especially in Slovenia. Therefore, it is also necessary to remember the reviews that contribute to everything we have just said about the value of the artist, and these are mainly: The text of Slavica Marković for the “International Graphic Biennale” in the Modern Gallery in Ljubljana, written already in 1995 and 1997 (Markovič, Slavica. Nevenka Arbanas, text in the catalog: 21st International Graphic Biennale, 1995., Moderna galerija, Ljubljana, 1995., pp. 99-100; Marković, Slavica. Nevenka Arbanas, text in the catalog: 22nd International Graphic Biennale, 1997. pp. 90-91); then Tatjana Pregl Kobe’s text about harmonic beauty populated with symbols (Pregl Kobe, Tatjana. Harmonic beauty populated with symbols, text for the exhibition: Nevenka Arbanas. Krka Gallery Ljubljana, 23.10.-18.11.2003), and finally, the text by Goran Milovanović for the Božidar Jakac Gallery (Milovanović, Goran. Nevenka Arbanas: Graphics 2003-2007, text in the catalogue: Nevenka Arbanas, Božidar Jakac Gallery – Lamutov likovni salon, Kostanjevica na Krki. 05. 10. – 05. 11. 2007). In addition to the aforementioned texts, Alenka Lisinski also wrote about her more modern works for “Večerni list” under the title “Heavenly gifts of Nevenka Arbanas”, and as a kind of conclusion we can also find her in the works of another friend, the poet Luka Paljetak, about “graphic prints of the sky”. It is quite natural that at the core of grammar and syntax of language literacy is also the core that the artist nurtures and easily, always and yet reproduces in the form of spiritual reflection of joyful inspiration of precious encounters (with heaven) recorded in such moments.
Koraljka Jurčec Kos
About the author
Academic painter and graphic artist Nevenka Arbanas was born on June 8, 1950 in Batina (Beli Manastir). After finishing elementary school in Našice, she enrolled at the School of Applied Arts and Design in Zagreb and continued her education at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb, where she graduated in 1975 from the graphics department under professor Albert Kinert.
In 1977, she obtained her master’s degree in graphic arts from the same professor. She received her doctorate on the basis of artistic achievements in the realization of the artistic project “Leaves” in September 2017.
As a scholarship holder, she participated in several art studios for graphics, namely with:
– Minerva Academy, Groningen, 1978;
– Atelier S. W. Hayter, Paris 1986; and
– Academy of Fine Arts, Prague 1989.
She published a handbook entitled Graphic Techniques (1999) and a university textbook Graphic Techniques of Gravure Printing, and a monograph on her work with text by Luka Paljetka (1997) was also published. She received numerous awards for graphics (Zagreb, Osijek, Lublin), and her works are in several museums, galleries and private collections in Croatia and abroad. She had numerous solo and group exhibitions. For several years she lectured at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb.