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Multifaceted Event with a Long Tradition, the 28th Biennial of Graphic Arts, Opens in September
Jørgen Craig Lello & Tobias Arnell, Reverse View, 2009, polyester-coated aluminum, bucket, 110 x 120 cm.

LJUBLJANA. The 28th Biennial of Graphic Arts is a multifaceted event with a long tradition; it consists of a number of exhibitions as well as other happenings. Once again, the Biennial’s central exhibition, The Matrix: An Unstable Reality, on view for two months in Ljubljana galleries, will focus on contemporary graphic art in the broadest sense of the term. At the invitation of the International Centre of Graphic Arts, which proposed the theme of the main show, this idea was further developed and shaped by Galerija Alkatraz, Galerija Ganes Pratt, Galerija Jakopič, Galerija Kapsula, and Galerija Škuc, which are also serving as venues for the Biennial.

Alongside the central exhibition, the 28th Biennial of Graphic Arts includes as well the Artist’s Book Salon, the traditional exhibition for the winner of the Grand Prize from the previous Biennial, and a number of accompanying exhibitions.

The Matrix: An Unstable Reality
The exhibition responds to certain vital questions for society and art raised by the cult movie trilogy The Matrix. Does a medium stay the same once it incorporates new technologies in its discourse? Does this increase the audience for art? What is the social power of those who possess the matrix? Is the possession of the matrix enough to also justify exclusive reproduction rights? Can we create a perfect world, whether real or virtual?

The exhibition offers a selection of more than eighty internationally established and emerging artists. Their work extends from traditional and contemporary printmaking to artist’s books and interventions in the public space, in the mass media, and on computers.

England: Patrick Ward, Armenia: Vahram Aghasyan, David Kareyan, Austria: Sabine Bitter & Helmut Weber, Klaus Schafler, Australia: Tracey Moffatt, Bulgaria: Ivan Moudov, Checz Republic: Ján Mančuška, Denmark: Jesper Fabricius, Finland: Therese Sunngren, France: Société Réaliste, Space Invader, Croatia: Igor Eškinja, Ivan Fijolić, Iva Kovač, Jelena Kovačević, Ana Lozica, Ines Matijević Cakić, Marko Tadić, Iran: Afsoon, Italy: Eva & Franco Mattes, Cesare Pietroiusti, Japan: Taiyo Kimura, Nana Shiomi, South Korea: Lee Chul Soo, P. R. China: Bu Hua, Ye Funa, Zhang Minjie, Columbia: Carlos Motta, Kosovo: Jakup Ferri, Alban Muja, Hungary: Hungarian Double-tailed Dog, Macedonia: Nada Prlja, Mexico: Julieta Aranda, Betsabee Romero, Germany: Adrian Sauer, Nasan Tur, Nicaragua: Maria Alicia Zamora Noguera, Norway / Sweden: Jørgen Craig Lello & Tobias Arnell, Pakistan: Sameera Khan, Poland: M-City, Małgorzata Etber Warlikowska, Russia:, Slovenia: Nika Autor, Viktor Bernik, BridA, Ksenija Čerče, Vuk Ćosić, Vesna Drnovšek, Samuel Grajfoner, Dejan Habicht, Ištvan Išt Huzjan, Matej Košir, Borut Krajnc, Tanja Lažetić, Nika Oblak & Primož Novak, radioCona, Katja Sudec, Miha Štrukelj, Tomaž Tomažin, Huiqin Wang, Serbia: Ivan Grubanov, Dejan Kaludjerović, Jelena Sredanović, Katarina Zdjelar, Spain: Juan Perez Agirregoikoa, Fernando García, La Más Bella, Francesc Ruiz, Ignacio Uriarte, Moises Yagües Fernandez, Turkey: BAS / Bent, Ahmet Ögüt, USA: Anita di Bianco, JustSeeds, Nicola López, Swoon

Artist’s Book Salon
Artist’s books are an increasingly visible form of expression in the art world both in Slovenia and elsewhere. The Biennial of Graphic Arts will spotlight this medium with a special event: the Artist’s Book Salon, at which we will present an international selection of artist’s books produced by independent publishers and individual contemporary artists. The event will include a series of talks and a book fair, at which publishers will be selling their wares. The Salon will be a space for socializing and for exchanging ideas and views about the making of artist’s books.

Argentina: Eloisa Cartonera, Croatia: Maja Franković, Darko Šimikić, Hungary: István Szirányi, Hungarian Artist's Books Association, The Netherlands: Jasper Fabricius, Space Poetry, Jan Voss, Boekie Woekie, Russia: ChtoDelat, Slovenia: Tadej Pogačar (Zavod P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E.), Turkey: Bas / BENT

5–6 September, International Centre of Graphic Arts

After Gogo: A New Era of Korean Art
Based on a proposal by Jeon Joonho, the winner of the Grand Prize of the 2007 Biennial, the exhibition presents the “post-gogo” generation of South Korean artists. Their work re-examines various issues in contemporary Korean society – a society divided between North and South in which the Cold War is still very much alive. These artists were born in the 1960s, when their parents were working hard to rebuild the country after the Korean War. They grew up in the 1970s, when American soldiers brought “gogo” music to Korea and the country was inundated with mass dance parties in “gogo clubs” (also known as “chicken coops”) and gogo became a synonym for the pleasure culture of the younger generation. They began making art in the 1980s. What especially distinguishes them from the previous generation is the fact that they are well aware of the world outside the chicken coop.

Artists: Kim Kira, Jang Minseung & Kim Check, Jeon Joonho, Lee Yongbaek, MOON Kyungwon, Lee Sea Hyun, Moon Hyungmin, Ligyung

The Contemporary Focus of the Biennial of Graphic Arts
The Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts is small, dynamic, and flexible. It specializes in art made by printing or other methods of reproduction and does not confine itself to the printmaking medium per se. It places graphic art in the larger context of printing, one of civilization’s greatest and most revolutionary inventions, which created new audiences and new roles for art in society. Through graphic art the Biennial interrogates the artistic, cultural, and social impact of works that exist in more than one copy. In so doing it relies on two texts: Walter Benjamin’s essay “The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction” (1935) and William M. Ivins’s Prints and Visual Communication (1953).

By including photography, video, and works created in computer and Internet programs, the Biennial has become an exhibition of new currents in communication-based art. Mindful of the limitations of the globalizing world, it has turned away from the panoramic exhibition, attempting instead to present the diversity of the contemporary art scene in a selective way, focusing every two years on a single segment of creative work.

The revitalized Biennial presents the most important features of contemporary art practice, and in so doing, remains faithful to the event’s tradition. In the more than fifty years since the first Ljubljana Biennial, graphic art has experienced constant change. The Biennial has always kept abreast of this change, presenting innovative developments in both the content and techniques of graphic art. Thus, in the 1960s, even before the international art world acknowledged the importance of Andy Warhol’s work, the Biennial accepted silkscreen printing as a valid fine art technique, and in the 1970s, it presented the computer-based graphic work of Edvard Zajec, one of the pioneers in the field. The inclusion of other techniques of reproduction is but a logical step that is fully in keeping with the Biennial’s traditional open-mindedness.

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