31st Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana

Over you / you

29 August−3 December 2015

Curator: Nicola Lees

The 31st Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana explores the sociopolitical characteristics associated with the graphic arts, particularly in connection with reproduction, publicity and community, and reflects on the Biennial’s history as a radical site for producing and distributing images.

Participating artists:

Reza Abdoh / Giorgio Andreotta Calò / AVA (Vanja Erjavec, Evelina Hägglund, Ana Jagodic, Zala Kobe, Nina Oblak, Gregor Rozman, Luka Savić and Sanja Vatič) / Becky Beasley / Chris Beauregard / Will Benedict / Wolfgang Breuer / Andrea Büttner / Bureau of Loose Associations present LUXUS / Ellen Cantor / castillo/corrales / Declan Clarke / Mike Cooter / Qëndresë Deda / Lili Reynaud-Dewar / Braco Dimitrijević / Shannon Ebner / Luca Frei / Enej Gala / Index Books Peter Gidal / Karpo Godina / David Gothard / Meta Grgurevič / Andrew Hazewinkel / Stewart Home / Tom Humphreys / Ištvan Išt Huzjan / Sanya Kantarovsky / Aidan Koch / Gabriel Kuri / Adriana Lara / Hilary Lloyd / Goshka Macuga / David Maljković / Nick Mauss and Ken Okiishi/ Oscar Murillo / New Collectivism / Pilar Quinteros / Asad Raza / Josefine Reisch / Lili Reynaud-Dewar / Giles Round / Luka Savić / Thirteen Black Cats (Vic Brooks, Evan Calder Williams and Lucy Raven) / Akram Zaatari / Phillip Zach 

Founded in 1955 in Yugoslavia, it is the first graphic arts biennial to encompass all printmaking techniques. The graphic medium was adopted by the Biennial for the ease with which graphic works could traverse international borders without political restriction, a mobility that is now amplified by the speed with which images are dispersed and distributed.

The exhibition features the work of over 40 artists, including a number of major new commissions. In the central gallery of Moderna Galerija, Andrea Büttner presents seven new woodcuts alongside a series of etchings blown up to human-scale. Together with the gouged surfaces of David Maljkovic‘sNegatives worktables and Movie by Hilary Lloyd, the painterly abstract qualities of these works evoke a feeling of touch and hand motion specific to our times.

The Bureau of Loose Associations, directed by Michał Woliński, exhibits a collection of paintings by Polish collective LUXUS, who in 1993 made multiple stenciled paintings of a mass-produced plastic toy cat as an emblem of post-Soviet capitalism. Sanya Kantarovsky created a stone lithograph print,Crocodile (after L’alpha et L’Omega), with reference to the uneasy anthropomorphism found in historic prints, such as those in Edvard Munch’s book Alpha and Omega (1908–09), and Odilon Redon’s lithograph The Spider (1887).

Luka Savić presents a half-sized reconstruction of Letatlin, Vladimir Tatlin’s flying machine from 1929–31. Turned on its back and with its wings struggling in their motion, Savić’s commission is both an emblem of a failed revolution and a reinterpretation of a historic avant-garde work. Pilar Quinteroscreated a golden cardboard model of Jože Plečnik’s 1947 unrealized design for the Slovenian parliament, which remains a national symbol. Prior to the Biennial, Quinteros and the model floated through the city on a raft by way of the Ljubljanica River. Along Plečnik’s promenade in Tivoli Park, Will Benedict installs a new series of over one hundred posters exploring ways in which viewers psychologically internalise images of the environment and read them emotionally, politically and otherwise. For There is no east or west, Asad Raza alters the Plečnik street lights in the center of the promenade to flash in a sequence through the night, evoking the blinking lights on a distant shoreline, horizon or cityscape for the duration of the Biennial. At the top of the promenade, Raza, together with D. Graham Burnett and Jeff Dolven, is holding an experimental project, Schema for a school.

The 31st Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana consists of the main exhibition Over you / you, curated by Nicola Lees with Associate Curators Stella Bottai and Laura McLean-Ferris, on display at Moderna Galerija, the International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC), Tivoli Park, Kresija Gallery, Jože Plečnik’s National and University Library and Jakopič Gallery, where Giles Round reconfigures works from the Biennial’s archive. Vladimir Vidmar curates a solo exhibition by Becky Beasley at Škuc Gallery and María Elena González (award winner of the 30th Biennial of Graphic Arts) will be on display in the Gallery of Cankarjev Dom curated by Božidar Zrinski.