The art event—the central theme of the 29th Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana—experienced a remarkable development in the twentieth century and today appears as a privileged medium. It is employed as a medium by a broad range of various figures from the contemporary art world in a broad spectrum of different forms.

Kim Paton, The Free Store Project, 2010−2011. Photo: Erica Sinclair. Courtesy Ljubljana Biennial

29th Biennial of Graphic Arts

23 September – 20 November 2011

Curator: Beti Žerovc

Venues :
International Centre of Graphic Arts, Museum of Modern Art, Jakopič Gallery, Gallery of Cankarjev dom, exhibition sites on Gosposvetska cesta 12 and Vošnjakova ulica 4. Viewing hours: Tuesday–Sunday, 10 am–6 pm.

At the exhibition, which seeks above all to present as fully as possible the energy and vitality of the current trend of art events, a selection of such events are presented in four different groups based on themes that are typical for contemporary art: violence, generosity, emptiness, and the search for the sacred and ritualistic. These topics were selected, among other reasons, because the events that thematize them also meet the requirement that they are not something new, neither in terms of their artistic iconographic motifs nor in terms of actual human or social practice. Events in which we can with impunity partake in violence, in “shamanistic” violence to oneself, in Dionysian or absurdist ritual, or in the establishment of an idyllic communitas that shares a common meal are, indeed, activities that have been practiced and even depicted for millennia.

In the exhibition, as well as in an extensive programme of artistic and theoretical events, the Biennial poses the questions: Why and how has the event become a suitable vehicle for a variety of artistic purposes, poetics, and content? Is the choice of this medium a response to specific impulses and voids in our “desacralized” everyday existence? And also, what are the potential dangers of such a development, given that it is happening more and more in the completely formalized framework of art institutions, which in recent decades not only house and exhibit contemporary art, but also commission and produce it. Thus they have become commissioners of contemporary art of a similar type and scope as were once the aristocracy and the church.


The Event as a Privileged Medium in the Contemporary Art World
An international symposium will address specific “targeted” questions about the ideological significance of the profusion of events in contemporary art institutions. A varied cast of anthropologists, philosophers, historians, and art historians have been invited to participate. The following speakers have been announced: Luisa Accati, Beatrice von Bismarck, Thomas Fillitz, Dario Gamboni, Werner Hanak-Lettner, Nathalie Heinich, Bojana Kunst, Henrietta L. Moore, Michael Newman, Robert Pfaller, Renata Salecl, Roger Sansi-Roca.

Friday, 4 November, 11 p.m.–7 p.m.
Saturday, 5 November, 10 a.m.–2:30 p.m.
Location: the auditorium of the Museum of Modern Art (Moderna galerija), Cankarjeva 15, Ljubljana. Admission is free. The symposium will be broadcast live on the website. For detail information on the Symposium and the Biennial please visit 29gbljubljana.wordpress.com.

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