STA, 7 June 2019 - The 33rd Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts will get under way on Friday, with satire and humour being the common thread of the event. Running until 29 September under the title Crack Up - Crack Down, it is curated by the internationally acclaimed art collective Slavs and Tatars.
Nevenka Šivavec, the director of the International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC), which organises the event, has told the STA that the collective has offered itself to curate this time after a successful appearance two years ago.
Šivavec said one of the reasons to select the collective, whose core activities are exhibitions, books, lectures and performances, was that they claimed to be covering an "area east of the former Berlin Wall and west of the Great Wall of China".
This is where the organisers found a connection with the geo-political space which used to be covered by the Ljubljana biennial, she said, adding that Slavs and Tatars were also active in publishing and translation.
According to Šivavec, the collective featuring artists from New York, Berlin, Warsaw and Dubai has been selected also because it has become a thing lately that large exhibitions and biennials invite artists as curators.
Slavs and Tatars were looking for a connection between graphic arts and the present time, finding it where satire and graphic arts meet. This is why the organisers have decided that satire is a good starting point, she said.
"The biennial explores the ways in which graphic language stimulates the emergence of satire as an extremely resilient and topical form of criticism through the use of irony and ridicule," according to the event's website.
Various media will be represented at this year's biennial, which will feature 35 artists from Slovenia, Poland, Ukraine, Georgia, Bulgaria, China, Iran, the UK and the US, who use various graphic languages in their work.
In addition to the historical part, the exhibition will feature works by contemporary artists, interventions by various activists and new media representatives, as well as shows by stand-up comedians and other performers.
The exhibition will take place at nine venues across Ljubljana, including the MGLC, the National and University Library (NUK) and the Švicarija arts centre in Tivoli Park.
An exhibition by the winner of the 32nd biennial, Guatemalan artist and architect Alejandro Paz, will meanwhile be on display in Plečnik House, combining Epicureanism and Slovenia's greatest architect Jože Plečnik.
The event will be accompanied by numerous side shows and a collection of articles by acclaimed experts and academicians. It will open today in Švicarija, when the grand prix will also be conferred.