28th Biennial of Graphic Arts

04 Sep 09 11:00 > 25 Oct 09 18:00 Opening hours of the Gallery Alkatraz: Tuesdey – Sunday 11.00 a.m. – 18.00 p.m.

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.

artists in alkatraz gallery:
Anita di Bianco, Ivan Grubanov, Cesare Pietrousti, Hungarian Double-tailed Dog, Igor Eškinja, Jakup Ferri, Ahmet Ogut, Juan Perez Agirregoikoa

MGLC: www.mglc-lj.si
Galerija Jakopič: www.mestnimuzej.si
Galerija Kapsula: www.kapsula.si
Galerija Škuc: www.galerija.skuc-drustvo.si
Ganes Pratt: www.ganes.si

More about 28th Biennial of Graphic Arts: www.mglc-lj.si


A Distortion of Reality

The exhibition at the Alkatraz Gallery entitled The Matrix: An Unstable Reality presents works of art that, from various contextual points of departure, examine the questions: What is the matrix? Who manages it? And what, today, is reality in the systems of art and society? By highlighting a line of exhibition sites that are working together and contributing to the selection, preparations, and execution of the show as equal partners, we want the exhibition to stir reflection on the social reality, especially on the level of its content, for we are conscious of the space and time, and the position, of a gallery that carries in itself the weight of the symbolic and historical liberation of a space. The artists we invited to participate understand graphic art – in the broadest sense of the term – as a lever for drawing attention to the state of reality or as a means for bringing about change.

In the matrix, people live in cocoons linked by cybernetic implants in an "artificially constructed reality." The matrix is a reality that is fed and fueled by the ignorance, or unawareness, of those who are trapped within it. Awareness of this captive state – and the ability to grasp or experience reality – occurs only as the result of a "glitch" in the system. "So long as an illusion is not recognized as an error, it has a value precisely equivalent to reality. But once the illusion has been recognized as such, it is no longer an illusion. It is, therefore, the concept of illusion, and that concept alone, which is an illusion."1 The matrix is the constructed reality that surrounds us. We as individuals play the role of prisoners of our own incapability to grasp reality. Slavoj Žižek has written that the Real is the anamorphotic distortion of the direct image of reality, a distorted image that subjectivizes objective reality. Reality is an empty, constructed structure that is never finished but that appears to us as a "symbolic construction."2

"[MORPHEUS:] It's that feeling you have had all your life. That feeling that something was wrong with the world. You don't know what it is but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. […] The Matrix is everywhere, it's all around us, here even in this room. […] It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. NEO: What truth? MORPHEUS: That you are a slave, Neo. That you, like everyone else, was born into bondage … kept inside a prison that you cannot smell, taste, or touch. A prison of your mind."3

We might compare the matrix with Plato's metaphor of the cave, which similarly stresses ignorance as the category that makes it impossible for the people in the cave to free themselves, throw off their shackles, stop looking at their own shadows and the shadows of others, and turn their eyes toward the light, which, in Plato's work, can be understood as the "path" that leads to the search for truth.4

It is not without reason that today we can feel ourselves prisoners of the matrix, can feel that we are situated in a system that is an unstable reality, that is the "desert of the Real," and we must always keep on revealing it. We can recognize the matrix in capital, which is the colonizer of subjectivity, of culture, and of our nature. In the present situation, the media, capital, and politics bombard us with information that a glitch has appeared in the system and we are in an unstable reality; meanwhile, in this reality an opportunity presents itself for opening up territory and replacing "the existing" with "the new."

The present exhibition is designed to bring together artists who live in the present age and shape its plurality and who unite various contexts in which today's art is shown. The questions the exhibited artworks ask themselves are prominent issues in the symbolic mesh of the network of the social system in the broadest sense. As a construct of individuals within a community, the social system establishes the relations between the actors. Positions are formed on micro- and macro-levels that create a seeming equality and the potential for the subject's free participation in the designed community. The exhibition concentrates on only a single pole in its questions and search for answers, but in its appearance it is extremely heterogeneous, posing, at first glance, a number of unrelated questions at once (e.g. the West/East problem, the position of power, geopolitical questions, unstable reality). It does so as a way of pointing out the kind of ultimate complex intrinsic interconnections that determine the very nature of a system that assumes the features of a structure that is, at one and the same time, both brutally real and extremely speculative. While the exhibited works differ in their approaches and techniques, it is possible to see similarities, with respect to their content, in the way they recognize and interpret social and ideological structures.

Perfect Lovers, by the Turkish artist Ahmet Ö?üt is notable for its sensitivity to social reality, it creative breadth, and its sense of humor. Ö?üt presents two circular objects that at first glance seem almost identical. They are two coins: the two-euro coin, which is legal tender in the European Union, and the Turkish one-lira coin, which belongs to the currency of a country outside of Europe. The two means of payment are valid in two economically and politically different communities. The artist reveals to us the contrast between actual and symbolic reality, in which the individual has the role of prisoner to social and societal circumstances. We are often surprised by our ability to recognize real and false versions of the truth and so explore modes of manipulation in all aspects of its media appearance. The project Corrections and Clarifications is a newspaper in the making – an edited compilation of daily corrections in the Slovene media from July 2008 to July 2009 that seeks through its medium to draw attention to certain aspects of the constructed reality. By collecting ordinary blunders, artist Anita di Bianco uncovers those mechanisms for controlling and distributing reality that are produced by media houses/corporations as a fourth power in the political and economic system.

Jakup Ferri is an artist who in his drawings does not question the traumatic experiences of his generation. These are memories connected with childhood, heroes, urban life, and so on. His seemingly absurd visual narratives, revealed in drawings of ordinary people's lives, are a conscious retreat from the historicized and recurring traumas and idealizations of the social phantasm and open up the semiotic world of the younger generation of contemporary artists in Kosovo. The problem of the artist's position and his reality in the system that exists above him shapes the guiding principle in the investigations of artist Ivan Grubanov. The position of a person who is the victim of social and ideological manipulation, when reduced to a subject, reveals his total powerlessness in the wheels of history. Cesare Pietroiusti, in his project, wonders about the worth of an artwork that is defined by originality. In the realm of economics, originals have value as something unrepeatable; in the art system, the value of originality is associated with the romantic understanding of the subject as the personification of genius. To overturn this fetishizing relationship toward the art object, the artist produces his work in mass quantities, thus making it accessible to the greater public. The nationalistic notions that certain earlier regimes exploited for the realization of their great "bloody" ideas are still alive in our society. In an unstable time, when politics is witnessing a rise in nationalist and populist ideas, economic and political forms of destabilization are elements that stir up fear and tear down the apparent reality. In their project Smaller Hungary, the civil initiative known as the Hungarian Double-Tailed Dog Party uses irony to draw attention to the growth of Hungarian nationalism. Every revolution has both a father and the children who follow him. Thus, Mao himself told his children: "I am the sun and you are my sunflowers." Concert for a Raised Fist, by the Basque artist Juan Pérez Agirregoikoa, introduces the notion of revolution as a transformation in social consciousness that, however, leads to a situation where – as history so often shows us – revolution is just another name for continuing the paternalistic relations in the community.

"Igor Eškinja constructs his architectonics of perception as ensembles of modesty and elegance. The artist „performs“ the objects and situations, catching them in their intimate and silent transition from two-dimensional to three-dimensional formal appearance. Using simple, inexpencive meterials such as adhesive tape or electric cables and unraveling them with extreme precision and mathematical exactitude within strict spatial parameters, Eškinja defines another quality that goes beyond physical aspects and enters the registers of the imaginative and the imperceptible."5

The exhibition does not offer any clear-cut answer; instead, it leaves open a space for the real and speculative character of the topos itself. To be aware of the unstable matrix and to reveal it on the symbolic and thematic levels may well be the artist's peculiar power. The artist's need for artistic creativity may be the foundation for constructing a “new” and more stable reality.

Jadranka Ljubičič

1. Jean Baudrillard, The Perfect Crime, tr. Chris Turner (London: Verso, 1996), 51.

2. Slavoj Žižek, “The Matrix, or Two Sides of Perversion,” http://www.egs.edu/faculty/zizek/zizek-the-matrix-or-two-sides-of-perversion.html (accessed 20 May 2009); originally published in Philosophy Today (Celina, Ohio), vol. XLIII (1999).

3. Dialogue from the film The Matrix, directed and written by Andy and Larry Wachowski (Warner Bros., 1999), quoted in Žižek, “The Matrix, or Two Sides of Perversion.”

4. Plato, The Republic, Book 7: 514a–517a.

5. *text from catalog MANIFESTA 7,
Principal Hope in selection of Adam Budak - Rovereto


28. grafični bienale

04 Sep 09 11:00 > 25 Oct 09 18:00 Urnik galerije Alkatraz: torek-nedelja 11.00 – 18.00

Osemindvajseti grafični bienale je kompleksna prireditev z dolgoletno tradicijo, ki jo sestavlja več razstav in dogodkov. Osrednja razstava Matrica: nestabilna realnost bo tudi tokrat dva meseca v ljubljanskih galerijah osredotočena na sodobno grafiko v njenem najširšem pomenu. Na pobudo Mednarodnega grafičnega likovnega centra, ki je predlagal tematsko izhodišče osrednje razstave, so pri razvoju in sooblikovanju ideje sodelovale Galerija Alkatraz, Galerija Ganes Pratt, Galerija Jakopič, Galerija Kapsula in Galerija Škuc, ki so hkrati tudi bienalska razstavišča. Poleg osrednje bienalske razstave 28. grafični bienale sestavljajo Salon knjig umetnikov, tradicionalna razstava nagrajenca prejšnjega bienala in spremljevalne razstave.

Matrica: nestabilna realnost
Osrednja razstava 28. grafičnega bienala se odziva na aktualne probleme, ki jih je umetnosti in družbi postavila kultna filmska trilogija Matrica. Odgovoriti poskuša na vprašanja, ali medij ostane enak, tudi ko v svoj jezik vključi nove tehnologije? Ali se s tem povečuje občinstvo umetnosti? Kakšna je družbena moč tistih, ki imajo matrico? Ali posedovanje matrice upravičuje tudi izključne pravice razmnoževanja? Ali lahko ustvarimo popoln svet, bodisi realen ali virtualen? Razstava predstavlja izbor del več kot osemdeset mednarodno uveljavljenih in uveljavljajočih se ustvarjalcev, od tradicionalnega in sodobnega tiska do knjig umetnikov in javnih, medijskih in računalniških intervencij.

umetnice in umetniki v galeriji alkatraz:
Anita di Bianco, Ivan Grubanov, Cesare Pietrousti, Hungarian Double-tailed Dog, Igor Eškinja, Jakup Ferri, Ahmet Ogut, Juan Perez Agirregoikoa

Razstavni prostori:
MGLC: www.mglc-lj.si
Galerija Jakopič: www.mestnimuzej.si
Galerija Kapsula: www.kapsula.si
Galerija Škuc: www.galerija.skuc-drustvo.si
Ganes Pratt: www.ganes.si

Več informacij o 28. grafičnem bienalu na www.mglc-lj.si


Distorzija realnosti

Razstava v galeriji Alkatraz z naslovom Matrica: nestabilna realnost ponuja umetniška dela, ki se z različnih kontekstualnih izhodišč posvečajo vprašanjem, kaj je matrica, kdo jo upravlja in kaj je realnost danes v umetniškem in družbenem sistemu. Z vzpostavitvijo linije razstavišč, ki enakovredno sodelujejo in prispevajo izbor, pripravo in izvedbo želimo s to razstavo ponuditi v razmislek predvsem o vsebinskih ravneh družbene stvarnosti, kajti zavedamo se prostora in časa in pozicije galerije, ki v sebi nosi težo simbolnega in zgodovinskega osvobajanja prostora. Na razstavo smo povabili umetnike, ki razumejo grafiko v najširšem pomenu besede kot vzvod za opozarjanje na stanje resničnosti ali kot sredstvo za doseganje sprememb.

V matrici ljudje živijo v kokonih/zapredkih, ki s kibernetskimi implantati povezani v »umetno skonstruirano resničnost«. Matrica je realnost, ki se hrani in napaja iz nevednosti/nezavedanja ljudi, ujetih vanjo. Zavedanje te ujetosti in nezmožnost uvida/doživetja realnosti, povzroča šele napaka v sistemu. "Vse dokler iluzija ni prepoznana kot napaka, je njena vrednost natanko enaka vrednosti realnosti. Ko pa je iluzija enkrat prepoznana kot taka, tedaj ni več iluzija. Potemtakem je sam koncept iluzije - in samo on - iluzija."1 Matrica je skonstruirana realnost, ki nas obdaja. Kot posamezniki igramo vlogo ujetnikov svoje nezmožnosti dojemanja resničnosti. Slavoj Žižek je zapisal, da je realno anamorfična distorzija direktne predstave realnosti, distorzija podobe, ki subjektivizira objektivno realnost. Realnost je prazna, konstruirana struktura, ki ni nikoli dokončna ampak se nam kaže kot »simbolična konstrukcija«2 .

"It's that feeling you have had all your life. That feeling that something was wrong with the world. You don't know what it is but it's there, like a splinter in your mind, driving you mad. /…/ The Matrix is everywhere, it's all around us, here even in this room. /…/ It is the world that has been pulled over your eyes to blind you from the truth. NEO: What truth? MORPHEUS: That you are a slave, Neo. That you, like everyone else, was born into bondage … kept inside a prison that you cannot smell, taste, or touch. A prison of your mind."3

Matrico bi lahko primerjali s Platonovo prispodobo o votlini4, ki ravno tako poudarja nevednost kot tisto kategorijo, ki onemogoča ljudem, da bi se v votlini osvobodili, odvrgli okove in nehali gledati svoje sence in sence drugih ter pogledali proti svetlobi, ki jo pri Platonu lahko razumemo kot »pot« k iskanju resnice.

Danes se lahko upravičeno počutimo ujetnike matrice, naše pozicioniranje znotraj sistema, ki je nestabilna realnost, je "puščoba realnosti" in vsakič znova jo moramo odkrivati. Matrico lahko prepoznavamo v kapitalu, ki je kolonizator subjektivitete, kulture in naše narave. V trenutni situaciji nas mediji, kapital in politika bombardirajo s podatki, da je nastala napaka v sistemu in smo v nestabilni realnosti, v njej pa se ponuja priložnost odpiranja teritorija in zamenjave »obstoječega« z "novim".

Razstava je zasnovana kot združitev ustvarjalk in ustvarjalcev, ki bivajo v sedanjosti in oblikujejo njeno pluralnost ter združujejo razne kontekste, v katerih se predstavlja današnja umetnost. Vprašanja, ki si jih dela na razstavi zastavljajo, so izstopajoče točke v simbolnem prepletu mrežne strukture družbenega sistema v najširšem pomenu.

Družbeni sistem kot konstrukt posameznikov znotraj skupnosti ustvarja razmerja med akterji. Oblikujejo se pozicije znotraj na mikro-makroravni, ki ustvarjajo navidezno enakost in možnost svobodne participacije subjekta v oblikovani skupnosti. Razstava se ne osredotoča na en sam pol vprašanj in iskanja odgovorov, temveč je na videz celo zelo raznorodna, in na prvi pogled nepovezana vprašanja zastavlja simultano (npr. problem zahod/vzhod, pozicija moči, geopolitična vprašanja, nestabilna realnost), da bi nakazala njihovo končno intrinzično kompleksno prepletenost, kakršna določa samo naravo sistema, ki hkrati zavzema značilnosti tako brutalno realne kot skrajno spekulativne strukture. Razstavljena dela, so si različna v avtorskih prijemih in tehnikah, medtem ko je na vsebinski ravni moč zaznati podobnosti v prepoznavanju in tolmačenju družbenih in ideoloških struktur.

Delo Perfect Lovers umetnika turškega rodu Ahmeta Oguta zaznamujejo občutljivost za socialno stvarnost, ustvarjalna širina in humor. Ahmet Ogut razstavlja dva krožna objekta, ki sta na prvi pogled skoraj identična. To sta dva kovanca, kovanec za 2€ je menjalno sredstvo Evropske unije, medtem ko je turška lira menjalno sredstvo države, ki je zunaj Evrope. Plačilni sredstvi sta veljavni v dveh ekonomsko in politično različnih skupnostih. Umetnik nam odkriva kontrast, med dejansko in simbolno stvarnostjo, kjer posameznik igra vlogo ujetnika socialno – družbenih realitet.

Večkrat nas preseneti naša sposobnost, da prepoznamo pravo ali lažno verzijo resnice in tako odkrivamo načine manipulacije v vseh aspektih njene medijske pojavnosti. Corrections and clarifications je projekt časopisa v nastajanju, urejena kompilacija dnevnih popravkov v slovenskih medijih, od julija 2008 do julija 2009, ki poskuša skozi medij opozarjati na aspekte skonstruirane realnosti. Z zbiranjem vsakdanjih lapsusov nam umetnica Anita di Bianco odkriva mehanizme kontroliranja in distribucije realnosti, ki jih proizvajajo medijske hiše/korporacije kot četrta sila v političnem in ekonomskem sistemu.

Jakup Ferri je umetnik, ki v svojih risbah ne postavlja pod vprašaj travmatske izkušnje svoje generacije. To so spomini, vezani na otroštvo, heroje, urbano življenje,… Njegove na prvi pogled absurdne vizualne zgodbe, ki jih razkrivajo risbe življenja navadnih ljudi, so zavestni odmik od historizirane in ponavljajoče se travme in idealizacije družbene fantazme ter odpirajo znakovni svet mlajše generacije sodobnih umetnikov na Kosovu.

Problem pozicije umetnika in njegove stvarnosti znotraj sistema, ki je nad njim, je vodilo raziskovanja umetnika Ivana Grubanova. Pozicija človeka, ki je žrtev družbene in ideološke manipulacije, ko je zveden na subjekt, odkriva njegovo popolno nemoč znotraj kolesja zgodovine.

Cesare Pietroiusti se v svojem projektu sprašuje o vrednostih umetniškega dela, ki ga določa originalnost. V ekonomskem svetu imajo originali kot nekaj neponovljivega svojo vrednost. V umetnostnem sistemu ima originalnost vrednost, ki pa je povezana z romantičnim pojmovanjem subjekta, ki ga pooseblja genij.

Da bi umetnik porušil to razmerje fetišizacije umetniškega objekta, producira svoje delo v masovni količini in tako omogoča njeno dostopnost širši množici.

Nacionalistične ideje, ki so jih nekateri prejšnji režimi izrabljali za udejanjanje velikih "krvavih" idej, so še vedno žive v naši družbi. V nestabilnih časih, ko je v politiki značilen porast nacionalnih in populističnih idej, sta ekonomska in politična destabilizacija elementa, ki zbujata strah in podirata navidezno realnost. Civilna iniciativa Double-tailed Dog Party v svojem projektu Smaller Hungary ironično opozarja na porast madžarskega nacionalizma.

Vsaka revolucija ima svojega očeta in otroke, ki mu sledijo. Tako kot je sam Mao govoril svojim otrokom: "Jaz sem sonce in vi ste moje sončnice". Delo Concert for a raised fist umetnika baskovskega rodu Juana Pereza Agirregoikoia vpeljuje pojem revolucije kot preobrata v družbeni zavesti, ki pa pripelje v položaj ko se kakor že večkrat v zgodovini pokaže, da je preobrat samo drugo ime za nadaljevanje paternalističnega odnosa znotraj skupnosti.

"Igor Eškinja oblikuje svojo arhitektoniko zaznave kot kombinacijo preprostosti in elegance. Umetnik postavlja, uprizarja objekte in situacije in jih lovi v njihovem intimnem, nemem prehajanju iz oblik, ki so po videzu dvodimenzionalne, v tridimenzionalne. Z uporabo preprostih, cenenih materialov, kot so lepilni trak ali električni kabli, ki jih razpleta z matematično natančnostjo znotraj točno določenih prostorskih parametrov, dosega kakovost, ki presega fizični vidik, in stopa v register zamišljenega in nezaznavnega."5

Razstava ne daje enoznačnega odgovora, temveč pušča odprt prostor za vnos realnega in spekulativnega značaja samega toposa. Zavedanje v nestabilni matrici in njeno odkrivanje na simbolni in vsebinski ravni je lahko moč, ki jo ima umetnik. Njegova potreba po umetniški ustvarjalnosti je lahko podlaga za gradnjo "nove" stabilnejše realnosti.


!. Jean Baudrillard, Simulaker in simulacija, Popoln zločin, ŠOU, Študentska založba 1999

2. Slavoj Žižek, The Matrix or two sides of Perversion, Philosophy Today; Celina; 1999; Volume: 43, p. http://www.egs.edu/faculty/zizek/zizek-the-matrix-or-two-sides-of-perversion.html

3. Slavoj Žižek, The Matrix or two sides of Perversion, Philosophy Today; Celina; 1999; Volume: 43, p. http://www.egs.edu/faculty/zizek/zizek-the-matrix-or-two-sides-of-perversion.html

4. Platon, Politeia 514a- 517a

5. Adam Budak, iz besedila v katalogu za Principle Hope na Manifesti 7, Trentino-Južna
Tirolska (Rovereto, 2008).