Exhibition Programme 2023

Permanent Collections

Tomislav Brajnović: An Artist Is a Living Museum

Permanent collections, chapel, living room
28 September 2022–31 December 2023

Curator: Saša Nabergoj

Tomislav Brajnović (1965) is a contemporary conceptual artist from Croatia and professor at the Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka. His oeuvre spanning over thirty years is focused on the ever-topical themes of ideology, religion, history, the role of arts, the artist, ethics and humankind. The artist uses a variety of media, such as spatial installation, video, printmaking, sound, painting, sculpture, performance, happening, photography etc.

Sixteen works from his extensive oeuvre are exhibited in a dialogue with the content of the permanent museum collections and in the chapel and living room of the Škofja Loka Museum.

From the Museum Depots: Ive Šubic

Permanent art history collection
23 April 2022–7 May 2023

Curator: Petra Čeh

A selection of eleven of a total of ninety-three works by Ive Šubic (1922–1989) that are part of the museum collections are on display to mark the 100th anniversary of the birth of one of the most prominent twentieth-century artists from the Škofja Loka area.

The exhibition includes several drawings, paintings and prints. Most of the exhibited works depict Partisan-related subjects, such as the Battle of Dražgoše, columns of Partisans, Partisan runners, and similar World War II themes. An important part of Šubic’s painting oeuvre are landscapes, which are mostly idealised depictions of his birthplace, the Poljane Valley or the surrounding hills. Some of the drawings kept by the museum are sketches of public monuments.

Ivan Tavčar Library (A Collection of Old Books)
A new permanent exhibition, early 2024

Curator: Simona Žvanut

The establishment of a new permanent collection of old books – the Ivan Tavčar Library – will serve to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the death of Ivan Tavčar, an extremely important Slovenian writer, politician and a prominent figure in the world of economy, who was from Poljane nad Škofjo Loko.

The library, which was amassed and used by Ivan Tavčar and his wife at the Visoko Mansion, contains six hundred titles. Two hundred of these are antiquarian editions, which are considered a cultural monument and part of Slovenian written cultural heritage due to their age. These editions include a 1778 manuscriptal philosophy textbook titled Institutiones Universae Philosophiae, Freywillig auffgesprungener Granat-Apffel dess christlichen Samaritans authored by Princess Eleonora Maria Rosalia of Eggenberg in 1695 (a resource for studying monastic health- and pharmacy-related activities), Georgica Curiosa aucta oder Adeliches Land Leben dating back to 1715/1716 (a manual for the upper classes with information on how to manage property and family; this is a special type of literature from German-speaking countries) etc.

At the museum, two exhibition rooms are dedicated to a presentation of the life and work of Dr Ivan Tavčar and his wife, Franja Tavčar, a political activist and humanitarian. However, due to lack of space and conservation-related reason, it is not possible to also display the library. The library itself offers an extremely valuable insight into the intellectual and spiritual life of Ivan and Franja Tavčar, complementing their presentation at the museum and expanding the way they are usually viewed. The library contains surprisingly few law-related books, it does, however, include Robinson Crusoe by the Enlightenment author Daniel Defoe, numerous Antiquity writers, women’s magazines, cookery books, and books on astronomy and natural science. It bears witness to Ivan and Franja Tavčar’s all-round education, diverse interests, the fact that they stayed up to date with current social and cultural events in the world, and puts together a picture of two interesting intellectuals that lived in this area at the time.

The new permanent collection of old books will be included in our museum’s educational programme and we are also planning to update the literary history lessons on Ivan Tavčar and the guided tours for adult visitors. In addition, the edited and cleaned collection will be available to researchers, who have shown interest in previous years, however, inadequate conditions did not allow for any research work in the past.

The Focus exhibition project is aimed at presenting new museum acquisitions, selected objects from the museum depots or providing additional insights into certain exhibits from our permanent collection. The permanent Fokus is a small exhibition area by the main entrance, right before visitors enter the museum collections area, while the mobile Fokus is moved around the museum, as every year the focus is on a few objects that are part of the permanent collections. Individual selected objects are highlighted and equipped with additional information to offer a different perspective on the presented topic. This is also a means of micro-updating permanent collections, as highlighting individual parts of these collections shifts the focus on other things and opens up new interpretation possibilities.

In 2023, the Focus will feature replicas of the medieval frescoes from the Church of the Annunciation in Crngrob, which have been kept by the museum since its inception, i.e. a depiction of Joseph from the waist up from the Nativity of Jesus scene from the Life of the Virgin cycle (early 14th century), the Kiss of Judas from the cycle with scenes of the suffering of Jesus (early 15th century) and St. Margaret’s head from the fresco with four intercessors in times of crisis (from the mid-15th century). The next Focus will present the 1695 book Freywillig auffgesprungener Granat-Apffel dess christlichen Samaritans by Princess Eleonora Maria Rosalia of Eggenberg. This is a book from the former Ursuline convent in Škofja Loka and is an important resource for studying monastic health- and pharmacy-related activities. Another Fokus will be dedicated to the research of the painting titled A Miller, a newly acquired painting by Ive Šubic from 1963. The October Fokus will precede an exhibition on the 19th century in the Škofja Loka area, which will be on view at the Castle Gallery. The highlighted topic will be from the everyday life between 1803 and 1914. The mobile Fokus will highlight a part of the archaeology collection, shedding light on the everyday life of the inhabitants of the Old Castle at the foot of Lubnik – Wildenlack/the Wild Loka, which was one of three medieval castles built to defend Škofja Loka and the Loka Seigniory.

Castle Gallery

Marjan Žitnik – Industrial Designer
22 June–October 2023

Curators: Žan Kobal, Tamara Lašič Jurković

The multimedia retrospective exhibition of the oeuvre of Marjan Žitnik, one of Slovenia’s most prolific industrial designers, is built on the monograph titled Marjan Žitnik – Industrial Designer, which was published at the end of 2022. A year before, in 2021, the Škofja Loka Museum concluded an agreement with Žitnik, who agreed to donate his 50-year oeuvre to the museum in exchange for a scientific monograph. The museum thus acquired its very first industrial design collection. The exhibition will be a retrospective and a critical evaluation of the oeuvre of an extremely prolific and versatile designer, and thus also offer an insight into industrial design. It will focus on several content units: light fixtures (which are a large part of Žitnik’s oeuvre, from the early beginnings of his professional career at Iskra Zmaj, through his studies at the Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts and Design, to independent work), the design of technical devices (medical instruments, electrical engineering, etc.), everyday objects (packaging, furniture, etc.), products designed as a result of his participation in the Ive Šubic Art Colonies and activities part of the Škofja Loka Artists’ Association (at the art colonies, Žitnik designed objects with a high emotional value), the work of an industrial designer through the eyes of Marjan Žitnik (a presentation of the work process – product development from start to finish; sketches, comments, etc.). The castle garden will feature a wooden play structure as an exhibit and for visitors to use.

The Long 19th Century: Škofja Loka from 1803 to 1914

Curators: Biljana Ristić (project leader), Boštjan Soklič, Sara Šifrar Krajnik, Mojca Šifrer Bulovec, Jože Štukl

The exhibition with a working title The Long 19th Century: Škofja Loka from 1803 to 1914 will start where Pavle Blaznik, historian and author of the work Škofja Loka and the Loka Seigniory 973–1803, left off. Apart from the wider European and Slovenian historical, ethnological, artistic and general social contexts, it will present in detail the individual topics relating to the history of Škofja Loka and its wider surrounding area (the former Loka Seigniory). The aim will be to place the local area and the ways it developed in a wider context (mainly in the light of how the major European spiritual, social and artistic currents influenced the everyday life of the local people). In terms of the content, the exhibition will be divided into three larger parts, i.e. the public, the private and the ecclesiastical. As part of each of these individual parts, the content will be presented in the following subchapters: economy, agriculture, education, health care and traditional medicine, social life and the activities of various societies, ecclesiastical art and church artworks.

The spirit of the age and the multifaceted textual content will be supplemented by the exhibited objects and the video content with explanations of individual concepts and events by Slovenian experts on the topics presented at the exhibition.

The exhibition will be designed in a way that will make it at least partially accessible to vulnerable groups. The exhibited objects will include some that the sight impaired and severely sight impaired visitors will be able to touch with gloves and the plan is to also translate some shorter texts into braille. For people with reading difficulties, some summaries of the exhibition texts will be adapted for easier reading, and the exhibition video content will be equipped with subtitles for the deaf and hard of hearing.

The Round Tower at the Škofja Loka Castle

The Round Tower serves as a venue for presentations of our projects, small exhibitions and other activities prepared especially in cooperation with the local community, institutions and artists. Our aim is to prepare a wider range of museum contents, try out diverse exhibition practices and respond to initiatives from the local environment.

Around the Crngrob Church – a Treasure Trove of Frescoes

The construction of the Church of the Annunciation in Crngrob started in the 13th century, possibly even earlier, the present-day appearance of the church, however, dates back to the 19th century. As early as the Middle Ages, the church was a popular place of pilgrimage and the pilgrims’ substantial donations provided the means for several church enlargements, as well as commissions of a wealth of artworks, including the golden altars and the wall paintings created throughout most of the building’s history. Some of the wall paintings are well-preserved, others, however, are either difficult to recognise or have even been detached and stored in gallery depots. The exhibition Around the Crngrob Church – a Treasure Trove of Frescoes presents twelve frescoes from different periods, between the late 13th and the mid-19th centuries.

Textile Art Biennial BIEN

A regular collaboration established in 2020 brings together the BIEN artists and our curators to reflect on heritage, conservation and sustainability by means of and because of textiles. One of this year’s research focuses is on the motifs and tapestries of France Mihelič. The Round Tower will provide the main exhibition space, while other textile artworks will be displayed in the enclosed castle garden, the castle park, Škopar’s house, the tree-lined path and the museum living room.

Participating institutions: Carnica Institute, Layer House, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering – University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Design – University of Primorska, Gorenjska Museum, Arts & Crafts Center of Škofja Loka.

Ophélie Exploring Škofja Loka Through the Eyes of Tone Mlakar, An Exhibition of Škofja Loka Photos Taken Between 1950 and 1970 and in 2022
Curator: Anja Zver

The exhibition presents photos of Škofja Loka’s architectural and urban cultural heritage back in the day and today. It features a selection of photographs from the archive of Tone Mlakar, who for more than five decades kept a photographic chronicle of Škofja Loka, its architecture and inhabitants, as well as urban and rural cultural landscapes. The exhibited colour photos were taken by Ophélie Chapuis from France, a student of art history, cultural mediation and exhibition curation at the University of Tours, who was a volunteer at Zavod O in Škofja Loka. During the time she spent in Škofja Loka, she also volunteered at the Škofja Loka Museum, where the former project manager Branka Gradišar and the curator Nina Misson suggested that she should make a selection of Škofja Loka photos while working on digitisation of the Tone Mlakar archive and to recreate the selected photos.

Ivan Grohar Gallery

At the Ivan Grohar Gallery, we are continuing the series titled Contemporary Tendencies. The annual series of five exhibitions with a well-thought-out display, well-educated gallery attendants, an accompanying programme with an emphasis on the artists and the presentation of their respective artistic processes, as well as curatorial statements authored by the curators, aims to give a comprehensive and meticulous presentation of the phenomenon of interdisciplinarity in contemporary artistic practices and break down the prejudices about contemporary art. Two artists and exhibition projects are selected every year together with the Škofja Loka Artists’ Association.

Curators: Saša Nabergoj, Boštjan Soklič

Goran Tomčić: Pompom Nets - Škofja Loka

The Pompom Nets - Škofja Loka exhibition is a spatial installation by the Berlin-based Croatian artist Goran Tomčić. This is the first comprehensive exhibition of the ongoing participatory art project, titled Pompom Nets. As the main part of this project, the artist has been collaborating with the public since 2015, creating temporary situations and spatial installations all over the world; until now in Split, Novigrad, Hvar, Venice, Berlin, Potsdam, Lisbon, Cape Coast, Elmina and New York City.

Nataša Šušteršič Plotajs: The Circle or the Sound of One Hand Clapping
22. 3.–14. 5. 2023

Nataša Šušteršič Plotajs is a visual communication designer, a prominent member of the Škofja Loka Artists’ Association and a recipient of the 2021 Grohar Scholarship. As a freelance culture professional, she has been involved in various projects in the broad field of visible communications over the years. Her work is based on painting and paired with typographic elements. Her favourite expressive technique is watercolour – a technique characterised by vibrant colours, subtle colour overlaps and white gaps. The logos, signage, posters, graphic design, conceptual designs and corporate visual identities created by her are the result of a successful combination of various artistic expressions, which feature the artist’s strong signature style visible in the way the final mass-produced product looks like. Nataša Šušteršič Plotajs has particular interest in socially-engaged, sociological topics that specifically deal with man and his relationship to the world

Erik Mavrič: The Lost Days
24. 5.–9. 7. 2023

As part of his Lost Days exhibition, Mavrič explores a topic that has occupied him for a number of years. He transforms the selected motifs and themes into visual parables – one-of-a-kind codes for understanding the structure of the existing world. For the most part, the scenes of his stories resemble scenes from B-horror movies. He uses gloomy scenes, based on expressive charcoal drawing and effective compositional solutions, to interpret his feelings of the present and premonitions of the time to come. He is filled with fear about the stratification and alienation of human civilisation, which is on the road to collapse. Mavrič explores history and uses mise-en-scène filled with the elements of a devastated (modern) urban landscape to expose the threats and materialise the fears humanity faces in the grip of global disharmonies. He examines socially engaged themes and with this particularly exhibition he (unintentionally) also touches on psychoanalysis and, of course, the history of the place where he currently lives and creates.

Herman Gvardjančič: Slovenae 22: Karst
19. 7.–10. 9. 2023

The Ivan Grohar Gallery is presenting the academy-trained painter Herman Gvardjančič and his new series of art works. The featured works are part of a cycle of drawings titled Slovenae 22: Karst, which is dedicated to the devastating fires that swept through the Slovenian region of Karst in 2022. The drawings created by combining various techniques (charcoal, acrylic, ash) continue Gvardjančič’s painting project titled Slovenae, which was started in the 1980s, thematically, however, they are also linked to the pictures created during the fires in Australia years ago. Gvardjančič came up with the title Slovenae back in 1988, and later that same year, he used it for a depiction of an architectural scene from the Slovenian urban landscape. As part of Slovenae 22: Karst, the artist explores Slovenian scenes and subjects, however, they are actually common, global and transnational. He is particularly concerned about drastic climate change (temperature fluctuations, extreme weather events, rising sea levels, warming oceans, etc.), which he has previously observed from an aerial perspective as a sport aircraft pilot. He is somewhat pessimistic about the fate of the Earth. Slovenae is an ongoing project and is yet to be finished. It can be perceived as a serious wake-up call and warning, because the greed for material possessions has led us dangerously astray as a civilisation.

Nika Oblak in Primož Novak: And Now for Something Completely Different 16
27. 9.–12. 11. 2023

The exhibition And Now for Something Completely Different 16 presents the works of visual artists Nika Oblak and Primož Novak, who have been part of the contemporary art scene as an artist duo for twenty years. Their artistic practice includes video, photography, installations, kinetic installations, spatial interventions and performance. The exhibition at the Ivan Grohar Gallery showcases a selection of works from an extensive oeuvre, in which direct implications for the current economic and social reality can be recognised. The two artists deal with the absurdities of the modern world in a lucid and humorous way, while also exploring the complex mechanisms of today’s neoliberal reality. We have selected five projects that focus on controversial aspects of modern life (the pitfalls of consumerism, the dangers of uncritical reliance on various technologies, the ambivalence between reality and fiction, repressive structures of work and politics) and social relations. The works created between 2005 and 2020 highlight an individual trapped in the wheel of a day-to-day routine, filled with repetitive protocols of (often) totally meaningless actions.

Windows of Imagination
25. 11. -14.1.2024