Hard Ground-Soft Politics: The Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana and Biting of the Iron Curtain

Wiktor Komorowski
2018 Humanities  
In 1955, the Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts was founded. It was the first curatorial initiative that aimed to link graphic artists working around the world and with those divided by the Cold War. The Ljubljana Biennial became a major success and its model quickly spread worldwide, augmenting the international circulation of prints and exchanges of artistic concepts. Over the next twenty years similar exhibitions were established in Krakow, Tallinn, San Juan, Santiago de Chile, Cali, Tokyo,
more » ... hile, Cali, Tokyo, Cairo, Fredrikstad, Frechen, Sofia and Bradford. The Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts offered an opportunity for artists from Yugoslavia, Eastern Europe and Latin America, such as Andrzej Lachowicz, Mauricio Leib Lasansky, Adolfo Quinteros and Aleš Veselý, to exhibit their works alongside the protagonists of the western contemporary graphic art circuit such as Robert Rauschenberg, Antonio Segui, Yozo Hamaguchi, Max Bill and Victor Vasarely. The network of exhibitions that followed the example set by Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts became a window into the world not only for printmakers, but also for a number of artists who were affected by Cold War cultural exclusion. The network of dedicated international print exhibitions created favourable conditions for an emerging third space, which became a platform for communication between the cultures divided by the Iron Curtain. This article focuses on the curatorial assumptions that brought the Biennial of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana to life and questions its position as a cultural cornerstone for the Non-Aligned geopolitical order.
doi:10.3390/h7040097 fatcat:fs25h7mgzfejtay4jbasdkb3ju