The Slovenia Times

Paintings celebrating national costumes on display in Maribor


Maribor - An exhibition of paintings celebrating national costumes will open at the Maribor Art Gallery (UGM) on Friday, presenting works by painter Ante Trstenjak (1894-1970) and contemporary artists Tina Dobrajc from Slovenia, Eric Schuett from Germany, and Trina Sondergaard from Denmark.

The exhibition Pride and Prejudice in National Costume is a result of many years of collaboration between the Maribor Art Gallery, the National Museum in Prague, and the Museum of Lusatian Sorbs in Bautzen, Germany. "The first initiative for cooperation came in 2014," curator Andreja Borin told the press on Thursday.

"The idea was for each of these institutions to host an exhibition and the first was held at the Museum of Lusatian Sorbs in Bautzen in 2020. But these are not the same exhibitions, they are adjusted to the mission of the institution; for example were are a gallery of modern art, while the Museum of Lusatian Sorbs is more ethnographic."

The large-scale display in Maribor focusses on the artistic work of Trstenjak, who studied in Prague and lived there for two decades, was influenced by the Lusatian Sorbs' rich culture, and spent the last years of his life in Maribor. "Because of his dynamic life, his artistic oeuvre is fragmented and housed by all collaborating institutions," the gallery said.

The exhibition focusses on national costumes and their representations in a specific area and time, but it also touches on issues of allegiance and identity, as well as the role of women in society.

The exhibition presents Trstenjak's Lusatian series and the influence of Czech painter Ludvík Kuba. It also offers an insight into the awakening of Slavic nations in the first half of the 20th century.

The display's ethnographic-documentary core is supplemented with pieces by contemporary artists Schuett, Dobrajc, and Sondergaard, all of whom incorporate national costumes in their work. "Their participation adds modern issues, concerns, and reflections to the exhibition, while also providing an exciting artistic experience," the UGM says on its website.

Dobrajc is a painter of the younger generation who combines contemporary painting with aspects of Slovenian folklore in her work, focussing on issues that raise questions about women's roles in modern society. Her artwork On the Dark Side of the Alps I (2016) and the video Milk (2015) will be featured in the exhibition.

Schuett started his series of photographs Village Queens in 2009 by taking photos of women still wearing traditional costumes or elements of them in their daily life. A selection of images from this series, focusing on women from the Lusatian region, will be on display.

Sondergaard is a photographer whose work combines documentary objectivity, refined aesthetics, and poetics, UGM says on its website. Her images of women wearing traditional headgear and veils relate to women's history and demonstrate how, over time, women's headgear has evolved to convey both something cultural and personal.

The exhibition, on until 23 October, will be opened by Culture Minister Asta Vrečko, while Maribor Mayor Saša Arsenovič will deliver an address.


More from Culture