Ljubljana graphic arts biennial paying tribute to Iskra Delta

Ljubljana – The 34th Ljubljana International Biennial of Graphic Arts is opening on Friday in several venues in the capital. Running until 21 September, the festival is themed around nostalgia of a former computing company while also looking towards the future in featuring young artists.

The biennial runs under the title Iskra Delta, the name of a former Slovenia-based computing company and one of the largest producers of computers in Yugoslavia, which went bust just before the collapse of the former state.

The story about the rise and fall of Iskra Delta is shrouded in mystery and is thus a subject of various projections, which sometimes border on conspiracy theories, the International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC) has said.

The organisers of the event have invited to the project a wide range of artists who “use the power of fiction and speculative design, play fantasy roles and games and use the internet, pop and emerging technologies.”

MGLC director Nevenka Šivavec, the artistic manager of the biennial, said that the event gathered young Central and East European artists who understand Iskra Delta more as a “story about something that could have been realised, but has not been.”

Curator Tjaša Pogačar added for the STA that the event brought new projects by young artists and groups, including BCAA System (Czech Republic), Inside Job (Poland), Botond Keresztesi and Zsofia Keresztes (Hungary) and Mario Mu (Croatia).

Slovenia will be represented at the biennial by Andrej Škufca, Neja Zorzut and Luka Lavrenci.

The main programme will be accompanied by electronic and pop music concerts, workshops, publications, conferences and talks about the “possibilities provided by the new technological revolution and tactical potentials of Yugo-futurism.”

Traditionally, the festival will also feature a solo exhibition by the winner of its grand prize from last year, the London-based artist Hamja Ahsan, which displays the “history of a fictitious country of shy, introvert and autistic people.”

Established in 1955, the Ljubljana International Biennial of Graphic Arts has always responded to the ever-changing social and political context, while re-shaping its own identity and strategies, the organisers noted.

The biennial continues to draw from its history and context, with the 34th edition finding incentive in a special local case of technological development and its unrealised potential, they added.