Lea Čeč, Croatia
Franz Josef Berger, Austria
Arianna Ellero, Italy
Francisco Tomsich, Uruguay
Miha Erič, Slovenia
Ana Sluga, Slovenia
Martin Zelenko Poles, Slovenia
Alja Košar, Slovenia
Opening of the exhibition: 16. 7. 2021 at 12.00 pm, Knights’ Hall, Križanke
In the present circumstances, organising any kind of cultural event is very difficult and subject to constant adaptation. Last year’s colony took place successfully thanks to the more favourable situation in the summer months, when the coronavirus crisis had not imposed a complete lockdown.
The preparations for this year’s art colony, organised as always by Festival Ljubljana, have been characterised by the belief that “everything will be okay”, although, given the current state of the pandemic, uncertainty has been constantly present and there have been numerous changes and much speculation as to whether the event would actually go ahead. The biggest problem has been that the invited foreign artists were unable to know until the last minute under what conditions they would be allowed to travel to Slovenia, if at all. Essential information on border closures, quarantine regulations, the shutting down of air traffic, and so on, has changed constantly. Cities have gone into isolation and closed down, which has created additional problems because this colony, one of the few creative gatherings for painters of its type, takes place in a distinctly urban environment – precisely the type worst affected by the pandemic. Museums, art galleries and concert halls have been closed for months: the consequences of this will continue to be felt for a long time. Major national institutions will, of course, survive, but the big question is whether this will also be true of the galaxy of smaller, private institutions that have contributed much to the enrichment of the fine arts and, through their work, made the beauty of art something that benefits all of society and enriches the entire world. There is no doubt that the time of the pandemic has contributed to increasing people’s desire for culture. In this historic moment, in which millions of us have been physically separated from each other, it is culture that has connected us, helped us and offered us consolation, inspiration and hope. It has also become apparent that no virtual surrogate can take the place of a genuine work of art. We want to feel and touch original works of art and see and experience them with our own eyes.
We sincerely hope this will happen, and that once again this year works of art will be created in the wonderful setting of Plečnik’s Križanke and proclaim our joie de vivre. It is a fact that all the words that swirl round a work of art actually mean very little, since what the artist wishes to say is contained in his or her painting. Only the work of art itself gives new impulses, new emotions and new ideas. And it is now, in this current moment marked by our painful experience, that we need beauty and art, positivity and courage, in order to believe and continue on into the future.
This year, just as in every previous year, it falls to eight artists to face these challenges. They are: Lea Čeč from Croatia, Arianna Ellero from Italy, Franz Josef Berger from Austria, Francisco Tomsich from Uruguay and Ana Sluga, Alja Košar, Miha Erič and Martin Zelenko Poles from Slovenia.
Once again this year, we will be joined by the well-known multimedia artist Lado Jakša, who will be with us for the entire week. At the opening of the exhibition that concludes the fine arts colony, he will use his own artistic vision to provide a musical and visual presentation of the participating artists’ work.
I wish all the participants a great deal of creative inspiration and an enjoyable – if socially distanced – gathering. I hope that the weather is kind to us again this year and that Ljubljana will enchant this year’s artists as much as it has their predecessors.