Inke Arns on Tue, 20 Jun 2000 20:02:51 +0200

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Syndicate: MSE @ Skuc, Ljubljana (info about Skuc)

?kuc Gallery, Stari trg 21, 1
1000 Ljubljana, phone/fax.: +386 1 251 65 40

?kuc Gallery 

?kuc Gallery has been operating in the premises at Stari trg 21 /Old
Square/ in Ljubljana since 1978. It forms part of the ?KUC Cultural Centre,
one of the pillars of non-profitable culture in Slovenia for over 29 years
now. In these 22 years of operation, ?kuc Gallery has become a prominent
international fine art centre for exhibitions, different artistic events,
publishing and documentation.

At the end of the '70s, the foundation of ?KUC' exhibition premises
presented a counterpart to the dominant exhibition policy of established
national galleries and institutions in Slovenia. Taja Vidmar Brejc, art
historian, curator and first artistic director, achieved this position. The
first exhibition in the new gallery was a retrospective presentation of the
OHO group. In the eighties, ?kuc Gallery under new artistic directors
(Du?an Mandic, Marina Grzinic, Barbara Borcic) became the centre of
(sub)culture in Slovenia, and thus even aggravated its relationship with
institutional culture. Characteristic of this period were multi-media
projects; presentations of the Zagreb and Belgrade Conceptual Art movements
(Ra?a Todosijeviæ, Mladen Stilinoviæ, Goran �orðevic, for instance); and
the first projects of now established Slovene fine artists (including
IRWIN, V.S.S.D., Bojan Gorenec and Marjetica Potrc). At the turn of the
decade, under the artistic direction of Tomislav Vignjevic and Alenka
Pirman, ?kuc Gallery found itself having to face its own past and the fame
of an elitist alternative space. The selection of annual programmes was
opened to various artistic orientations, and based on the following areas:
first personal exhibitions of works by young Slovene artists; personal
exhibitions (or projects outside the Gallery) by renowned Slovene artists;
personal exhibitions (or projects outside the Gallery) by international
artists; thematic group exhibitions of younger guest curators, and
socio-cultural documentary exhibitions. In 1996, Gregor Podnar took over
the position of the gallery's artistic director.

In the last ten years, ?kuc Gallery has become one of the most visited
exhibition premises in Slovenia, with some 1,000 visitors on average per
exhibition. At the time when encounters with the international cultural
industry represent a growing part of the daily routine, the focus on
regional and local developments has become a significant segment of the
?kuc Gallery programmatic orientation. Especially at the regional level,
captured between art centres in Austria, Croatia, Hungary and Italy, we
wish to establish a closer co-operation with institutions and individuals,
which also provides for a wider theoretical framework of our exhibitory
work. In sum, ?kuc Gallery has been asserting itself increasingly as an art
production centre which, however, is not (yet) commercial in the local
space. During the last few years, the following internationally-working
artists were presented in the gallery: Joze Bar?i, Attila Csörgõ, Carl
Michael von Hausswolff, Ingold Airlines, Olafur Eliasson, Vadim Fi?kin,
Antal Lakner, Juri Leiderman, Maja Licul, Olaf Nicolai, Tadej Pogacar,
Marko Peljhan, Goran Petercol, Marjetica Potrè, Neboj?a ?eric-?oba, Nika
?pan, Apolonija ?u?ter?ic, and Janja Zvegelj.

Finally, in the light of the non-transparent cultural policies of the
Ministry of Culture of Slovenia and of the Municipality of Ljubljana, which
are the most prominent supporters of cultural activities in Slovenia, the
continuity of the gallery's work remains questionable from year to year.
Nevertheless, the former artistic director, Alenka Pirman states: "It?s the
tragedy of ?kuc Gallery that it has become an institution which itself
redeems and canonises every ? even the most artfully devised ? attempt at a
laboratory clash with the postulates of contemporary art. Therefore I say:
Abolish it, or protect is as a historical monument ? but in no way be
enticed by it."

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