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P74 Gallery

Black on White. Artists’ magazines and newspapers in Slovenia

18 December 2013 – 7 January 2014
Galerija Akademija Moderna, Zagreb

In recent years Zavod P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. has created and organised several survey exhibitions of artist’s books and artists’ publications in Slovenia and abroad. The presentation “Black on White” in Zagreb’s Academia Moderna gallery presents a new step in this direction: the first presentation of artists’ newspapers and magazines as well as periodical bulletins published by artists.

In the 1960s, 1970s and 1980s artists’ magazines became an important new field of work for artistic practices. They established themselves as alternative exhibition spaces – mostly for immaterial, alternative and conceptual practices. Artists created works just for these mass-reproduced editions and tested the borders of the medium. They experimented with the format, design, typography, materiality, etc., and often connected them to music, poetry and criticism. While artists used magazines for documenting their work, they also created art works on the publication’s printed pages.
The ephemeral nature of these publications was the central characteristic also of their alternative forms of distribution. In the 1970s and, predominantly, in the 1980s, the reproducibility of art became ubiquitous. It was a time when the media culture of spectacle began to prevail, in the frame of which social relationship became mediated. Also in this time new printing techniques were introduced, such as offset, Xerox and the like. These reproduction and multiplication techniques were much more accessible and considerably cheaper.

In the 1930s, Walter Benjamin was one of the first who observed that art which was reproduced and distributed through mass media became in its qualitative nature a different media of communication. When an art work is mechanically reproduced it loses its aura of uniqueness in time and space. At the same time, with its “numerosity” it gains a new political function since it reaches a much wider public. Thus Benjamin’s statement that “the work of art reproduced becomes the work of art designed for reproducibility” was adopted by the creators of artists’ publications as their own.

The exhibition “Black on White” exposes some of the most interesting examples of artists’ periodicals which in recent decades have been published in Slovenia: artists’ collections, newspapers and magazines, fanzines, and other related publications. In the exhibition space of Academia Moderna in Zagreb, the exhibition “Black on white” presents the artistic production of artists’ periodicals made by several generations of Slovenian artists: Marko Pogačnik, I.G. Plamen, Franci Zagoričnik, OHO Group, Davorin Marc, Danilo Celan, Mario Marzidovšek, Dušan Mandić, Esad Babačić, Tanja Špenko, VIKS magazine, Jože Barši, Vesna Bukovec, P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Museum of Contemporary Art, and so on.

The exhibition has been prepared in collaboration with the International Centre of Graphic Arts in Ljubljana and UGM Art Gallery in Maribor.

The programme of the P.A.R.A.S.I.T.E. Institute is supported by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and by the Municipality of Ljubljana, Department for Culture.