Independent Biennial


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Bienale neodvisnih
127 Celovška cesta, SI-1000 Ljubljana
Organised by3rdHand Association
Irena Silić, Executive producer
Festival dates23.10.2023 - 17.11.2023
Past Events
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The Independent Biennial, originally named as the Slovenian Independent Illustrators' Biennial, was established in 2007. The biennial set out to be an answer to the burgeoning illustration scene in Slovenia that up until then had lacked the proper means of exposure, overview, and reflection of this very heterogeneous artistic practice. Due to its specific nature and relatively young protagonists, this practice had not been integrated into the established gallery networks and logics, and, furthermore, had not been properly conceptualised or even recognised as an artistic practice due to it being foremost a commercially exploitable endeavour. Consequently, cultural and educational policies often missed out on it as well.

Thus, the Independent Biennial strives to change this situation and to establish some sort of a history, a more integrated community and also itself as a platform for the promotion, collaboration, and reflection of independent illustration. That said, the biennial recognises illustration as a very wide phenomenon, featuring not only book illustration, caricature, comics, design illustration, commercial logotypes and graffiti, but also the more "dynamic" creations such as animation, multimedia interventions, and interactive websites, and many other formats. As illustration is often embedded in other artistic practices, the biennial in a way addresses the wider creative community in Slovenia.

Independent Biennial 2015 Stalls Photo Ales Rosa.jpgThe Independent Biennial strives to establish a more integrated community of illustrators and also position itself as a platform for the promotion, collaboration and reflection of independent illustration, 2015


The selection logic of the biennial is quite different from other similar institutions, as the typical curator role was only carried out by the organisers in 2007, when they chose the 40 artists presented at its first edition. Afterwards, these artists were asked to nominate the participants of the 2009 biennial, and each subsequent biennial follows the same logic. Thus, instead of institutions determining quality and innovation, the community itself has taken this role in its own hands.

Each biennial is spaced throughout Ljubljana and its various galleries and public spaces, with the chosen artists and their works also being extensively presented on the IB website and social media. Each year, there are about 20 independent exhibitions for particular artists, who are offered to present brand new works, created just for the biennial (thus, experimental projects are more likely to find their place here as well). The biennial also holds discussions (with both illustrators as well as theorists, trying to outline what is currently happening on a local as well as a global scale); public events (such as live in situ illustrating in open spaces); audio-visual events (in 2013 involving the renowned electronica producer Vladislav Delay); and workshops (one, for example, made in cooperation with the Aalto University from Finland). Occasionally, books are also being prepared and released, chronicling contemporary Slovene independent illustration and the wider field of visual culture.

Some of the artists who have been presented at the biennial include Ana Baraga, Anka Kočevar, Aphra Tesla, Dunja Janković, Dušan Moldovan, Eva Lucija Kozak, Gregor Balog, Kaja Kisilak, Milan Erič, Špela Škulj, Žiga Artnak, Tilen Sepič, Leon Zuodar, Matej Jarc, Stipan Tadić, Jan Pogorelec, Evgen Čopi Gorišek, Uroš Vnuk, Ivana Bajec, Tjaša Križnar (Pirate Piška), Matevž Sterle, Gašper Kunšič, Meta Šolar, Helena Tahir, and many more.

Venues and exhibitions grounds

A very important venue for the biennial has became Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture (as of 2017 together with its DobraVaga sales gallery), where most of the happenings take place and which actually functions as a co-producer. Other venues are the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova (MSUM), Škuc Gallery, KUD France Prešeren Gallery, Prostor Gallery, Galerija JE2, Bi-ko-fe, Café Open, City Museum of Ljubljana, LP Bar, Zaklonišče II, etc.

In 2016 GT22 in Maribor hosted an exhibition of the works presented at the 2015 Independent Biennial.

Excursions abroad

In 2015, the Independent Biennial – in cooperation with Kino Šiška – travelled to Washington as a part of the European Month of Culture programme. There were two exhibitions set up, one in the premises of the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia Washington and the other in the gallery space of New York University (NYU). Presented there were the authors who participated in the biennial between 2007 and 2013, altogether more than 80 of them with about 100 hundred works. In 2017, they once again exhibited at the Clayton Center for the Arts, Maryville, and at the Arts & Culture Alliance, Knoxville.

This "travelling biennial overview" also stopped in the summer of 2015 in Finland, where around 50 visual works were featured in a screening exhibition at Merkillinen – visual poetry exhibition at Gallery Aila Seppälä Lahti. It was organised by Sanakuva Collective, a Finnish cross-disciplinary arts group and experimental platform, with the idea for it emerging during the planning of the collaboration for the 5th edition of the Independent Biennial.

Besides this and the aforementioned Aalto University workshops, another collaboration between Slovene and Finish illustrators took place in 2012. It was a simultaneousness web-based project during which various artworks and applicative projects were created, thus fostering communication and networking.

See also

External links


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9.11.2015 - 26.11.2015, 16.10.2017 - 20.11.2017, 5.9.2019 - 8.11.2019, 19.5.2021 - 20.6.2021, 23.10.2023 - 17.11.2023 +
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biennial +
Bienale neodvisnih +
SI-1000 Ljubljana +
The Independent Biennial, originally named as the Slovenian Independent Illustrators' Biennial, was established in 2007. +
The Independent Biennial, originally named as the Slovenian Independent Illustrators' Biennial, was established in 2007. +
Ljubljana +
SI-1000 +