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Exhibitions and Projects
19 March 2015–21 June 2015

Art for the Brave New World

Sculptures from the Government Art Collection

In 1986, the National Gallery of Slovenia took over the custody of the Government Art Collection from the Executive Council of the Socialist Republic of Slovenia. The collection holds more than one thousand three hundred works of art, which are distributed in state protocol buildings, ministries, and government offices, whereas part of them are incorporated in the permanent collection of the National Gallery of Slovenia. The Government Art Collection is incredibly rich and varied. Its core was devised by Ban Marko Natlačen in 1938, when acquired works of art were presented in the provincial palace. Paintings and art prints present a great majority of the collection; however, it also holds sculptures by thirty-seven artists from different periods, ranging from the seventeenth century to the abstraction of the nineteen-sixties. Most sculptures date from the thirties to the sixties of the previous century. Despite prolific sculptural activity during the formation of the collection, sculptural works constitute only fifteen per cent of it. The vast majority of sculptural tasks were determined by commissions of propagandistic public monuments. Also, sculpture was technically more challenging and more expensive than painting. Acquisitions for the large Government Art Collection were sporadic, guided by the desire to decorate rooms, without a balanced overview or planning, making its composition very diverse. The sculptural part of the collection is now presented by forty-seven works of art by twenty-three artists; the works were chosen according to aesthetic, stylistic, and quality criteria.

Sculpture before the Second World War upheld the tradition of Vienna-trained sculptors and was dependent on modest commissions of small-scale works. The war arrested the development and Slovene sculpture of the early nineteen-forties maintained clear volume and solid forms of the pre-war classicistic design. The war limited outside influences and the sculptural activity in general, whereas the post-war sculpture underwent intense regeneration based on the pre-war stylistic achievements. Changing societal relations and the ideological cultural policies during the years of building the new motherland placed the function of a sculptor on different foundations.

The of in was established in 1945. Its first professors of sculpture were Boris Kalin, Frančišek Smerdu, Zdenko Kalin, Peter Loboda and Karel Putrih, all of whom guided their students towards realist sculpture, since the realist tradition gained recognition in the struggle for a new, revolutionary subject matter. The post-war period proved favourable to the development of large monuments and through them the sculptors participated in the societal renewal in the spirit of labour and reconstruction. Monuments to the National Liberation Struggle expressed the ideology of the new socialist society and by 1953 transformed the image of fine arts. Academy professors and Lojze Dolinar were the most compelling representatives of monumental sculpture, while younger graduates established themselves at the end of the nineteen-fifties. The sixties' generation, best represented by Jakob Savinšek, Stojan Batič, Drago Tršar and Janez Boljka, contributed to a new metamorphosis of Slovenian sculpture.

The exhibition Art for the Brave New World. Sculptures from the Government Art Collection presents a selection of pieces from the diverse and unbalanced whole, and at the same time provides an insight into the expressive subject matter of sculptural production of artists, such as Jakob Savinšek, Zdenko Kalin, Boris Kalin, Karel Putrih, Stojan Batič, Tone Lapajne, Ivan Štrekelj, Janez Pirnat, Drago Tršar, Lojze Dolinar, Janez Lenassi, Frančišek Smerdu, France Kralj, Ivan Napotnik, Janez Boljka, Aladar Zahariaš, Grga Antunac, Vanja Radauš, Frano Kršinić, France Gorše, Alojzij Kogovšek, Milan Vojsk, Vladimir Štoviček, and others.

Virtual panorama

Author of the exhibition
Mateja Breščak

Exhibition set-up and design of printed matter
Ranko Novak

Conservation-restoration of sculptures
Martina Vuga 

The project is supported by
Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia

The official sparkling wine of the exhibition openings
Radgonske gorice d.d.

19 March  – 21 June 2015
National Gallery of Slovenia
Prešernova 24
1000 Ljubljana