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Exhibitions and Projects
Exhibition | 18 Apr. 2024 – 20 Oct. 2024

Unnoticed by the Roadside

Graphic Technique of Marjan Pogačnik

Marjan Pogačnik (1920–2005) was a master of intaglio techniques. After graduation from the masterclass with Gabrijel Stupica, he laid down his brushes and turned to printmaking, mainly dry point. His critics immediately noticed a gifted draughtsman of intimate experience and lyrical expression. The formal originality of his embossed colour prints begs the question about the nature of his technique that the artist himself called »mediaeval«. Paradoxically, Pogačnik achieved his formal distinction by exploiting etching procedure pure and simple. Thus, he kept his distinction from the rest of the members of the so-called Graphic School of Ljubljana as well as within general tendencies within Western printmaking of the time.

Black-and-white prints of his classical period (1959−1963) are true stopping-out etchings in which different states contribute to the visual expression of the print. Moreover, the visual effects of his classical etchings indicate that Pogačnik sought the effect of the burr with different means. The combination with embossed printing is essential to his prints. Formal possibilities of the classical phase were exhausted relatively fast, thus Pogačnik started to add colour. Relief properties of the plate, etched by stopping-out, clashed with the dynamics of colour contrasts, which required fine-tuning of his palette. In combination with embossed printing Pogačnik perfected the manner of deep etching that established only two levels in the plate − coloured level of the relief printing and the whiteness of paper in relief. The relief took over the function of drawing as a network carrying colour composition.

Pogačnik's printmaking technique was absurdly extensive − time consuming, physically exhausting, burdened by a large number of discarded prints. Thus, his print-runs pulled from large plates never exceeded 35 samples. Pogačnik mounted only two solo shows in his lifetime, first in 1962 at the The Petite Gallery (Mala galerija) of the Museum of Modern Art of Slovenia, and the second time at the National Gallery of Slovenia in 2001−2002. Several printmaking manuals and historical overviews of graphic arts have included his prints among illustrations. He received several prestigious awards, such as gold medal at the Alexandria Biennale for Mediterranean Countries in 1963, and International Print Competition 77 in San Francisco in 1977, while one of his dry points appeared on the poster for the Venice Biennale already in 1954. In Slovenia, his prints fetched several purchase prizes at the International Biennial of Graphic Arts as well as the Prešeren Fund Award in 1962, and the highest national accolade, the Prešeren Lifetime Achievement Award, in 1986. The artist bequeathed his complete creative heritage to the National Gallery of Slovenia.

Graphic Technique of Marjan Pogačnik: A Short Documentary
Graphic Technique of Marjan Pogačnik: A Short Documentary

Authors of the exhibition
Tina Buh, Admir Ganić, Andrej Smrekar

Project leader
Tina Buh

Conservation-restoration works for the exhibition
Tina Buh

Exhibition set-up
Admir Ganić, Andrej Smrekar

The works of art were loaned by
National Gallery of Slovenia
National Museum of Slovenia

The project was supported by

18 April – 20 October 2024
National Gallery of Slovenia
Narodni dom Gallery
Cankarjeva 20
1000 Ljubljana