Slovenian women artists 1850-1950
In cooperation with the City Museum of Ljubljana, we produced an exhibition on Slovenian women artists in the period 1850-1950. The aim of the two-part exhibition is to highlight female artists who presented themselves to the public during the selected period and who, despite the social conventions of the time, established themselves in the public space. The museum focus on women painters and sculptors, while the gallery focus on women architects and photographers.
With the exhibition Slovenian women artists 1850-1950, the Jakopič Gallery connects with the City Museum of Ljubljana in accordance with the gallery's mission to not only research contemporary Slovenian and international photography, but also to write its history. While the first part of the exhibition, presenting Slovenian women architects, closely relates to women painters and sculptors as visual artists, the section on women photographers primarily aims to present the first integral synthesis of individual approaches to this subject given by previous researchers and custodians of collections over the past few decades. With this we wish to set new foundations not only for the equal treatment of women artists, but also for photography which, in recent times, has achieved a hard-fought win for gaining the status as an autonomous genre of visual art.
The exhibition places particular emphasis on the fact that women were excluded from education up until the end of World War I. The first women students enrolled in the Department of Architecture at the Faculty of Technical Sciences only a few years after the two most famous Slovenian architects, Plečnik and Vurnik, had established their schools in Ljubljana in 1925. The first Slovenian female architect graduated in March 1932 under the guidance of Professor Ivan Vurnik. Her name was Dušana Šantel. At the end of the same year, Gizela Šuklje also graduated, becoming the first woman to complete her architectural studies under the auspices of Professor Jože Plečnik. In the following years Marjanca Kanc, Katarina Grasselli, Marija Grafenauer, Majda Neřima, and Sonja Batista also completed their studies. Vladimira Bratuž graduated after the end of World War II.
The exhibition presents furniture designed by Gizela Šuklje, today kept by Mr Marko Šuklje, and furniture designed by Vladimira Bratuž, today part of the Ljubljana City Museum collection. Selected design drafts produced by Dušana Šantel and donated to the museum by Mrs Jasna Šantel are also being displayed for the first time. The exhibition is complemented with original materials from Plečnik’s women architecture students, sourced from the Plečnik Collection.
Speaking of women photographers who worked in this period it needs to be taken into account that at the time photography was not considered an art but a craft. The first photographers in Slovenia, both, women and men, had to obtain a crafts business permit to be able to work, based on which they were allowed to open their studios, inherit or buy them from their predecessors. Nonetheless, the first Slovenian women photographers began working in Ljubljana from as early as 1863 onwards.
Photography in the period of 1850-1950 is considered through three perspectives: the first revealing photography in its (auxiliary) function in the service of painting - the exhibition provides an insight into the photographic work of the renowned Slovenian painter Ivana Kobilca of which several paintings were created based on (her) photographs. The second and most extensive part of the exhibition refers to studio photography. It was the business of studio photography that women photographers mainly engaged in, taking pictures of more or less well-known individuals, families and groups, while dealing with the tough challenges of self-promotion and competition. In practicing studio photography they were able to gain success and respect, and above all they have left their mark as iconic personalities of the centres of many Slovenian cities and towns in the memories of many individuals, some of whom are still alive today.
Towards the end of this period artistic tendencies can be observed in some women photographers in their photographic creations as well as their personalities. During this period, the photographic portrait was becoming the means for adopting an artistic approach in the depiction of the portrayed persons's personality and social role, while the technical charecteristics of photography, work in a dark-room and retouching enabled the research for new ways of how to paint the portrayed individual's personal aura and their timeless beauty. Further development of photographic technique, the establishment of photo-clubs and the onset of World War II, which called for photographic fieldwork, gradually contributed to the shaping of photographers' more pronounced standpoint as authors, including, albeit rarely, women photographers who remain known and recognised today.
You are warmly invited to attend the official opening of the Slovenian women artists 1850-1950 exhibition at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, 15 November 2023 at the City Museum of Ljubljana.
Production: Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana
Author of the exhibition project: Barbara Savenc
Architects; Curators: Barbara Savenc, Ana Porok
Expert help: Igor Longyka, Špela Šubic, dr. Bogo Zupančič,
The exhibition was created with the Museum of Architecture and Design.
Photographers; Curators: dr. Marija Skočir, Julija Hoda
Special thanks: Tamara Andrejek, Mojca Ferle, ddr. Damir Globočnik, Oskar Habjanič, mag. Mojca Jenko, Katarina Jurjavčič, Urša Kocjan, dr. Tone Kregar, Sabina Lešnik, Jassmina Marijan, Nani Poljanec, Miha Špiček, Urška Todosovska-Šmajdek, Helena Vogelsang Novak, dr. Blaž Vurnik, Andreja Zupanec Bajželj, mag. Damir Žerič, Muzej in galerije mesta Ljubljane, Muzej novejše in sodobne zgodovine Slovenije, Muzej novejše zgodovine Celje, Narodna galerija, Narodna in univerzitetna knjižnica, Pokrajinski arhiv Maribor, Pokrajinski muzej Celje, Pokrajinski muzej Maribor, Pomurski muzej Murska Sobota, Slovenski etnografski muzej, Arhiv Nanija Poljanca – Ljudski muzej Rogaška
Graphic and exhibition design: Bojan Lazarevič (Agora Proars)
Realisation of the exhibition: O.K.vir, Tehnična služba / Technical service MGML
Public relations: Maja Čehovin Korsika, Urša Karer, Nejc Kovačič
Programmes for adults: Julija Hoda, Janja Rebolj
Programmes for youth: Julija Hoda, Nika Damjanovič, Metod Blejec, Matevž Paternoster
Tuesday–Sunday: 10 a.m.-6 p.m.
1 January, 1 November, 25 December: Closed
24 and 31 December: 10. a.m.-2 p.m.
Adults: 5 €
Students, people over the age of 60, unemployed, people with disabilities: 3 €
Family ticket: 9 €
ICOM, PRESS, SMD, students of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, VIST – Higher School of Applied Sciences, Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering – OTGO, Faculty of Design: Admission free
We recommend buying a combined ticket for the Jakopič Gallery and the Ljubljana City Museum: €10 / €7
Combined family ticket: 18 €
The price of the combined ticket also includes public guided tours, which include visits to both sites.
Guided tours of the exhibition: every Saturday at 4.30 p.m., start at Jakopič Gallery
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(*from 1. January 2024 on the membership will cost 12 €)