Plečnik, Full Stop
The introduction to the Plečnik Year 2022 is an exhibition that highlights the creative process of the original biographical graphic novel ‘Plečnik (Full Stop)’ by the experienced and acclaimed comic book duo of Blaž Vurnik and Zoran Smiljanić
The exhibition Plečnik, Full Stop displays the creative process of how the biographical graphic novel about Jože Plečnik was created. The novel is the work of the historian Dr Blaž Vurnik, who wrote an extensive script, and the comic book artist Zoran Smiljanić, who drew Plečnik’s life for the comic book. The exhibition displays all stages of creating a graphic novel, from the script, to various drafts, and the finished original panels. “The Plečnik graphic novel speaks a bit differently than we are used to. Plečnik is narrating his own tale, while the presence of humour and the specific approach to character design are principles inherit only to comic books. While I was working on the script, when quotes from Plečnik’s letters would constantly intertwine with his architectural endeavours, I had to dig deep into the archives. I searched for image references and, especially, needed to capture Plečnik as a whole: as a human, artist, doubter, friend, workaholic, and an enthusiast with a sense of humour … All of this served as the basis for the visuals of the comic. However, even after, Zoran and I had to constantly coordinate, debate, search for compromises, in order to achieve the final visual image of the graphic novel,” Dr Blaž Vurnik said about the long and arduous creative process.
Visual references are one of the crucial ingredients for Smiljanić’s creative process. Among them, the exhibition is also presenting an original draft of a goat’s head, which Plečnik designed for the Carlo Borromeo fountain in Vienna in 1908, and is said to be Plečnik’s self-portrait. The sculpture, kept by the Plečnik House, has hitherto never been displayed to the general public.
“When drawing this comic, preparations often took a lot of work and time. Searching for the idea on how to depict something, how to even start drawing. Blaž supplied me with visual references, I checked out Plečnik’s personal items, looked for depictions on the web. When the final idea crystallised, transferring it to paper became easier. My initial fear that Plečnik wasn’t enough of an interesting, fiery, conflicting or entertaining character to be suitable for a graphic novel, quickly dissipated. It turned out that he was multi-layered, complex, with his own fears, worries, and doubts and, when he got older, he became a bit of a tyrant and an autocrat – definitely an interesting and fun character. During my work on the novel I would sometimes laugh at him, at times he confused me, and other times get on my nerves, but when everything was done I felt a sincere sadness when saying goodbye to him,” Zoran Smiljanić elaborated on the complexity of his work.
It is also worth mentioning that the first print of the graphic novel, published in late November 2021 with a circulation of 1,200 copies, sold out in about 6 weeks. The first reprint arrived to bookstores just as the exhibition is opening.
The exhibition Plečnik, Full Stop, on display at the Plečnik House until 8 May, will be accompanied by three guided tours with the graphic novel’s authors (8 February at 11 am and on 23 March and 4 May at 5 pm), which promise witty conversations and a look behind the scenes of how the graphic novel was made.
You can watch the virtual exhibition opening with both authors and their short conversation on the video below (in Slovene):
ABOUT THE AUTHORS:
Dr Blaž Vurnik, PhD, is a historian and curator of modern history and head of curators at the City Museum of Ljubljana (Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana). In 2005 he published a scientific monograph Between Marx and Punk. The Role of the Alliance of Slovene Socialist Youth in the Process of Democratisation of Slovenia, he also worked on the MGML book project History of Ljubljana, with articles focused on modern history. In 2015 he received the ICOM Slovenia Award for his project Hidden Children of the Second World War. Part of this project was also his script for the documentary film Ilegalčki – skriti otroci okupirane Ljubljane (Illegal Children – Hidden Children of Occupied Ljubljana, a coproduction of MGML and RTVSLO). A standout among the larger exhibitions that he authored is A New Age is Coming! Industry – Labour – Capital at the City Museum of Ljubljana (2016/2017), where he also prepared an extensive exhibition on Ivan Cankar for the hundredth anniversary of the writer’s death. He already collaborated with Zoran Smiljanić on the graphic novel Memories and dreams of Kristina B.: Ljubljana 1941–1945, which presents the history of occupied Ljubljana through the eyes of a child. They also created the award-winning graphic biography Ivan Cankar: podobe iz življenja (Ivan Cankar: Images from Life).
Zoran Smiljanić (1961), also known under his pseudonym Vittorio de la Croce, is a Slovenian comic book artist, illustrator, caricaturist, designer, scriptwriter, cinephile, and publicist. He began publishing in the 1980s, working for Slovenian and Yugoslavian newspapers and magazines. He belongs to the so-called third generation of Slovenian comic book artists, who first began publishing in the Mladina magazine. He is the author of the cult comic book Hardfuckers, and created Meksikajnarji, a five-part epic graphic novel, together with the scriptwriter Marijan Pušavec. He also encountered historical themes in the graphic novel Memories and dreams of Kristina B.: Ljubljana 1941–1945, where he collaborated with historian Dr Blaž Vurnik. A fruit of their collaboration was also the award-winning graphic biography of the most important writer of Slovenian modernism, titled Ivan Cankar: podobe iz življenja (Ivan Cankar: Images from Life), which was published in 2018 and won the Book of the Year Award at the 34th Slovenian Book Fair. For the hundredth anniversary of the arson attack on the Trieste National Hall, the cultural centre of Slovenes in Trieste, he also worked with his son and historian Ivan Smiljanić to create the resounding history graphic novel Črni plamen (Black Flame), which also received the Zlatirepec Award for the best original comic book of 2020.
1 January, 1 November, 25 December: Closed
24 and 31 December: 10:00–14:00
Visits of the original Plečnik’s home are only possible with a guided tour that begines every full hour. You can make reservation of your guided tour on firstname.lastname@example.org or on +386 1 280 16 04.
Visiting the Plečnik House (price includes permanent exhibition Plečnik and a guided tour of Plečnik's home)
Adults: 8 €
Students: 6 €
Children: 6 €
Adults over the age of 60: 6 €
Families: 18 €
Unemployed visitors: 6 €
Visitors with disabilities: 6 €
Free admission for carers
ICOM, PRESS, SMD: free admission
Guided tours for private groups of more than 7 visitors need to be booked at least 5 working days in advance.
Visiting the Plečnik House with a prior reservation
Groups of up to 4 persons: 38 €
Groups of over 4 persons: 9 €/person, reduced 7 €/person
Visiting the permanent exhibition Plečnik
Adults: 5 €
Students: 3 €
Children: 3 €
Adults over the age of 60: 3 €
Families: 12 €
Unemployed visitors: 3 €
Visitors with disabilities: 3 €
Free admission for carers
ICOM, PRESS, SMD: free admission
Following the Slovene, Czech, and German editions of the graphic novel Plečnik (full stop) we are happy to announce the English version.
Following the Slovene and Czech edition of the graphic novel Plečnik (full stop), this original biography can now also be purchased in German. The German version of the novel was published by the Viennese publishing house Bahoe Books.
The Plečnik House’s programme for the jubilee Plečnik Year 2022, which marks the 150th anniversary of the architect’s birth, will connect the maestro’s oeuvre with cuisine, contemporary art, and youth creative practices.