15.01.2018

Tomaž Brejc: Ideas, Terms, Exhibitions and Paintings at the Beginning of Modernism

Together with the Department of Art History of the Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana we cordially invite you to two lectures by Tomaž Brejc: Ideas, Terms, Exhibitions and Paintings at the Beginning of Modernism as part of this year Art Exhibiting in Slovenia, from the Early 19th Century to Today seminar.


Tomaž Brejc: Ideas, Terms, Exhibitions and Paintings at the Beginning of Modernism
While, after 1900, Ljubljana gradually changed into a modern town (urbanism, new construction, electrification, transport), it lacked a gallery of modern art all until 1909. To operate, modernism needs special devices and tools: a gallery, critics, an art audience, media and a market. The Jakopič Pavilion became the centre around which the theory, practice and reception of early modernism in Slovenia formed.
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First Lecture: An Apology of Modern Art
15 January 2018, 7 pm, Faculty of Arts (room 343), Aškerčeva 2, Ljubljana
In the first lecture, we will discuss the “ideational” genesis of modernism: how was a “modern” painting even recognised and how was it understood by people ranging from Josip Stritar to Izidor Cankar (writers: Anton Aškerc, Fran Govekar, Ivan Cankar, Ivan Prijatelj, Vladimir Levstik; priests: Frančišek and Evgen Lampe, Janez Flis, Josip Dostal; critics: Vatroslav Holz, Josip Regali).
We will then analyse its internal contradictions: secular, national and religious paintings as reflected in their special ideational projections and contexts.
With Stele’s manifesto essay “An Apology of Modern Art” (Čas, 1911), the formal theory of the Vienna school first entered these discussions.   

Second Lecture: Impression, Mood, Empathy and Expression
16 January 2018, 7 pm, Faculty of Arts (room 343), Aškerčeva 2, Ljubljana
Just as the reception of the first modernist paintings in Slovenia was uncertain, so the terminology, which was never neutral, but always included a series of value judgements, was complicated.  
What is an impression, a naturalistic impression or a stylistic intention? Is an impression a physiological or an ideological category? Is an impression only a precondition for the atmosphere in the painting, the mood that is supposed to be its deeper meaning and message? When does mood turn into a symbol and an expression? To what extent may an impression undermine the fundamental representational tasks of painting? Is the intensified self-willed subjectivism of the painting practice (“colour instead of a drawing”) a condition for new content: symbolism, intimism, expressionism? How successful were Slovenian painters in realising such tasks?

Tomaž Brejc was a professor of art history and theory at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design, University of Ljubljana until 2010. Between 2011 and 2013, he held a series of lectures on Slovenian art in the 20th century at the Equrna Gallery (Ljubljana), in which he developed a new explanatory model of modernism: instead of the established “isms”, he used various representational concepts and categories that originate in reception theory (W. Iser, W. Kemp), but are based on actual artistic practice (for example, empathy, mood, haptic regionalism, pure painting, ideology, pedagogy and post-war aesthetics). His latest book is Študije o modernem slovenskem slikarstvu, Slovenska matica, Ljubljana 2010; while his latest paper is “Izidor Cankar na razstavah moderne umetnosti”, AHAS 22/1, 2017, pp. 111–35.

MORE ABOUT THE PROGRAMME
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Organised by
: Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory; Department of Art History, Faculty of Arts, University of Ljubljana
Supported by: ERSTE Foundation

Photo: Fran Vesel, one of the group exhibitions at the Jakopič Pavilion, Ljubljana, 1910. Source: Wikimedia