long-term programme


A series of lectures

20.05.2014 - 09.05.2017

The Architecture ≠ Art programme examines the relation between art and architecture.

With invited artists, architects and theoreticians, the new series of lectures entitled Architecture ≠ Art examines the relation between art and architecture. In 2014 series we focused on conceptions of architecture as art or non-art. This year, we will be interested in the way that architecture enters the field of visual arts and vice versa; in what is lost and what is gained in this translation; in the attributes of architecture that artists use to expand the conception of artistic media (film, sculpting, painting, etc.) and that in art that inspires architects – how does the encounter of art and architecture influence the very conception and redefinition of artistic and architectural practice.

Rethinking both architecture and art and especially their relation with social realm coincides with the time of an overall crisis – economic, financial, environmental, social – which is becoming only more aggravated. It seems that the reflection on the social relevance of art in such aggravated circumstances tends to be reduced to the question of its functionality, usefulness, which is one of the fundamental postulates of architecture; while the principles that can be typically found in contemporary art – participation, cooperation, empowerment, process, community, context – increasingly enter the field of architecture through the back door, marking the path in the search for the solutions of spatial problems which are not necessarily built structures.

Foregrounding the significance of a more active inclusion and participation of users (the community) in the planning and even the execution of projects, being aware of the significance of the process and not merely the end product/object, taking into account the specifics of the context in searching for solutions that are not generic, but address concrete needs and elusive desires, are socially and/or environmentally responsible and trigger critical questions – all these elements can (among others) be found in the intersection of contemporary art and architecture. The traditional boundaries between art and architecture are blurred especially in projects of site-specific art and art in public space, in the so-called urban interventions, conceptual design and lately the so-called critical spatial practises. In the case of the last, art and architecture are no longer considered separate disciplines as this concept includes the intersection of various disciplines (including urbanism, sociology etc.), methods and types of knowledge (not only expert skills). Critical spatial practices open and address the pressing issues of contemporary urban environment and questions regarding the very nature and function of art and architecture. The related spatial-cultural discourse combines the ideas from the fields of arts, architecture and urban design, on the one hand, and the theories of the city, and social and public space, on the other.

However, the fusion of art and architecture can also take place differently as shown by Hal Foster in his The Art-Architecture Complex. In this book, he analyses this fusion – the mutual inspiration and the interpenetration of art and architecture – as the key feature of contemporary culture and also cultural economy in the time of global capitalism: "it is now a primary site of image-making and space-shaping in our cultural economy". In his opinion, the examples of a negative materialisation of this complex are iconic architecture and starchitects (Zaha Hadid, Renzo Piano, Richard Rogers, Norman Foster) who in their “global styles” create alienated imagistic environments completely unrelated to the location or the context in which they are set up and whose “artisticness” tends to predominate over their functionality. These are cultural artefacts (including certain megalomaniac “architectural” sculptures) of consumer and spectacle society and its need to construct iconic images of spectacle and capital. It is no coincidence, that Foster sees important examples of this art-architecture complex in the iconic architectures of art institutions (for example, the Guggenheim museums across the world), which are important factors in the processes of branding cities and a symptom of the coupling between culture and capital. We come full circle when these institutions exhibit works by the artists and architects that represent an alternative to the mentioned negative materialisation of the art-architecture complex – works that are counter-spectacle and that support an active awareness of the subject in relation to space and in relation to others.

Urška Jurman


Jane Rendell (London): From Critical Spatial Practice to Site-Writing
9 May 2017, 7 pm, MAO, Ljubljana

Video of the lecture


3 December 2015, 6 pm, +MSUM, Ljubljana

Mateja Kurir (Ljubljana): Constructing a Break – The Paradigms of Modernist Architecture

Jasmina Cibic (London): Renovate and Relaunch


19 November 2015, 6 pm, MAO, Ljubljana

Elke Krasny (Vienna): Curating Architecture / Curating Art: Contemporary Encounters
Video of the lecture

Alen Ožbolt (Ljubljana): Spaces and Relations between Architecture and Sculpture
Video of the lecture (in Slovenian)


29 October 2015, 6 pm, +MSUM, Ljubljana

Jože Barši (Ljubljana): Is Sublimation Still an Operative Concept?
Video of the lecture (in Slovenian)

Emil Jurcan (Pula): Subversion of Form in Architecture 
Video of the lecture (in Slovenian)


Tuesday, 6 October 2015, 6 pm, Kino Šiška

Josef Dabernig (Vienna): The (Architectural) Grid as a Constitutive Element in Film Narration

Sonja Leboš (Zagreb): Solid Immateriality Does Not Melt
Followed with Josef Dabernig's exhibition openning: Mute Society, at 8 pm. Organized by the P74 Center and Gallery.


Museum of Architecture and Design, Fužine Castle, Pot na Fužine 2, Ljubljana
Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Maistrova 3, Ljubljana
Kino Šiška, Trg Prekomorskih brigad 3, Ljubljana

The Architecture ≠ Art programme is being prepared by the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory in collaboration with the Museum of Architecture and Design - Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova and Kino Šiška – Centre for Urban Culture. The programme is supported by the ERSTE Foundation and Austrian Cultural Forum.
Programme managers: Vid Zabel and Urška Jurman (Igor Zabel Association)

Architecture can hardly be defined as a purely artistic or a purely technical practice. The point of departure of our Architecture ≠ Art programme is the question of whether architecture is or is not art. By posing this question, we enter the very core of the problem of architectural creation – that is, we question the very definition of architecture. How should we think of architecture today? How (if at all) does architecture enter the field of art, and how (if at all) does art enter the field of architecture?

The lectures were held in Slovenian and can be found here.


Apolonija Šušteršič & Tomo Stanič, Tuesday, 20 May 2014, at 7 pm, Museum of Architecture and Design, Ljubljana

Apolonija Šušteršič: Re-thinking Architecture
Should we not re-think architecture, its role in contemporary society and its place in our everyday lives? Why not think about architecture as a process and not only as a finished product? Couldn’t we then re-form the process such that it would produce a space for constructive change? I would suggest that we articulate the existing theories and methodologies for critical interpretations and articulations of architecture in relation to current sociopolitical challenges and concerns. In that case, we will need to examine the social aspects of living environments manifested in art as well as in architectural contexts – that is, a cross-disciplinary approach to creating works, one that leads to a socially engaged practice and brings together art, architecture and other spatial disciplines.

Apolonija Šušteršič is an architect and artist. She graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Ljubljana (1992) and in 1996 finished her postgraduate studies in art at the Rijksakademie in Amsterdam. From 2003 till 2008, she worked as a professor and the head of the Monumental Department at the Royal Institute of Art in Stockholm. In 2013, she completed her PhD studies at Lund University, Malmö Art Academy in Sweden. She has exhibited extensively, including at Moderna Museet, Stockholm; the Berlin Biennale 3; Moderna Galerija, Ljubljana; the Generali Foundation, Vienna; the Tirana Biennale 3; Muhka, Antwerp; and the 12th Biennial of Architecture, Venice. She develops artistic, architectural and participatory projects for and within public space, including: Home Design Service (Casco Projects, Utrecht, 2001); Garden Service (with Meike Schalk, Edinburgh International Festival, 2007); SUNSETCINEMA (with Bik van der Pol, Luxembourg, 2007); and Community Pavilion Hustadt (Bochum, 2011).

Tomo Stanič: Postcards
The lecture will present a short survey/review of some of the intersections of visual arts and architecture. It is precisely as intersections that topics such as form, image, genius loci/site-specific, economy, architectural/performative dispositif say most about the relation between architecture and the arts. The essential question that runs as a common thread through all the comparisons/differentiations is thus not “Is architecture art?” or “What is the relation of architecture to the world of art?”, but the presupposition underlying all these questions: “What mechanisms are at work in both so that a relation/difference can be established in the first place?”
Tomo Stanič graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Ljubljana in 2010. He is currently studying sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design and is a PhD student of philosophy at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana. In 2011, Studia humanitatis published his monograph entitled Arhitekturni gledalec (Architectural Spectator). He has been an editor of Praznine (a journal for architecture and art) since 2010.

Petra Čeferin & Miloš Kosec, Tuesday, 27 May 2014, at 7 pm, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana

Petra Čeferin: Architecture = Architecture. The Construction of Architectural Bonds
The starting point of the lecture is the definition of architecture, which might actually seem to tell us nothing at all: architecture = architecture. However, my thesis is that this is the most precise definition of architecture. This definition tells us that the constitutive element of architecture is something that can't be determined by any predicate: a void of meaning, a nothingness. But a paradoxical nothingness: a nothingness that isn't null, as it is constitutive, indeed crucial for architecture. Architecture is successfully realized when it comes closest to this paradoxical nothingness – as Mies would have it, when it is "beinahe Nichts". As a result, one could argue that architecture is one of those practices which constantly has to be re-defined (anew), and which only appears in the world in the form of such re-definitions, expressed as concrete material objects such as buildings, drawings, texts. From this point of view architecture isn't actually different from art. The difference between art and architecture, however, is that each of these practices defines itself in its own, specific and intrinsic way. In the lecture I will try to show how the practice of architecture is doing just that.

Petra Čeferin, Ph.D., is an architect and professor at the Faculty of Architecture in Ljubljana where she teaches architectural theory and criticism of contemporary architecture. She is the author of books Constructing a Legend and Transforming Reality with Architecture: Finnish Case, and co-editor of Architectural Epicentres (with C. Požar, Ljubljana, 2008) and Project Architecture (with J. Bickert and C. Požar, Ljubljana, 2010). She is also the author of several critical articles and essays on modern and contemporary architectural production, and an editor of the book series Theoretical Practice of Architecture.

Miloš Kosec: The Uses of Added Value. The Dilemmas of Art and Architecture in Light of the Division of Labour
The dilemmas regarding the relation between architecture and art have not always been on the agenda; the need to clarify this relation arose with the industrial revolution and the changed production and consumption patterns. Two paths developed: one sought to base architecture on the rationalism and functionalism of machine production, the other swore by the autonomy of architectural creation in the spirit of the “art for art’s sake” motto. The postmodern age seems to have led to a conciliation and coexistence of both views. This was enabled by a changed understanding of the concepts of added value and creativity – in the spirit of the apotheosis of the free market, which allows for a pluralism of even the most opposing ideas. With its separability from its architectural base, the artistic invention as a surplus, as “something more”, becomes an independent marketable good, while “creative” architects become cheap producers of this added value. Is contemporary art then necessarily condemned to the role of a development department of capitalism?  

Miloš Kosec graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Ljubljana in 2013 with his master’s thesis Ruševina kot arhitekturni objekt (The Ruin as an Architectural Object), for which he received the Plečnik Student Award and the Prešeren Student Award of the Faculty of Architecture. His eponymous book was published by the Praznine publishing house the same year. In 2007, he cooperated in the preparation of a monograph about the architect Edvard Ravnikar and in the organisation of an exhibition on Ravnikar’s work at the Jakopič Gallery in Ljubljana. He creates architectural, landscape and set designs. He cooperates with Praznine and Arhitektov bilten, writing about architectural theory and history.

Izidor Barši & Nejc Lebar, Tuesday, 17 June 2014, at 7 pm, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana

Izidor Barši: Strategies for Answering the Question What Is Architecture?
The lecture’s analysis proceeds from a basic finding reached via different paths by the sciences and philosophies of the 20th century – that language is not merely a reflection of reality, that the relation between words and things is not a stable one, that there is always a certain dislocation at work there. One of the possible consequences of this ascertainment is that we can analyse the relations between the elements of discourse without extra-verbal references. The second one is that discourse gains spatial dimensions and can therefore be mapped. And the third consequence is that the field of enunciation can be analysed in military terms, with individual utterances taking different strategies. On the basis of this, I will present an analysis of the various answers to the question “What is architecture?”, a question that was featured in the two seasons of Arhitektura govori, a radio broadcast I co-produce with Mateja Kurir at Radio Student.

Izidor Barši studies philosophy and sociology of culture at the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana and is currently in his final year of study. He contributes to various periodicals. Since 2010 he has been a regular co-operator with the culture and the humanities desk at Radio Študent – where in 2012, he conceived the Arhitektura govori programme together with Mateja Kurir. He has contributed to Tribuna since 2012 and, in the autumn of 2013, became its editor. He also became a member of the editorial board of Šum – A Journal for Art, Criticism and Theory the same year. In addition, he has helped organise and lead a few theoretical reading seminars.   

Nejc Lebar: The Distribution of Space
That architecture is not art is a statement already claimed by Adolf Loos. But today, a hundred years later - in a time, when we school more architects and artists, when we build more museums and cultural centres than ever before -, isn't there a general tendency to unify and neutralise this conflicting difference? Architectural and artistic practices can not operate in a neutral space because such a space simply does not exist; they are always already inscribed within a network of forces and powers. The thesis is that the insistence on this difference is today’s necessary condition, one that retains a constitutive antagonism that makes up the core of the political.

Nejc Lebar graduated from the Faculty of Architecture in Ljubljana in 2013 with his master’s thesis Koncept in kontekst v delu Jeana Nouvela (Concept and Context in the Work of Jean Nouvel). In 2007, he cooperated in the preparation of a monograph about the architect Edvard Ravnikar and in the organisation of an exhibition on Ravnikar’s work at the Jakopič Gallery in Ljubljana. He often takes part in architectural competitions and works as a translator in the field of architectural theory. He is a member of the editorial board of Praznine.

Marjetica Potrč & Rado Riha, Tuesday, 2 September 2014, at 6 pm, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Ljubljana

Marjetica Potrč: Soweto: Ubuntu Park
For two and a half months in spring 2014, students of the Design for the Living World class (University of Fine Arts/HFBK, Hamburg,Germany) engaged in The Soweto Project in Soweto, South Africa. The project is an example of participatory design, with the students and the community planning and realizing the project together. The project designs community using relational objects and performative actions, such as the construction of a performance platform and the organization of a Soweto Street Festival. The public space is managed and organized by the community, who have elected the Ubuntu Park Committee and formed a community based organization Environ Ubuntu Park Projects. The Soweto Project is an initiative of Nine Urban Biotopes - Negotiating the Future of Urban Living.

Marjetica Potrč is an artist and architect who has been a professor at the University of Fine Arts/HFBK in Hamburg, Germany, since 2011. Students of her course Design for the Living World develop participatory design projects. Potrč’s artworks have been exhibited extensively throughout Europe and the Americas, including at the Venice Biennial (1993, 2003, 2009) and the São Paulo Biennial (1996, 2006), and are shown regularly at the Galerie Nordenhake in Berlin. Her many community-based on-site projects include Dry Toilet (Caracas, 2003) and The Cook, the Farmer, His Wife and Their Neighbour (Stedelijk Goes West, Amsterdam, 2009). She has received numerous prestigious awards, including the Vera List Center for Arts and Politics Fellowship at The New School in New York (2007).

Rado Riha: Architecture as an Operation with an Object
The lecture draws on the question of the possibility of thinking architecture today and suggests that the answer lies in rethinking the concept of the object of architecture. The purpose of developing this thesis is threefold. First, to show that architecture introduces into the given reality a special kind of objects: objects that are part of reality by not belonging to it. Second, to delineate a thought process that enables us to think, that is, make visible such objects. And, third, to show that an integral part of the production of an architectural object is also the production of an architectural subject. On all three points, architecture is homologous to art.

Rado Riha is senior research fellow at the Institute of Philosophy at the Scientific Research Centre, Slovene Academy of Sciences and Arts, and a professor at the Postgraduate School SRS SASA and the University of Nova Gorica. He has published four books and many articles on contemporary philosophy, on the impact of the encounter between philosophy and Freudian and Lacanian psychoanalysis and on Kant’s philosophy, ethics and epistemology. One of his research interests is centred on the theory of architecture.

Museum of Architecture and Design, Fužine Castle, Pot na Fužine 2, Ljubljana
Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, Maistrova 3, Ljubljana

Moderators: Maja Vardjan (Museum of Architecture and Design) and Urška Jurman (Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory)
Programme managers: Vid Zabel and Urška Jurman (Igor Zabel Association)

The Architecture ≠ Art programme is being prepared by the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory in collaboration with the Museum of Architecture and Design and the Museum of Modern Art + Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova. The programme is supported by the ERSTE Foundation.