Slovenian Independent Illustrators’ Biennial

How did the idea of Independent Biennial come along?
The idea for the Biennial came from a need that the authors of the then younger generation felt greatly 10 years ago. It was to have a space or an opportunity to exhibit these hybrid forms of illustrations that are outside of the classic book illustrations, which in Slovenia represents a tradition. Because illustration had always been pretty marginal, we never really belonged anywhere; we didn’t fit in at the design festivals and rarely in art galleries … All of this led to the establishment of the Independent, who were meant to be dealing with these in-between-spaces, the grey areas covered by the modern illustration.

Who is the target audience of the Biennial, who is it meant for and who can sign up?
The wish for the authors to co-create the future of the Biennial has led to a very special and unique selection of the ‘descendants’ of it. They are selected by the authors of the previous Biennial and that is how they become (along with the exhibitors – the authors of the visual works) curators – selectors of the next edition themselves and how they also affect the development and evolution of the whole scene. We always hold events to accompany the Biennial, which are of educative and research nature, various workshops, artistic talks etc. Anyone who is interested in the offered topics can apply to those. The Biennial in general is meant for the general expansion of the understanding of the contexts of modern illustration and is therefore meant for a larger audience. The visual playfulness of this creative field is understandable to the wider circle of the public, which isn’t necessarily professionally educated in it.

Where do these events take place?
Our main ‘playground’ is Kino Šiška, along with other public places and exhibition spaces around Ljubljana – it depends on the project. We’ve been practically everywhere.

What happened at this year’s Independent Biennial?
This year’s Independent Biennial was well received by the visitors; we counted more than 6000 of them. With the DobraVaga gallery we wrapped it up with a sale – exhibition and lounge of the Allstars publication which featured the Independent of the years 2007 through 2017 and a zine – a product of Primož Zorko, who, through the repetition of the same shape, explores the line between illustration and photography.

Who all has already presented themselves at the Biennial?
From our first event, where we had well-known names such as Blaž Porenta, the members of the ZEK Crew, Elena Fajt, Silvan Omerzu, Mina Fina, Natan Esku, and through every edition of the Independent we’ve had really talented young authors that exhibited, such as LEALUDVIK, Leon Zoudar, Mark Pozleb, Nevena Aleksovski, to name a few.

What is the purpose of these events?
The main purpose of the events is to promote the authors of the younger generations, their works and their direct authorship. At the same time we try to present the maximal autonomy of the author’s work and of course, without censorship. Through this we promote the area of modern illustration and many times also the marginal visual works, which are ‘trapped’ in the in-between spaces, the grey areas of design, painting, sculpting, animation etc. The events are free of charge, which helps to bring in a colourful audience of all ages and cultural as well as social backgrounds.

What are your plans for the year ahead and the future?
The plan is to keep up the tradition and to also go international. Our wish is also to continue to engage in the presentations of the authors of the Biennial here in Slovenia and elsewhere. To promote it abroad is not only important for their own promotion but also for the promotion of the Slovenian production of this area, which helps to set our local scene on the global map.



We talked with Saša Kerkoš, the art director of the Independent Biennial; Photos: Urška Boljkovac.

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