It has been the job of MGLC from the outset to perform a number of activities that are interrelated and complementary in their nature. It takes care of the extensive collections of prints and artists’ books produced after the Second World War. The museum is also an important producer of graphic and contemporary art. The institution’s most recognizable activity is the Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts, which is known as the world’s oldest graphic arts event.
MGLC’s collections constitute the largest Slovenian collection of prints and art publications created after World War Two and the only public collection of modernist prints, which contains more than 10,000 works. The special characteristic of the collections is that they contain solely works on paper and the related objects such as prints, art publications, drawings and photographs. The collections consist of traditional prints and other types of the material heritage of the art of printing, especially artist’s books, posters, art ephemera and other art publications and works on paper. Due to donations, our own production and a focused collection policy, the inventory keeps growing.
The exhibition activity of the International Centre for Graphic Arts has been continuous since 1989. In the early years, the programme concentrated on exhibitions of classical prints. The step into the new millennium brought about new changes: the concept of printmaking expanded to include art printing, and installations were given a place in the gallery, followed by art events and performances a few years later. More recently, since 2011, the practice of exhibiting contemporary art has been on the rise as part of MGLC's activities, with a focus on distinctly intermedia exhibitions or projects characterised by a holistic transformation of the gallery space.
The MGLC Print Studio is organised as a production centre offering artists an opportunity to print in a variety of printmaking techniques. Artists may make their prints themselves or can be assisted by master printmaker. From the very beginning, the Studio was intended not only for experienced and established graphic artists, but also for many artists of younger generations who do not have their own suitable working conditions at the beginning of their artistic endeavours.
The Residency Programme
The International Centre of Graphic Arts runs a residency programme at MGLC Švicarija, a residency and creative centre, which is located on the edge of the Tivoli, Rožnik and Šišenski hill Landscape Park and is the most central and nature-connected residency point in Ljubljana. The residency programme is aimed at Slovenian and foreign artists and art collectives, professionals in the field of contemporary art (critics, curators, writers, etc.), who are offered production conditions for work, networking, education and training.
Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts
The Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts is one of the oldest in the world; it was founded in 1955. Through its activities, it placed Ljubljana and Slovenian art in a global context, influenced the development of many similar events around the world and created an active network to exchange experiences in the field of the graphic arts. By regularly presenting works by artists from different cultural and artistic backgrounds, it went on to successfully outline a graphic map of the world. It is marked by the tradition of awarding international prizes, the shifts in aesthetic criteria and the moving away from the confines of a single medium. The Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts is a vibrant, constantly changing platform of artistic creativity, as well as a critical analysis of events in society and in art that follows the impulse of the contemporary, which is increasingly characterised by the elusiveness of categories and overlapping of different types of knowledge, experience and art practice.
The International Centre of Graphic Arts has been engaged in publishing ever since its first exhibition in 1989 and issues a range of publications, catalogues, monographs and pamphlets. The publications accompany the solo, group as well as visiting exhibitions featured in the MGLC programme. Every two years a more extensive catalogue is published on the occasion of the international Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts. MGLC stores and cares for, but also sells, all the catalogues from the very first International Biennale of Graphic Arts in 1955.
The MGLC fulfils one of its roles by providing the conditions for art to be known and co-created by as wide a range of people as possible, which is why it incorporates both classical and alternative approaches to education. These approaches are linked to learning about the processes of creation, by trying to understand the artworks in the exhibition not only as as a curator's interpretation, but also as an artist's suggestion or starting point for seeing the world. Our programmes are a kind of "third space" inviting visitors of different ages and interests to complement it with their knowledge, ideas and interpretations.
Participation in projects
MGLC has a wide network of associates around the world to exchange information, publications, artworks and to participate in projects and exchanges. Our traditional partners are mainly institutions and organizations engaged in the collection, safekeeping, promotion and production of fine art printmaking and art publications.