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 History of MGLC’s Collections
The International Centre of Graphic Arts (MGLC) has had the status of a special museum for the art of printing since 2000. Because the initial collection was closely connected with the Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts, it contains a lot of items of the artists that exhibited at individual biennales. When the Museum of Modern Art and the Biennale Secretariat separated, part of the items were transferred to MGLC, while part of the collection (around 600 items) has been on a long-term loan from the print collection of the Museum of Modern Art since 1989.
When MGLC (1986) was established as an exhibition and production centre for contemporary printmaking, we began complementing the collections with contemporaneous printmaking production, especially by Slovenian artists.
The collection of art publications began to be formed after 2000. It was co-created in cooperation with the French Cultural Centre in Slovenia and its long-term loan of more than 370 art publications related to French culture. The collection of art publications contains artists’ books, book objects, comic books, various forms of authorial ephemera and art archives.
The deliberate expansion of the collections began when traditional prints were complemented by art publications of all sorts. That led to the development of three distinct collections: the collection of prints, the collection of art publications and the collection of drawings.
Since 2006, the digital registration of the collection has gradually brought to light the substantive and other factors of categorising the collections, especially the purchase policy, which was temporally related to the post-1945 period and geographically to Slovenia and the countries related to MGLC’s international activity.
In 2016, we divided the museum’s inventory into eight collections according to their content and programme: the Collection of Prints, the Collection of Prints from the Museum of Modern Art, the Collection of the French Cultural Centre, the Collection of Art Publications, the Collection of Drawings, Ljubljana School of Graphic Arts, Biennale Prize Winners and the Reference Collection.
With the current collection policy, research and the gathering of additional documents on the items, we intend to create even more specialised collections in the future.
Collection of Prints
A large part of the collection consists of works by artists that exhibited at the Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts. Among them are members of École de Paris, representatives of the COBRA avant-garde movement, artists from Eastern Europe, South America and countries of former Yugoslavia and other internationally established artists from the post-1945 period working in various styles. The collection includes a large number of works by Slovenian printmakers of all generations.
Collection of Prints from the Museum of Modern Art
The Collection of Prints from the Museum of Modern Art contains around 600 impressions, which were handed over to MGLC as the core of its print collection based on the 1985 long-term loan contract following the separation of the Museum of Modern Art and the Biennale Secretariat. The prints in this collection were created by international artists between 1946 and 1982.
Collection of the French Cultural Centre
In 2000, the French Cultural Centre in Slovenia loaned MGLC 378 works on a long-term basis. The collection includes works by important representatives of the 1960s and 1970s avant-garde that were created by French artists or published in France. For a long time, the collection was the core of the Collection of art publications.
Collection of Art Publications
The collection includes approximately 3,000 works, specifically, artists’ books, book objects, art newspapers and magazines, newspaper projects, posters and invitations, photographic editions, postcards, stamps, stickers, graphic works, Xeroxes and sound art media. The art archives that cover longer historical periods in various art fields are also important museum and study materials. The Collection of art publications was established in 2000.
Collection of Drawings
The Collection of Drawings is the smallest one and is not at the centre of our collection policy. It currently contains 47 drawings, which were all acquired through donations.
Ljubljana School of Graphic Arts
The Ljubljana School of Graphic Arts, which flourished between 1955 and 1970, has a special significance in Slovenia. It developed alongside the Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts and with the help of top-level technical knowledge provided by the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana. The masters of this group of artists belong to the older generation of contemporary Slovenian printmakers, but the concept also encompasses very different artists of several generations that share an affinity for the medium of print. The still growing collection includes works of the most important representatives of the golden age of Slovenian printmaking.
Biennale Prize Winners
The collection brings together works by artists from all over the world that received a prize at the Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts, thus bringing an insight into the happening in art through the medium of print as verified by international juries at the Biennale since 1955. It is MGLC’s most important international collection that reflects the history of the Ljubljana Biennale of Graphic Arts and printmaking as an art form.
The Reference Collection contains works that are primarily intended for education about printmaking and its techniques. It includes the second or the third impression of prints that are part of other collections, facsimiles and literature related to the contents of the collections (on art publications and individual artists).
Written by Breda Škrjanec, MA.