Fragments of Time: Miroslav Zdovc and the Photography Scene

27. 10. 2023 – 31. 03. 2024

The exhibition Fragments of Time: Miroslav Zdovc and the Photography Scene showcases the oeuvre of Miroslav Zdovc, one of the most acclaimed and significant photographers in Slovenian cultural milieu, who actively worked from the early 1950s to the early 1990s. Furthermore, the exhibition confronts his works with the works of photographers and artists who were, in one way or another, connected to Zdovc and who place his creative practice within a wider context of time and place. These are: Josip Pelikan, Marko Gosar, Boris Gaberščik, and Tomaž Gregorič.

The exhibition is organised on the occasion of the final processing and systematization of Zdovc’s photographic archive that came to Galerija Božidar Jakac as a donation. Zdovc’s work is presented in the context of the wider zeitgeist in which he lived and worked, since he had been absent from actively working within photography and art scene for many years. His work had thus almost disappeared from the public discourse nearly forty years after the end of his active years as an artist (mid-1980s), thirty years after the end of his professional photographic career (early 1990s), and almost fifteen years after his death (2009). In 1986, a retrospective exhibition of Miroslav Zdovc’s works took place at Lamut’s Art Salon of Galerija Božidar Jakac, marking a symbolic conclusion of his active involvement in the field of fine art photography and art.

Miroslav Zdovc was a photographer of his time. He worked through a relatively long period of time when photography and visual culture went through some fundamental changes. His creative journey began in the 1940s when photography was still firmly based in a modernist paradigm, and ended in the late 1980s when the photographic medium had transformed significantly and became almost equal to traditional fine art media. His practice in the 1950s was therefore informed by traditional and almost romantic photography, in the 1960s, it embraced engaged conceptual approaches to documentary photography, in the 1970s, he mostly focused on exploring landscapes and human body, and in the 1980s, his practice expanded further, creating works in mixed media, such as combinations of photography, drawing, and collage. As he was not materially dependent on his artistic work, he operated freely and did not follow progressive tendencies in photography of that time. Therefore, the presentation of his mentors, collaborators, and fellow artists in this exhibition is primarily intended to place Zdovc’s work in a context of wider time and place.

Miroslav Zdovc (1929-2009) was a photographer and artist who worked in various fields of photography and visual culture. He was a professional photographer, specialising in museum work, a documentary photographer who published in printed publications, and as a photographer-artist who regularly exhibited in galleries and museums. His auteur photography, whether following documentary or artistic principles, is significant in the history of local and regional photography. In 1947, Zdovc completed his apprenticeship at the Pelikan photographic studio in Celje and was employed at Studio Fotolik in Ljubljana. In 1951, he became a photographer at National Liberation Museum, and in 1954 at Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana. In 1969, he got employed as a photographer at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana, and in 1979, until his retirement in the early 1990s, he continued to work as a freelance photographer.

Josip Pelikan (1885-1977) was a professional photographer who ran the Pelikan photo studio in Celje since 1919. Marko Gosar (1953) is an artist working in the fields of painting, graphics, and photography, showcasing glimpses of urban everyday life. Boris Gaberščik (1957) is an artist and photographer who in his practice makes staged studio scenes in order to highlight universal questions about human existence. Tomaž Gregorič (1969) is a photographer who, in his artistic practice, explores questions of perceiving his immediate surroundings and cultural landscapes.

Curator: Miha Colner

Photo: Miroslav Zdovc

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