Textile Art Biennial BIEN 2023
Kranj, Škofja Loka, Jesenice, and Nova Gorica, SL
31.05. – 10.08.2023
Wednesday, 31 May, 6 PM - Layer House Kranj
Friday, 2 June, 7 PM – Courtyard of Škofja Loka Castle
Monday, 5 June, 6 PM – Xcenter Nova Gorica
Tuesday, 6 June, 7 PM – Stara Sava Jesenice
Locations: Kranj (31 May–10 August) – Layer House, Globus, Škrlovec Tower, Cene Avguštin Gallery, Medprostor, Pungert Tower, Kranj City Library, City Hall Cellar, public spaces; Škofja Loka (2 June–31 August) – Round Tower of the Škofja Loka Museum, Living Room, Castle Park; France Mihelič Gallery in Kašča; Nova Gorica (5 June–29 July) – Xcenter, Gong Gallery; Jesenice (6 June– 31 August) – Stara Sava, Kolpern
The Textile Art Biennial BIEN 2023 connects four Slovenian cities: Kranj, Škofja Loka, Jesenice, and Nova Gorica. The central theme of this year's artistic event is "Sun". Myth, legend, the sacred. The one that creates shadows. The key element of our decline and survival. Energy and source. The reason for socializing, meeting, and creating textile art together. BIEN presents more than 100 artists, collectives, student productions and participants at BIEN symposium. The biennial exhibitions can be both an inspiration and a warning. Its art projects explore the dangers brought on by the growing environmental and climate crisis, while also emphasizing the pleasant qualities of warmth, growth, and enabling emanating from our brightest star. Growth and degrowth, the ultimate consequences of our ambivalent relationship with the sun, are at the forefront of the exhibition projects and the organized programme of workshops, talks, and events.
With its programs of textile art, industrial design and land art, BIEN is biennially presented in the form of exhibitions and projects that reflect on heritage, conservation and sustainability, drawing from the biological, geological and archaeological features of space, environment, identities, industrial heritage and traditional knowledge, and creating new contemporary expressions. BIEN promotes interdisciplinary artistic integration with projects and residencies, it presents the works of international and domestic artists, with a special emphasis on the best works of current Slovenian and international student production, and it understands that the future of art is also in the public and digital space. BIEN was initiated by the Carnica Institute from Kranj and it is jointly organized by Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Design, an independent higher education institution, as well as numerous partners. Among others, this year’s BIEN has joined forces with the Oloop Collective that is preparing the programme BIEN Connect, a series of workshops and a round table on the social significance of textile communities.
Art and community. We are trying to explore meanings and practices of textile culture, where repetition and duration are inseparably linked. We invite you to discover slow art.
One of the most prominent Finnish environmental and textile artists, Kaarina Kellomäki, who combines land art, fibers, and textiles in her art practice, will create her work in situ on the Castle Garden of Škofja Loka. It will be designed for this selected space and only for the duration of the exhibition. Before the opening of the exhibitions in Škofja Loka, there will be a talk with the artist on Friday, June 2nd, at 6 pm.
Also environmentally focused is the spatial installation in the Kranj Tower Škrlovec. The Australian-Nigerian artist, researcher, and lecturer Nnenna Okore, who lives in the USA, creates artworks using ecological and bioplastic materials, opening up questions about sustainable approaches in art and developing a dialogue with the audience about waste. You can meet Nnenna Okore in an online artist talk on Tuesday, June 13th, at 2 pm.
Visiting artists at BIEN 2023 will be creating at the Layer House art residencies in Kranj. We have invited Paolo Puck, a British artist known for his large felt masks and costumes inspired by myths, fairy tales, and archetypes. Also joining us in Kranj will be Twee Muizen, a Spanish artistic duo who blend surrealistic aura and aesthetics into their textile masks. At the exhibition, the duo will also present their illustrations and costumes, and even paint a mural in the city center. Susana Cereja, a Portuguese artist inspired by archaic textile techniques, will be completing her work on the theme of the Sun in Kranj. She also invites you to a creative workshop on June 24th at 10 a.m.
The art residencies of Susana Cereja and Twee Muizen are fully supported by the European Union and the Culture Moves Europe program.
Among Slovenian artists, we would like to highlight Varka Kozlovič, a textile artist living in Denmark, who creates abstract embroidered drawings inspired by urban and organic patterns. Her works will be exhibited at the Round Tower of the Škofja Loka Museum. One of the most important representatives of engaged textile art in Slovenia, Marija Mojca Pungerčar, will present her playful yet critical exhibition Nina nano at the children's tower Pungert in Kranj. At Globus in Kranj, a spatial installation will be assembled by Boris Beja, a contemporary artist, critic, and curator who combines various visual practices into an aestheticized, direct message with an emphasis on social criticism. We also invite you to discover the textile works of Katja Felle at Layer House, she received a bronze award for her tapestry at the 17th International Triennial of Tapestry in Lodz, Poland. Specifically for BIEN, a tapestry was created by Brinas Studio and Roka Collective from Radlje ob Dravi.
From Japan to Chile, from the North to Zagreb
As many as 251 mainly international artists responded to the open call for the biennial. 31 artworks were selected, most of which will be exhibited at Layer House and on the third floor of Globus, the former department store in the center of Kranj, designed by the architect Edvard Ravnikar. Visitors can observe how the idea of the Sun is understood differently around the world. French artist Alice Raymond’s work "Climate Change" shows the evolution of temperatures and humidity in Ghana between 1989 and 2021. Japanese artist Rieko Yashiro evokes the myth of Icarus, who fell into the sea when he tried to fly too close to the sun. In her embroidery, Estefanía Tarud Karl from Chile addresses everyday life and plays with the concept of shadow and sunlight under the door.
In the Special Focus: Zagreb we explore textile art of the Croatian capital. Zagreb has become a vibrant center of textile art. The textile section of ULUPUH (Croatian Association of Visual Artists) is presented at BIEN, as well as students Ela Leko, Leo Subanović, Antun Mlakić, and Viktorija Vuković from the Textile Technology Faculty in Zagreb. They will join the biennial at two art residencies and exhibit their works at the Gong Gallery in Nova Gorica. The Nordic Focus will be featured at Škofja Loka.
The Nordic Focus is supported by the Swedish Embassy and the Embassy of Finland in Budapest covering Slovenia.
In public space...
Bangladeshi artist Habiba Nowrose will exhibit her photographs of densely textured portraits that raise questions about women’s rights, gender identity, and mythology, in an outdoor gallery in front of the Kranj City Library. She will also speak about her work at the Artist Talk online on Wednesday, June 14, at 2 pm.
In Jesenice, the old blast furnance will be clothed in textiles by the Creative center KreativNice. Their work “Universe of the Suns” is located in the Stara Sava space that is in the shade of a great Mežakla mountain for a large part of the year. The working process of the installation will also be documented and exhibited in the Kolpern venue space. The installation will be on display throughout the summer as part of the Jesenice Summer Festival at Stara Sava, organized by the Gornjesavski Museum.
On the main square in Kranj, students of the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, under the mentorship of Prof. Marija Jenko, are constructing a large textile canopy, which features details of Marjan Šorli’s architecture. Three examples of the renovation of Šorli's pavilion in the Horticultural Garden, prepared by the Faculty of Architecture under the mentorship of Prof. Jurij Sadar and assistant Ana Kreč, will also be presented at the exhibition.
... and underground
In the tunnels under the old town of Kranj, the art group underGROWTH is tackling the theme of shadows and underground spaces. Nika Batista, Matevž Bajde, Mateja Golež, Lovro Ivančić, Marija Jenko, Maruša Kranjc, Franci Krevh, Alenka More, Ula Pogorevčnik, Darja Rant, Janko Rožič, and Alenka Vidrgar are a multidisciplinary team of authors preparing artistic installations in four underground rooms.
BIEN presents 29 individual and group projects from five faculties: the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, the Faculty of Education, the Faculty of Architecture – all of them part of the University of Ljubljana, the Faculty of Design, an independent higher education institution, and the Academy of Arts of the University of Nova Gorica.
The France Mihelič Gallery in the Kašča in Škofja Loka will host a group exhibition of students of art pedagogy under the mentorship of Associate Professor Anja Jerčič Jakob and professional collaborator Mateja Golež from the Slovenian National Building and Civil Engineering Institute. Using various materials, including charcoal and geotextiles, students interpreted the works of France Mihelič, one of the most important representatives of Slovenian painting in the 20th century.
Knowledge Sharing Programme: Textile Communities and Spaces
On Tuesday, June 6, from 10 to 12 am, we will host an online meeting of textile spaces. We will get to know the Italian Lottozero, Estonian Stuudio Labus, Icelandic Textile Center, and Slovenian KreativNice, textile lab Center Rog and Ethno gallery Desetnica.
On Thursday, June 29, at 6 pm, we invite you to a round table discussion on the importance of textile communities curated by Jasmina Ferček from the Oloop Collective. Members of various Slovenian textile communities will talk about their experiences of the importance of socializing while creating textiles, and we will also present international good practices. Members of the Oloop, Razkrite roke, Breja preja, No-Border-Craft, Story-cloth Database, Creatively Empowered Women, and Fine Cell Work collectives will join us.
For toddlers and textile enthusiasts
Ajda Tomazin is preparing a movement-based visual performance for toddlers up to three years of age. The premiere of “Yellow Dot in the Sky” will take place on Saturday, June 3, at 10 am, following with the reprise of the performance on Wednesday, June 21, at 5 pm. Textile enthusiasts can enjoy a rich programme of workshops. We are also highlighting two vintage clothing fairs and the intervention in public space “Maskenbal” when mythological creatures will visit the city center of Kranj.
Full programme of the biennial: https://layer.si/bien/en/programme/
Full list of artists: https://layer.si/bien/en/kr/artists2023/