The oldest Slovenian exhibition, which has been presented since 1909, the "Majski Salon ZDSLU," also known as the May Salon of the Association of Slovene Fine Arts Societies, is one of the largest and most important exhibitions of its members. This year's edition of the exhibition focuses on the theme of painting in its basic and expanded forms.
The May Salon ZDSLU has gained significance in recent years, as evidenced by the exhibitions of the past two years, during which a systematic approach to visual arts was established by addressing specific areas individually. The curatorial approach involved inviting artists themselves as curators rather than relying on external art critics. This year, the concept was designed by Prof. Bojan Gorenec, and the selection of artists participating in the exhibition was entrusted to three younger colleagues who received Rihard Jakopič Awards: academic painters Viktor Bernik, Tina Dobrajc, and Uroš Potočnik.
The theme of this year's "Majski Salon ZDSLU 2019 – SLIKA" is: "Is there any stimulus stronger than what comes from our personal imagination?" The exhibition features 114 artists from all nine regional art societies who will present one artwork each. This extensive group exhibition offers new insights, particularly within the realm of painting. Prof. Bojan Gorenec, the head of the project and the author of the introductory text in the exhibition catalog, reflected on the theme:
"As we all know, painting has undergone various changes and transformations over the past hundred and fifty years, gradually shifting attention from the exact depiction of the seen to the reality of the image itself, to the analysis of the mechanisms of the image and its representation as a second nature through which we imagine our position in the world. Conditionally speaking, the common language of visual representation has disintegrated on one hand into a series of personal idioms, and on the other hand, a modern art system has been established with avant-garde and modernist movements, galleries, museums, and new forms of schools. Essentially, painting is a practice of applying color, pigments, and other media to a solid support. (The question of what happens with an applied stroke of color is a separate topic worthy of special consideration from various perspectives.) Typically, painting mediums are applied or worked into the support using a brush, but various other tools are also used, such as spatulas and knives, sponges and rags, as well as sprays. The final works are, in all cases, called paintings. Modern artists have expanded the means of painting with different methods (like collage since Cubism) and by incorporating atypical materials (sand, cement, straw, wood, waste materials, etc.). Up until today, when many artists 'paint' using digital means. Interestingly, despite significant technological advancements, painting, as a result of manual labor, has persisted and even expanded, remaining irreplaceable. Indeed, the function of art within human activities differs from all others, but it should be noted that painting has proven not only to be one of the media, but also to stand at the crossroads, incorporating various influences and contributing to the emergence of new genres of (visual) art."
The exhibition offers a diverse and inclusive panorama of the contemporary creative potential of the ZDSLU members, providing both artists and viewers with a comprehensive view of the current state of visual production. The exhibition is intended to evoke reflection on the position and potential of painting and painters today, fostering a dialogue about what is common and shared in an era marked by divisions and debates. The juxtaposition of various artworks on display mirrors the information-saturated environment of the internet and reflects the diverse contemporary creative panorama of the ZDSLU members.
The exhibition culminated with the awarding of prizes. The winners of the May Salon ZDSLU 2019 awards are as follows:
The project "Majski salon ZDSLU 2019 – SLIKA" was organized by the Association of Slovene Fine Arts Societies (ZDSLU) in collaboration with the National Museum of Slovenia – Metelkova. The project received financial support mainly from the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia. The event also involved contributions from the House of Wine and Chocolate Kunej for catering.