+MSUM opens exhibition on art collections

Ljubljana, 28 February - The Museum of Contemporary Art (+MSUM) will open on Tuesday evening Exercises in a Collection, an exhibition that reflects on art collections and their exhibitions from a historical perspective to show that ways in which works of art are acquired and put on display are neither static nor permanent but depend on ideology.

Museum of Contemporary Art in Ljubljana (+MSUM).
Photo: Tamino Petelinšek/STA
File photo

The museum says on its website that collecting works of art is always tied to various cultural policies, which largely reflect the ideologies of a certain time.

It adds that colonialism made it possible for numerous Western museums to possess many (art) objects from (former) colonies, and it is only over the last few decades that the restitution of artworks to their places of origin has begun in earnest.

Museum in non-Western countries meanwhile approach the idea of collections and decolonisation by reflecting on how to juxtapose their local histories and specific artistic expressions with their Western counterparts.

One such example is the Arteast 2000+ collection, a pioneering international collection focussing from its inception in the late 1990s on the post-WWII Eastern European avant-gardes in the broader international context.

The collection was conceived at the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana by its then director Zdenka Badovinac, with the first exhibition of works from it being put on show at the former Yugoslav People's Army barracks building - which now houses +MSUM - in 2000 with the title The Art of Eastern Europe in Dialogue with the West.

Works from Arteast 2000+ are one of the three parts of the exhibition opening today, bringing sculptures from the 1990s by prominent international artists of the time.

These sculptures constitute the beginning of the collection and relate to the idea of an East European collection in dialogue with Western works, +MSUM says.

Another part of the show brings works acquired for Arteast 2000+ in recent years and works that indicate the direction in which the collection might evolve.

It features young and middle-generation artists from the region of former Yugoslavia that address the topic of the work of female artists, with an emphasis on (traditional) handicrafts.

The third part of the show focuses on the former Yugoslavia's cultural diplomacy, the exchange of artworks between Yugoslav republics and on donations of artworks.

A performance by Maja Smrekar and Ada von Eyachtal termed Delo in Dom (Work and Home) will accompany the opening of the display, curated by Bojana Piškur.

© STA, 2023