Junij in June: 5 June – 8 July 2012

Junij in June: 5 June – 8 July 2012

GRUPA JUNIJ: Junij in June

Junij in June: 5 June – 8 July 2012

Stane Jagodič: Symbol of Grupa Junij, 1973

Selection of Photographs from International Art Collection Junij

5 June – 8 July 2012

Opening: Tuesday, 5 June at 7 pm

Museum of Architecture and Design, Ljubljana

Overview exhibition of Grupa Junij (1970 – 1985) is first comprehensive presentation of this heterogeneous and loose international artistic movement after receiving award at Paris’ Mois de la photo in 1988. Archival project will focus only on photographic and related practices within its rich legacy.

“Grupa Junij” was established in 1969 by a group of young artists in order to bring together similar creative impulses. The significance of the group therefore surpassed the range of a homogeneous art group that adopted principles that follow the example of the successors of historical avant-garde and created a constructive synthesis of different styles and trends. The main idea embraced by the group was the autonomy of art as such, freed of any political, academic, and aesthetic demands for pure styles and genres.

During the period, in which modernist painting and sculpture prevailed, the members of “Grupa Junij” resorted to reproducible media, particularly the innovative use of photography, although there was a broad range of different forms of expression and media. Because of their diversity, the creative practices of the group cannot be generalised, however the common characteristic of a broad range of different artists gathered in “Grupa Junij” is connected with figuralism, narrative art, and a direct expression of a message. The group was highly sensitive to the socio-political events of that time, which it translated into a highly original artistic language without any reservations. Their works were steeped in the spirit of the 1970s and early 1980s, as well as topics such as ecology, global demography and the related side effects of accelerated urbanisation, alienation, militancy, repression by state institutions, and growing consumerism. These topics are still relevant today both in civil society and art. The exhibition therefore focuses on the use of photography, which is probably the most distinguishing segment of the group’s legacy. Despite the fact that he was formally trained as a painter, Stane Jagodič, a founding member and the main ideologist of the group, saw immense creative potential in photography and its derivatives. During that period photography was still marginalised in visual art circles, which stubbornly insisted on classic (unique) media and were reluctant to admit any kind of technology (reproducibility) into the world of virtuoso craftsmanship.

Globally speaking, “Grupa Junij” proposed very topical solutions within inter-media art practices, which also resulted in a pioneering role of the group, and cannot be ignored. Their role is regarded as one of the first attempts of introducing curatorial principles in that period’s Slovenian and Yugoslav art scene. Proto-curatorial self-initiatives are predecessors of the present universal artist who expresses part of his or her artistic tendencies through curatorial practices and theoretical discourses, while at the same time, due to the lack of institutional support, affirms what he or she maintains are neglected practices. In the period, during which it existed, “Grupa Junij” took full advantage of this possibility, which emerged due to the changing perception of art and the structure of cultural policy as a whole. The International Art Collection Junij had organically grown because of the contacts with number of prominent artists. In 1996 Junij Association donated the extensive collection to the Museum of Architecture and Design in Ljubljana. There are over 140 international with around 1300 works in the collection while exhibition presents the selection of 59 artists and around 100 works.

(Miha Colner)