Maribor Circle

Maribor Circle

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Exactly thirty-five years ago, a group of members of the Slovenian Fotoklub Maribor prepared in the then showroom of Rotovi in Maribor, a photo exhibition giving the photographers new inspiration. From banal and unattractive motifs, they were able to create works of art with their individual styles and compositions, breaking all the rules on purpose, from cuffing off the tops of subjects to complete obscurity, too dark copies..., which created a number of reactions, also negative. The artists concentrated on the expressive possibilities of photographic media, with deep greys and blacks (this is why it was called "black photography"), with an assortment of motifs, persons and compositions needed just for taking pictures, and without later intervention and cropping done in the darkroom. This was also accentuated through their copying of entire negatives with black borders. The installation of the exhibition and its size completely subordinated the exhibition space. A specialty of the exhibition was that the artists presented their work as a group, not marking their individual photographs, but instead marking them as a group. Such an approach was a step away from the direction of photographic creativity at the time, and it spurred turbulent reactions from professionals and the general public. Today, more than three decades later, after experiencing one of its highest peaks, Slovenian photography is all but drowning into obscurity. Only individuals acquainted with photographic art still speak of it, and when they do they mention only one or two artists, forgetting the rest, even those who were the initiators and driving force. All of us who have ever cooperated in group work know that the contribution of each individual is invaluable, and it is true that some are more successful than others, yet we should never be sorry, for the Maribor Photography Circle is the work of fifteen artists, fifteen creators, and it is fair that we respect their work, their concept and their unified presentation at exhibitions as a group, as they did at the Rotovi showroom in 1971. The peak would have undeniably been the exhibition at the Venice Biennale in 1974, when the photography of the Circle was chosen to represent the contemporary artistic creativity of Yugoslavia. Unfortunately, the event was canceled that year. While preparing the monograph, there were many dilemmas with regard to choosing materials, photographs, etc. Fortunately, the majority of the works are kept in the permanent collection of the STOLP photo gallery, while some are in private collections and still others are housed in the Modern Gallery of Art in Ljubljana. We could never have produced the publication without the help of Mr. Stojan Kerbler, who for many years collected materials, articles and catalogues. We must also thank Mr. Peter Vernik, Mr. dr. Primo LampiC from the Museum of Architecture for his cooperation on this project. We would also like to thank the Modern Gallery, all living members of the Maribor Photography Circle, and all who have helped in the preparation of this monograph.

Branimir Ritonja

Texts: Aleksander Bassin, Boris Gorupič, Branimir Ritonja
Language: Slovenian, English, German
Size: 25,5 x 22 cm, 126 pages
Binding: Hardback
Publisher: Photo Club Maribor, 2005