An Exhibition of Art of the 1930s

  • Client: Cankarjev dom
  • Location: Ljubljana
  • Date: 2022
  • Photography: Aleš Rosa

The Outside the Frame exhibition is dedicated to the Independent Group of Slovenian Artists comprising fourteen major Slovenian artists: Zoran Didek, Boris Kalin, Zdenko Kalin, Stane Kregar, France Mihelič, Zoran Mušič, Nikolaj Omersa, France Pavlovec, Nikolaj Pirnat, Marij Pregelj, Karel Putrih, Maksim Sedej, Frančišek Smerdu and Evgen Sajovic. The Independent artists left a deep imprint on interwar art, and then played a prominent role in post-war art and culture, becoming the first professors at the Ljubljana Academy of Fine Arts.
The works, some of which are presented to the public for the first time, come from both public and private art collections; Cankarjev dom’s exhibition is the first in-depth public showcase of the collective.

The Independents studied at the academies in Zagreb or Prague. They set out on their professional careers in a time fraught with economic crisis and a strained political situation in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia. These young artists formed a group that allowed them to jointly organise exhibitions, fight for artists’ rights, advocate the establishment of the Museum of Modern Art and the Academy of Fine Arts, as well as acquisition of artworks, publish articles in newspapers and magazines, organise art dances and plan study trips. As a collective, they worked most actively between 1937 and 1941, when the war broke out in Yugoslavia. Both the group’s activities and individual artworks stand out prominently from concurrent artistic output. Artistically, the Independents were drawn to the movements of moderate modernism and followed the general shift towards realism within Yugoslav and European art. Their promising careers were cut short by WWII. At that time the problem of national artistic expression was the main objective pursued by art in relation to political and social developments. One of the principal aims in the work of the Independents was the search for an independent (Slovenian) artistic expression. The undeniable fact that several of the works today enjoying cult status were premiered at their exhibitions testifies to the great artistry and continuing relevance of the Independent Artists who today rank among the leading names in 20th-century Slovenian and Yugoslav art. The exhibition includes seventy artworks and extensive documentary materials. Many of the works are on public view for the first time (in about 80 years since their creation).



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