The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška (KGLU) is a museum of visual arts, focusing on the collection and study of art from the second half of the 20th century onwards, and is an important social agent that addresses questions and highlights issues that are often neglected in the general discourse. In its role of protecting mobile cultural heritage as part of its public service the KGLU as museum is of national importance, and is part of an international network of museums. In its work the Museum places particular emphasis on pedagogical and andragogical programmes, which represent an important aspect of the institution as a public space that offers opportunities to gain education and develop critical thought. In addition to its exhibition and administrative spaces in the centre of Slovenj Gradec The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška also oversees the programme of the Ravne Gallery, which is located in the Cultural Centre in Ravne na Koroškem.
The Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška was founded in 1957 as the Art Pavilion, but by building the collection, which lends the institution particular value and determines its activities, the institution was soon transformed from a gallery into a museum. Those initially responsible for the founding of the gallery and the organizers of the first exhibitions and lectures were members of the so-called Academic Group (established in 1954), comprised of architects Marjan Gnamuš and Mirko Zdovc, philologist Primož Simoniti and painter Karel Pečko. The group’s work soon transformed into a formally established gallery, which was led by Karel Pečko from its founding to 1997. Already in the 1960s the institution began organizing international exhibitions that were characterized by an actively engaged position on the artistic practice of the time, which fact was also reflected in an institution that fostered humanist values and stressed the importance of solidarity. In 1966, for the purposes of an ambitious international exhibition, the gallery was expanded and a new exhibition pavilion was built designed specifically for contemporary exhibition projects. The Gallery’s activities contributed significantly to a the creation of a specific identity of the city of Slovenj Gradec, which was granted the title of UN Messenger of Peace in 1989. Even today, the four large-scale international exhibitions (1966, 1975, 1979 and 1985) organized under the auspices of the United Nations Organization still well represent the mission of the gallery, as they provided the basis for the Museum’s international collection, which carries even greater symbolic meaning in light of current events and developments today. From the 1990s to the present, the gallery has expanded its work by enlarging the collection and developing the Museum staff’s professional competence and expertise. Decisive steps have been taken towards developing a contemporary institution that manages its collection in accordance with high museum standards and practices and organizes relevant and engaging exhibitions together with other activities that reinforce interaction and cooperation with various audiences and actors.
Today, the collection of the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška is made up of more than 3000 works. The collection is comprised of works by many foreign and domestic artists and of special larger groups of collections, such as the collection of works by Jože Tisnikar, which is supplemented by the collection Homage to Tisnikar – Homage combines works by Slovenian and foreign artists dealing with subject matter similar to that Tisnikar developed – and collections of works by Franc Berneker, Bogdan Borčić, Valentin Oman, Štedan Planinc and Pino Poggi. The Museum also maintains the special collection that began during the exhibitions under the auspices of the United Nations between 1966 and 1985, which is comprised of international works of art that have a particularly contemporary and engaged position, such as those dealing with war, migration, social inequality and similar. Special attention is devoted to contemporary artistic production, particularly of those artists from the region as well as artists from across Slovenia. More on the works from our collections can be found here.
In the Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art Koroška (KGLU), a great deal of attention is given to its visual identity. For this purpose, we cooperate with many renowned graphic designers and visual artists. In 1975, the graphic artist Harald Draušbaher created the graphic design for the international exhibition Peace 75, which took place under the auspices of the UN. The logo that was used for the exhibition remained in use afterwards as well, becoming the official sign of the KGLU. The logo, which was coloured green at first, consists of two leaves that signify the interlacing of nature and art, but also the position the KGLU – it is situated in the countryside, among hills and forests. The image of the two leaves, later used in blue, represented the gallery for more than four decades.
In 2015, the graphic designer Anna Lena von Helldorff designed the visual identity for the exhibition Collection Reversed: Transfer, Transformation and Ruptures, Henry Moore Comes Back, which was curated by dr. Barbara Steiner. The exhibition took place in the context of the international project Performing the Museum, the focus of which was to rethink the role of the contemporary museum. Today, a museum is no longer just an institution that keeps, studies and exhibits works of art, above all collaborating actively with the audience. For this exhibition, Anna Lena von Helldorff played with the logo existing at the time and created variations that represented the guiding principle of the museum and the message of the exhibition, which spoke of modularity, vivacity and the performativity of the museum and its collection. During the exhibition, she came up with the idea that became the foundation for the new visual image of the KGLU, which she created two years later. Currently, we are collaborating intensively with the designer Matija Kovač, Zgradbazamisli, for the realisation of the graphic design based on the designer’s proposal. He innovatively implements the proposed typography and the modular logo for the various printed materials published by the KGLU. The renewed visual identity was used two years later for the design of the gallery’s new website by the design studio Prapesa, with whom we still collaborate for various online and digital solutions today. Occasionally we also cooperate with other promising, established designers (Arh Deko Arhitektura, Design, Koraca; Sans, grafično oblikovanje, Andrej Knez), as well as younger graphic designers.