November 15, 2017 - Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts - The 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts: Birth as Criterion
November 15, 2017

Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts

Alejandro Paz, Hypodermic, 2017. Intervention. Photo: Jaka Babnik. MGLC Archive.

The 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts
Birth as Criterion
June 16–November 5, 2017

Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts
International Centre of Graphic Arts - Tivoli Mansion
Pod turnom 3
1000 Ljubljana

T 01 241 3 800
F 01 241 3 821
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Alejandro Paz is the recipient of the Grand Prix of the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts: Birth as Criterion

The 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts has come to a close, this time avoiding the institution of the curator, leaving the selection to artists, to whom it tried to offer the optimal conditions for their presentations. They were confronted with the dense and intense poem Birth as Criterion by modernist poet Jure Detela, who, as a radical thinker in his time, questioned everything—even the most obvious. The new conditions for selection and the poem generated diverse responses and encouraged artists to create new works that represented the greater part of the main exhibition.

The jury, consisting of Anne Barlow (director, Tate St. Ives), Mike Cooter (artist, London), Bige Örer (director, Istanbul Biennial) and Maruša Sagadin (artist, Vienna), decided to award two prizes, the Grand Prix and the Research Residency Award. The Grand Prix of the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts was given to Guatemalan artist Alejandro Paz, whereas Brazilian artist Carlos Monroy received the Research Residency Award. Both projects were created for the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts.

This is how the expert jury justified the awards:
The Grand Prix of the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts went to Alejandro Paz. In his project for the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts, Alejandro Paz engages with the patches of paint removal and analysis that reveal the layers of history contained within the fabric of the architecture housing MGLC’s galleries. Paz’s subtle interventions overlay these fragments with partial images of the tattooed skin of Guatemalan prisoners—itself a set of complex registrations of class, social status and gang membership that is concealed by the architecture of state power. By striking a compelling balance between graphic photographic imagery and a poetic evocation of the registrations of history, layered in the skins of bodies both architectural and physical, the jury found Paz’s work for the 32nd Biennial of Graphic Arts a powerful rumination on the interwoven social, architectural and political factors that constitute individual and collective identity. In view of the strength of this work, and within a larger practice that encompasses art and architecture, performance and installation, the jury was particularly delighted to select Alejandro Paz as the winner of the 2017 Grand Prix with his intervention Hypodermic.

The jury awarded the Research Residency Award to Carlos Monroy for his piece, which impressively stages and overlays a number of folk narratives of rebirth and regeneration in nature. Inspired by the Slovenian carnival figure of the kurent, Monroy initiated performances of a number of costumed representations of mythical figures that are at once the focus and embodiment of these folk celebrations. By engaging with Slovenian history (Monroy includes a woodcut by France Mihelič from 1955 depicting the kurent in his installation) and performers from the Contemporary Dance Studio (Ljubljana), Monroy produced an atmospheric video installation of these comparative, curiously solitary and mysterious rites being performed through the city at night. By using the body as a political and aesthetic tool, Monroy’s work raises interesting questions about the performance of ritual across cultures, research that the jury believes would benefit greatly from the engagement with Ljubljana offered by the award and residency. Carlos Monroy presented himself at the Biennial with his performance and video installation Baphomet. One single birth made incarnate. 

The awards and juries of the Biennial of Graphic Arts have been an important part of the Biennial’s history ever since the first edition of the Biennial in 1955. Various types of prizes were awarded, from expert to honorary and purchase awards, with the Grand Prix remaining a constancy, the winner of which is then presented with a large solo exhibition at the next Biennial. The award history was particularly significant for this year's Biennial, since the mechanism of chain selection was triggered by the last five recipients of the Grand Prix. Given that the winners are a good indicator of conceptual orientations, this has stimulated self-reflection and revision of the Biennial, which will be interpreted in detail in The Biennial after the Biennial programme, preparing the ground for the 33rd edition through a series of lectures, the Birth as Criterion publication and a symposium.


For all press enquiries please contact:
Karla Železnik, karla.zeleznik [​at​] / T +386 (0)1 241 38 09

For further information on the Biennial visit

Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts
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Birth as Criterion
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