October 5, 2015 - Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts - María Elena González exhibition: Grand Prize winner of the 30th Biennial of Graphic Arts
October 5, 2015

María Elena González exhibition: Grand Prize winner of the 30th Biennial of Graphic Arts

María Elena González, Tree Bark “T 2 (Bark),” 2014. 1.2 x 12 m. MGLC Archive. Photo: Jaka Babnik.

The 31st Biennial of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana
Over you/you

28 August−3 December 2015

International Centre of Graphic Arts
Grad Tivoli, Pod turnom 3
1000 Ljubljana

T + 386 (0) 1 2413 800
info [​at​] mglc-lj.si


Exhibition of the Grand Prize winner of the 30th Biennial of Graphic Arts

María Elena González: The Tree Talk Series
28 August–1 November 2015, Cankarjev dom Gallery
Curator: Božidar Zrinski

María Elena González received the Grand Prize of the 30th Biennial of Graphic Arts for her piece entitled The Tree Talk Series in 2013. González is primarily known for her sculptural installations although the complexity of her work indicates a variety of possibilities within creative printmaking today. Her work brings together printmaking, performance, installation and sound into precisely conceived and harmonious set-ups. The Tree Talk Series was inspired by a fallen birch. She collected and flattened the bark of this birch, produced a series of drawings and etchings, and then scanned the furrowed patterns and had them laser cut into rolls for a mechanical piano. As the roll was played, an unexpected score emanated from the roll, the music of the birch tree, reminiscent of the internal logic inherent to all patterns in nature. 

The solo exhibition as part of the 31st Biennial of Graphic Arts focuses on Birch Tree #2, a more than ten metres long, flattened bark of a second birch, which is exhibited in its entirety for the first time and represents the basis for the latest series of drawings, prints, etchings and video installations. A special place in the exhibition is held by a roll for the mechanical piano with a new music score (Skowhegan Birch #2). The world premiere of this unique flowing, time-based, sound “sculpture,” produced exclusively for the exhibition in Ljubljana, was presented at two accompanying concerts in August. The last repeat performance of the concert will be held on 27 October. Despite its romantic concept, the work of González is essentially precise and analytical as it explores the complexity of nature, its structure, and in a subtle way, underlines the artist’s understanding and exploration of sound and consequently music, as one of the key elements of her artistic expression.

María Elena González. Born in 1957, Havana, Cuba. Lives and works in New York and San Francisco.

The Grand Prize
The continuous integration of the Biennial of Graphic Arts into its geopolitical setting spanning over 60 years ensures that the awards reflect a mix of social and political reality in the arts of a particular time. The first award presented to Armin Landeck in 1955 can be seen from a historical distance as an attempt or even instrument for securing international validity and dimension of the event itself. In 1963, with the award to Robert Rauschenberg, the Biennial highlighted the progress of technology and the role of commercial and popular printing techniques in the graphic arts. By drawing upon pop art, the discourse on the role of the media within society, on reproducibility, the realistic image of the world and the manipulative dimensions of the reproduced image began to spread. The 1979 prize to Adriena Šimotová, the first woman artist to be awarded, came as a surprise and a late answer to the overlooked goings-on of East European art, which had been well represented at the Biennials from the start, but has received only four awards to this day. In 2001, the Biennial presented itself in a revitalised image. The curatorial concept highlighted the various viewpoints of the graphic arts and the artist selected by the jury was Damien Hirst. Due to the conceptual starting points of the 26th Biennial of Graphic Arts, which presented the selections of 18 graphic arts institutions in their attempts to answer the question of what is printmaking, the jury’s decision for the award rested with the Triennial Poli/Grafica organization from Puerto Rico. The series of graphic projects that, besides investigating the medium itself, consciously integrate the concept of the subject and transfer of information into their work, hence adding an active position within society as well as aesthetic and artistic value to their socially critical and socially engaged projects, was in 2009 completed by the award given to the American artists’ cooperative Justseeds.

The members of the Grand Prize Jury of the 31st Biennial of Graphic Arts are: Adam Budak, Emily King, Rafal Niemojewski, Alessandro Rabottini and Breda Kolar Sluga. The Grand Prize of the 31st Biennial of Graphic Arts will be awarded at the closing ceremony.

For further information on the Biennial go to www.mglc-lj.si or contact info [​at​] mglc-lj.si / T + 386 (0) 1 2413 800

Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts
Share - María Elena González exhibition: Grand Prize winner of the 30th Biennial of Graphic Arts
  • Share
Click to subscribe to e-flux and be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements
Subscribe to e-flux
Be the first to receive the latest news on international exhibitions and all e-flux related announcements.
Subscribe to architecture
Explore the most recent content from e-flux architecture and urbanism
Subscribe to e-flux programs
Keep up-to-date on all upcoming talks, screenings, and exhibitions at e-flux in New York