May 10, 2021 - UGM | Maribor Art Gallery - EKO 8, International Triennial of Art and Environment
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May 10, 2021

UGM | Maribor Art Gallery

Polonca Lovšin, We Can’t See the Forest for the Trees, 2019–2021. From a series of five paper collages, 40 x 70 cm each.

EKO 8, International Triennial of Art and Environment
A Letter to the Future
May 21–July 18, 2021

Former Maribor Textile Factory
Ulica heroja Šaranoviča, Melje
SI- 2000 Maribor
Slovenia

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In May 2021, the UGM | Maribor Art Gallery is re-launching EKO, International Triennial of Art and Environment, with its eighth edition.

EKO Triennial, established in 1980 in then-Yugoslavia, explores the intersections between current socioeconomic challenges, environmental policies, and postcolonial globalisation. In line with a growing awareness that the state of our environment depends on a range of interconnected systems; including environmental policies, technological developments, social practices and the economy, the triennial relates natural and social ecosystems and blurs the boundaries between notions of nature/culture, individual/common, national/international, global/local. The renewed 2021 triennial will reflect and comment on the many changes at the global and local levels that affect the environments we live in and depend on.

Alessandro Vincentelli, artistic director and curator of the EKO 8 Triennial, has given this revived edition of the triennial the title A Letter to the Future. The title comes from a memorial plaque by the Icelandic writer Andri Snær Magnason with which Icelanders marked the loss of the Ok (Okjökull) glacier to climate change in 2019. The plaque reads: “Ok is the first Icelandic glacier to lose its status as a glacier. In the next 200 years, all our glaciers are expected to follow the same path. This monument is to acknowledge that we know what is happening and what needs to be done. Only you know if we did it.” The eulogy to the glacier is a powerful plea that throws us forward into the future and reminds us of the task in front of us.

The exhibition will develop along several radiating themes: ecological awareness, consciousness-raising projects, and propositions of collective assembly. Using the factory as site, it considers the idea of “deep listening,” both to sounds from the industrial past of the MTT, and field recordings in nature, presenting parallel worlds of indigenous knowledge alongside practical and imaginative journeys. EKO 8 unfolds across three spaces with an approach rooted in the mapping of memory. Narratives of people history, species extinction and industrial change co-inhabit across the former factory. “We need new stories and new myths to allow us to comprehend our current predicament. Artists have a fundamental role in telling these stories,” asserts Alessandro Vincentelli. “A Letter to the Future is presented in a place where hundreds of workers once wove textiles with a common purpose. Within these walls, artists’ voices and visions spanning generations now resonate and come together, alert to the ecological crisis we collectively face.”

The venue of EKO 8 is the former Maribor Textile Factory (MTT) in the old industrialised area of the city of Maribor from the 1930s. This sleeping giant with its size of more than 44,000 m2 and striking modernist architecture, located along the river Drava embankment in the close proximity of the Maribor city centre, represents an important site of history, memory and possible futures. Future editions of the EKO Triennial will look for new spaces and new challenges elsewhere in the city.

Participating artists: Allora & Calzadilla, Lucien Anderson*, Manca Bajec*, Maxime Berthou & Mark Požlep, James Bridle & Navine G. Khan-Dossos, Kara Chin*, Jasmina Cibic, Marcus Coates, William Cobbing, Vadim Fishkin, Laura Harrington, Stane Jagodič, Mikhail Karikis, Janja Kosi*, Harley Kuyck-Cohen*, Polonca Lovšin*, Yoko Ono, Antonis Pittas*, Marjetica Potrč, Nina Slejko Blom & Conny Blom*, ScanLAB Projects*, Danae Stratou*, Emilija Škarnulytė, Marko Tadić*, Jimmy Turrell*, Chris Watson* and others
(*Names with asterisks correspond with new commissions.)

International conference: Toward Radical and Creative Ecologies
May 22, 4–9pm CEST
Partner: Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory with support from ERSTE Foundation

For press enquiries, please contact:
Suzana Jović, head of public relations: suzana.jovic [​at​] ugm.si
Jure Kirbiš, EKO 8 curatorial assistant: jure.kirbis [​at​] ugm.si

EKO 8 is supported by: Municipality of Maribor, Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia, European Commission (Creative Europe and European Regional Development Fund), Centre for Creativity, Art & Well-being, Wom@rts

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UGM | Maribor Art Gallery, May 10, 2021
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