Igor Zabel (1958–2005) was a renowned and influential Slovenian art historian and curator. Throughout his life, he was actively involved in many fields of culture and theory as critic, columnist and essayist, writer, and translator. He mentored entire generations of European artists, curators, art writers, and intellectuals.
As a curator at the Moderna galerija in Ljubljana (1986–2005), Zabel importantly contributed to the befitting historical placement of avant-gardes (Tank!, 1998) and neo-avant-gardes (OHO: Retrospective, 1994), and to contemporary artistic practices as well as their international recognition. His texts on post-war and contemporary visual art in Slovenia and Eastern Europe are excellent observations of the intertwining of art and society. Zabel’s interest in researching the complex relations between the social and the artistic is also the basis of Individual Systems, an exhibition he prepared for the 50th Venice Biennale (2003), which inaugurated him as a significant international curator. Igor Zabel analysed the role of art in post-socialism, getting to the heart of the complex relationship between East and West within the art world. His work provided an important foundation for understanding Europe’s new political geography after the fall of the Iron Curtain and its influence on art. While the West lacked a deeper understanding of Eastern European art, society in the East needed to develop a new artistic awareness and self-image. Such disparities between East and West are still noticeable to some extent, or perhaps they are now reappearing.
Igor Zabel. Photos with courtesy Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory
Winner: What, How & for Whom (WHW)
Grants: Fouad Asfour, Erden Kosova, Prelom Kolektiv
Jury: Eda Cufer, Josef Dabernig, Charles Esche
Winner: Piotr Piotrowski
Grants: Maja und Reuben Fowkes, The Peace Institute Ljubljana,
Raluca Voinea, Daniel Grún
Jury: Edit András, Chus Martínez, Tadej Pogačar
Winner: Suzana Milevska
Grants: Sabine Hänsgen, Klara Kemp-Welch, European Roma Cultural
Jury: Alenka Gregorič, Yuri Leiderman, Hanna Wróblewska
Winner: Ekaterina Degot
Grants: Karel Císař, Miklavž Komelj, Kirill Medwedew
Jury: Keti Chukhrov, Apolonija Šušteršic, Rainer Fuchs
Winner: Viktor Misiano
Grants: Viviana Checchia, Anca Verona Mihule, OFF-Biennale Budapest
Jury: Zdenka Badovinac, Vít Havránek, Roman Ondák
Winner: Joanna Mytkowska
Grants: Edith Jerábková, Oberliht Association, The Visual Culture Research Center
Jury: Adam Budak, Ana Janevski, Erzen Shkololli
Winner: Zdenka Badovinac
Grants: Slavcho Dimitrov, Katalin Erdődi, Ivana Bago
Jury: Šejla Kamerič, Antony Gardner, Franciska Zólyom
Winner: Bojana Pejić
Grants: Oksana Briukhovetska, Alina Șerban, Antonina Stebur
Jury: Marta Dziewańska, Ahmet Öğüt, Tomáš Pospiszyl
FROM THE PROJECT
The Curator’s Room, a documentary film dedicated to the art historian and curator Igor Zabel (1958–2005), focuses on Zabel’s work in the field of visual arts from the end of the 1980s to his death. Through the film, we learn how, in that epochal time – at the turn of the century and at the intersections of (post)modern and contemporary art, the local and international art space, socialism and capitalism, East and West, the artistic and the social/political –, he faced in his work not only great changes and conflicts, but also possibilities for the new.
The film The Curator’s Room portrays not only a man who, despite the internal contradictions of the art world, persistently believed in the power of art, but also the time and space in which Igor Zabel worked and which he co-shaped.
The documentary tells of his concept of the curator’s role, his key exhibition projects and their backgrounds, his interventions into Slovenian art history, his literary works and the texts with which he importantly co-created the reflection on the relation between the (former) East and West as it was manifested in the field of art after the fall of the Berlin Wall.
Director: Damjan Kozole | Scriptwriter: Urška Jurman | Photography: Matjaž Mrak | Editor: Jurij Moškon | Producer: Danijel Hočevar | Production and distribution: Vertigo | Co-production: RTV Slovenia, Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory | Supported by: Slovenian Film Centre
PUBLICATIONS OF THE IGOR ZABEL ASSOCIATION OF CULTURE AND THEORY