BIEN 2021
Textile Art Biennial
Kranj, Radovljica, Škofja Loka
26. 5.–14. 8. 2021 

The programme and the artists of the BIEN Biennale are announced!

Over 70 artists, collectives and student projects will present themselves at the BIEN 2021 Biennial of Textile Art, which will take place in Kranj from 26 May to 14 August, with accompanying exhibitions in Škofja Loka and Radovljica. In addition to the main exhibition programme, the biennial invites you to visit online artist talks and a symposium on textile heritage and sustainable approaches, as well as workshops and walks. Guided tours of exhibitions of textiles, interior design, video and interdisciplinary projects are exchanging in the biennial programme by sound walks along the Sava.

Water, water bodies, especially rivers, and natural heritage are one of the thematic clusters of the biennial. In the artworks we observe the free flows of water, its falls and force, the reflections and movements it triggers. Protected flora and fauna, the Sava and Kokra, memories and stories of people living along rivers and streams also find their place in the exhibition.

Urban fabric, squares, streets and bridges, birthplaces and places where we create meanings represent another thematic cluster. The works look for inspiration in their memories of certain places, and a special place at the biennial is given to Kranj and its architectural features, such as the Kranj underground tunnels, which became the inspiration for a series of lights.

The thematic cluster Suffocation awaits us with masks, limitations and a new normality with a selection of a video programme that will take visitors into the world of imaginary beings. The masks are confronted in a humorous way by the Icelandic artist Ýrúrarí, who we will also get to know through a live broadcast of the online artist talk. The programme of online artist talks will also feature one of the most recognizable Dutch contemporary artists, Rob Scholte, and Canadian textile and visual artist Tina Struthers. With her works at the biennial, Polish artist Dominika Krogulska-Czekalska draws attention to abuses of women’s rights and the LGBTQ + community, creating works that are textile banners in response to Polish protests.

BIEN 2021 artists, collectives and student projects:
Eta Sadar Breznik, Dominika Krogulska-Czekalska, Ýrúrarí, Rob Scholte, Ida Blažičko, Tina Struthers, Katarina Spacal, Elena Fajt, Lavoslava Benčič and Nejc Stupan, Diana Ammann, Lara Blanchard, Threadstories, Paola Idrontino, Denís Galocha and Cristina Barrientos, Anja Podreka, pH15, Contemporary textile hub Kreativnice, Mateja Golež, Darja Rant, Marija Jenko, Anja Jerčič Jakob, Ula Pogorevčnik, Alenka More, Arijana Gadžijev, Darja Miklaužič, Nastja Bric, Špela Gale, Mateja Premrl, Lovro Ivančič, Lan Krebs, Lucija Srebre , Josipa Štefanec, Marija Čop, Snežana Skoko, Žiga Brezovnik, Lara Banovec, Urška Medved, Lucija Jankovec, Nikolina Holjak, Dina Mlinac, Sara Strgačić, Nikolina Krstičević, Katarina Rus, Monika Ivanuša, Karmen Hočevar with Živa Kandorfer and Eva Jakopič. In addition to 18 group student exhibitions, postgraduate students Zala Hrastar, Špela Košir, Estera Rezar, Hana Tavčar, Tasja Videmšek, Asja Rep, Uroš Topić and others also present themselves independently.



Textile returns to Kranj!

Between 26 May and 14 August 2021 the BIEN Textile Art Biennial will present more than 40 exhibition projects, a series of art residencies and an online program. BIEN draws from the heritage of the industry and the identity of the space. It focuses on textiles, sustainable materials and principles, promotes interdisciplinary artistic connections and pays special attention to the best works of current student production.

Exhibition projects and installations will be on display in established gallery spaces in Gorenjska, such as the Layer House, the Škrlovec Tower and the Gorenjska Museum in Kranj, the Šivčeva House in Radovljica and the Škofja Loka Museum, as well as in public space. The main exhibition venue of the biennial will be the empty space of the former covered garage on the third floor of the Kranj Globus, work of architect Edvard Ravnikar. With this temporary use of space for artistic purposes, the organizers want to add a new meaning to the concept of the empty. Before Slovenia’s independence from Yugoslavia, Gorenjska was considered the leading textile region. After the suffocation of the industry, the change left a big void behind. This empty space can be an opportunity for a new story and this wants to be one of the messages of the BIEN Biennial. 

Suffocation has hit the whole world over the past year. Ideas, movements, culture, economy, education are stifled. Nature is suffocating, cities are suffocating. BIEN encourages us to breathe. Its projects focuses around collaborations, questioning and new creative approaches. Textiles are multifaceted, artistic, tactile, narrative, sustainable and sustainable. However, they are also artistic content that no one in Slovenia has purposely developed to date. That is why the exceptional response to last year’s BIEN 2020 pilot project by faculties, authors and the public is not surprising.

Sustainability principles and environmental issues

At the biennial, Eta Sadar Breznik, a textile artist and winner of the Prešeren Fund, presents herself with woven spatial objects. The new contemporary tapestry entitled Visions of Sustainability is being created as a remote art residency created by four young textile artists, Mateja Premrl, Lovro Ivančič, Lucija Srebre and Lan Krebs. The recycled and interactive modular installation G-U-M-E, which draws attention to another important  industry of Kranj, will be presented at the biennial by Lavoslava Benčič and Nejc Stupan. Invited artists, students of textiles, clothing and interior design and their mentors present themselves with numerous projects that address natural heritage, bees, drinking water, care for the environment and the Sava and Kokra rivers.

This year, BIEN pays special attention to the Sava River and the International Sava Day, which is celebrated on 1 June. On this day, the premiere sound walk along the Sava river by Anja Podreka will be performed, followed by three repetitions, one could also walk it individually. The walk thematizes the role of river bodies in urban development. The poetry collection of Layer’s publishing house, dedicated to rivers, will also be published on June 1.

Connecting textiles and the tradition of painting 

The results of an interdisciplinary project in which researchers dr. Mateja Golež and dr. Darja Rant from the Civil Engineering Institute of Slovenia, prof. Marija Jenko from the Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, Department of Textile and Clothing Design, University of Ljubljana and doc. mag. Anja Jerčič Jakob from the Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana, and video artist Ula Pogorevčnik investigate and artistically interpret historical materials. They focus on canvases and traces of paintings on which the late Slovenian Baroque painter Leopold Layer painted. The project, which was created in cooperation with the parish of Kranj and will be presented in the gallery of dr. Cene Avguštin of the Kranj unit of the Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage emphasizes the special role of textiles in world art, as it was the canvases that popularized painting.

Emma Sofia: I will cry here a little bit_photo: Maša Pirc

Producer: Carnica Institute

Co-producers and partners: Faculty of Natural Sciences and Engineering, University of Ljubljana, Faculty of Design, Associated Member of University of Primorska, Kèlekè Shop, Gorenjska Museum, Loka Museum Škofja Loka, Museums of Radovljica Municipality, Prešeren Theater Kranj, City Library Kranj, Visit Kranj – Institute for Tourism and Culture Kranj, Metalka zastopstva holding, Faculty of Textile Technology Zagreb, TAM-TAM Institute, Lightning Guerrilla, Institute for the Protection of Cultural Heritage, Kranj Unit, Kranj Parish, Institute for Civil Engineering of Slovenia, Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana, BOWB – Biennale of Western Balkans, RogLab, Žolna Šport, Luma, Inplet, Samson Kamnik

Donators: AquafilSLO, 3FS, SLO CRO Poslovni klub, Odeja Škofja Loka

Project is co-financed by: CIty Municipality Kranj, Ministry of Culture Slovenia