BIEN LIFE 2024 Exhibition Opening

Events at the End of Residency Action

Giulia Berra (IT), Elizabeth Karina Balado (UK/NL), Lovro Ivančić (HR), Dominika Gacka (PL), Julia Piekarska (PL)
April 26, 2024
Horticultural Garden Kranj
The conclusion of the project by Layer House and the Horticultural Association, which aim to revive the botanical garden in Kranj near Prešeren Grove.

Program for the Conclusion of the Artistic Residence
April 24th–26th, 2024


Wednesday, April 24th
6:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Horticultural Garden, Gregorčičeva 18, Kranj

Guided tour of the garden and pavilion with experts

Veronika Leskovšek, Primož Jeza, and Žiga Ravnikar will join us for the guided tour. Ms. Leskovšek is the granddaughter of Marjan Šorli, the architect of the pavilion next to the garden. By profession, she is a geographer-regional planner and ethnologist, with 25 years of experience in cultural heritage conservation, and has been leading the restoration projects of two castles for the past three years. Primož Jeza, an architect and associate professor at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana, is also related to Šorli. Žiga Ravnikar represents the architectural biro a2o2, which is responsible for the Slovenian Hymn Park arrangement.

The Slovenian Hymn Park, Prešeren's Grove, and the garden of the Horticultural Society could function as a whole, a comprehensive green belt connecting the settlement of single-family houses and the nearby Kokra River canyon. The challenges of systemic and comprehensive planning of open green spaces in Slovenian cities have been highlighted by experts for several years, especially landscape architects. The specificity of the three parks in Kranj also include diverse ownership and lack of vision. All three parks are not just green spaces but also have a special cultural significance.

In case of rain/snow, the event will be postponed to Friday, April 26th.

Thursday, April 25th
6:00 PM - 7:30 PM
Layer House, Tomšičeva ulica 32, Kranj

Nature painting workshop with natural colors and watercolors
Mentor: Giulia Berra
Free admission, registrations:

Giulia Berra, an Italian textile artist and painter with a master's degree in painting from the Brera Academy in Milan in 2010, documented the artistic residency BIEN LIFE through her preferred medium, painting. At the workshop, we will explore natural dyes from spices, coffee, and tea, focusing on plants and still life. No prior knowledge is required.

Giulia Berra currently teaches artistic anatomy at the Academy of Fine Arts in Turin. Her understanding of contemporaneity is integrated into her exploration of nature and its processes, cycles, interactions, and obstacles. In her artistic practice, she examines voids, mutations, fluctuations, and limitations. The lack in nature is a metaphor for modernity, while the specificity and dignity of all connected parts of the continuous movement of the natural cycle are her poetry.

Friday, April 26th
1:00 PM - 7:00 PM
Horticultural Garden, Gregorčičeva 18, Kranj

Open Friday: Exhibition opening, guided tours, and event for the community "Botanical Insight for the Participatory Budget of Kranj 2025-2026"

At 1:00 PM, children from the Janez Puhar School will join us in the garden.

The garden will be open to the public at 3:00 PM.

Between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM, we invite you to tour the garden and participate in moderated socializing, where we will seek your opinions. Friday afternoon is dedicated to anyone interested in the future of the botanical garden and the possibility of joining the Horticultural Association. The association has been facing reduced membership and organizational challenges for several years. The purpose of the meeting is to gather information to form a proposal for the participatory budget of Kranj 2025-2026. Together, we will decide how the botanical garden can contribute to improving the quality of life in our community.

At 6:00 PM, we will open the BIEN LIFE exhibition, the result of several weeks of residence by five international artists. Textile installations and sculptures made from natural materials resonate with each other through a lively palette of colors and coordinated materials, creating an authentic and sensory experience. After viewing the exhibition in the garden, we will continue the program at Layer House and in the art studio.

Friday events will take place regardless of weather conditions.

Amidst the tranquil symphony of buzzing bees, the graceful dance of chirping birds, and the joyful laughter of children from the nearby school, one could hear the distant chime of church bells. A gentle breeze carried with it the warmth of the sun’s rays, enveloping the garden in a serene embrace, unseen by passersby and forgotten by memory. “In my fifty years in Kranj, I’ve never seen these doors open,” murmured a curious lady as she stepped cautiously into the garden. “What wonders lie within?” Her whispered inquiry echoed the sentiments of many inhabitants of Kranj, whose curiosity had been piqued in April 2024. During the month, a team of international artists, led by the Layer House, unveiled the secrets hidden behind those garden gates. Through collaborative efforts and the exchange of knowledge, artists ignited a creative spark, breathing new life into the (too) long-forgotten space. Their aim was simple: to rejuvenate the garden and enable the community’s longing to connect with it more intimately.

Through a vibrant color palette and cohesive materials, each sculpture within the garden echoes the others, creating an immersive and sensory journey. This harmonious tapestry of creativity not only celebrates the diversity of our environment but also embraces innovative avenues of artistic expression. At the entrance display and corridor to the garden, an unusual diorama beckons visitors, urging them to nurture endangered plants and safeguard our shared future. Crafted from gardening wire and horsehair—a once-local tradition now extinct—the artificial plants serve as poignant reminders of our connection to the land. By experimenting with natural waste, a dialogue is fostered between the garden and its visitors. The revived branches have been transformed into a new wall. Some of the objects placed in the garden are also visible from the street, captivating our imagination and prompting us to venture into the hidden space.

April 2024 etched its place in the annals of Slovenian history as a month of significant events. It bore witness to the unpredictable whims of nature, with scorching heatwaves one moment and sudden snowstorms the next, serving as a stark reminder of the environmental challenges we face. The ongoing transformation of the garden is not final, but it stands as a beacon of hope, a testament to the power of art to inspire change and unite communities.

Production: Zavod Carnica

Partners: Hortikulturno društvo Kranj, Layerjeva hiša, Mestna knjižnica Kranj, TAM-TAM Inštitut

Donators: Žima d.o.o., Gnezdo - center sonaravne gradnje, Center trajnostne mobilnosti Gorenjska

The artistic residency takes place under the thematic framework of the New European Bauhaus, which, as part of the postpandemic recovery mechanisms, combines the goals of the European Green Deal and the integration of art, science, and social inclusion.

This residency project was produced with the financial assistance of the European Union and implemented by the Goethe-Institut. The views expressed herein can in no way be taken to reflect the official opinion of the European Union.

Photos: Maša Pirc and artists