This year, Moderna galerija is celebrating its 70th anniversary and the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, a part of Moderna galerija, its 7th anniversary. The story of Moderna galerija began back in the 1930s, when Dr. Izidor Cankar managed to secure the support of the then Drava Banate and raise enough funds so that construction work on the Moderna galerija building, designed by architect Edvard Ravnikar, could begin. On 3 January 1948, the decree by which the government of the People’s Republic of Slovenia founded Moderna galerija Ljubljana became effective. Since then, Moderna galerija has carried out its function as a museum to collect, keep, study, and present the works of Slovene fine or visual artists of the 20th and now also 21st centuries.
The main theme of this documentary exhibition is exhibitions. More than 1,500 of them have been staged by Moderna galerija over these past seven decades. They are catalogued in the chronological lists of exhibitions at the Moderna galerija or the Museum of Modern Art 1946–2017 (a few shows were staged at the museum before its official opening), at the Likovno razstavišče Rihard Jakopič (Rihard Jakopič Gallery) 1979–1989, at the Mala galerija 1959–2011, and at the Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova 2011–2017.
We highlighted a selection of exhibitions that were recognized as watershed, referential or pioneering events by professional audiences or the general public and were (co-) curated by Moderna galerija curators. They are described in more detail and illustrated with documentary material, as they were (or still are) influential in their various respective ways: they opened or expanded the fine or visual art space; encouraged artists to persevere in pursuing a particular trend, style, manner, form, or concept; or provided, by being major survey, study or retrospective exhibitions, systematic overviews of a given period or particular artist.
In The Infinity of Lists, Umberto Eco speaks about the differences between practical and poetic lists; practical lists have three traits that set them apart: they are referential, finite, and unchangeable. The latter two refer to the fact that at the moment of drawing up a list of things (in our case, exhibitions), the things listed are what they are and no more. As authors of this exhibition we trust we have drawn up practical lists and made relevant selections.