Balant (1963, Spodnja Idrija) studied art history and ethnology at the
Faculty of Arts, and graphic design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana.
In 1986 and 1987 he was artistic director of Škuc Gallery. He is involved
in graphic design.
The Škuc Gallery programme was composed
of two parts: the presentation of current work by older authors
who did not have a chance to exhibit anywhere else than in ŠKUC
(the waiting period for exhibiting in Mala galerija /Small Gallery/
was ten years, for example) on the one hand, and young authors on
At the beginning, after exhibitions
of works by Bojan Gorenec and Goran Đorđević, the first exhibitions
of the IRWIN group, Marjetica Potrč, and others - came a void. It
started up again with a new generation of sculptors, backed by Lujo
Vodopivec and Veš slikar svoj dolg (V.S.S.D.).
In those times it was impossible
to think of these authors in connection with any official gallery.
ŠKUC functioned as a purgatory - B. Gorenec, for example, had four
or five exhibitions in ŠKUC before he was admitted elsewhere.
The Škuc Gallery was completely
ignored by art historian circles (including students). That was
when the audience began to change. The crucial turning point in
this connection was the exhibition "New Tendencies in Art and Mass
Culture in the Eighties" prepared by T. Vignjević - when Dr. Brejc,
for instance, set foot in the gallery for the first time in many
years. ŠKUC had a very diverse audience, from tramps to retired
women professors. The biggest response was enjoyed by the exhibition
of posters by Novi kolektivizem /New Collectivism/, "Purification
and Rejuvenation", at the time of the Poster Scandal in 1987, when
some 20,000 people saw the exhibition in a fortnight. This was crazy,
whole processions rolled into ŠKUC... Many people heard about ŠKUC
for the first time then, and later the visitors were more numerous.
A round table was organised at the
time of this exhibition, with participation of five most prominent
Yugoslav art historians - which provided a theoretical backdrop
for the scandal. These were the times when an eminent Slovene politician
stated: "Democratisation - yes, democracy - no!" And UDV was tapping
ŠKUC's telephone line.
Otherwise I think that the Škuc
Gallery has always functioned with a certain inertia, that it was
a kind of a medium - it has channeled things, but not generated
new events or tendencies. ŠKUC has never been a trendy gallery which
would dictate a particular style. The gallery has always functioned
"in retrospect". Jakše and others who are exhibiting in the Škuc
Gallery these days, will very soon be officially recognised.
Based on interview with Boris Balant, respectively,
put down on paper by Alenka Pirman.