Past event
Until 11 Sep 2023

Janez Kardelj

Art Critics' Choice - a series of presentations by the Slovenian Association of Art Critics
Critic: Aleksander Bassin

The selected three paintings feature both a suggestive narrative and a retreat – imbued with some latent expression – into a world far removed from reality, but one that can be evoked if the artist is able to form a connection, i.e., establish a correlation, so that it acquires a new, perhaps paradoxical, connotation, a dimension that in the imagination of our painter will achieve a level of self-sufficiency, but of course never finality.

One rarely encounters a painter the likes of Kardelj in Slovenia’s contemporary space: this is not because of his subdued public presence as an exhibiting artist, but simply because the artist lives his active presence also elsewhere, differently. The extremely interesting view that Kardelj put forward at the international symposium Art and Marxist Theory within the Context of Criticism of Political Economy made a lasting impression on me as a critic. A viewpoint that equates two succeeding artistic phenomena – the splendours and miseries of socialist realism and the present-day cap(italist) realism.

Furthermore: under the title Suprarelikvija (City Museum of Ljubljana, 2015) Kardelj devised and created The Shroud from La Higuera – the character of the executed Che Guevara, as a monumental horizontal visionary manifestation.

Kardelj singles out, to quote from his text Beauty Is the Only Criterion, and lives a new, free art: to think, feel and act outside all currently possible contexts. If the painting dating from 2003 reveals an imposed spatial breadth of human post-mortem passages in scorching somatic whiteness of dehumanisation on red verticals, in its forerunner (2002) and in the subsequent work (2004) the painter gave free rein to the effects of, one could almost say tenderness, the fragility of his colourful layering or a prevalence of delicate whiteness. Is the painter, in his zealous use of colour, indulging in the inspirational perceptiveness of barely noticeable feminine contours rather than imaginary outlines?  

However, despite this impression, in constantly reliving anew the omnipresent Cartesian meditations, the painter’s impetus is unflagging.

Subordinating art to context means reducing artwork to an historical or/and culturally determined fetish. It constitutes an ultimate reconciliation with the status of merchandize. Conversely, living new, free art means thinking, feeling and working outside all currently available contexts. The path towards new and free art calls for the abandonment of all applicable strategies and tactics that would assure penetration into dominant contexts or their subtexts and their refining from within. This path is not a 'long march through institutions' and concepts are not (no longer) a noteworthy response to contexts...
Janez Kardelj, Beauty Is the Only Criterion – from the catalogue of the winner of the 11th International Fine Arts Biennial, Kranj, Gallery of the Kranj Art Society - ZDSLU 5 May – 3 June 2023

Janez Kardelj, born 1964 in Ljubljana, where he lives and works. Graduated in painting from the Academy of Fine Arts ALU in Ljubljana. He works in the fields of painting, music and set design, as an educator and adult education teacher, cultural and social critic, organizer and curator. Some of his projects are:
Exhibitions: University of Maribor Library Gallery 1997; the Ljubljana Town Hall Historical Atrium 1999, 2018; Grohar Gallery Škofja Loka 2003; Šoštanj City Gallery 2006; KUD France Prešeren 1991, 1997, 2015; SDK Gallery Tolmin 2009, 2017; Osebno, Kibla Portal Maribor 2018; exhibition of ZDSLU members (Slovenian Association of Fine Arts Societies): ”Umetnost ujeta v prostoru in času”, at the BBK Galerie Nürnberg 2021; international biennial Mednarodni bienale etike(te) Strah in Smeh, Novo mesto 2019 and 2021; the project Sprehajalci slik Ljubljana 2019 and 2021; Gallery of the Kranj Art Society 2013; music and literary projects: Kabaret Ciklomotorik - Učna ura Slovenščine (2002), Soma Arsen - Gluhi cirkus brez posluha (musical cabaret and a CD 2009-2010); organization of projects: Nov dan ali 99% at the KUD France Prešeren 2012; curatorship: Suprarelikvija-Prt iz La Higuere, City Museum of Ljubljana 2015; reviews and articles: a paper titled ”Blišč in beda kap-realizma in soc-realizma”, international symposium Umetnost in marksistična teorija v kontekstu kritike politične ekonomije.             

I am advocating the prevalence of imagination over realism, as well as an art that is independent, free and autonomous. I respect the radical artistic stance and despise tactics and strategies in art. I sense the need to both divert attention from an artist to artistic object and fundamentally transform the economic and political system.
Janez Kardelj


Aleksander Bassin, critic and publicist was Director of Ljubljana City Art Gallery (1989–2009), Vice-President of the International Association of Art Critics AICA, Secretary of the International Biennial of Small Sculpture in Murska Sobota and curator of the Slovenian Section at numerous national and international exhibitions (Venice Biennale, Sao Paulo Biennale) as well as the Yugoslav Section at the New Delhi Triennale. In addition to scholarly introductions to various catalogues, expert articles in local and foreign magazines and newspapers, he has published several art monographs on Lojze Spacal, Stane Kregar, Janez Boljka, Stojan Batič, Viktor Magyar, Štefan Galič, Janez Knez, Herman Gvardjančič, Stojan Kerbler, Jože Kološa, Hamo Čavrk, Miroslav Šutej and Franc Novinc.

Janez Kardelj

Until 11 Sep 2023
Show more

Admission free

5 % popusta ob nakupu na



The Card of Cankarjev dom 


Bodite med prvimi ...

....  ki boste izvedeli, katere koncerte, predavanja, gledališka in plesna gostovanja in drugo pripravljamo v Cankarjevem domu,

© Cankarjev dom

Cookies   Production: ENKI