This year we are observing the 145th anniversary of the birth and the 60th anniversary of the death of the renowned architect Jože Plečnik who created the city of Ljubljana as we know it today. We are commemorating the two anniversaries with diverse events and activities throughout the year.
In Antiquity Plečnik sought to understand how forms and shapes developed at the beginning of architecture and from this he drew inspiration for the creation of his distinct language. Based on the diversity and volume of his work Plečnik is considered one of the most important creators of the 20th century as well as one of the greatest, but also last universal artists.
In addition, Plečnik's architecture is in tune with Ljubljana's sustainable development vision as the architect, over 100 years ago, advocated the use of local materials and reuse.
The main part of the programme prepared by the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana in commemoration of the Plečnik year includes the Plečnik House in Trnovo with the museum exhibition of Plečnik’s work and life and the study centre, where the visitors can see Plečnik’s home with its original interior, designed by the architect himself, and his personal artefacts.
The Plečnik House entered the Plečnik year on 7 January 2017 with an open-door day for its visitors.
On Friday, 20 January 2017, the exhibition titled Plečnik at the Brijuni Islands is opening at the Plečnik House (it shall be open until 2 April 2017), the first of four temporary exhibitions planned this year. The exhibition on the architect’s last completed project, the construction of the garden pavilion at Brijuni in 1956, is organised by the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana in cooperation with the manuscript subdivision of the National and University Library Ljubljana which received a valuable donation from Dr Lojze Gostiša revealing the original pavilion plans and photographs of Plečnik’s visits to Brijuni, never before presented to the public. These photographs include the last Plečnik’s portraits taken in autumn 1956. Especially valuable is also Dr Gostiša’s personal account of the circumstances influencing the execution of the project which represents Plečnik’s symbolic testament.
From 14 April to 25 June, an exhibition prepared in cooperation with the Archives of the Prague Castle (the author of the exhibition is Dr Martin Halata) is going to be on display at the Plečnik House putting the spotlight on Plečnik’s plans for the renovation and furnishing of the private presidential chambers at the Prague Castle and on the important personal relationship between Plečnik, the Czech president Masaryk and his daughter Alice. The exhibition is featuring plans and photographs of the originally designed chambers from the 1930s and chair replicas. It is an important theme in Plečnik’s oeuvre still connecting Prague and Ljubljana.
Next to follow is the exhibition titled simply JOŽE which is going to be on display at the Plečnik House from 7 July to 1 October 2017. At the exhibition, organised in cooperation between the exhibition and project space DobraVaga and the Plečnik House, young creators are going to present their current fine art production, namely, through their works of art they are going to show how they perceive the Slovenian architect. At the Plečnik House each of the chosen creators is going to present his graphic artwork inspired by the work and life of the architect Jože Plečnik. It is the first artistic initiative of the Kino Šiška and the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana featuring works of 10 artists (Mina Fina, Leon Zuodar, Miha Perne, Helena Tahir, Matija Medved, Riso Paradiso collective, Adrijan Praznik & Ivana Bajec, Eva Juričan and Nez Pez), curated by Lara Mejač, a young curator.
From 14 October 2017 to 3 January 2018, visitors to the Plečnik House can also see the exhibition of the curator Ana Potok displaying Plečnik’s original plans and archive photographs of water related projects: water fountains, monuments, features… the majority of which was not carried out. Special attention is also going to be put on completed projects in Ljubljana and elsewhere in Slovenia.
The exhibitions at the Plečnik House are going to be accompanied by a rich programme: from lectures by experts to exhibition tours led by their authors, from artistic breakfasts in the garden, interesting programmes for schools and kindergartens and family programmes to the freestyle drawing school.
Interesting exhibitions are going to be on display elsewhere in Ljubljana, as well.
From 23 January until 28 February 2017, the exhibition Plečnik’s Slovenia is going to be set up at the open-air gallery at the Krakow Embankment.
From 28 March to 4 June, the Jakopič Gallery is featuring the retrospective exhibition by Damjan Gale, the architect who photographed and the photographer who put architecture in the focus of his interests, among them also Plečnik’s architectural works.
From 15 June until 5 September, an open-air exhibition devoted to Plečnik is going to be presented at the Jakopič Promenade in the Tivoli Park which was designed by the architect himself.
At the Ljubljana Castle, from 25 May to 1 October 2017, the exhibition Plečnik above the City is going to be on display, featuring both of Plečnik’s bigger plans for the renovation of the Ljubljana Castle; first from 1931-32 for the Slovenian Acropolis and the other from 1947 which with its monumental octagon represents the Slovenian parliament. Visitors can also see various photographs and plans for access routes to the castle and the former pergola erected by Plečnik next to the castle building; the former fort Šance is going to be presented as well as the work of Boris Kobe who carried out certain renovations according to Plečnik’s plans at the current main castle entrance.
During the exhibition a display of Plečnik’s plans for the renovation of Šance and archive photographs taken during the renovation is going to be set up at the promenade leading to Šance. Within the scope of the accompanying programme the Castle is also preparing a cycle of three lectures on the topic of Plečnik’s creative oeuvre, Plečnik’s tea party – a round table with various experts in the field of architecture, and guided tours for different age groups.
At the end of the year, from 7 November 2017 to 7 January 2018, the exhibition Plečnik – Urban Beekeeper, organised by the Department for Environmental Protection at the City Administration of the City of Ljubljana, is going to be on display at the Krakow Embankment.
During the three-hour tour, offered on Wednesday and Saturday at 12.00 in Slovenian and English, the participants are going to visit the Market, Peglezen, Šance, Upper Square, Cobblers’ Bridge, Congress Square, NUK with its reading room, Križanke and the Plečnik House. In spring two guided cycling tours are going to be added taking participants outside the city centre to Navje, Žale, St. Francis’ church and they are also going to visit the National and University Library and the Plečnik house.
The tour participants are also going to stop at the NUK Café where they are going to drink Plečnik’s tea as was made for him by his housekeeper Urška, served in a cup just like the one the master himself used to drink from. They are also going to enjoy a gingerbread biscuit as Plečnik loved honey, namely, he even had a bee house in his garden.
As part of its guided tours Ljubljana Tourism is also offering a tour of the Žale cemetery, and again this year the public company Žale is preparing a week of admission-free guided tours of Plečnik’s Garden of All Saints and the Žale cemetery.
At the Tourist Information Centre a map of Plečnik’s Ljubljana with 39 Plečnik’s works is available to visitors to the city in Slovenian and English. This year Plečnik’s works are also going to be in the spotlight at events abroad and in Slovenia.
Important acquisitions of the Plečnik year are also two books: the reprint of the book Plečnik’s Ljubljana (Hrausky, Koželj, Prelovšek), updated with new findings about the architect, and the book by Noah Charney presenting Plečnik through the eyes of a foreigner living in Slovenia. Both books are going to be published under the auspices of the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana.
The Pioneer Home (Pionirski dom) is also preparing an admission-free children’s programme dedicated to Plečnik’s works of art and other architectural treasures in Ljubljana.