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To the Fore: Pioneers in Slovenian Architecture and Design

8. March – 20. April 2017

Architecture exhibition “To the Fore: Female Pioneers in Slovenian Architecture and Design”, prepared by Centre of Architecture and the France Stele Institute of Art History of ZRC SAZU, in collaboration with DESSA Gallery, aims to shed light on the life and work of a neglected part of Slovenian architectural creation and provides an opportunity to highlight – from the rich architectural body of work of the 20th century – the works that are only rarely exhibited and showcased, but nonetheless important, high-quality, and multi-layered.


The exhibition is thematically part of the activities of the international interdisciplinary project MoMoWo – women’s creativity since the Modern Movement, taking place at the France Stele Institute of Art History of the Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences of Arts with a view to present to the professional and general community an important part of the “anonymous” and withheld European cultural heritage of the 20th century, created by the women involved in architecture, interior and industrial design, landscape architecture, and urban design, i.e. fields that are (supposed to be) in the traditional domain of male professions.

The first in the series of exhibitions is dedicated to the female pioneers, the first pre-war and post-war generations of female architects who played an active role in drafting, designing, and leaving a mark on the environment of their time. They were the silent companions working in the shadow of professionally more acknowledged and known professors, colleagues, fathers, and husbands, so that, even nowadays, it is difficult to determine their actual part in the design and implementation of many Slovenian architectural masterpieces, from Plečnik’s markets to Ravnikar’s square of Trg republike. Their work was, as a result of social prejudice, restricted to only some fields of architecture, such as drawing of plans, park designs, interior furniture and industrial design, urban design, while they were rarely involved in public and individual constructions; when they had a family they had to limit their activities even further.

The selected works are thus important project creations of the first generations of Slovenian female architects who should be, by considering the time, conditions, and the role of women at the time, regarded and assessed using different criteria than otherwise. The exhibition has a multi-layered design, with a focus on the quality of works and the complexity of the idea, revealing the creative power of the authors. The works of 10 architects are presented, i.e. from the first pre-war graduates under Jože Plečnik and Ivan Vurnik to the first post-war generation of the architects who finished their studies under Edvard Ravnikar and Edo Mihevc.


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