Thursday, August 13
Builders, 1990
Photo: NK's archive
6:00 PM
Lecture
Location: Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova, +MSUM

Peter Krečič: “Builders”

The painting and design groups of NSK, i.e. IRWIN and New Collectivism, developed the concept of amalgamating Slovenian traditional iconic paintings and architectural works (e.g. of Slovenian impressionists and the architect Jože Plečnik) with masterpieces of the international historical avant-garde, especially Malevich’s Suprematism (for example, his black cross became the symbol of NSK). These two groups often juxtaposed the most bizarre Nazi, Slovenian, Alpine, hunting or folksy motifs with sophisticated contemporary design solutions and techniques. The historical and well-known thus intertwined enigmatically and unexpectedly effectively in massively framed paintings or monumental posters.

While the NSK group of architects, Builders, did not attract as much attention as the other groups, it was nonetheless not without significance for the development of architectural thought in Slovenia in the 1990s. Quite clearly not intended for realization, their designs made evident their interest in Russian revolutionary architecture and urban planning based on strictly aligned, gigantic apartment buildings. The Builders’ ideas were in stark contrast to the attractive, postmodernist designs of the time, focused on human proportions, rounded forms, and traditional building materials, such as visible brickwork and wood. Around 1990, a subdivision for architecture and film evolved from Builders, called Manufacture. Like Builders, the Manufacture designers quoted the views and works of pioneers of 20th century industrial design. It was thus not unusual for them to juxtapose Le Corbusier and Mies van der Rohe with typical Plečnik craftwork. While there are aesthetic and ideological differences among such designers, they all belong to the spirit of modernism. The most typical aspect of the third Slovene avant-garde (retrogarde) is thus this nonchalant quoting by taking examples from numerous, seemingly disparate sources, thus interconnecting and equating them.

Prof. Peter Krečič, PhD was born in 1947 in Ljubljana, Slovenian citizen. Art historian and critic, since 1973 a curator in the Ljubljana Museum of Architecture, and since 1978 the director of the Museum. Guest teacher at the Department of Landscape Architecture of the Biotechnical Faculty in Ljubljana from 1988 to 1998. Since 1998 a guest teacher at the Faculty of Architecture in Ljubljana. Since 2004 professor at the Faculty of Humanistic Sciences at the University of Koper, Slovenia, and at the Faculty of Design. His main fields of research and publishing are the problems of Slovenian and European modernism, protomodernism and avant-garde. In this context he has paid a special attention to the life and work of Avgust Černigoj, Trieste painter, Weimar Bauhaus student, and member of constructivist avant-garde, and Jože Plečnik, Otto Wagner’s student, architect, pioneer of modern European architecture and a modern classicist. Krečič has written several books and studies on such topics. He has lectured worldwide in Europe and the USA (University of Lund; AA School of Architecture, London; Faculty of Architecture, Warsaw; Faculty of Architecture, Sarajevo; Faculty of Architecture, Belgrade; UCLA, Los Angeles; Catholic University, Washington; Virginia Tech, Blacksburg; Princeton University’ Minnesota State University; Technical College, Vaduz, Liechtenstein; and Faculty of Art And Sciences, University of Zagreb, among others).