Foremost a sales gallery for visual arts, DobraVaga is simultaneously also an exhibition space and an art studio. Set in Ljubljana’s central marketplace and overlooking the Ljubljanica River (the entire complex was designed by the famed architect Jože Plečnik), DobraVaga opened its doors in 2016.
Run by the Kino Šiška Centre for Urban Culture, the space focuses on artists of the younger generation and deals in a variety of art forms – from paintings, illustration and graphic design to artist’s multiples, artist’s books and zines.
DobraVaga comes as an augmentation of the exhibitions regularly conducted at Kino Šiška, where works of young and yet to be established artists are frequently presented. It was set up as a vehicle for emerging Slovene artists to enter the art market, which otherwise offers them a rather limited set of opportunities.
The name DobraVaga can be translated as “a good measure”, thus alluding to the surrounding marketplace. It is echoed by the gallery’s motto – art by the pound.
Exhibition and sales programme
The gallery’s agenda is four-fold, with the main part being its sales programme. The featured artists apply via a permanent open call and are chosen by the gallery’s committee. Here, one can purchase works by the likes of David Krančan, Natan Esku, Mina Fina, Zek Crew, Zoran Pungerčar as well by numerous others. The prices are generally rather low and never excessively high, with the artists setting their own prices and getting a fair percentage of that.
Additionally, DobraVaga also has an “open studio” where artist residencies take place. Open on a daily basis, the studio is given to a chosen visual artist (more or less regardless of one’s particular medium of expression) to work in free of charge for three months. The studio is open in a rather literal way and the visitors of DobraVaga have an opportunity to see the artist in action.
The works created during these residencies are consequently shown in the “artist per month” exhibition programme. This is a series of exhibitions complementing the ones held in Kino Šiška, but on a slightly smaller scale.
Zine vitrine (“Zine displays”), the fourth part of DobraVaga’s activities, relates to art zines (works not unlike artist’s books but usually produced on a small scale, with minimum costs and often via a DIY approach). DobraVaga runs not only a sales programme but organises monthly zine showcases (of either personal collections or featuring works by specific artists), various workshops and public calls for new works. It also serves as a library, an archive collection and a zine reading room.
Artistic and International Cooperation
DobraVaga continues the previously established international cooperations from Kino Šiška. In 2016, for example, DobraVaga hosted a visiting exhibition by young artists and students of the Academy of Applied Arts in Rijeka, as well as independent artists from Rijeka and Zagreb.
On the first anniversary of DobraVaga, the renowned independent gallery Le Petit Mignon from Berlin premiered their exhibition in Ljubljana.