Stationed in a presbytery in the Ljubljana neighbourhood of Trnovo, the Finžgar Gallery runs a three-fold programme of art exhibitions (featuring painting, illustration, sculpture, drawing, photography, graphic art, and architecture), educational programmes and various other cultural events, from music concerts and film screenings to poetry recitals. Additionally, it is also the site for events that relate to the neighbourhood community and, for instance, reflect on its urban and social history.
The gallery is set besides the Trnovo Church (in the vicinity of the Plečnik House), and is run by the Finžgar Gallery Association. The association’s programme board, which conceives the gallery’s programme, consists of renowned artists, art critics and theoreticians.
The Finžgar Gallery was established by the Trnovo priest Janez Pogačnik, a remarkable figure who was on friendly terms with many artists and intellectuals in Ljubljana. He initiated the gallery in collaboration with the philosopher and art critic Taras Kermauner, and named it after Fran Saleški Finžgar (1871–1962), a well known writer who served as a priest at the Trnovo parish from 1918 till his retirement.
Before being turned into a gallery space in 1985, the place functioned as a winter chapel of the church, but was even then sporadically used to house occasional art exhibitions. After Pogačnik gave it a new function, the gallery not only had regular exhibitions but also housed the so called “Finžgar’s Club”, a hub for intellectual debates, meetings and polemics.
After Pogačnik died, these activities continued but became slightly less prolific. Between 2001 and 2006 the place was led by the architect Gašper Demšar, and then by Milica Kač of KUD Logos). Things only really got started again in autumn 2014, when the Finžgar Gallery Association was established.
Programme and exhibitions
The gallery is open from Tuesday to Friday between 10 AM and 12 PM and closed in July and August. Its programme is made for a year in advance and the exhibitions usually last for about two months. In recent times they predominantly feature painting and sculpture, accompanied with displays of a more historical character (such as a display of photographs chronicling post-WWII Slovene refugees in Carinthia). Some of the artists exhibited here since 2014 are Veljko Toman, Jošt Snoj, David Ličen, Polona Kunaver Ličen, Matej Metlikovič and Mihaela Žakelj. The exhibition openings are often accompanied by either lectures, concerts or recitals.
Various lectures on sociological or historical issues (for example, on the Prehistoric Pile Dwellings in the Ljubljansko Barje) also tend to take place, as do film screenings, poetry recitals and music concerts. The concerts sometimes also take place in the church, mostly classical in nature and sometimes in collaboration with the Academy of Music. One such event at the church was an all day long “J. S. Bach Hommage” marathon.
The programme committee members are currently Matej Metlikovič, Slava Borka Kucler, Lucijan Bratuš, Monika Ivančič Fajfar, Lado Jakša and Renata Bauer.
In 2003 the gallery issued a folder with graphic work by 8 artists of the younger generation which was presented in Vienna. It also hosted the writer and photographer Evgen Bavčar, who is due to exhibit at the gallery, as is the painter Vlasta Arzenšek Gottstein. The exhibition of the latter is organised together with the Slovene Emigrant Association.
– dimensions: 41m² (4.7m x 8.8m x 3.5m H) incorporating 27 linear metres of wall space
– installation system: hanging cable system, sculpture pedestals
– lighting: halogen lighting