LJUBLJANA Stane Jeršič Barbara Jakše Jeršič
The Music of Plečnik’s Architecture Panoramas
Stane Jeršič Barbara Jakše Jeršič
To Aleks with love.
LJUBLJANA The Music of Plečnik’s Architecture Panoramas Stane Jeršič Barbara Jakše Jeršič
REGARDING MASTERFUL, SPATIAL DESIGN Acad. Prof. Dr. Jože Trontelj
ABOUT LJUBLJANA, PLEČNIK AND PHOTOGRAPHY Dr. Mojca Puncer
IMAGO PERENNITATIS Prof. Dr. Fedja Košir
THE DEPTH OF THE SURFACE OF A MOMENT Barbara Jakše Jeršič
SPACE AND TIME Stane Jeršič
THE CHURCH OF MY CHILDHOOD Dr. Katarina Marinčič
PLEČNIK AND I Boštjan Vuga
THE PAST AND FUTURE WORLD OF PLEČNIK’S LJUBLJANA Marko Košan
A VIEW REVEALED Prof. Dr. Jure Mikuž
PHOTOGRAPHY INTERVIEW WITH STANE JERŠIČ AND BARBARA JAKŠE JERŠIČ Jože Osterman
LOCATIONS AND DATES OF IMAGES
If music with its abstraction and time sequence is on one side of the scale, then photography, with its seemingly strict reality and frozen time frame is on the other.
If music is caught in a moment, it doesn’t exist, the same as a photograph doesn’t exist if it abandons itself to a time ﬂow.
REGARDING MASTERFUL, SPATIAL DESIGN Acad. Prof. Dr. Jože Trontelj
Space is a special commodity. It seems almost inexhaustible. Nevertheless, this impression is wrong. With the growth of the global population and also the world economy, space is being used up and is shrinking at a very fast rate, while those areas, which haven’t been used by humans, are becoming more and more devalued due to careless human interventions. Managers and guardians of space often don’t recognise its precious value enough. Great architectural masters have always known how to place human work in a natural or urbanised space and how to harmoniously and aesthetically arrange this individual part from the interior to the exterior. If we want to learn their respectful attitude towards space, we have to follow in their steps. Humans have evolved and distinguished themselves from other living beings by introducing two completely new phenomena in their lives: by paying homage to their dead and by erecting temples. Since that time forth, man has been investing huge amounts of energy and effort in this pursuit. Now it is almost impossible to imagine the humongous efforts that were invested in the creation of Stonehenge, carving Egyptian tem14
ples into rocks, the construction of the Egyptian and Mayan pyramids, erecting huge sculptures on Easter Island or centuries long building of magniﬁcent medieval cathedrals. The ingenious architects of Egyptian and Mayan pyramids or the builders of Stonehenge knew the importance of choosing, designing and consecrated a place and how to realise their ideas. They still had the luxury to freely use the chosen part of a vast and untouched space. They could orientate their buildings and their interiors by the celestial signs: by the Sun’s yearly movements or the paths of the constellations. The architects of secular medieval castles were choosing hilltops with strategic position and also with an eye toward the aesthetics of vistas. The artistic designers of sacral buildings – from medieval cathedrals to modern churches and mosques – erected apart from others or within cities, weren’t only masters of beautiful exteriors. Even after all these centuries, they still evoke a feeling of a special grandeur of a sacral and carefully designed space. An artist directs his sacral creation into a supernatural timelessness, eternity: towards God. And there he also directs a person who achieves
his creation: his or her feelings and thoughts. Similarly in respect to sacral music, this is one of the highest, if not even the highest pinnacle of artistic creation. The artist rises above and distances himself from everyday life, which we mostly spend in the shallows, on the surface or epidermis. At the same time, he raises a visitor who opens his or her mind to a work of art above everything that is perceived as mundane. A temple is a place which quietens and covers the triviality of everyday life by its dignity and poise. A place, which by itself, with its genius loci, summons the visitors: sursum corda. A place, which by its power of expression, imposed upon it by an artist from his inner wealth, communicates that it is sacral. Every era had its own chosen ones who were able to breathe within this invitation to spirituality toward the sacral space. Thousands of ingenious architects and visual artists have done this throughout the history of sacral art. They achieved their goal through different ways, as every epoch has its own method, artistic language and style.
The best of the best knew and were able to use the most exquisite means of expression available to them: they made them nobler and assembled them in eternal and mysterious creations, which touches, overwhelms and makes speechless even those who are less perceptive. This certainly can be said about the maestro Jože Plečnik. In the best spirit of the tradition of his trade, he didn’t turn only to God with his creations; he turned toward man and even the mundane world around his monumental structures. With them, Plečnik still generously shares his noble works of art and his highly spiritual message with humanity. With his works of art, Plečnik enriched the environment also: nature and work of humans. Art is one of the basic human needs! In some higher spiritual level it is closely connected with all our values, which are the foundation of morals and ethics. Today, we often ask ourselves the following question: how to raise our children in order to become good colleagues, friends, parents and citizens? We can use three forms of advice. The ﬁrst one is to tell the child what’s right, good and beautiful. The second one is to give him/her the example through our own behaviour 15
and actions. And the third advice is to introduce him/her to the world of art. Good art evokes good: even the best in both young, middle aged and old people. With his monumental buildings, Plečnik affects even the passers-by, who are often unaware of what it is they are passing across. But to a much greater degree, he affects those who accept his invitation, enter his space and open their hearts and minds to the power of his art.
ABOUT LJUBLJANA, PLEČNIK AND PHOTOGRAPHY Dr. Mojca Puncer
Upon entering. Ljubljana is becoming an increasingly attractive tourist city. Plečnik’s architecture gives the city its own unique identity, which is based on the high European culture of Modernism. In the photographs from this catalogue, we can only sense the wave of faces and colourful attires and also the river of human ﬁgures and voices, which washes away the eventual ﬁrst impression of coldness, raised by the monumental architecture. The city embodies complex spatial proportions, while the efforts of the two photographers add an emotional and poetic dimension to the symbolic value of the space itself, while at the same time blurring numerous links: amongst them the link with the social structures of power. Individual structures and spaces create a string of symbolic meanings and with them, the city’s “identity”. Nevertheless, the photographers don’t celebrate the colourful central city bazaar. Instead, they offer an ascetic dimension of Plečnik’s market. Is this an emblem of the city, a monument, a symbol of Modernism, a fragment of a creative idea to make Ljubljana the Athens of Slovenia with a “museum effect”, or a unique and meaningful de-
tail which opens different views onto the cityscape? The style and symbolism of a public urban space. The spatial style can be (with regard to the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard) viewed in the context of the psychological, existential and phenomenological reﬂections of space, which inﬂuenced more contemporary studies of architectural and spatial styles. The fundamental shift with important consequences for our perceptions of space happened in the middle of the 1980’s. This was the shift from the phenomenological interest of the past decades to modern identities and cultural policies. The latter have forced cultural history to face evolutionary discontinuities, gaps and deviations (here we could mention the ﬁrst confrontations of the profession with Plečnik’s architecture). When dealing with the style and symbolism of a space, our thinking can rest mainly on the imagination: claiming that a space, permeated with imagination, can’t stay indifferent and left only to a rational calculation. It’s experienced, not only in its reality, but with all bias that the imagination can thrust upon an individual or group. 16
The modern urban space is a plethora of images of imaginative consecrated, chaotic parts and rational, controlled areas. Numerous critical thinkers point out that a transparent, pure and neutral space is simply an illusion. A space doesn’t have a social existence independently from visualisation, as architectural photography ingeniously and subtle keeps in mind. The photographs of the city in this catalogue tackle various subjects: spatial practices, architecture, urban planning, environment, representation, ideology, etc. At the same time, they focus upon myth, silence, solitude, peacefulness and even beauty. Architectural photography: photographs of Plečnik’s architecture. In this kind of photography, the space talks but doesn’t say everything. The documental value of photographic images is tightly connected with expressive, interpretative and poetical views of the photographers themselves. These photographs of Plečnik’s architecture in Ljubljana subtly reveal the span of the architect’s projects, actions and visions for the future with a hint of the past. While in the ancient world, which inspired Plečnik immensely, the aesthetic function of an “art” (architectural)
object was inseparably connected with religious and public functions, in the course of history the individual functions prevailed. This tendency reduced the organic and symbiotic side of a city community as an existential and political collective. In the ancient world, public life of a municipal community was signiﬁcantly deﬁned by the architectural image of the city with its agora (popular political assembly), emporium (marketplace), theatre (public stage for municipal events) and necropolis (cemetery). With Plečnik, Modernism in Slovenia completed the process of creating formal oppositions between the “classic” and the “modern”. Plečnik achieved this by inventing a new form of reviving and merging different functions. He thus embodied numerous spans of history in his architecture, especially in his urban and design planning for the Slovene capital. Plečnik’s inventiveness is shown in the melodic linking of visual elements which invoke pleasure in the urban dweller. Photographic documentation, the “reading” of a space unpretentiously follows the ambitious production of the city space and Plečnik’s creative impetus. It reveals the structure of the
architect’s creations and also his architectural style. Its function hovers above the scene as that of a phantom, a harbinger of an elated, luminous, even transcendental world. The front yard of Križanke, a popular open space theatre, represents a colourful diptych, while the black and white panoramic views are typical for the detail of a pillar in the market building with its antique qualities in the winter months, a view on the snowy promenade from Tivoli Castle, the walking path by the funeral parlours of Ljubljana necropolis Žale, which emanate a sense of serenity and stillness... This unique photographic diary embraces the fragile relationship between the architectural stability and the ephemeral natural transformations, where the natural space retracts to give room for the social, labelled one. The architectural photography of Barbara Jakše-Jeršič and Stane Jeršič is an articulated artistic statement regarding the image of the city of Ljubljana. The photographers used a modern panoramic technique to efﬁciently realise the concept of perceiving the city space in a broader deﬁnition. They didn’t focus on the functionality 17
of the photographed urban areas, where Plečnik’s architecture left an indelible mark. His architecture is a unique amalgam of the classical and the modern and thus locally participates in the universal sphere. This style is now increasingly more recognisable and appreciated on the international scene. The photographs reﬂect the spatial contexts surrounding the captured architectural creations. The photographic images follow Plečnik’s architecture in approaching the dimension of art, which reaches far beyond the time frame of its origin. The architectural photography is always an interpretation of the intrinsically designed space, which is a result of rich personal and social experiences. The photographers took on a demanding task to capture the ﬂuidity of space against the impressive architectural frame and make it more familiar to the observer. These photographs are dedicated to the openness of different gazes. The creative expression opens our eyes and subtly implicates the dimension of the observer.
IMAGO PERENNITATIS Prof. Dr. Fedja Košir
A photograph is (both as a technical product and as an art form) according to a simple, if not even a populist deﬁnition; a reﬂection of a moment. Nevertheless, since it can reﬂect entire strings of moments and thus reveal not only dynamic but also static elements or scenes, we can concur with the paradoxical antithesis that a photograph can also embrace that almost incomprehensible duration we call eternity. Since Plečnik’s architecture is in a way “eternal” or “perennial”, we can call its images, captured through the lens of a camera, “imago perennitatis”. A camera is a tool which enables us to reﬂect reality. Since I don’t have experiences as a critic of photographic services and creations, I can only comment on what stirs my emotions upon observing these photographs (which certainly aren’t services, they are creations). I might even see or imagine more than their authors wanted to display or say. This task is far from simple, because a comment of elemental things requires at least the same amount of imagination as was invested into their photographs, which are excellent both by their quality of content and their unconventional form.
Plečnik’s work has recently been documented on an enormous scale. These ﬁles can be in principle classiﬁed into two groups: one literary and the other one as visual. Written points of view can be very diverse, while the visual ones are as a rule similar and thus are almost stereotyped. The latter ones can of course always focus only on built structures. As a rule, they are photographed from the same points and angles, in the time of the year when capturing images with a camera is the simplest and in many cases at the same hour when the shadows provide the proper contrasts. We have such feeling about all things created in the last decades of the 20th century. What is architecture? A magniﬁcent interplay of volumes assembled under light, as Le Courbusier put it. Allow me to digress a tad. In regard with Plečnik’s work – at least for a handful of erudite – is more interesting to study those structures that weren’t built and exist only as sketches or blueprints. Nevertheless, the majority of observers quite happily form their evaluation and lavish praise upon the basis of plethora of created artefacts of all dimensions and sizes: from chalices and chairs to portals and cityscapes. This is the sphere 20
where photographers, who are in the ﬁrst case completely powerless, can enjoy all their mastery of composition expressed more or less in a personal manner. But what is composition? Something completely coincidental or an idea, premeditated to the last detail? Probably both! But! The same visual motif can be executed in many ways: from pure realism, completely faithful to nature, to pure and sometimes chaotic abstractness, as a drawing or a colourful sfumato or even in with stark contrasts. The same melody, performed with a harp or ﬂute can sound differently but in both cases harmonious, and with an attention to every detail. Can we then be surprised by the fact that the combination of both musical instruments is even more efﬁcient (because it widens the ﬁeld of perception)? Nevertheless, inventiveness doesn’t sufﬁce if we want to step outside the sacrosanct frame of established approaches. We need a good measure of healthy courage as well. The panoramic format of the photographs is the most obvious but not the only audacity we notice immediately and which sets them apart from the standard formulas. Am I exaggerating
when saying that these longitudinal gazes into space are for me familiar to those sections and façades published in the books Napori and Architectura Perennis? Architect’s drawings, seemingly so very technical, are in reality so extensive that our gaze has to travel from one detail to another before we comprehend them as an entirety of rhythmic parts that follow each other in a closed sequence, where the intensiﬁed monotony (which could be even seen as boring) becomes the main attraction, the same as with the panoramic format. The second thought which springs to mind and cannot be stiﬂed by any means is the comparison to Picasso’s Guernica. The unusual dimensions of the painting are one of the reasons for its magniﬁcent compositional framework where the zigzagging breaking line – a determinant of a classical triptych – crosses the edges of the image only to return to the frame again and thus maximally heightens the orderliness and dramatic feeling of the design. The fusion of the traditional topic and original variation is surprising, but not completely unexpected. This is the way of the majority of good artists. And with this thesis I return straight back to Plečnik again.
The similarities mentioned above with regard to the composition of photographs are in both cases probably coincidental but nevertheless obvious. The differences are equally important. Where Picasso ﬁlls his vision of the Apocalypse with a multitude of ﬁgures, in Plečnik’s world-class architecture we notice his deliberate idiosyncrasy or even whims for the absence or even redundancy of human beings. Nevertheless, when we think about the bizarre advice of John Ruskin to architects to design all their buildings by bearing in mind how they would look like in ruins, we realise that a man might not be the only measure of all things (the existing and non-existing things which are and which are not, if I ﬁnish the quotation of this ancient wisdom). It’s true: photographs capture reality. But the reality can have more than one meaning (or even no meaning at all). That what seems to us in a normal format for the undoubtedly recognisable, becomes through this method unusual, mysterious and almost unrecognisable. Which probably proves that we perceive our environment and the people in it like clichés, based on innate or imparted patterns, probably even on prejudices. 21
In the present case it is especially important to shake them off completely. Only then a magical world of the suggestive, direct or discreet and often paradoxically sharpened non-verbal addresses suddenly opens up in front of us. There is a multitude of examples: in less provoking dimensions of sections, the composition technique redirects itself into a deliberate contrast, achieved by the combination of built structure and lush vegetation and as a rule in the ﬁrst plane. The crystal-like exactness of solid matter is hiding behind the curtain of coincidentally branched-off treetops. We can avoid human beings but can’t escape from objects. This is what the photographs are telling us. In a way, they are binomes, depictions of the same space in two separate moments. In the ﬁrst one, the architecture lives next to itself as an autonomous ensemble of walls, roofs and colonnades. In the second one, it becomes a container, ﬁlled with an enormous pile of things. In this way, the fourth dimension, time, steals into these images. Thus they deliberately integrate into time with such sovereignty that they will always stay precious documents of architecture.
THE DEPTH OF THE SURFACE OF A MOMENT Barbara Jakše Jeršič
There are boundaries between the perception and feeling of the world. Some are simple and obvious, others are invisible. The world is made of images, described through an abstractness of the word and projected in the knowledge of that what is seen within us. I discovered the mystery and magic of uncovering the layers of images through reading “holiday” books which I took on my summer holidays this year. Old Goirot by Honoré de Balzac, On Photography by Susan Sontag and Man and His Symbols by Carl Jung. I read Old Goirot very quickly. I still haven’t ﬁnished On Photography, while I had to put Man and His Symbols back on my bookshelf in order to read it later. What do these books have in common? They are connected by a simple coincidence, in the same way as coincidences unite us in life and as we choose images by pure chance. We see the tenants in Madame Vaquer’s boarding house as beings made from ﬂesh and blood, living their own lives. We see images that weave the story in a seemingly familiar place and time. We can smell the mutton, dressed with butter, a room permeated with the stink of burnt milk and a sultry reception room. We can hear the soft movements of the landlady’s cat and the heavy feet of a certain dubious Mr. Vautrin; the stomp of horse
hooves on the cobbled Parisian roads. We admire the beauty of Goirot’s daughters and cry because of the suffering father... We feel. Words are of course wrapped in a multilayered veil of mystery and the images are covered with the blanket of a seemingly naïve charm. They surround us with the aim to seduce us. The beauty is in the innocence of the communication and the purity of forms; in order and with respect to the relationship with the outside world. Beauty is in a simple embrace of love: towards the world, ourselves and others. To try and get a sense of the spirit of historical masters through their work is a very enchanting challenge. You ascend the mountain top as a climber across the rocks. Rung upon rung, step by step, you uncover the contents of the spirit of the past. The taste of the past, captured in the photographic framework is charmingly empty. If the moment of a decisive action – as an inimitable gesture or expression – is captured on one side, is the moment, which becomes that only by pressing the camera button, on the other. One long moment that records space. Panoramically! This isn’t about the movement of the lens on the perimeter of a circle, or the capturing and ﬁxing of perspectives in a 360 degrees angle: it’s simply 22
about the panorama. It is about the view from a distance, from the other side. It would be easy to say from the other side of the road, window, plane or elevator... It’s about a gaze “somewhere”, about the discovery of a moment which is eternal, extended into inﬁnity in the same way the panoramic format is thrust unto the relationship to the usual format of single-lens reﬂex cameras. That moment represents a narrow, short slice of time, which is supposed to capture its signiﬁcance by the fact that it is eternalised by a photograph and exposed to the observer. But it can also represent a mirrored timelessness, where it projects itself on its screen to eternity so we can see it in the reality of the present time. How important is this moment to record the spirit of master Plečnik, which has embodied itself in Plečnik’s works and in the urban architectural harmonies he has created? How decisive is this moment for the heritage and the message of history, which funnels into our present where we now live, exist and (co) create? Hugely? Not much? We become aware of the signiﬁcance of a moment, when we slip on an icy road: its value is explained to us by the consequences brought upon us by this incident. The importance of the
fragments of time is appreciated, when life slowly assembles into days, years, decades... The Music of Plečnik’s Architecture Panoramas is a book of photographs and words; it is a book about Ljubljana and for Ljubljana. The Music of Plečnik’s Architecture Panoramas is a book of images, of images of Ljubljana and a book of reﬂections regarding Ljubljana. It is a book about the architectural value bestowed to us. It is a book about the importance of the treasures which we intimately notice as current strollers upon the stage of life in the city of Ljubljana. A photograph, an image of the world through the viewﬁnder of a camera, printed on a thin sheet of paper, reﬂects time. Time, which remains somewhere else and creates a new place in a photographic image held by the observer! It produces new, subjective narratives in the language of images. The magic and the mysterious! How does a photographer perceive and see a certain space, how does he/she deﬁnes an appropriate image? Each moment has at least two sides: a moment when everything happens and a moment when nothing happens at all. A moment, which changes life! A moment, which takes life slowly but persistently! A timeless moment becomes the panorama of our gaze, directed into inﬁnity.
Ljubljana, The Music of Plečnik’s Architecture Panoramas, is a book of images, a book of words, a book of a city, a book of architecture. A book of music? The music plays to the heart, even though this statement feels simple and familiar. The images play under the baton of a creator of the visible and invisible: they play the music of harmonies, immanent to the eyes. The inaudible music of deliberate visual rhythms, sequences of light, shadows, lines and colours. The coincidence of sounds creates noise; the coincidence of images chaos; the coincidence of words nonsense. Photographs record. “Cameras began duplicating the world at that moment when the human landscape started to undergo a vertiginous rate of change: while an untold number of forms of biological and social life are being destroyed in a brief span of time, a device is available to record what is disappearing. The moody, intricately textured Paris of Atget and Brassaï is mostly gone,” says Susan Sontag in her collection of essays On Photography (1977). Plečnik’s Ljubljana exists and persists. Plečnik’s Ljubljana is a city for all who feel, trust and believe. The essence of a message is wrapped in 23
mystery. “You are mortal, only your works are your memory,” reads the sign carved into a stone in Plečnik’s Križanke and cover the uncovered secret. Moment by moment we abandon ourselves to eternity and leave behind us objects, thin sheets of paper, stones, sand, ashes... The depth of the surface of a moment is lost in eternity. The depth of the surface is visibly invisible. It is a timeless beauty that enchants us. It is love for life; a respect for the past and a belief into the future. The depth of the surface of a moment is a photograph. It is a moment, in which the photographer’s hand pressed the trigger and captured a transient existence. The depth of the surface of the moment is The Music of Plečnik’s Architecture Panoramas. The inaudible music of harmonies, played to our hearts by these images. The Music of Plečnik’s Architecture Panoramas is a mysterious anthology of images of Plečnik’s Ljubljana.
SPACE AND TIME Stane Jeršič
I’m constantly returning to the same spaces. Spring is the youngest of all the seasons. Winter directs me towards the past, when Plečnik’s ambiences become ﬁlled with subtle intimacy. Spring, summer, autumn, winter… and spring. Different seasons – something else, then? Gazes transparently and mysteriously recognise the spaces. In a large ambience created by Plečnik, the voice sounds differently than in a small one: in an open space it has a completely different tone than in a closed space. The inﬁnite number of perfect compositions uncovering various cultures and time! 2000 years ago, in his great masterpiece of Latin literature, a narrative poem based on the Greek mythology Metamorphoses, Ovid wrote: “All things change, nothing is extinguished. […] Everything ﬂows onward; all things are brought into being with a changing nature…” Life goes on to reveal to us certain secrets, which come to light when the past invites us to revive memories. I set out to take photographs in order to understand in which way to express what I’ve seen and experienced through the poetics of photographic images. Photography allows
me to freeze in time the transience and passing moments of life, which enrich our lives. It allows me to create images that interface with each other in their own way, sensibly complementing each other and also to create a rhythm, which brings positive emotions to the surface. Only then can I begin to take pictures and connect moments (photographs) reﬂecting space and time into context and thus enable the viewer to perceive the emotion, which symbolises the meaning of our existence. Then I come upon »l’instant décisif« (The Decisive Moment, Henri Cartier-Bresson). When does this decisive moment happen for me? When I’m choosing the image to be taken and press the shutter release button or when I sit in front of my computer and decide which one of numerous photographs shall I choose and which might become lost forever? I wish that the photographic story in The Music of Plečnik’s Architecture Panoramas would give the impression that all photographs were taken in the same moment, despite the fact that some of them were taken in the rain, others in the snow, mist, sun, wind, in the evening… An 25
illusion which may display Plečnik in all his dimensions: masterful, serious, thoughtful, elated, noble and humble.
THE CHURCH OF MY CHILDHOOD Dr. Katarina Marinčič
We always used the side entrance. During my childhood in Šiška (part of Ljubljana) I felt as if the church didn’t have any other entrance at all. You push the narrow, unpretentious-looking and weather-beaten door and then you ﬁnd yourself in a big solemn space. I don’t know if I ever thought as a child how illogical the ratio really is between this humble little door and the monumental interior. There were too many other things which seemed strange to a child: in relation to churches as a whole and particularly in relation to this church. Thirty years ago, when my grandparents lived in Šiška, the roads were still paved gravel and they poured a brown liquid with the smell of chicory to prevent the dust from rising upwards. Street lamps that reminded of coffee pots dangled from frayed wires as if some squalid tight rope walkers put them on. But not much has really changed since then. The atmosphere has remained the same: it’s not completely urban and not completely rural. The gravel roads are gone but when the air pressure is low you can still smell the aroma of mealy food. And ﬁnally, we still humbly enter the church through the 26
side door, although they now have a windbreak which emanates a certain desire for luxury. The front façade, which I saw only a few times as a child and which ﬁlled me with awe every single time, doesn’t look any less surprising after 30 years. What are those solemn grey and white columns doing in the backwater next to the railway, amongst the vegetable gardens, clothes lines, outhouses, extensions, porches and sheds? Plečnik’s church in Šiška isn’t one of those marvels which open up to us in medieval towns; it is not grown into the world which surrounds it. The look on its façade – not in my childhood, now, thirty years later, when I check the accuracy of my memories – makes me think that the building looks like a foreign object due to its uncompromising honesty. It expresses its immodesty through the modest materials from which it is built: this contradiction doesn’t give an expression of homeliness but of anger, at least to me. As a child I was of course convinced that this anger was directed towards me. My grandparents used to send me and my sister to the church in Šiška during the holidays, especially at Easter for the food blessing ceremony. Our grand-
mother combed our hair and braided ﬁrm plaits on us, while our grandfather gave us ten grand to put them into the collection plate (the holiday zealousness of a not too regular an attendant of church ceremonies). Their neighbour accompanied us and telling us on our way on how to draw back the cloth to allow the blessing to reach the Easter eggs. “Now!” she whispered sharply, after sitting in the pew which seemed like inﬁnity. It seemed to me as everyone was watching us. Even more: that everyone was watching me and that they all noticed how I get up and sat back down with a certain time lag, because (oh, how embarrassing) I don’t know when and why you stood up and sat down in church. When I walked around the empty interior of Plečnik’s church a few days ago, I felt that the soul of my childhood back then would be easier to reconcile itself with superstition and fraud if we took our food to be blessed to some other, different building. In a building which would look less like an antique temple (or a very beautiful gymnasium) and more akin to those things which were expected from Christian temples by later generations, closer to us. The French Romantic
writer, Chateaubriand had for example associated the grandeur of the Catholic religion with the architecture of Gothic cathedrals. The antique temples are beautiful as palm groves, he wrote, but our cathedrals are as ancient Gallic woods. According to this, a church is not only a meeting place and a temple, but also and above all a sanctuary, a hiding place, a labyrinth with dark corners and caverns. I try to extend Chateaubriand’s metaphor on a sunny June afternoon to Plečnik’s church of St. Francis of Assisi. In this building, I say to myself, you can’t become lost nor can you hide in it: even a small child can’t do that. But to be honest: palm groves are distant too, and so is the blossoming land of the ﬁrst Christians, so poetically described by another French Romantic and biographer of Jesus, Ernest Renan. The afternoon sun seeps through the smooth windows; the light bounces off the brick columns and light wood. It’s strange that an orange light feels so ﬁrm. If I had to compare, I’d say that the interior of this speciﬁc church of Plečnik reminds me of a wheat ﬁeld. The book for which I write this short text tells the story of the panoramas in the language 27
of images. In a way, Plečnik’s church in Šiška is connected with my discovery of the meaning of the word “panorama”. I was eight years old when my parents took me to see our new apartment on the ninth ﬂoor of the apartment building on the northern edge of Ljubljana. All windows looked towards the south: I could see immensely far away, above the ﬂood of houses straight to the Ljubljana Castle and the faint outline of mountain Krim behind it. On the right side of the view were a few ﬁelds, a railway track, a strangely threatening gasworks and a blue building of a medical drugs’ factory. And there, at the right side of the panorama, the rocket-like tower of Plečnik’s church suddenly sprang forth in front of my eyes. I recognised it, but at the same time felt as if I saw it for the ﬁrst time.
PleÄ?nikâ€™s work and details are no different from other ingenious works of architecture:
as a rule, they enable a multitude of gazes and interpretations and it is up to the observer to notice and appreciate them or not.
PLEČNIK AND I Boštjan Vuga
A narrow white ramp is ascending in a spiral fashion within a white rectangular vertical space of the church tower. The light comes through two large circular windows at the top of the tower. The glass itself is divided by a meshlike structure. The hour hands are ﬁtted on the outside section of the glass and encompass the rim of the circle. While ascending this white space, you hear the echo of the hour hands in motion. From the inside and through the clock you gaze at the two parts of the city, at two images. In the vertiginous white space of the Holy Heart of Jesus church tower in Prague, you’re listening to time. The feeling is both surreal and basic at the same time: the sound of moving hour hands, the static of the cityscape and the dizzy whiteness of this non-tectonic space. The experience we would expect more from one of Hitchcock’s ﬁlms rather than a work of Plečnik. It is more akin to a sequence from the black and white ﬁlm The 39 Steps than from any church interior from Plečnik. From the outside, the tower and the church itself are clad into a brick-wall, which lean outwards near the top. Stone squares protrude from
the façade and look like drops sliding down the top part of the sloping façade. The composition and the material wealth of the church are not connected with its interior at all. If the square ground plan of the nave is of unusual design for a Christian church, the technologically utilitarian tower with its ramp represents somewhat of a “glitch” in Plečnik’s architectural work. It is too fat, insufﬁciently decorated; we notice a lack of classical architectural elements on the one side, and too many Modernistic elements on the other. It simply doesn’t emanate enough of Plečnik’s spirit. I have never completely understood Plečnik. I have never reﬂected upon his work in a way a person can learn from the work of his contemporaries or the great architects of the 20th Century. Plečnik isn’t Le Courbusier or Mies or Gropius or Asplund. You can’t learn him, he isn’t didactic. Whenever I thought I ﬁnally grasped the essence of his work and I was able to follow it so far to take some of Plečnik’s principles and use them in my own projects, I discovered they were elusive and ﬂuid. Playing with classical rules, that is to say with everything I was 32
taught in school, the dismissal of the typological hierarchy of spaces, the non-rigorous and eclectic use of materials, the egocentric and at the same time creative approach toward renovation, completion, upgrading or removal of the existing building structures in Plečnik’s work actually instigate a form of alienation between the object and us, subjects, observers or users of a certain object in the same manner as the identiﬁcation of audiences towards actors in the plays of Brecht become alienated. I don’t even try to understand Plečnik. What attracts me the most in his works is exactly that what seems to be the most “wrong” and the least familiar: an experiment, something which we can’t see anywhere else. I’m drawn by spatial sequences outside the cannons of classical and modern architecture. Besides in the tower of Plečnik’s church in Prague, I discover these almost Daliesque and lobotomy-like sequences in a uniﬁed grid of light, which cover different outer walls of the Devil’s Courtyard of the Križanke complex in Ljubljana; in the wooden transept in the upper ﬂoor of the church of the Archangel Michael on the Marsh; or in the strange cross-
section of the new and existing naves in the white church in Bogojina. With regard to Plečnik’s work, I’m the most attracted by those things I don’t understand: in the things that are the least didactic and the most difﬁcult to explain. The associative ﬂow in my brain is stimulated by these spatial sequences, in which I seek links outside the architectural matter itself. I try to discover the wildness of these sequences, the reason why they have such a profound effect on me, and what are their basic elements. This is always a digression from the familiar, the already seen. These experiences are always tests, experiments, searches, which are sometimes more, sometimes less interesting. Let’s move to a bigger scale: from spatial sequences to the city scale. Plečnik’s Ljubljana as a Slovenian Athens, his formula to establish a metropolis within the scale of a provincial city, as Ljubljana was in the ﬁrst half of the 20th Century. A city without sufﬁcient historical substance or critical mass, which needed a hand and a vision and which gradually started to weave the urban fabric and actually transformed Ljubljana into a metropolis. Pure ego trip, pure altruism or a mix-
ture of both? Plečnik demolishes everything not valuable enough by his standards and builds his own formula of the new Ljubljana. What is Ljubljana today, after 85 years from the beginnings of its transformation with Plečnik’s architectural works? Is its substance of a metropolis established or does it need a new helping hand to develop it further? No, it doesn’t! Today, Ljubljana is a European metropolis which should enable a pluralism of spatial concepts, a city where everyone seeks for his/her own space and is able to ﬁnd it. This is exactly the driving force which enriches the image of the city and encourages its dynamic development. This is the formula “New Ljubljana”, a dynamic city at the beginning of the 21st Century. I’m very attracted by the church of the Holy Heart of Jesus in Prague. It is a mental icon of the entire city district, a centre of identity. When you suddenly see its ornamental building mass and reach the end of the street leading to it; when you notice its axial placement in space and on the top where it even makes it more horizontal, almost ﬂattened out and immense in size, the 33
shock of the white vertical tower space is even greater. Pure cinematography: interplay between perception and movement. This is close to my heart.
THE PAST AND FUTURE WORLD OF PLEČNIK’S LJUBLJANA Marko Košan
Jože Plečnik wrote his architectural testament to Ljubljana. The cosmopolitan Vienna and the golden Prague might have inspired some of his best and the most original works, but it was his hometown – the emerging capital of a young European nation, who were at the time only a few steps away from achieving their centuries long aspiration for an independent state – where Plečnik has created a monumental picture of European dimensions in which he weaved the architectural ideas of the past and a future world into a fantastic urban fabric with subtle threads of a unique creative pattern. Although Plečnik couldn’t realise all his ideas the way he intended, he nevertheless pleated a noble wreath of panoramic views upon the provincial sleeping beauty. In the middle of the 20th century, he gave the city its identity, which distinctively continues to underline the sentiment of its population in the 21st century as well. He was subtle enough to recognise the genius-loci of this oldworld city, measured in the shy proportions of the mentality of a nation devoid of their own princes and kings. Plečnik gave Ljubljana an urban skyline and focused upon picturesque de34
tails. The city silhouette gradually spreads from the Ljubljanica riverbanks to nearby and more distant neighbourhoods, where the medieval enclave of Ljubljana, hugged against the castle hill, ﬂirts with its mirror image, built upon the sunken network of the Roman insulae. The only visible remnant of the ancient town of Emona is now its southern wall. The wall itself was preserved and subtly transformed by the great master himself, who passed it on his daily walks from his spiritual home and workshop in Trnovo to the bustling city centre. That part of the city echoes the ideas and spiritual power of the ancient world. Nowadays, when a modern traveller follows Plečnik’s steps into the city centre, he/ she imprints those ideas in the intricately placed cobblestones found on streets and squares. He/ She then crosses the river on one of the monumental three bridges and continues his/her way under the colonnade of the city market, where the hustle and bustle of life is caught in the echo of the heavy columns and lintels of the new-age agora. The route continues its way up to the loggia of the slim triangular structure of Peglezn, which is raised above the noisy trafﬁc,
and further on alongside the Ljubljanica River to the Ambrož Square where the river is crossed by ﬂoodgates with their intricately designed antique elements. The panoramic aerial views of the camera are very convincing and silently beautiful. They capture the subtle urban carpet, woven for Ljubljana by Plečnik, who was always aware of the transience of reality itself, but nevertheless used the eternal glow of higher ideals, embraced in the idea of the “architectura perennis”. This force, driven by the invisible Creator and tailored by the imponderable logic of absolute harmony and proportions is symbolised by the ﬁerce gesture of Moses, the Messenger of God. This sculptural masterpiece by Dolinar adorns the façade of the National and University Library, which is probably the most eminent palace built by Plečnik for his hometown. With its picturesque red brick façade and a structure using renaissance tectonics and proportions, Plečnik achieved the ﬁnal and the most reﬁned stage in his attentive design of façades, always entangled in the inﬁnitive interplay of the classicistic style and at the same time modern elements, where pilasters and vertical
bands, arcade arches and wreaths intertwine into a magniﬁcent whole. Equally suggestive are the frozen gazes of the photographer’s eye – motionless and reﬁned reﬂections of loquacious details, which reveal to the attentive observer of ambiences expected and more often unexpected master’s stamp, captured in numerous views that call for a dialogue. Although they have been completed in a self-evident material and spiritual face of the city panorama, they never congest in an unrecognisable, crammed and non-deﬁnable heap of moments at the intersection of historical periods. Plečnik’s interventions into space always retain an aloof sense of independence; they dominate the environment in a stylised manner and demand attention. Only a careful reading of their multilayered message reveals the wit of the architect’s spiritual charge. Plečnik’s architecture merges both the past and the present: it enables the past world to enter the time we live in now and stirs the noble sediments of the past into the blossoming present. Plečnik cloaked modern forms with a classical severity and covered them with an out of 35
reach historical membrane. He imprinted patterns of the past in an eternal form, which always pays attention to the consciousness of the present and keeps as much of the past as is possible to feel in the present. As the Romantic philosopher Friedrich Shlegel would say, Plečnik’s work seems to be permeated with “inverse prophesy”; it contains an equal measure of dedicated seriousness and humorous wit which can be observed both in monumental projects in the symbolic centre of Ljubljana and in the seemingly less important projects outside the city edges: a beautiful example of the latter is St. Michael church in Črna vas, which emerges from the sticky mists of the moist laden Ljubljana marshes like a mirage, and is with its simple interior a lyrical homage to the tradition of folk architecture and design. A homage to a set of values which don’t die with Plečnik and which begin anew, an almost eternal life by passing under a commemorative arc of triumph: they persevere for much longer than a fabulous photograph, which after awhile inevitably turns into a yellowed image on a decayed sheet of paper inside a book cover.
Only then a magical world of the suggestive
non-verbal addresses suddenly opens up in front of us.
A VIEW REVEALED Prof. Dr. Jure Miku탑
For a long time, the style of Plečnik’s work was difﬁcult to deﬁne: its qualities were most transparently described by Post-modern theorists. They pointed out two things. The ﬁrst one was Plečnik’s interest in detail, which he was taking from various and diverse architectural styles and from his own inexhaustible imagination. As we can often see, this master of architecture finalised and placed a personally very important fragment only at the very end of a project and thus vested his own, very personal mark upon it. In other words, Plečnik chose the place for some architectural elements only in situ, where the possible views of them became actual and ﬁnal. Therefore we could name the second, an even more elusive quality a different or other perspective. Plečnik’s work and details are no different from other ingenious works of architecture: as a rule, they enable a multitude of gazes and interpretations and it is up to the observer to notice and appreciate them or not. But some are really special, excellent and exciting. The photographic tandem, Barbara Jakše-Jeršič and Stane Jeršič used a Post-modern photographic concept to reveal and enrich the above mentioned qualities of Plečnik’s 43
work. With their visual sensitivity, they uncover selected details and less common views, which aren’t known even to the admirers or connoisseurs of Plečnik’s work. Their photographs reveal to us what is seems to be the artist’s secret itself: the secret of the architect, who created these seemingly hidden and guarded details and views; and the secret of the two photographers who froze them in time. Architecture and photography are two very different visual art forms, where both can truly and fruitfully meet only at the crossroads of their difference, impressiveness and idiosyncrasy. Then we realise that numerous qualities of architecture can be perceived only through an artistic photography.
INTERVIEW Stane Jeršič in Barbara Jakše Jeršič
Jože Osterman: What stimulated you to become professionally involved in photography? Stane Jeršič: I became involved in photography more seriously when I was awarded a Yashica camera and a few ﬁlm rolls in a photographic competition. I had to think very carefully before I took a shot, since the ﬁlm rolls had only 12 exposures each. It was intense and full of expectations. I developed the ﬁlms in my own home dark room, made contact sheets and enlarged the photographs. In that moment, I became a photographer. Barbara Jakše-Jeršič: When I was 21 and I held the book entitled Iluzija besed (Illusion of Words) in my hands, I also had an individual photographic exhibition in the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana and a group exhibition of photographs in Amsterdam, I knew that the photography is the ﬁeld I wanted to work in professionally. Jože Osterman: What about the motif, the ﬁeld of your interest? Was that clear from the beginning? Stane Jeršič: I’ve always tried to say some things, to express feelings and views with my
work, to explore… That’s how I discovered photography. The camera became the instrument of my expression and photography became my passion, regardless of any motif. Barbara Jakše-Jeršič: Life is a beautiful stage of photographic recordings. Jože Osterman: How does modern digital technology have an inﬂuence upon photography? Stane Jeršič: When I started taking photographs, we didn’t think: let’s press the button – something useful will surely come up, if we take enough shots. This idea has become dominant now, when photography is now available and affordable to each and every one of us. There is a huge ﬂow of photographs: they ﬂood us and are lost in time. But I can’t say that the quantity of good photographs has truly increased. Barbara Jakše–Jeršič: Digital and analogue technologies are part of the learning process regarding photography. Both technologies have their strong and weak points. The advantage of analogue technology is the actual process itself and the sense of anticipation, connected with it. The work has to be planned and delib110
erately performed. It takes longer to get the ﬁnal product, but the process brings experiences in the form of exciting and unexpected surprises. Your contemplation is connected with the discovery of images, hidden on ﬁlm. This is excellently depicted in the ﬁlm Blow-Up by Michelangelo Antonioni (1966). While digital technology on the other hand enables you to an immediate review of all the material and editing, since the photographs aren’t thin sheets of paper anymore: they become recorded moments in the form of an almost unlimited number of ﬁles. Digital technology demands a very disciplined and professional attitude. Such experiences enrich me and bestow upon me surprising discoveries. Jože Osterman: What about photographic technology, cameras and lenses? Are they really so important as the manufacturers try to convince us that they are? Stane Jeršič: The most important thing for me is an idea or a concept that develops through the creative process. Nevertheless, the control over perspective is of key importance when dealing with the so-called “urban photography”. The use of lenses, which allows for perspective correc-
tions invites you to search for a unique new view, which is from the physical point of view closer to the gaze of our eyes. Therefore the knowledge of the classic Sinar-Linhof technique is often helpful to me. Jože Osterman: Your artistic career is surprising in many respects. Your early work, especially the photographs from your monograph Slike iz življenja (1991) is very much based on the studio environment. Every detail is premeditated, and the photographs are so full that they are almost Baroque. After 2000 you shifted your interest to the milieu, which tells you its stories in real time: for example Congress Square in Ljubljana, upon joining Slovenia to the EU in 2004. Your third phase is devoted to panoramas, created by space (as we could see at the exhibition “Sky above Ljubljana”) and now onto Plečnik’s panoramas. Your artistic development is undoubtedly very interesting. What was the logic behind it? Stane Jeršič: At the beginning, I invested my interest and efforts in ecology and later to portraits. This was followed by a period of studio photography. Now, I’m returning to the so-called
“urban photography”. Even they don’t lack the presence of people completely. Nevertheless, I try to show human presence even when there are no people in the shot or they are completely in the background. Portraying ambiences for me is very close to portraying a person. Barbara Jakše-Jeršič: Developing ﬁlms by hand, working in a dark-room, the organisation of photographic productions, arranging setdesigns and shots are all typical for the period of studio photography. I continued with documentary photography of urban spaces. Identiteta prostora (Identity of Space) project or Congress Square deals with the panoramic recording of space and continues through portraits of the central ﬁgure of a girl. Panorama is attractive also due to the elongated format which evokes a feeling of peace, which is a link to the next project, entitled The Discreet Charm of Peace, where analogue and digital, black and white and colour, uniform and composed, panoramic and standard format photography is confronted. The project “The Music of Plečnik’s Architecture Panoramas” began in 2004 and was presented for the ﬁrst time in Jakopič Avenue in Ljubljana as a 111
part of the European Days of Cultural Heritage in 2007. Plečnik’s architecture calls for observation and the attention of a camera. The projects Sky above Ljubljana and The History of Future (Zgodovina prihodnosti) are the anthologies of photographs which show a microcosm within a macrocosm: fragments sought by an eye and a camera within the integrity of a chosen space. Jože Osterman: Is the thought, written at your exhibition “If music with its abstraction and time sequence is on one side of the scale, then photography with its seemingly strict reality and frozen moment is on the other” a sort of a motto of your present project? In music, we assume harmony as a key ingredient, which weaves the fabric of music. How can a person do this in your ﬁeld of work, in photography? Have you looked for it and found it? Stane Jeršič: Music, the same as ﬁlms, needs a longer time period, while a photograph is a moment, a place in time. With connecting photographic moments, we create a story, which can be told in a language typical to a book of photographs. We can always ﬁnd moments (photographs), which are reﬂections of our world,
but the value of these moments (photographs) depends of their placement and their contextual positioning. Barbara Jakše-Jeršič: Music is a sequence of optimally placed sounds which together create a completely new sound image and some form of musical body, while Plečnik’s architecture can, through photography – through a multitude of images, represented by individual photographs and positioned in a right or optimal sequence – become a unique and a completely individual artistic story about architecture and space. Jože Osterman: You say that portraying ambiences for you is very similar to portraying people. Your photographic opus is essentially a pure intertwine of space, of ambiences and people. It seems that you reached a new intensity with your increased focus on architecture. Stane Jeršič: Architecture is undoubtedly one of the most complex forms of art. It must provoke emotional reactions, but at the same time we have to feel pleasant in those rooms and spaces. The habitat has to work for the good of the people. These are the criteria where Plečnik’s work achieves the highest standards. His ambi-
ences have strong inner logic: nothing is coincidental; everything is based on a concept. And photography reveals this too. Jože Osterman: You often use views which are unusual, even for the connoisseurs of Plečnik. Through the decades we have become used to the same observational points and angles... Stane Jeršič: Plečnik worked in a time which was quite different from the present. Unlike the majority of modern architects, he used models, which means that he perfected his creations from all sides and angles and together with them created a new urban space. Now, many architects and investors don’t pay much attention to the details which won’t be viewed or observed too often. Plečnik was different. This is the reason why some of the photographs are taken from the ground, others from the top of the buildings, from an airplane, elevator or a balcony. Some photographs are black and white, since they express my own personal experience of certain spaces. For me it is important to preserve a realistic look even when I explore the spaces from another perspective. This is the reason why the 113
photographing of Plečnik’s panoramas is a constant discovery of unknown details – details which may be afﬁrmed only through photography. Jože Osterman: Does your attachment to Plečnik end with this ﬁnd or discovery? Can this subject still reveal some more? Where will your creative path take you now? Stane Jeršič: A photograph is a snapshot, while I’m interested in space as a habitat, as a sociological concept which represents a living environment, a home. Everything changes in time, this is a fact. Is it possible that something that doesn’t exist anymore come into existence one more time? Life constantly demands new relationships and this is where I see the power and the opportunity of photography, also in the relation to Plečnik. Barbara Jakše-Jeršič: Maybe I’m returning to the original depiction of The Illusion of Words project. A ﬂood of images, unlimited opportunities of technologies, communication and creative challenges beckon me to start the project, The Illusion of Images in the light of present time. Ljubljana, July, 2010
Mojca Puncer (1972) was awarded her PhD in Philosophy at the University of Ljubljana (Slovenia) with her thesis on aesthetical strategies of visual art in Slovenia after 1990 (2008). She is an Assistant for Aesthetics, the Philosophy of Art and Culture at the University of Maribor (Slovenia) (2004–). Puncer works as an independent theorist, critic and curator in the ﬁeld of the contemporary arts, as a teacher of culture and writer (self-employed cultural worker, 2008–). Mojca Puncer is a member of Publicistično društvo ZAK (2002–), Maska magazine editorial board (2007–2009), Slovensko društvo za estetiko (2001–), International Association for Aestethics (2001–) and Društvo Asociacija (2009–). She has been published in numerous publications at home and abroad. Mojca Puncer lives and works in Ljubljana.
Katarina Marinčič (1968) is the author of three novels (Tereza, Rožni vrt (Rose Garden), Prikrita harmonija (Subliminal Harmony) and a collection of short stories O treh (About Three). For her novel Prikrita harmonija, she was awarded the Delo’s Kresnik Award in 2002 and the Dnevnik’s Fabula Award in 2006 for her collection O treh. Katarina Marinčič was awarded her PhD through studying the works of Honoré de Balzac. For the past 15 years, she has been a lecturer of 18th and 19th Century French Literature at the Ljubljana Faculty of Arts.
Barbara Jakše–Jeršič (1967) has been a professional photographer since 1989. Together with Stane Jeršič, she entered the European scene in 1990 and since then have had both individual and group exhibitions in numerous important museums and art galleries in Slovenia and abroad. Barbara Jakše-Jeršič’s photographs have been presented in many books and magazines and are part of important public and private collections, including the photography collection in the Bibliothèque nationale de France. Barbara Jakše-Jeršič has been running a non-proﬁt organisation ArtKontakt since 2009. Together with her husband Stane and their son Aleks she lives and works in Ljubljana. 114
Boštjan Vuga (1966) graduated at the Ljubljana Faculty of Architecture in 1992 and continued his studies between 1993 and 1995 at the AA School of Architecture in London, where he was awarded with a master’s degree. Together with Jurij Sadar, Vuga founded an architectural studio Sadar Vuga Arhitekti (SVA) in Ljubljana. In less than 10 years, the SVA has become one of the most prominent European architectural studios with its production and communication based on open, integral and innovative concepts. Boštjan Vuga is a writer of numerous articles on modern architecture and urban planning for both domestic and international publications.
Marko Košan (1961) studied the history of art at the University of Ljubljana. Since 1987 he has collaborated as a curator with many galleries and museum in Slovenia and abroad. A member of the Slovene Association of Art Critics and the AICA. He also works as publicist, essayist, columnist and writes reviews for many Slovenian and international newspapers and art magazines. From 2008 he was appointed as the Director of Fine Art Gallery Slovenj Gradec.
Stane Jeršič (1957) entered the professional ﬁeld of photography in 1989. Besides portrait and eco-photography, with which he became one of the top photographers in the former Yugoslavia, Stane Jeršič concentrated mainly on the studio photography at the beginning. Together with Barbara JakšeJeršič, he entered the European scene in 1990 and since then has had both individual and group exhibitions in numerous important museums and art galleries in Slovenia and abroad. Stane Jeršič’s photographs have been presented in many books and magazines and are part of important public and private collections, including the photography collection in the Bibliothèque nationale de France.
Jože Osterman (1947) is the Secretary of the Government Communication Ofﬁce and the editor of the Sinfo magazine, which is published in English.
Jure Mikuž (1949) has held the positions of curator and later director of the Museum of Modern Art in Ljubljana for many years. He is now a fulltime professor at the Institutum studiorum humanitatis and the Faculty for postgraduate humanities, and head of the Historical Anthropology Programme. Mikuž is also a professor at the Academy of Fine Arts and Design in Ljubljana. His bibliography consists of approximately 800 publications, 15 of these are books. 115
Fedja Košir (1940) graduated in the ﬁeld of architecture in 1964 and was awarded his PhD in 1982. As an architect, he was awarded with more than sixty awards and buy-ins for his projects at Slovene and Yugoslav tenders. Since 1985, Košir works as a lecturer at FAUL (the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia). He was awarded the Prešeren Award in 1978 (for his numerous suggestions regarding urban planning). Košir published the monographies Zamisel mesta (1993), Edvard Ravnikar kot arhitekturni teoretik (2006), K arhitekturi I / III (2006 and 2007) and the translation with comments of the ﬁrst tractate on architecture by the Roman architect Vitruvius entitled O arhitekturi & O antičnem inženirstvu (2009). Since 2009, Fedja Košir is a consultant of architecture and urban-planning at the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts.
Jože Trontelj (1939) is a medical doctor and a full professor for neurology at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Ljubljana. Internationally, Jože Trontelj is known mainly for his research in the ﬁeld of neuromuscular transmission disease diagnostics. In recent years, Trontelj has dedicated his time on biomedical ethics as well. He is a member of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts and its chairman since 2008.
CHRONOLOGY Stane Jeršič and Barbara Jakše Jeršič
BOOKS AND CATALOGUES FOR EXHIBITIONS SELECTION 2010 Glasba panoram Plečnikove arhitekture (Publisher: ArtKontakt, Bast) 2009 Zgodovina prihodnosti (Publisher: Center urbane kulture Kino Šiška) 2005 Diskretni šarm miru (Publisher: Koroški pokrajinski muzej) 2004 Identiteta prostora – Slovenija Nova Zvezda Evrope (Publisher: ArtKontakt) 1995 Fotograﬁja (Publisher: Galerija likovnih umetnosti Slovenj Gradec) 1991 Glasovi (Publisher: Fotogalerie Wien) 1991 Slike iz življenja (Publisher: Barbara Jakše Jeršič in Stane Jeršič) 1990 Iluzija besed (Publisher: Papirograﬁka)
2004 Muzej in galerije mesta Ljubljana, Ljubljana (Slovenia) 1997 Muzej in galerije mesta Ljubljana, Evropski mesec kulture (Slovenia) 1997 Mincovna Statniho Hradu a zamka, Češki Krumlov (Czech Republic) 1995 Galerija likovnih umetnosti, Slovenj Gradec (Slovenia) 1993 Prinz Gallery, Kyoto (Japan) 1992 Museo Ken Damy – Gallery Milano (Italy) 1991 Fotogalerie Wien, Vienna (Austria) 1990 Moderna galerija, Ljubljana (Slovenia) 1989 Stedelijk Museum, Schiedam – Rotterdam (The Netherlands) 1989 Galerie K61, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
SOLO EXHIBITIONS SELECTION 2009 Cankarjev dom, Ljubljana (Slovenia) 2006 Łódź Art Center – International Festival of Photography, Łódź (Poland) 2005 Koroški pokrajinski muzej, Slovenj Gradec (Slovenia) 2004 Umetnostna galerija Maribor, Maribor (Slovenia) 116
GROUP EXHIBITIONS SELECTION 2006 Galerie Tresor, Kunstforum Wien (Austria) 2006 Crossover, Kunstverein Karnten (Austria) 2006 Images Against War, Galerie Lichtblick Köln, Peace Museum Chicago (Illinois, USA)
2004 Blossomstreet Gallery, FotoFest, Houston (Texas, USA)
Foto, Amsterdam (The Netherlands) Fotomagazin, Frankfurt (Germany)
Melkweeg Gallery, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
2004 The Centre for Fine Art Photography, Ft. Collins (Colorado, USA)
Graphis Annual, Zürich (Switzerland)
Moderna galerija, Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Il Fotografo Professionalista, Milan (Italy)
Muzej in galerije mesta Ljubljana (Slovenia)
2002 Die Sammlung, Melkweg, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
Likovne besede, Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Muzej za arhitekturo in oblikovanje, Ljubljana (Slovenia)
2001 Eulogy to Beauty, Photofusion Photography Centre, London (England)
Mʼars, Moderna galerija, Ljubljana (Slovenia) Progresso Fotograﬁco, Milan (Italy) Vis A Vis International, Paris (France)
2001 Akt na Slovenskem, Jakopičeva galerija, Ljubljana (Slovenia)
Shukan Shincho, Tokyo (Japan)
1997 Maestri Contemporanei, Museo Ken Damy, Brescia (Italy)
Slovenska kronika XX. stoletja, Ljubljana (Slovenia)
1997 Angels, Melkweg, Amsterdam (The Netherlands)
PUBLIC AND PRIVATE COLLECTIONS SELECTION
1994 Melkweg Collection, Amsterdam (The Netherlands) 1990 Recontres Internationales de la Photographie, Arles (France)
Museo Ken Damy, Brescia (Italy) Prinz, Kyoto (Japan) Stedelijk museum Schiedam, Schiedam (The Netherlands) Stedelijk museum Amsterdam, Bert Hartkamp collection (The Netherlands) Umetnostna galerija Maribor (Slovenia)
Artotheek Holland, Amsterdam (The Netherlands) Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris (France) Fotogalerie Wien, Vienna (Austria)
PRESENTATIONS IN BOOKS AND MAGAZINES SELECTION
Galerija likovnih umetnosti, Slovenj Gradec (Slovenia)
Anthology nude, Asahi Press, Tokyo (Japan)
Galerie Lichtblick, Köln (Germany)
Camera Austria, Graz (Austria)
GIP, Goro International Press, Tokyo (Japan)
Fotopratica, Milan (Italy)
Łódź Art Center, Łódź (Poland) 117
LOCATIONS AND DATES OF IMAGES Ljubljana 2003 - 2010
Križanke Summer Theatre in Ljubljana, 2007
Market Halls in Ljubljana and the Three Bridges, 2004
Faculty of Architecture, 2010
Tivoli Municipal Park in Ljubljana, 2010
Zois Street in Ljubljana, Faculty of Architecture, 2006
Tivoli Municipal Park in Ljubljana, 2005
Šentjakob Square, now Levstik Square in Ljubljana, 2004
The Ursuline Gymnasium, now Jože Plečnik High School in Ljubljana, 2010
Church of St. Francis of Assisi, Šiška, Ljubljana, 2008
The Ursuline Gymnasium, now Jože Plečnik High School in Ljubljana, 2010
St. Bartholomew’s Church in Ljubljana, 2010
Market Halls in Ljubljana, 2004
Zois Pyramid in Ljubljana, 2009
Cobblers Bridge in Ljubljana, 2004
The National and University Library in Ljubljana, 2009
French Revolution Square and the monument to the Napoleon’s Illyrian Provinces in Ljubljana, 2010
The National and University Library in Ljubljana, the sculpture of Moses by Lojze Dolinar, 2010
Business and Residential Building Peglezen (the Flatiron) on Poljanska Street in Ljubljana, 2010
The National and University Library in Ljubljana, Slovenian Academy of Science and Arts, 2010
Business and Residential Building Peglezen (the Flatiron) on Poljanska Street in Ljubljana, 2009
The National and University Library in Ljubljana, 2004
Church of the Archangel Michael on the Marsh in Črna vas near Ljubljana, 2010
Church of the Archangel Michael on the Marsh in Črna vas near Ljubljana, 2008
Vzajemna Insurance Company, now the Triglav Insurance Company, 2010
Chamber of Commerce, Works and Industry, now the Constitutional Court in Ljubljana, 2006
Bežigrad Stadion in Ljubljana, 2007
The protective ditch at the Ljubljana Castle, 2009
Vegova Street in Ljubljana, 2010
The Navje Cemetery in Ljubljana, 2006
News-Stands and Market Pavilion in Ljubljana, 2010
The Roman Wall in Ljubljana, 2010
Market Halls in Ljubljana, the new Butcher’s bridge and the Three Bridges, 2010
Funeral Parlours at Žale Cemetery in Ljubljana, 2009
Funeral Parlours at Žale Cemetary in Ljubljana, 2006
St. Andrew’s Chapel at Funeral Parlours at Žale Cemetary in Ljubljana, 2003
Križanke Summer Theatre in Ljubljana, 2009
The Ljubljanica River Embankment at the mouth of the Gradaščica River in Ljubljana, 2005
The Floodgate at the Ljubljanica River in Ljubljana, 2006
The Floodgate at the Ljubljanica River and the capital with a statuary by Božo Pengov, 2006
Vzajemna Insurance Company, now the Triglav Insurance Company, 2010
Križanke in Ljubljana, The Devil’s Courtyard, 2007
Križanke Summer Theatre in Ljubljana, 2005
Trnovo Bridge in Ljubljana, 2009 119
Plečnik’s House, Trnovo, Ljubljana, 2010
Plečnik’s House, Trnovo, Ljubljana, 2007
Funeral Parlours at Žale Cemetary in Ljubljana, 2007
Cover image: Cobblers Bridge in Ljubljana, 2010
PHOTOGRAPHY: Stane Jeršič Barbara Jakše–Jeršič TEXTS: Acad. Prof. Dr. Jože Trontelj, Prof. Dr. Fedja Košir, Marko Košan, Prof. Dr. Jure Mikuž, Jože Osterman, Stane Jeršič, Boštjan Vuga, Barbara Jakše Jeršič, Dr. Katarina Marinčič, Dr. Mojca Puncer DESIGN: Barbara Jakše-Jeršič
This book was published within the project Ljubljana: World Book Capital 2010
ENGLISH TRANSLATION: Polona Mertelj PRINTED BY: Tiskarna Hren NUMBER OF COPIES: 200 copies DTP: Camera Photography © ArtKontakt, Bast Copyright © 2010; all rights reserved PUBLISHERS: ArtKontakt Viška cesta 25 1000 Ljubljana Slovenija tel. +386 (0) 5 994 71 10, gsm: +386 (0) 41 334 034 email@example.com, www.artkontakt.si Bast Visual Art Management, Stane Jeršič s.p. gsm: + 386 (0) 41 627 123 , firstname.lastname@example.org, http://stane-jersic.si/ www.facebook.com/plecnik.si www.plecnik.com/
CIP - Kataložni zapis o publikaciji Narodna in univerzitetna knjižnica, Ljubljana 72(497.4):929Plečnik J.(084.12) 77.041(497.4) The MUSIC of Plečnik’s architecture panoramas : Ljubljana / [texts Jože Trontelj ... et al.] ; [photography] Stane Jeršič, Barbara Jakše Jeršič ; [English translation Polona Mertelj]. Ljubljana : ArtKontakt : Bast Visual Art Management, 2010 ISBN 978-961-269-288-9 1. Trontelj, Jože 252257792
Plečnik’s work and details are no different from other ingenious works of architecture: as a rule, they enable a multitude of gazes and inte...