What creates the image of a country and its citizens in the eyes of
other people, of the world?
Slovenia is a country that many people in the outside world have
never heard of. It remains for many a stranger and, accordingly, a
possibility for discovery and revelation. In 1991, Slovenia appeared
on the European and the world map as a detail, often so tiny that
there was not even enough place to write its name and the capital. We
all know, however, that very often, the essence is in details and
impressions that still need to be put together, if we want to grasp
and understand the whole.
Despite globalisation, today's world cannot be embraced by a single
gaze, nor be seen as one totality, subject to a uniform and
standardised understanding. So this world, for everyone, is full of
impressions that enter our horizon and consciousness often quite
accidentally, through the communication media, which allow ever faster
transfers and links, through the media which supply us with copies of
images and blow-ups, through computers feeding us with
information. Which are we going to pick up? Which of those will be
impressed on our memory? Which are those that we return to in order to
renew and upgrade them?
We are therefore presenting here some events, personalities, and
facts, not related to each other, from completely different spheres of
our experiences and adventures. When you try somehow to link the
particles of the 'figurative images' which are spread before you, you
might see that Slovenia is a country with a lively, contemporary and
penetrating pulse, which is worth getting to know a little better,
getting acquainted with. To see with your own eyes that even the small
can bring much to our common world and life.
The Slovene film Kruh in mleko (Bread and Milk) written and
directed by Jan Cvitkovic has received the Golden Lion of the future -
an award conferred for the best first feature film - at the 58th
Venice Film Festival this year. Bread and Milk is the first Slovene
film to be screened at the festival in 36 years. Cvitkovic was born
in 1966 and graduated from archaeology. Although Bread and Milk is his
debut in filmmaking, Cvitkovic has been involved in the film industry
for a while now, establishing himself as a scriptwriter and an actor.
In May 2001, the American and the Russian Presidents chose Slovenia
as the offsetting for their first meeting. The American-Russian summit
took place on 16 June at Brdo pri Kranju, which was an excellent
occasion for the promotion of our country.
The Slovenian architect and sculptor Marjetica Potrc has succeeded
in making a break-through into international artistic circles. As a
winner of the significant Hugo Boss Prize 2000, she recently opened a
solo exhibition in the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
At the Olympic games in Sydney in 2000, our sportsmen succeeded in
winning two gold medals, in rowing and shooting. In the "Slovenian
House" in York Street in Sydney, Slovenia made a very successful
presentation to both the Australian and the world public.
Slovenia in Sydney 2000
On 7 October 2000, Davo Karnicar, was the first person in the world
to make a uninterrupted downhill ski descent from the world's highest
mountain, the 8848 metres high Mount Everest.
From June to September 2000, Ljubljana hosted the European Biannual
of Contemporary Art Manifesta 3.
In 1999, Slovenia hosted eminent personalities: on 21 and 22 June,
US President W.J. Clinton made a visit, and on 19 September, Pope John
Paul II visited our country for the second time.
The alpinist exploit of Tomaz Humar echoed resounded round the
world. In November 1999 he succeeded in scaling the Southern Wall of
Dhaulaghiri in a solo climb.
In 1998, Slovenia had its first presentation at the World
Exhibition EXPO in Lisbon. The presentation was a success, with the
Slovenian pavilion being visited by over a million guests.
The Prince of Wales paid us a visit in the autumn of 1998.
On 12 November, the Slovenian and the international sporting public
marked a significant jubilee - Leon Stukelj's 100th birthday
(1898-2000), at that time the oldest living Olympian champion in the
Leon Stukelj became the second member of the New York Athletic
Club and along with the American athlete Jessie Owens his picture is
exhibited in the New York Hall of Fame.
In June 1997, Slovenia hosted the Presidents of Central European
states in Piran.
During its year's presidency of CEFTA, Slovenia prepared a meeting
of CEFTA Prime Minist ers in Portorozin September 1997.
Ljubljana hosted the "European Month of Culture" in May and June
Slovenia was visited by the Pope for the first time in 1996 when we
celebrated the fifth anniversary of the Slovenian independence.
The archaeological discovery of the "Neanderthal flute", the oldest
musical instrument in the world, at the site Divje Babe in 1995
attracted the attention of the global public.
Slovenia joined the celebrations marking the 50th anniversary of
the victory over fascism, which took place throughout Europe.
The emerging field of digital media arts has its own eco-system and
the development of this particular art direction in global scale was
partly enabled through the work of Marko Peljhan and Vuk Cosic.
Vuk Cosic is one of the so-called classics of "net.art". Since
1995, he has been included in all major international web art
projects. He is one of the co-founders of the Ljubljana Laboratory for
Digital Media (Ljudmila), the international fora for internet theory
and critic, and the internet art Nettime, Syndicate, 7-11. Lately, he
represented Slovenia at the Venice Biennial in 2001.
The Group Laibach which has been performing since 1980, is
well-known by its numerous concerts world-wide. The Czech ambassador
to Slovenia, H. E. Jana Hybaskova who is leaving Slovenia after four
years, said in a recent interview that her first acquaintance with
Slovenian art was through the Group Laibach. The Group is still active
and is continues to produce new albums.
Zoran Music, an internationally highly-acclaimed Slovenian painter,
works in Paris and Venice.
Among musical performers, the pianist Dubravka Tomsic, the flute
player Irena Grafenauer and the mezzo-soprano Marjana Lipovsek, all of
whom perform mainly abroad, have received the highest world acclaim.
The painters from the group Irwin accomplished an international
reputation long ago. Their work is presented in all relevant overviews
of contemporary art in the world.
The works of art of the Slovenian architect Jozef Plecnik (1872-)
with the large retrospective exhibition in Paris in the eighties,
became a revelation both for Europe and the world as a whole. The
exhibition moved from Paris to Ljubljana and then on to Madrid,
Vienna, Munich, Karlsruhe, Milan, Venice, New York, and
Washington. The Center Georges Pompidou in Paris, which prepared the
exhibition with the help of the Architectural Museum Ljubljana,
donated Plecnik's exhibition to Ljubljana. The exhibition in Prague
(1997) presented his entire work from the Prague period when he was
appointed chief architect to renovate the Prague Castle Hradcani.
Slavoj Zizek is one of the best-known Slovene philosophers. He is
the author of numerous books that have been reprinted several times in
English and has been translated into numerous foreign
languages. Slavoj Zizek lectures throughout American and other
universities around the world.