Boris Balant

Artistic director of Škuc Gallery from 1986 – 1987.


Boris Balant (1963, Spodnja Idrija) studied art history and ethnology at the Faculty of Arts, and graphic design at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana. In 1986 and 1987 he was artistic director of Škuc Gallery. He is involved in graphic design.

The Škuc Gallery programme was composed of two parts: the presentation of current work by older authors who did not have a chance to exhibit anywhere else than in ŠKUC (the waiting period for exhibiting in Mala galerija /Small Gallery/ was ten years, for example) on the one hand, and young authors on the other.
At the beginning, after exhibitions of works by Bojan Gorenec and Goran Đorđević, the first exhibitions of the IRWIN group, Marjetica Potrč, and others – came a void. It started up again with a new generation of sculptors, backed by Lujo Vodopivec and Veš slikar svoj dolg (V.S.S.D.).
In those times it was impossible to think of these authors in connection with any official gallery. ŠKUC functioned as a purgatory – B. Gorenec, for example, had four or five exhibitions in ŠKUC before he was admitted elsewhere.
The Škuc Gallery was completely ignored by art historian circles (including students). That was when the audience began to change. The crucial turning point in this connection was the exhibition “New Tendencies in Art and Mass Culture in the Eighties” prepared by T. Vignjević – when Dr. Brejc, for instance, set foot in the gallery for the first time in many years. ŠKUC had a very diverse audience, from tramps to retired women professors. The biggest response was enjoyed by the exhibition of posters by Novi kolektivizem /New Collectivism/, “Purification and Rejuvenation”, at the time of the Poster Scandal in 1987, when some 20,000 people saw the exhibition in a fortnight. This was crazy, whole processions rolled into ŠKUC… Many people heard about ŠKUC for the first time then, and later the visitors were more numerous.
A roundtable was organized at the time of this exhibition, with the participation of five most prominent Yugoslav art historians – which provided a theoretical backdrop for the scandal. These were the times when an eminent Slovene politician stated: “Democratisation – yes, democracy – no!” And UDV was tapping ŠKUC’s telephone line.

Otherwise, I think that the Škuc Gallery has always functioned with a certain inertia, that it was a kind of a medium – it has channeled things, but not generated new events or tendencies. ŠKUC has never been a trendy gallery which would dictate a particular style. The gallery has always functioned “in retrospect”. Jakše and others who are exhibiting in the Škuc Gallery these days will very soon be officially recognized.

*Based on the interview with Boris Balant, respectively, put down on paper by Alenka Pirman.