Endi Poskovic, Associate Professor
Printmedia Program
Whittier College
13406 E. Philadelphia Street
Whittier, California 90608-0634, USA
Tel. # 1-562-907-4200 (ext. 4590)

Session: “The Past and Future of International Print Competitions”

Paper: “The Origins of the International Print Competition: The Ljubljana Experiment”

In 1955, the Gallery of Modern Art in Ljubljana, in then former Yugoslavia, founded an international print competition now known as the Ljubljana International Biennial of Graphic Art.  The regulations and goals set forth in the first exhibition were to bring, by open call and invitation, the highest quality of a limited edition print in any printmaking technique.  These standards remained a guiding principle in the selection process throughout the Biennial’s history and until the format changed in 2001. On the eve of the Biennial’s 50th anniversary, my presentation will attempt to intimate the future of this venue and other such exhibitions by looking into various aspects of the Biennial’s distinguished past.

The Ljubljana Biennial, having positioned itself on the international scene as the leading venue in contemporary graphic arts, played an important role on the international scene in the development of printmaking in the decades after World War II.  The venue was particularly significant during the Cold War, a period which suspended nearly every continuous artistic discourse between the West and the East.  The then Federative Republic of Slovenia in the former Yugoslavia remained neutral, strategically maintaining a centrist position in the political as well as cultural arena.  During the Biennial’s three decades of continuous growth, from the early 1960s to before the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in 1990, and its subsequent global impact on various offspring venues, the organizers of the Ljubljana Biennial created a forum unparalleled in the field of international print exhibitions.  They successfully attracted and brought together artists not only from the two opposing poles but from developing countries as well.  Independent print publishers, younger artists and unknown printmakers from the third world were included alongside major blue-chip megastars such as Leger, Miro, Picasso, Moore, Hamilton, Johns, Hockney, and others.  Particularly relevant to the early days of American participation in this international print competition was the 1963 Grand Prix awarded to the young and promising Robert Rauschenberg for his print “Accident”.  This first major international recognition launched Rauschenberg’s career on a global scope with other important awards following, namely at the Venice Biennial in 1964.

Portfolio Presentation: “Multi-Plate Color Relief Prints”

The integration of relief printmaking within the context of my work is motivated by a need to create representation that uses print media not only as a process as means to an end but also a concept which best communicates the persuasive nature of my the work. Relief printmaking can then be read as an idiosyncratic language, and it is in this way that an archaic process of making images opens new and infinite possibilities. For this presentation I will display a set of recent large 37" x 54" and 40" x 72" color woodblock prints. In the initial design stage, preparatory drawings and photographs are altered using Photoshop and Illustrator software. Each computer design and color separation is subsequently transferred onto blocks; the blocks are hand-carved  and then hand-rubbed with a barren onto Kozo paper. There are four or five woodblocks for each image, a master block and several separate blocks for colors. The blocks are printed successively, color blocks first and the black block last. The deliberate addition/subtraction of color in each printing of the complete set of color blocks becomes a point of departure for the creation of new images.

ENDI POSKOVIC was born 1969 in Sarajevo, Bosnia, and has lived in the United States since 1991. He is a graduate of the Sarajevo School of Applied Arts (Diploma in Fine Arts) 1986; the Sarajevo Principal School of Music (Music Diploma) 1987; the Sarajevo Academy of Fine Arts/University of Sarajevo (B.F.A.) 1990; completed post graduate studies at Minnet Fondet in Norway 1990-91; and completed his studies at the State University of New York at Buffalo (M.F.A.) 1993. Poskovic's work has been in over 250 individual and group venues, including all major international annual, biannual and triennial exhibitions of prints throughout the United States, Albania, Australia, Austria, Belarus, Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, China, Croatia, Cuba, Ecuador, England, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Korea, Macedonia, Norway, Poland, Romania, Russia, Scotland, Slovenia, South Africa, Spain, Uzbekistan, Yugoslavia and Wales. Selected recent international exhibitions include "New Prints 2005" at the International Print Center New York, New York City; "12. Deutsche Internationale Grafik Triennale" at Kunstverein zu Frechen E.V., Germany; "Biennale internationale d’estampe contemporaine de Trois-Riviéres" at Maison de la Culture de Trois-Riviéres, Canada; "Graficno Bienale Jelena Gora" at Jelena Gora Museum, Poland; "Grabados sin Fronteras" at Centro Cultural Metropolitano-Estamperi’a Quitena, Ecuador; and the "23rd Ljubljana International Biennial of Graphic Art" at the National Gallery of Modern Art, Slovenia. He is the recipient of more than 70 awards including grants and fellowships from the Pollock-Krasner Foundation, MacDowell Colony, Art Matters Foundation, Kala Art Institute, Jerome Foundation, Bemis Center for Contemporary Art, and the Flemish Ministry of Culture-Frans Masereel Center. Poskovic's work is in over one hundred public and university collections including the Philadelphia Museum of Art; the Art Institute of Chicago; Royal Antwerp Museum of Fine Arts, Belgium; Centre National des Arts Plastiques, Cairo, Egypt; Flemish Ministry of Culture, Belgium; Fogg Art Museum-Harvard University; Fleming Art Museum-University of Vermont; New Orleans Museum of Art; Castellani Art Museum; Indianapolis Museum of Art; University of Iowa Museum of Art; Frechen Museum of Art, Germany; and the City of Vaasa Ostrobothnian Museum, Finland.