24 March - 16 May 2021

Franci Virant: Roman Holiday

Photography exhibition

In accordance with the measures adopted to contain the spread of COVID-19 epidemic Cankarjev dom has cancelled or rescheduled all events, exhibitions reopened.

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Franci Virant’s series of exquisite, spontaneous but at the same time well-considered photographs depicts a week's stay in the Italian metropolis. The holiday takes place in October 2008. In the photographs, the artist toys with the story of people, architecture, art, a story condensed into a recognizable genius loci of a mighty and ancient monument-city. He traces his impression of people's attitudes to things and reveals the core of his own experience of the place. At the same time, Virant captures the rapture of people who do not actually realize what they are looking at. The superficiality of mobile-phone photography raises the question: Does this prove that one has really been there? While some pictures take on new meanings, becoming completely updated, and others carry sophisticated, inscrutable symbolism, the common thread of exceptional emotional intensity runs through all of them.
Art critic Brane Kovič about Virant’s work: "Meanwhile, a handful of photographers who refuse to identify with the caprices of ‘artistes’, simply carry on and enjoy their work. Because they know that photography is primarily a pleasure, satisfying the scopic drive, enjoyment in gazing and putting on view. It is true that countless theories could be formulated about the photographic image as a result of a concrete act (and before that the decision to act) – the impression on a light-sensitive surface that is the result of controlled optical relationships and chemical reactions. We could search for its semantic correlatives in civilizational codes and cultural-anthropological conventions, but it is pointless to practise photography without the thrilling sense of anticipation over the outcome of the developed film and the magnified image. Style and sensitivity cannot be taught; you either have them or you don't. That's why some people take good and other bad photographs. People whose ambition is to practise ‘art’ photography mostly take bad photos. Franci Virant mainly takes good ones, sometimes even better than good or very good ones. Here’s the deal: no elated verbosity and long-winded discourses on where the craft ends and what lies beyond it.”

Franci Virant (b. 1958) has gained renown as a brilliant fashion photographer – photographing women is part of his daily routine. He broadened his experience in photography as member of the famous ŠOLT photo group, and later by working for the Delo daily's in-house photography department. Since 1988, he has worked as a freelance cultural professional. Contributing to projects by the IRWIN group, Virant has been involved in the NSK (Neue Slowenische Kunst) group since 1987. He works with Slovenian artists and fashion designers. Virant's photographs feature on numerous theatre posters, and in many publications. He has held several high-profile solo exhibitions, including a 1996 showcase in Cankarjev dom's Small Gallery (at a time when this exhibition space emerged as Ljubljana's/Slovenia's new photography gallery) and took part in various group exhibitions locally and internationally. Virant's photos have been used for a series of outstanding calendars, as well as marketing campaigns, and appeared in numerous Slovenian newspapers and magazines (including ARS VIVENDI, Stop, Pepita, Moda, Focus, etc.). He is recipient of several international photography awards (e.g. in Poland, Japan and Hungary).

Franci Virant: Roman Holiday

24 March - 16 May 2021
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