Gulag Institute for Contemporary Arts and Cultures


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Contact info
Zavod za sodobne umetnosti in kulture Gulag
Ul. Janeza Pavla II. 5, SI-1000 Ljubljana
Phone386 (0) 1 232 3502
Zoran Srdić Janežić, Director and Producer
Online accounts:

Past Events
  • 26 June 2017
    Ich bin ein B̶e̶r̶l̶i̶n̶e̶r̶F̶r̶a̶n̶k̶f̶u̶r̶t̶e̶r̶Münchner, sculptor's walks by Zoran Srdić Janežič, produced by Gulag Institute for Contemporary Arts and Cultures and Gemelos 2000, Performing Arts Festival Berin, at Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia Berlin in Berlin, Germany
  • 17 June 2017
    Ich bin ein B̶e̶r̶l̶i̶n̶e̶r̶F̶r̶a̶n̶k̶f̶u̶r̶t̶e̶r̶Münchner, sculptor's walks by Zoran Srdić Janežič, produced by Gulag Institute for Contemporary Arts and Cultures and Gemelos 2000, Performing Arts Festival Berin, supported by the Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia Berlin at Projektraum Ventilator 24 and the streets of Berlin in Berlin, Germany
  • 28 August 2013
    A walk with artist Zoran Srdić Janežič (Gulag Institute for Contemporary Arts and Cultures) and his performance in honour of sculptor Franc Berneker from the Academy of Fine Arts to Berneker's former studio near the Meidling train station, supported by the Slovenian Culture and Information Centre, Vienna (SKICA), Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia Vienna, in Vienna, Austria

The Gulag Institute is a production vehicle for various art and art-related projects by a loosely connected collective of artists, among them Zoran Srdić Janežič, Gorazd Krnc, Jana Putrle Srdić, Ida Hiršenfelder, Neža Mrevlje and Aleksandra Saška Gruden. All of them are interested in various artistic mediums yet primarily work within the fields of visual and performance art, sometimes augmented with poetry, puppetry and music.

Gulag is not an art group as such, and its projects feature a number of other artists who thus form the periphery of this enterprise. The institute puts great effort in reflecting the questions of art and art systems and has consequently organised several programmes to address them.


In 1999, Zoran Srdić Janežić and some of his fellow visual artists founded Modri krog (Blue Circle), an organisational framework for setting up exhibitions, street art interventions and festivals for presenting their visual and multimedia artworks.

In 2007, this was succeeded by the establishment of the Gulag Institute for Contemporary Arts and Cultures, which set its horizons of activity somewhat more ambitiously and broadly. Gulag's founders were the curator and writer on contemporary art Petja Grafenauer, the poet and visual arts producer Jana Putrle Srdić, the painter and video artist Gorazd Krnc and the aforementioned Zoran, a sculptor, visual artist, puppeteer and performer.


As a rule, Gulag's projects merge various artistic genres such as sculpture, poetry, body-art, sound art, video, public interventions, performance art and so on. Among their basic themes are issues of social control, implicit violence and intercultural repression.

Public interventions are possibly Gulag's most often used media for communicating their art. For example, in collaboration with MKC Maribor Youth Culture Centre, the Performa Festival and Maribor, European Capital of Culture 2012, Gulag co-produced the innovative street performance Intellectual Whores, which engaged 17 educated thinkers to "whore" their knowledge on the streets of Maribor by discussing poetry, sculpture, art films, psychoanalysis and other topics with their "tricks". A similar project was later enacted during the Lighting Guerrilla Festival, when female intellectuals and artists offered their knowledge to passers-by in toilet-art objects designed by sculptors.

The exhibitions organised by Gulag focus on emerging art with a special focus on sculpture and new media. They feature artists such as Maja Smrekar, Mito Gegič, Urša Vidic, Otto Urpelainen, Sanela Jahić, Borut Savski, Gorazd Krnc and Zoran Srdić Janežič.

Poetry combined with various other media of expression – video, visual and sound art, artist's books – occupies a prominent place in Gulag's production. Gulag thus searches for new ways to expose and radicalise poetry, an art form which the group's members also address via workshops and public performances. An interesting project was Ej bejba, kaj maš s to poezijo? / Hey baby, what's with this poetry? – an experimental poetry and dance performance, which dealt with research on the act of writing and the social role of poetry.

Staged works by Gulag also include Little Red Riding Hood, a dance performance with shadow puppets for adults and children, produced at Stara Elektrarna - Old Power Station.

Contemporary Art Tea Parties

These "parties" were first organised from 2006 to 2009 (in co-production with KUD Mreža Arts and Culture Association and Alkatraz Gallery. In 2009, they accompanied the Biennial of Graphic Arts) and then re-launched in 2013. These monthly meetings aim to promote discussion and constructive dialogue about contemporary art and take place at various venues. Topics such as writing about art, activism, comic books, street art, presentations of young artists, artist's books and so on addressed via round table discussions, lectures and seminars.

Theatre design

A part of the Gulag Institute is also its workshop for the planning and realisation of stage scenery and design; paintings, various mechanisms, three-dimensional objects, prototypes, etc. It creates and builds puppets, masks, mascots, props, scenic and costume elements for SNG Drama Ljubljana (Scenes from an Execution); SNG Maribor (7 Stories); SNG Nova Gorica (Skurt); Celje City Theatre (The Flags); Mladinsko Theatre (King Lear); and other smaller theatres.


Gulag Institute publishes catalogues and artist's books. The latter are often a part of a wider art project that includes different media. Such was the Proteus anguinus Carnium, presented at the exhibition Prints and Impressions (April 2012) at the International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana. To name another example, the institute published an artist's book of 40 drawings of cat-like creatures by Zoran Srdić Janežič titled Tomislav Vrečar: I'm watching a friend in the morning, how he is playing with a cat (2008) after a poem by Tomislav Vrečar.

Gulag also runs a web magazine called G-Zine, a blog for reflections on modern art.

Partnerships and collaborations

Besides those already mentioned, Gulag's occasional partners include the literary journal Poiesis, the Alkatraz Gallery, Strip Core (and its Lighting Guerrilla Festival), Škuc Gallery, Theremidi Orchestra, Young Rhymes, Layer House, the International Feminist and Queer Festival Red Dawns and others.

See also

External links

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