Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory

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Contact info
Društvo Igor Zabel za kulturo in teorijo
Trg Prekomorskih brigad 1, SI-1000 Ljubljana
Phone386 (0) 40 873 360
Founded byMateja Kos Zabel, Bojan Zabel, ERSTE Foundation.
Urška Jurman, Programme manager
Online accounts:
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Past Events
  • 19 October 2019
    The screening of the documentary The Curator's Room - Igor Zabel: How to Make Art Visible, directed by Damjan Kozole and produced by Vertigo, Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory and Radio-Television Slovenia (RTV Slovenia), at Museum of Contemporary Art in Belgrade, Serbia
    programme organiser
  • 26 September to 29 September 2019
    The exhibition NSK State in Time (Slovenian art collective Neue Slowenische Kunst (NSK)), curated and presented by Tevž Logar, in the Focus section, supported by the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory; P74 Centre and Gallery presenting Polonca Lovšin and Uroš Potočnik; Photon Gallery presenting Peter Koštrun and Vanja Bučan; Ravnikar Gallery Space presenting Nina Čelhar, Simon Kocjančič and Maja Babič Košir; and Galerija Fotografija presenting Andrej Lamut, Boris Gaberščik and Tilyen Mucik, supported by the Slovenian Culture and Information Centre, Vienna (SKICA), at the Viennacontemporary International Art Fair at Marx Halle in Vienna, Austria
    programme organiser more
  • 30 November 2017
    A panel discussion Decolonising the Mind, Provincialising the West, attended by Urša Jurman, presenting the publication Extending the Dialogue published by (Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory), at Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA) in London, United Kingdom
  • 24 June 2017
    A presentation of the art history book Extending the Dialogue, published by the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory, with Ekaterina Degot, Antonia Majaća, Christiane Erharter and Urška Jurman at Archive Kabinett in Berlin, Germany
  • 4 June 2017
    Beti Žerovc presents her publication When Attitudes Become the Norm: the contemporary curator and institutional art, published by the Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory, hosted by EKA Photograafia at Noblessneri sadamalinnak in Tallinn, Estonia
  • 30 March 2017
    The book launch of Extending the Dialogue edited by Urška Jurman (Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory), supported by the Slovenian Culture and Information Centre, Vienna (SKICA), Embassy of the Republic of Slovenia Vienna, at Erste Campus in Vienna, Austria

The Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory was founded in February 2008 by Mateja Kos Zabel, Bojan Zabel, and the ERSTE Foundation.

The primary aim of the association, based in Ljubljana, was to establish an international award for culture and theory dedicated to the memory of Igor Zabel (1958–2005). The association seeks to highlight the importance and ongoing influence of Zabel's work, to promote knowledge-sharing and networking in contemporary visual arts and culture and to encourage cultural dialogue in the Central and South Eastern European region and beyond. In 2010 it organised its first international symposium Contemporary Art Exhibition as an Artwork, Curator as an Artist in the Museum of Modern Art.

In 2016 the first book within a new IZA Editions appeared: When Attitudes Become the Norm: The Contemporary Curator and Institutional Art is a collection of essays and interviews by art historian and theorist Beti Žerovc. The new book series in English is a joint publishing endeavour by Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory and Archive Books (Berlin).


Igor Zabel was a Slovene curator, writer and cultural theorist who, during his entire life, was actively involved in many fields of theory and culture – as a philosopher, author, essayist, modern and contemporary art curator, literary and art critic, translator, and model for new generations of curators and critics of contemporary art. As a curator and writer, he tirelessly called for the profound exploration of those political, social and cultural undercurrents that had the potential to give us a better understanding of the post-communist world of today.

From 1984 to 1986 he worked as free-lance writer and since 1986 as curator of Moderna galerija (Museum of Modern Art). In his work as curator he organised numerous exhibitions at the Museum of Modern Art presenting artists from Slovenia and abroad. From 1998 to 2000 he was coordinator of Manifesta 3 in Ljubljana. In 2003 he curated the show Individual Systems as part of the 50th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennial.

Zabel also published two books of essays on contemporary art and a number of essays and articles in catalogues and magazines. He was editor of the magazine of the Museum of Modern Art M’ars and co-editor of the journal of contemporary curatorship MJ Manifesta Journal.


In November 2012 Contemporary Art Theory, a comprehensive selection of Igor Zabel’s writings in the English language, was published by JRP Ringier in co-edition with Les presses du réel and Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory, ERSTE Foundation and Moderna galerija, Ljubljana. Zabel’s texts tackle modern and contemporary art from Socialist Realism and Conceptual Art to Post-Modernism and Contextual Art, particularly in Slovenia and Eastern Europe, and thus provide also insight into Zabel’s curatorial strategies. The book is edited by Igor Španjol and divided into four chapters: East-West and Between, Strategies and Spaces of Art, Ad Personam (individual artists and thematic phenomena) and Extras (selected columns on arts and culture).

In 2016 the IZA Editions series of books in English was launched by Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory and Archive Books (Berlin), the first publication by Beti Žerovc tackling the issue of contemporary curatorship.

See also

External links

Igor Zabel


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