In June, Cankarjev dom – Cultural and Congress Centre opened a central exhibition on Ivan Cankar. The exhibition, Ivan Cankar in Europe – between Shakespeare and Kafka, presents a part of a Festival Cankar on Cankar, a special all-year-round programme acknowledging the centenary of Cankar’s passing. As Ivan Cankar was instrumental in raising the Slovenian literature to the global level, Slovenia’s largest cultural and congress centre proudly bears his name and recognises Ivan Cankar’s enduring cultural legacy and pursues the mission of presenting it also to future generations.
EXTENSIVE OVERVIEW EXHIBITION
An extensive overview exhibition dedicated to life and work of Ivan Cankar consists of two exhibitions at once – one held in Cankarjev dom and the other in the City Museum of Ljubljana (Mestni muzej Ljubljana).
The two exhibitions are differently outlined and designed, but still hold a complementary and clear message on the vaule and the role of the biggest master of Slovenian word. The City Museum of Ljubljana’s show chronicles the writer’s life and times, while the exhibition at the CD Gallery focuses on the philosophical an literary influence of his work, which testifies to the fact that Ivan Cankar is unquestionably a major Central European author whose output reflects the prevailing trends of his time.
Set in the space of the CD Gallery and expanded to the Duša Počkaj Hall, the exhibition offers a special venue experience, born in the dialogue with Cankar’s spiritual and aesthetical horizon. The central part of the exhibition emphasizes sixteen of his most important works and it provides an examination of Cankar’s art through an analysis of influences and interpretations, and juxtaposition with contemporary European writers. It offers a look into his work and influences from great European thinkers and artists, all the way from Platon to Marx and Nietzsche, from Shakespeare and Cervantes to Ibsen and Zola, and compares Cankar’s work to his European contemporaries from Thomas Mann to Franz Kafka.
When stepping into the exhibition, one gets immediately blown away by its setting. It certainly is one of the most beautiful exhibitions in Slovenia ever dedicated to any person. Step by step taking a visitor into presentations of Cankar’s work through wood-carved reliefs of the thinkers and artists he was either impacted by or lived at the same time, the lights behind the wooden panels provide for a magical experience of a written word.
Walls covered with his manuscripts from top to bottom allow for a walk through a hall of Cankar’s work as it was put down by his pen of the late 19th and early 20th Century. One feels as if one could touch the history, touch the writer himself.
No less overwhelming is the experience when entering rooms with installations that start moving so that the whole space glows in a wonder of a theatre. It is like entering a completely new universe, silently hidden from our eyes, until we breach the thin line between the imagination and reality. A truly mind-blowing affair, not just for a Slovene visitor who knows Cankar’s work, but so much more for a foreign visitor of Cankarjev dom – Cultural and Congress Centre not knowing Cankar’s work.
The exhibition, with all of the descriptions presented in Slovene as well as in English, offfers to MICE guest in Cankarjev dom a first-hand opportunity to experience the taste of Cankar’s word and spirit until the 29th of February 2019. With this exhibition, the CD proved again how the artistic programme and congress activity have been complemeneting each other. The diverse conventions, ranging from business meetings to scientific conferences on a global scale, are more inspiring in a venue that boasts a rich programme of artistic events.