Fotopub Festival and Fotopub Association for Contemporary Culture
2014 – 2019
Since its reconceptualization in 2014, Fotopub Festival, a flagship event of Fotopub Association for Contemporary Culture, aimed to recognize the qualities of emerging artists and attempted to open the space for independent research, experimentation and unconventional curatorial gestures. Fotopub had since become an established international platform that promoted, stimulated and developed the freshest artistic activity across contemporary arts and cultures.
With a yearlong programme of Fotopub Festival, Fotopub Appetizer, Fotopub Repete and Fotocubs Mentorship Programme, the association organised exhibitions, artistic interventions, performances, theoretical discussions, educational programme and music events across Slovenia and internationally. In 2018, Fotopub was named one of the best international photography galleries by Brett Rogers, the director of London’s The Photographers’ Gallery, for The Guardian.
Tadej was part of the core team of artists that relaunched the festival in 2014 and an Executive Director of Fotopub Festival and Fotopub Association for Contemporary Culture (2017-2019).
From 2014 till 2019, Fotopub Association organised more than 90 exhibitions and events with more than 200 artists and curators from 26 countries.
Images on this page are courtesy of Fotopub.
In 2014, when the longest-running Slovenian photography festival faced financial difficulties, a team of young artists decided to prevent its collapse by taking over the Fotopub festival. Building on the legacy of the previous festival of documentary photography, the new team shifted its focus to encompass a wider and conceptual perspective, understanding the contemporary artistic and cultural practices as diverse and interdisciplinary, research-focused, experimental, activistic and off the wall. Since 2015, the festival entirely moved into unconventional and/or abandoned spaces in order to produce its exhibitions without the limitations of traditional gallery spaces, while on the other side, understanding that a cultural programme can act as a form of urban revitalisation.
Unlike many other cultural institutions working in the field of contemporary art, Fotopub’s main objective was to create an institutional support for unconventional approaches in artistic production, rejecting the practice of medium specificity and recognising the importance of a broader, interdisciplinary approach in contemporary cultural production. It spanned across various artistic disciplines and cultural heritage, encouraging a critical activation of youth and fought against the increasing economic precariousness. Fotopub’s foremost intention was to recognize the qualities of emerging artists and cultural workers, connecting them with established professionals, and kickstart, support, develop and accelerate their careers through a multigenerational initiative for interdisciplinary cultural integration.
For one week each August, Fotopub Festival took over the rural town of Novo Mesto, Slovenia. Every year, the festival organised a series of formal and informal events, including exhibitions, site-specific projects, a curated music programme and the Fotopub Portfolio Review, which brought well-known and respected artists, curators, directors, gallerists, publishers and journalists from the international art world to Novo Mesto. As part of the review, each festival edition awarded the Fotopub Portfolio Prize.
Besides the main festival activities, the programme of Fotopub Association included a series of exhibitions Fotopub Appetizer, which has been conceived and developed to showcase the works by internationally established professional artists, contributing to the wider international and local artistic discourse. Fotocubs Mentorship Programme, which was offered to Fotopub Volunteers, was established to fill the gap between formal and informal education, offering a much needed opportunity to students and young professionals in the field of contemporary art, to gain hands-on experience of working in international productions. In 2019, Fotopub started the Fotopub Repete programme, a series of specially commissioned exhibitions by the artists who had already in the past exhibited as part of Fotopub’s programme.
In 2017, Fotopub opened the Fotopub Project Space in the abandoned Petrol gas station in Ljubljana, which was originally designed as part of a comprehensive project to develop the northern entry to the Ljubljana city centre. This abandoned building, which is part of Yugoslav modernist architecture heritage, was built in 1968 and designed by architect Milan Mihelič, a student of the famous Slovenian architect Edvard Ravnikar.