»Each Portrait is an Inimitable, a Unique World«: Drawings by Melita Vovk

February 8th 2022–May 9th 2022

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In 2020, the National and University Library received a gift from Mrs Ejti Štih, the daughter of Melita Vovk. The donation consists of around three hundred original portraits by Melita Vovk, mainly of participants at the international PEN meetings in Bled in the 1990s, and also some excellent portraits of the Slovenian literary artists, most of which were created in the 1950s. The Library has also received newspaper cuttings, photographs, PEN brochures and similar documentary material, which are very helpful in setting the collection in the broader context of the Bled meetings, and in identifying unknown or unnamed portraits.

The aim of the exhibition "Each Portrait is an Inimitable, a Unique World": drawings by Melita Vovk, is to show the variety of (known) faces, the diversity of home countries of the PEN meetings participants, the portraits of Slovenian and other cultural artists, and the immense richness of the portraits that the Library acquired through the bequest of Melita Vovk. With this exhibition, NUK would also like to thank the donor, Mrs Ejti Štih for her exceptional gift.

In addition to paintings, graphics and drawings, Melita Vovk (1928-2020) created numerous illustrations, which adorn more than eighty book editions, many caricatures and portraits; with her works, she also co-created numerous theatre and puppet performances. In 2010, she received the Hinko Smrekar Lifetime Achievement Award.

Portraits by Melita Vovk are drawn with pencil or felt-tip pen, persons can be portrayed with a wide range of artistic media, from pencil, ballpoint pen, felt-tip pen. White overlay (corrector), charcoal, ballpoint pen or wax pencils on a variety of machine-made papers, mostly of A3 size, are used. Drawn portraits reflect the fleeting at moment of the creation and the uniqueness of the captured image of the person portrayed. Some of the portraits have already been exhibited, while others are likely to be seen by the public for the first time.

Boris A. Novak has best articulated the portraits created by Melita Vovk - the exhibition"Each Portrait is an Inimitable, a Unique World" is titled with a quote from his poem dedicated to the artist. 

During the exhibition, you can see selected reproductions of portraits painted by Melita Vovk at the NUK Café; in Plečnik's Hallway there is a selection of literary works, for which she provided for with drawings and illustrations.


 

Authors of the exhibition:
mag. Marijan Rupert, Urša Kocjan in Meta Kojc (vsi NUK)
Conservation and restoration
of the material:
Meta Kojc (NUK)
Exhibition design:
Maj Blatnik (NUK)
Location:
Exhibition Room NUK
Open:

Exhibition Room NUK: Monday-Saturay from 10AM to 6PM

The NUK Café is open Monday to Friday from 8AM to 7PM; Plečnik's Hallway also on Saturday from 9AM to 2PM.

In 2020, M. Vovk's legacy related to performing arts was donated by Ejti Štih to the Slovenian Theater Institute - Theater Museum. A selection of these works is presented as part of an e-exhibition (available in Slovene and English). In addition to recently donated works, this also includes sketches by Melita Vovk, which were previously kept in their collection, and a gift from director Dušan Mlakar - a stage sketch of Prometheus or Darkness in the Pupil of the Sun. The author of the exhibition is Tea Rogelj MA, senior curator from SLOGI - Theater Museum.

Notebook M. Vovk

The exhibition is also accompanied by the Notebook M. Vovk with a selection of portraits from the exhibition, which offers a lot of space for your ideas, sketches and plans in a convenient 18 x 13 cm format. The selection of portraits was made by the authors of the exhibition, and Tanja Radež took care of the design. You can also order the note online.

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