Moderna galerija houses the national collection of 20th century Slovene art (paintings, sculptures, prints and drawings as well as photography, video and electronic media collections) and a collection of works from the former Yugoslavia. Collections overview is available on this link zbirke.mg-lj.si. The national collection presents the basic stages in the development of the Slovene tradition of modern and contemporary art from the beginning of the 20th century onwards. Moderna galerija does not regard its collections as rigidly separated fields; it rather links and combines them in dynamic ways.
Moderna galerija houses 1301 paintings; the most significant among them have been presented several times in a series of permanent displays or as part of various (mostly retrospective and survey) exhibitions.
Moderna galerija's holdings contain also 502 sculptures. Similarly as the most significant paintings, also the crucial and most representative sculptures have been displayed and presented in publications several times.
The graphic prints collection of Moderna galerija comprises 3079 prints by Slovene and foreign artists. Some of the most distinguished names among them include: Božidar Jakac, Veno Pilon, Franjo Stiplovšek, Avgust Černigoj, Tone Kralj, Miha Maleš, Nikolaj Pirnat, Riko Debenjak, Maksim Sedej, Zoran Mušič, Lojze Spacal, France Mihelič, Marij Pregelj, Vladimir Lamut, Marjan Pogačnik, Karel Zelenko, Vladimir Makuc, Bogdan Borčić, Jože Ciuha, Štefan Planinc, Janez Bernik, Šuštaršič Marko, Tinca Stegovec, Adriana Maraž, Andrej Jemec, Zmago Jeraj, Valentin Oman, Kiar Meško, Metka Krašovec, Gorazd Šefran, Lojze Logar, Bojan Gorenec, Zora Stančić.
In fifty years of collecting, Moderna galerija has acquired 11,069 drawings. Most of them came as part of two donations, very generous also in other respects, viz. Marij Pregelj's bequest in 1986 and Mila Kačič's gift of drawings by Jakob Savinšek in 1996.
Moderna galerija’s (MG) photographic collection was started in 1991, at the same time as MG’s Photography Department. Prior to that, relevant material was acquired through donations or bequests by painters who were also amateur photographers (such as Rihard Jakopič, Matej Sternen, and Gojmir Anton Kos), and was kept among materials in hemeroteque or in MG’s Photo Archive. With the founding of the photographic collection, MG began systematically collecting, keeping and researching works by Slovene photographers of the 20th and now 21st centuries. Through purchases and donations, we have so far acquired approximately 4,000 prints by 150 photographers, and several thousand negatives. The contents of the collection are closely linked to the research of the Photography Department, as can be seen in the catalogues of the exhibitions staged by the Department, while the rhythm and the extent of new acquisitions, which increasingly include works by contemporary photographers, are conditioned by the resources the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia earmarks for such purchases. The collection is notable for including extensive and representative bodies of work by Leon Dolinšek, Tomaž Gregorič, Franc Ferjan, Stojan Kerbler, Fran Krašovec, Janez Marenčič, Slavko Smolej and Lojze Spacal, whose exhibitions have been staged, and for numerous works by other outstanding representatives of 20th century photography in Slovenia: Božidar Dolenc, Ivan Dvoršak, Stane Jagodič, Zmago Jeraj, Peter Kocjančič, Jože Kološa - Kološ, Milan Pajk, Tone Stojko. Other important artists of middle and especially younger generations are represented with individual works or series, among them Dragan Arrigler, Goran Bertok, Boris Gaberščik, Lado Jakša, Tanja Lažetić, Borut Peterlin, Tihomir Pinter, Tone Rački, Bojan Radovič, Klavdij Sluban, Aleksandra Vajd and others who have contributed to the treasury of photography in Slovenia. Most of the holdings of the photographic collection have been digitized, while the prints and the negatives are kept in accordance with current museum standards.
MEDIA ART, VIDEO INTERNET PROJECTS
A collection of new media art is currently taking shape through acquisition of video works, films, moving pictures installations, and Internet projects. It already comprises representative works that are good examples of the development of media art in Slovenia and present, despite their relatively small number, a varied picture in terms of generation, expression and technological approach.
Collection of other nations from the former Yugoslav republic
Moderna galerija also houses a collection of 136 works (paintings, sculptures, graphic prints) of 20th century artists from the other regions of former Yugoslavia. The collection includes also important works by artists like Jovan Bijelić, Dušan Džamonja, Oton Gliha, Ljubo Ivančić, Frano Kršinić, Petar Lubarda, Nikola Martinoski, Ivan Meštrović, Peđa Milosavljević, Milo Milunović, Frano Šimunović, Miroslav Šutej, Marino Tartaglia, Rudolf Valdec, Vladimir Veličković in Lazar Vozarević.
The international collection Arteast 2000+ is based on dialogue between works by key artists from the East and the West, and presents a series of important artists from Eastern Europe who had been unknown or overlooked for a long time. Moderna galerija does not regard its collections as rigidly separated fields; it rather links and combines them in dynamic ways.
Moderna galerija was the first institution in Europe to start systematically collecting works by Eastern European artists and rewriting the history of postwar art. The international collection Arteast 2000+ began to take shape in the 1990s under the curatorship of Moderna galerija director Zdenka Badovinac and advisors Viktor Misiano, Piotr Piotrowski, Harald Szeemann, and Igor Zabel. Before starting this collection, Moderna galerija had systematically collected only works by Slovenian artists, modern and contemporary. The new social and political circumstances created a pressing need for a collection of works by international artists as well, and for the work of the institution to generally become more internationally oriented.
Fundamentally, the collection Arteast 2000+ is based on works by Eastern European neo-avant-garde artists, but it also includes a number of works by prominent Western artists which were acquired in the 1990s, while Moderna galerija was intensely forging international links; some of them were purchased at the beginning of this decade, simultaneously with the majority of the other works. The purpose of the collection Arteast 2000+ is to create a dialogue between Eastern and other spaces; its first public presentation in 2000 was thus entitled "The Art of Eastern Europe in Dialogue with the West."
The collection was inaugurated in 2000 in an unrenovated, ex-army-barracks building in Metelkova Street which Moderna galerija had just been allotted. The event coincided with the Ljubljana edition of Manifesta that year and enthused both the local and international public. Since then the collection has traveled extensively in a variety of selections, while individual works from it are often included in international exhibitions worldwide.
Currently, Moderna galerija is reorganizing its work into two sections: a museum of modern art and a museum of contemporary art. The latter will be housed in the building at Metelkova Street 22, which is to be renovated in 2010; the Arteast 2000+ collection will be permanently displayed there. Since the conception of this collection, Moderna galerija has started a series of so-called Arteast Exhibitions, which focus, just like the collection, on the various processes of redefining history (Form-Specific, 2003; 7 Sins: Ljubljana - Moscow, 1995; Interrupted Histories, 2006; Arteast 2000+23, 2006; Schengen Women, 2008).
Digitising Ideas was a project for digitation of archives of conceptual and neo-avantguard artistic practices between 2011 and 2012 joining several museums from the former East: Museum of Modern Art (Ljubljana, Slovenia), Museum for Contemporary Art (Zagreb, Croatia), The Museum of Contemporary Art of Vojvodina (Novi Sad, Serbia) and Museum for Modern Art (Warsaw, Poland). In the framework of the project Museum of Modern Art Ljubljana digitised and cataloged 477 pieces of archival materials by OHO artistic group.