Bogdan Čobal / Analogue 1968 − Digital 2022
UGM Studio, Trg Leona Štuklja 2
9 September – 5 November 2022
Opening: 9 September 2022, 19:00

Curator: Breda Kolar Sluga, museum counsellor

While celebrating his 80th birthday, the painter, graphic artist, pedagogue, and theoretician Bogdan Čobal presents his graphic oeuvre at the UGM Studio, questioning the differences between two creative worlds—analogue and digital.

On this occasion, he returns to his graphic roots, lithographs, with which he made his first public appearance in 1967 at Maribor's Rotovž exhibition premises and which were an instant success. The artist is also regarded as one of the first to experiment with computer graphics, so it is no surprise that he digitised his early prints and modified them on the computer, creating complex new palimpsests from a plethora of options. The artist compares the two worlds in a thorough yet entertaining manner, challenging the differences and potentials of the two creative principles, ranging from the material specifics of the creative process itself to the perception and symbolic value of the graphic print.

"Unlike lithography, where the lithographic stone must be conclusively defined by printmaking processes and subsequent interventions are limited," says Bogdan Čobal, "the new digital visualisations, which have built on or deconstructed the basic graphic notation, offer endless possibilities of intervention. The design of the exhibition juxtaposes two worlds, two technological processes: lithography and the possibilities provided by computing tools."

The exhibition will feature computer-generated applications and lithographs of the artist's 1960s series Breakage of the Movement, Muted Stained Glasses, Thirsty Earth, and In the Core. These were inspired by the ideas of Yogi Ramacharaka, a journalist and publicist, as explained in his book Yogi Philosophy and Oriental Occultism. The artist discusses the instinctive mind, the energy that shapes matter into crystals or bacteria, inanimate or animate matter.

Bogdan Čobal (b. 19 August 1942, Zrenjanin, Serbia) is a painter, graphic artist, art pedagogue, and gallerist who studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana from 1961 to his graduation in 1967 under Maksim Sedej. He has taught art education in primary schools, was the head of visual merchandising, advertising, and interior design at the Maribor Zarja trading company's Kvik commodity shop through 1970−75, and was a teacher of visual merchandising at Maribor's School Centre for Commodity Transport (Secondary School of Commerce) from 1975 to 1989. Then, from 1989 to 1999, he taught art theory and painting at the University of Maribor's Faculty of Education's Department of Art Pedagogy, where he was appointed assistant professor in 1988 and associate professor in 1997. Despite retiring in 1999, he continued to teach Graphics and Art at the Institute of Media Communications, Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, University of Maribor, and led the Graphic Design I and II practicum from 2003 to 2018. He has been a member of the Maribor Fine Artists Society (DLUM) since 1971, and a member of its bodies since 1975; he was the President (of the Management Board) of DLUM for several mandates, and the President of the Art Council until 2019.

He is regarded as one of Slovenia's most prominent visual artists of the second half of the 20th century. His work includes intaglio and flat prints, computer graphics, as well as acrylic and oil on canvas paintings. His research and work focus on the interactions of space, light, and colour. Čobal works with space in both his paintings and the spaces in which his works are displayed: he designs his exhibitions himself using computer simulation, making the exhibition space his work of art.