The Organizing Committee of the Museum of Fine Arts in Osijek

issues a


for the 27th Slavonian Biennial.


Slavonian Biennial is a juried group exhibition at which

contemporary visual art is presented,

chosen by the Jury composed of the following members:

Krešimir Purgar, President
Nataša Lah
Jasminka Babić
Matija Debeljuh
Valentina Radoš, Curator of the exhibition


The image as a virus


In today's current social media narratives, which cannot ignore art and visual culture, we often come across a mention of artists who predicted pandemics, quarantines, the collapse of Western democracy and various other dystopian narratives, which certainly raises the current symbolic and exchange value of both the artworks and the numerous philosophical discourses. In abstract paintings we recognize inconsistent charts showing the spread of the virus, in sculptures we imagine the decadence of the human race, and in video installations we seek the apotheosis of the end of the era of physical intimacy. Our experience of reality in the age of the virus is accordingly obscured by media representations of the freedom denial, the omnipresent fear of disease and death, as if humanity has never lived under the threat of the twilight of civilization before Covid-19.
Only a few theorists, before the millennial contagion, noticed a viral threat in the very way of functioning of modern society, yet not pathogenic in the medical sense of the term, but as a model by which intersubjectivity and visual culture function. For example, the American theorist W.J.T. Mitchell already in his 2005 book What do Pictures Want recognized in the images of art and popular culture a strange kind of exuberance of perverted vitality, something like a virus that accompanies the humans, defines their reactions but also crucially depends on human life energy. From lay knowledge of virology we know that a virus cannot survive outside a human host, it must bind to it and inhabit it; without humans, the virus dies (that's why viruses "like" the most resistant among us). Mitchell's notion of "living pictures" corresponds to the metaphor of images as viruses: without the beholder looking at them and breathing life into them, images and visual communication objects in general are just dead objects, like a chair or a turned off TV. It is only the contact with the human gaze that brings images to life causing them to pulsate with the energy they are otherwise deprived of.
Images are like viruses because to come alive they need a human host, but that's not their only similarity. Just like SARS-CoV-2, which conquered the world and for which we do not know why it affects some nations and areas harder and some weaker, so for images we cannot predict whether they will anchor in the imaginary of a culture or not, what symptoms they will transmit, whether they will live forever, like the artworks of old masters, or short and intense and then disappear without a trace, like screen visualisations of internet gurus and influencers. What helps us with the pictures is the cultural and historical anamnesis, but even then we cannot predict the death outcomes of pictures-viruses, as was the case, for example, in the Islamist attack on the Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris in 2015, when the picture-virus appeared in the form of a satirical representation of the Prophet Muhammad and killed those who nurtured it themseleves in the "body" of their own, Western culture.
The objective of this year's edition of the Slavonian Biennale entitled The image as a virus is to question the reactions of Croatian artists to a completely new situation in which the paths of invisible enemies (viruses) and hypervisible visual communications intersect and often exchange roles. We invite artists of all media to demonstrate the way they perceive artistic communication today when what we fear most is invisible. In such a fear, can the visible in art or in the media show the pathogenically invisible at all? We do not hesitate to ask the expected questions such as: what is the power of art like in times of uncertainty or what is the meaning of artistic activity in the dominant media narrative of infection? Under the title The image as a virus, we want artists to first and foremost recognize the stylistic figure of the times in which we live, the times of pandemics that have strongly shaken the foundations of democracy, the welfare society and the interpersonal relationships.



All entries must include the following:
• personal information: first name, last name, date of birth, address, phone number, e-mail address;
• professional résumé;
• complete documentation on the submitted work, including the technical data about the display and making of the work (name, year, technique, dimensions, exhibitions);
• high-resolution photograph or draft, and in the case of performance art a detailed synopsis is also required;
• artist’s statement about the artwork (.


Authors may enter only one work. All submitted works must be exhibition-ready.

Only works created after 1 July 2018 may be entered. The competition is open for entries from its announcement until 30 September 2020. The exhibition shall take place at the Museum of Fine Arts in Osijek from December 2020 to February 2021.

Works must be entered in digital form. The Jury may ask for additional information or to see the work live. In addition to the selected works, works by artists invited to participate may also be included in the exhibition.

Entries, containing the required information, need to be sent on a digital medium to the address of the Museum:

Muzej likovnih umjetnosti – 26. slavonski biennale
Europska avenija 9
31 000 Osijek.

or the e-mail address of the exhibition:
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or call:
00385 31 – 251 280
00385 31 – 251 284
00385 91 522 1416

The entry is valid if it is received by e-mail before midnight of the deadline day.
Incomplete or late entries will not be considered.

Please see Rules for the Slavonian Biennial Exhibition here and follow us on


Visual identity of the 27th Slavonian Biennial: Igor Kuduz


Jury for the 27th Slavonian Biennial:

Krešimir Purgar holds a doctoral degree in the scientific area of the humanities, the field of arts, from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb. He is the author of six books and the editor of four books and three collections of scientific texts. Purgar has participated in about thirty scientific and professional symposia, including those in Genoa, Colorado Springs, Taormina, Rome, Florence, London, Barcelona Vilnius, Manchester, Skopje, Dartmouth College, the University of Western Ontario and the University of Chicago. He has given invited lectures at the universities in Cagliari, Genoa, Palermo and Tirana. He coorganized two international and eight domestic scientific symposia. He is the winner of the Annual HS AICA Award for 2009 for his book Visual studies – Art and Media in the Age of Pictorial Turn and for the overall contribution to the introduction of visual studies in the Croatian environment. In 2005, he initiated the first interdisciplinary scientific study on Julije Knifer. He is engaged in the introduction of a new graduate program in Visual studies, criticism and theory of art at the Academy of Arts and Culture in Osijek, where he is employed as an associate professor.

Jasminka Babić is a curator and art critic, currently employed as a museum advisor at the Museum of Fine Arts in Split. She graduated from the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Zagreb with a degree in art history and English language and literature. In her work Jasminka deals with contemporary art practices, and she has organized a number of thematic and monographic exhibitions of contemporary Croatian and international authors. She coauthored (together with Marija Stipišić Vuković) the exhibition of the Museum collection from the 1960s to the present day. She is a member of the Croatian section of AICA-e and ICOM.

Nataša Lah has worked as a freelance art critic, curator and publicist for the last twenty years. Today she is an associate professor at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka, the Department of Art History. She published about ten art monographs, along with some books in the field of criticism, mediation and the science of art. In addition to a number of scientific articles and chapters in books and proceedings she published in the country and abroad, she is the editor of two collections of research papers, one in the collaboration with Miško Šuvaković entitled Theory of Art as a Theory of Value / Theory of Value as a Theory of Art (Orion Art, 2017), and the other in the collaboration with Nenad Miščević and Miško Šuvaković entitled Imaging the image (Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka, 2019). In coauthorship with Sonja Briski Uzelac and Krešimir Purgar her book entitled New Critique of Painting was published in 2020 by The Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences in Rijeka.

Matija Debeljuh graduated from the Department of Visual Communicaton Design at the Arts Academy in Split. In 2004, he represented Croatia at the Biennial of Young Artists of Europe and the Mediterranean. So far he has exhibited at numerous group and solo exhibitions in Pula, Rijeka, Zagreb, Osijek, Sarajevo, Skopje, Turin, Trieste, Athens, Vilnius, New York, Bruxelles… In addition to several domestic and international workshops, Matija participated in the Sarajevo Talent Campus and Berlinale Talent Campus. His experimental films and video works have been screened at international festivals, where he received significant awards. In 2013 together with Branka Benčić Debeljuh established Apoteka – Space for Contemporary Art in Vodnjan. He is currently attending specialist training at Master MOVIES-Moving Images Arts-IUAV in Venice. At the 26th Slavonian Biennale in Osijek he was awarded the Grand Prix Award. Short filmography: K51, La cantina di ferro, Obsession, Contrada, Steel city, Scaffold.

Valentina Radoš is a curator employed at the Museum of Fine Arts where she manages the Collection of Paintings of the second half of the 20th century, (1945 to present), the Collection of Drawings and Graphics of the second half of the 20th century (1945 to present) and the New Media Collection (video, DVD, digital graphics, installations). Her professional interests include art practices of the 20th and the 21st centuries and visual communication. Since 2010 she has been curating the Slavonian biennial. Her recent curatorial projects are the 24th Slavonian biennialOnce Upon a Time There Was a Traveller (2014 –2015); I was call you tomorrow – Krunoslav Stipeševič; (2015); the 25th Slavonian biennial – Borders of Visibility (2016 -2017), Ivan Faktor – A Film That Only I Watch, (2017.); Tarwuk - 20170621_141332 (2)., (2017 –2018); Ksenija Turčić – Iconophilia (2018); 26th Slavonian biennial – Flat Earth (2018 -2019); Davor Sanvincenti The Earth Shall Once be the Sun (20202).