The 26th Biennial of Graphic Arts was conceived as a process that began with a symposium in December 2004. Curators from invited institutions, theoreticians and artists participated and discussed issues and dilemmas of the position and development of graphic artmaking. The symposium was divided into several thematic sections, representing activities in the field of contemporary printmaking. In the introductory part, the artistic director of the Graphic Biennial, Jure Mikuž, gave an overview of what was happening in contemporary graphic production and pointed out the dilemmas and problems of printmaking at that time. In the second introductory lecture, Laura Safred, professor at the Accademia di Belle Arti in Urbino, spoke about form and function, between which contemporary printmaking is caught.
The first thematic section attempted to answer the question of what role graphic biennials and triennials play in the multitude of different art events. It presented their characteristics, explained the purpose of organising such exhibitions and pointed out possible development guidelines and challenges arising from new artistic initiatives and the use of modern technologies. Vivre Lilja (Graphica Creativa kansainvälinen taidegrafiikan triennaali, Jyväskylä, Finland), Eve Kask (Tallinna Graafikatriennaal, Tallinn, Estonia), Plamena Račeva (Meždunarodno trienale na grafikata, Sofia, Bulgaria), Wan-Ju Wang (National Taiwan Museum of Fine Arts, Taiwan), Tomasz Gryglewicz (Medzynarodowe triennale grafiki w Krakowie, Poland), Vladimir Nazanski (Novosibirskaja Biennale sovremennoy grafiki, Novosibirsk, Russia), Sawako Ogiwara (Sezon Museum of Modern Art, Japan), Yusuf (Bharat Bhavan International Print Biennial, Bhopal, India), Medhat Nasr Ali (Egyptian International Print Triennial, Giza, Egypt) and a representative of the San Juan Poly/Graphic Triennial: Latin America and the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, presented their activities in this context.
The second thematic section discussed the role of printmaking workshops, presented their programmes and content priorities. An attempt was made to explain the criteria by which artists are selected to work in printmaking workshops. The importance of the circulation of graphic works and their influence on the art market was also discussed. The second section included Javier Blas and Maria Zozaya (Calcografía Nacional, Real Academia de Bellas Artes de San Fernando, Madrid, Spain), Luigi Ficacci (Istituto Nazionale per la Grafica, Rome, Italy), Alicia Candiani (Proyecto’ace, Buenos Aires, Argentina) and Božidar Zrinski (International Centre of Graphic Arts, Ljubljana, Slovenia).
The third thematic section was devoted to presentations by Slovenian artists and their reflections on the significance of the graphic arts in Slovenian art after the Second World War from the perspective of their own art practice. Leon Zakrajšek, Damijan Kracina and Zora Stančič participated.
The final thematic section of the symposium was intended to present the emergence and development of print collections, various collection and exhibition policies, and their role in the establishment of art institutions. Laure Beaumont-Maillet (Bibliothèque nationale de France, Paris, France), Marilyn Kushner (Brooklyn Museum of Art, New York, USA) and Wendy Weitman (Museum of Modern Art, New York, USA) took part in this section.