International Symposium of Sculptors: Art & Nature | Forma viva workshop in Seča near Portorose | 

25.9.–28.10.2023 |

Sculptors: Ištvan Išt Huzjan (Slovenia), Emma Jääskeläinen (Finland)

Ištvan Išt Huzjan

Photo: Magdalena Strnisa

The worksite of the sculptural symposium FORMA VIVA PORTOROŽ on the Seča peninsula came to life on Monday, September 25, 2023. This time around, two artists, Ištvan Išt Huzjan from Slovenia and Emma Jääskeläinen from Finland, are grappling with the mighty blocks of Istrian Kanfanar stone – the Istrian yellow. This year's international art event was made possible by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Slovenia and two coastal municipalities: Piran and Ankaran.

The Portorose symposium, which boasts a sixty-year tradition, offers artists from all over the world a rare opportunity to work with large formats of the given sculpting material- stone. Since the very beginning, it has been extracted from quarries in Croatia. Apart from the social aspect, the experience of creating outdoors, in a natural environment and for known final locations is particularly interesting for the selected participants of the biennial meetings.

Since the spatial capacities of the Seča park have been exhausted over time, new sculptures have been entering urban cores, green areas and parks in coastal cities of Istria in recent years. In the increasingly tense atmosphere of modern people's ecological preoccupations, urban landscapes and green oases become spaces for modern questions about the environment, about a more responsible and respectful relationship of man to nature. This is why this year's symposium maintains the theme of the relationship between art and nature, which was set two years ago. This binomial, which has characterized the art theories and practices of all times, remains a source of inspiration for the statements of contemporary visual artists. Ištvan Huzjan (Slovenia) and Emma Jääskeläinen (Finland) are among those representatives of the younger generation who understand the vocation of a contemporary artist in the context of conscious social action. For many years, the authors have been actively present in their home countries and in the international art scene.

The symposium, with an indispensable personal engagement of the OGP collective and external professional collaborators, takes place under the guidance of the Piran Coastal Galleries’ curator dr. Majda Božeglav Japelj. This year's event and all accompanying activities are also taking place in cooperation with many partners: Vinakoper, the Public Company Okolje Piran, the Community of Italians Giuseppe Tartini Piran, CAN and the Cultural Club/Circolo culturale Il Faro Reana del Rojale, the organizer of the sculpture symposium in Vergnacco in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. This year's assistants at the symposium, two stone masters, are also from here: Pablo Augusto Garelli and Franco Cadeddu.

During the month of intense sculpting activity at the Forma viva workshop in Portorose, a content-rich accompanying program will take place.

As usual, a large part of the attention will be devoted to didactic activities for all age groups. Together with academic sculptor Tia Avsec, they will be organized by the PCG’s curator Ana Papež ( It will be particularly interesting to watch live the cleaning process of the selected sculptures in the park, which will be carried out by the restorer Rok Pahor. With this, we want to encourage interest in the sculpture symposium, the collection of outdoor sculptures and the stone material from which they were created.

On the occasion of the Piran Municipality holiday, an informal gathering with sculptors and organizers called A DAY IN THE PARK will be held at the FV worksite on Friday, October 13, 2023, at 12 o'clock. Traditionally, the ceremonial CONCLUSION OF FORMA VIVA also takes place at the FV worksite, which this time around will be on Saturday, 28/10/2023, at 12 o'clock

At that time, a publication with information about the sculpture event and related events will also be available.

In accordance with the vision of the organizer of the symposium and manager of the park of stone sculptures in Seča, OGP, new sculptures have been entering urban centers, green areas and parks of coastal cities for more than a decade. There are also spaces that are not urban, but are still subject to human intervention, or are becoming the subject of long-term municipal spatial plans. All with the aims of creating a more environmentally balanced environment, where works of art become a generator of a new collective consciousness about a more respectful relationship between humans and nature, enabling the revitalization of selected locations and encouraging the active experience of the coexistence of different generations.

Emma Jääskeläinen (Espoo, 1988) graduated at the Academy of Fine Arts of the University of the Arts Helsinki in 2018. Her work has most recently featured at the Rauma Triennale in 2019 and in Raatihuoneen galleria in Turku and HAM Gallery in Helsinki in 2018. In 2022, she was named  Artist of the Year and received the prestigious National Award for Young Authors. She is known for her massive monumental stone sculptures made from classic stone materials such as granite, marble and travertine, but also fragile structures such as wool and elements from the everyday environment, which she interprets in the language of contemporary art. She had the opportunity to exhibit her works at solo and group exhibitions in Finnland and on the international art stage. Artist is living and working in Espoo in Finland.

Ištvan Išt Huzjan (Ljubljana, 1981) graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts in Venice in 2005. He later trained at the State Academy of Visual Arts in Amsterdam, Changdong in Seoul, Antwerp and New York. In 2006, he founded his own publishing house for artist's books, 21st Century Books. In 2013, he received the Fernand Baudin Prize in Belgium and two years later the Grand Jury Prize at the 31st Graphic Biennale in Ljubljana. The personal artistic poetics of this creator, which is realized in various media, artist's books and performative practices, is based on the research of personal life, and the appropriation of the past, which is always connected to the present. He exhibited independently and in groups at home and abroad, including in 2008 at the Meduza Gallery in Koper. He lives and works in Ljubljana.

The events of the symposium from September 25 to October 28, 2023 will be accompanied by a diverse itinerary of events created in cooperation with many partners, economic actors and local communities. As usual, this time too there will be various didactic activities for all age groups. The program will include stone shaping labs where participants will be introduced to carving tools and techniques under the guidance of sculptors.