Mira Ličen: Lux et vox | 

Civic Gallery, Piran |

9th of July 2021 – 29th of August 2021

Exhibition view: photo by Jaka Jeraša

Exhibition view: photo by Jaka Jeraša

Fortuna vitrea, 2015-2017, glass fusion

Moja istra, diptych, 2018, acrylic on canvas

Mira Ličen is an established painter and restorer who won various important awards; her artworks are marked by a great versatility and by an incisive and distinctive artistic expression. Very few Sloven artists of the contemporary art scene can compete with Mira’s multifaceted and heterogeneous paintings. Her style tends towards the abstract, without neglecting her figurative point of departure; the colours she uses are vibrant and dashing, obtaining an expressive outcome. Her artwork has a strong connection with the religious iconography of the genius loci and with the spiritual sphere related to European religions. The artworks on display narrate sincere and earnest stories derived from the artist’s personal background;

intimate narratives of her past and private episodes of her inner spirituality. Her creations are sublimations of her unshakable faith, her heartfelt spiritual perception, and her insights into the surrounding world, both at the macroscopic and at the microscopic levels. Her subjects are taken from Bible passages, and then reworked through a mental and emotional creative process, which translates them in simple and recognizable outlines that recall the original archetype of the portrayed figure. Every single artwork is her own psychogram, which she emphasizes and enhances through a transcendent and enigmatic atmosphere.

In 2010, Piran Coastal Galleries dedicated her a retrospective spread through various exhibition sites: Monfort Gallery in Portorož, Loža Gallery in Koper, and A+A Gallery in Venice, publishing an extensive monograph on the artist.
In the summer months of 2021, the Civic Gallery of Piran will host an exhibition of paintings and glass objects produced by the artist in the last decade and will accompany it with a catalogue containing an introduction to the exhibition and an overview of her work of the last ten years. The exhibition unveils once again an extraordinarily prolific author, whose artistic interpretations are inspired by local and global events, places, and suggestions.

The titles of the artworks of this period are iconic, as the title of the show itself, Lux et Vox. From the landscape series, such as Parisian Landscapes and Untouched Spaces, to the series dedicated to her homeland, a consistent element of her artistic production, Istrian Landscapes, and My Istria. This in particular, a series of glass objects of 2015, quotes the phrase “Fortuna vitrea: tum cum splendet, frangitur” (Fortune is like glass, the brighter the glitter, the easier it shutters). Despite the direct inspiration from profane nature, her landscapes nevertheless share the same energy, faith, and optimism of the artist towards the unstoppable force of nature and the never-ending challenges of life. This particular mystic and sacral atmosphere is also noticeable in her paintings and glass objects of the group of series Via Dolorosa, Via Mea, Eloi Eloi, Gloria in Excelsis, Hommage à Carpaccio, Redemptor Nobis Natus Est, and others.

Her reflections and notes on religion were influenced by dramatic events of the past; she visited the Auschwitz concentration camp in 2016 and went at the border between Croatia and Slovenia to see the barbed wire that obstructs the migration flows. These episodes inspired a series of miniatures called “To not forget”, images on a small scale with a huge visual impact. She also took inspiration by the Nobel winning author José Saramago, to whom she dedicated a series of paintings regarding the struggles of the pandemic we are all facing, called Hommage à Saramago.

Nives Marvin 

After attending high school in Koper, Mira Ličen (Pula, 1950) studied painting at the Academy of Fine Arts of Ljubljana, where she graduated in 1973 with Professor Maksim Sedej. In 1975 she graduated in restoration. After finishing her studies, she established herself in Piran, where she still works and lives.
Ličen masters several different techniques, such as painting, graphic art, mural painting, mosaic, ceramic, fabric painting, and glass sculpture. In 1973 she organized her first solo show, and Since then the number of national and international exhibitions has continued to grow. She was awarded with some of the most important national art prizes, such as the Stele Award, the Mirko Šubic Award, the ZDSLU prize; she also received many public honour by the civic community, such as the Piran Emblem, the Tartini Prize, and the S.Jožef Delavec Medal, the highest public decoration assigned by the Koper Diocese. Mira is considered for decades one of the most important followers of the coastal art tradition, and a key contributor of sacred and profane Slovene art. Her contribution to the cultural life of Piran and Slovene Istria is invaluable. As a restorer, she constantly fights for the conservation and restoration of the cultural heritage of the city and its surroundings. She is among the founders of the Friends of the Treasures of S. George Piran, and organizes various projects in the churches of Piran, like the Nativity Scene and the Via Crucis. In 2018 she started the project The Vittore Carpaccio Years in Piran.

Traduction by Clemente Miccichè