Cultural artistic association Mreža (KUD Mreža) is the formal successor of the Network for Metelkova, whose members and supporters occupied the vacant Jugoslavian People's Army barracks on Metelkova Street in Ljubljana in 1993. Since its foundation in 1997, the KUD Mreža has been working to improve the infrastructure and production conditions of Ljubljana's independent cultural and artistic scene through Autonomous Cultural Centre Metelkova mesto (AKC Metelkova mesto).
The core mission of the association is to support artistic, cultural and civilisational developments within Metelkova, to bring together people who wish to contribute to the development and integration of cultural activities, art, architecture, design, science, education, youth work, research, consultancy, promotion, communication, information, pedagogical and social activities, as well as to the preservation of natural and cultural heritage. The purpose of the Society is to encourage, create and promote projects for members and non-members of the Society and the artistic, cultural and social values for which the Society stands.
Metelkova is an open space for innovation and dialogue on many levels. Being present within an extremely heterogeneous space allows us to think constructively, promoting openness, encouraging the richness of differences and highlighting the importance of diversity. At the same time, we have established lasting collaborations with many high profile public and non-governmental, national and international institutions and individuals.
We support women artists who take an active stance, problematise living in the contemporary world, the position of the artist and the art system within society, and advocate for the identification of creative solutions.
The KUD Mreža team works with women artists to establish high standards of work, to ensure decent pay and to offer all-round support to women artists based on the promotion of creativity, education, reciprocity and solidarity.
In 1997, the ALKATRAZ GALLERY was created in the former kitchen of the barracks on the initiative of young female students of the Academy of Fine Arts and Design of the University of Ljubljana - the first year as an artist-run space - and since then we have been organising exhibitions of contemporary art there. We focus on presenting socially-critical and unreleased art by young artists.
Since 2000, several generations of volunteers have organised the RED DAWNS – INTERNATIONAL FEMINIST AND QUIRVES FESTIVAL. Every year around 8 March, the festival presents a wide variety of artistic and activist events in a number of venues in Ljubljana.
Metelkova's holistic artwork, GESAMTKUNSTWERK METELKOVA, presents itself with its unique appearance. The deliberately never-finished exterior of Metelkova, characterised by artistic recycling and an original approach, offers public art on a scale never seen before in Slovenia. The Metelkova integrated artwork, which brings together over 200 public art and craft interventions), has been in the making since 2004.
Since 2006, STUDIO ASYLUM has been inviting international women artists working mainly in the visual and musical fields for longer residency programmes. We bring our residents into contact with the pulse of Metelkova and connect them with the local art scene. Residents are selected through invitations to participate, and once a year we launch an open call 'Artist on a working challenge'.
In the semi-street NIGHT DISPLAY GALLERY PEŠAK we organise exhibitions of specific works of art based on the lighting effect. The artworks are placed behind the five windows of the Peshaki building on Metelkova Street and are also visible from binoculars mounted on the nearby observation tower. The Night Showcase Gallery is a night-time exhibition space.
The concert series of free improvised music and free jazz Jazz at the Trough was organised between 2007-2015, and in 2016 the concert series was renamed FRIFORMA. The series is complemented by editions of the music recordings of the sub-edition FriForma Edition / Inexhaustible Editions. With the concert series FRIFORMA\V, which was founded in 2018, we aim to explore innovative artistic ideas, drawing mainly on the artistic potential of the younger and middle generation of Slovenian and international visual artists and musicians working in the fields of video, electro-acoustics and sound art.
Concert series METABONMA was dedicated to local and international artists in the field of contemporary classical music, and the concerts took place in Metelkova's club spaces between 2013 and 2019.
KUD Mreža organises RECIKLART – ART FESTIVAL OF RECYCLING AND DIY CULTURE. The aim of the project is to actively involve young people through co-creation of the festival, which has been running since 2014 and has become a central venue of Metelkova's summer programme. Marmelada - Intermedia Art Lab is a newer series of art education projects for young people.
Since 2012, together with the Vodmat Kindergarten, we have been designing projects involving different artists, enabling children to enter into relationships with the world and with themselves through different languages and artistic fields, and to communicate what they have experienced in newly constructed insights. One of our cultural and educational projects, ANIMIRAMO, is supervised by a film animator, artists and educators who work together with the children to create animated films.
Between 2000 and 2015, the association co-managed the cultural venue and youth centre MENZA PRI KORITU.
SELECTION OF MAJOR INTERNATIONAL EVENTS
▪ 61st Trans Europe Halles Meeting (Ljubljana, 2006) ▪ Development and Management of Creative Autonomous Spaces (Amsterdam, 2005) ▪ No culture without subculture (Minsk, 2004) ▪ Art Center Metelkova mesto (Sao Paulo Biennial, 2002) ▪ Alkatraz Gallery Exhibition (Williamsburg, New York, 2002) ▪ Graz meets Metelkova (Ljubljana, 2001) ▪ BIG TORINO 2000 (Torino, 2000) ▪ Participation in Art-angar seminar (Solovki, 2000) ▪ HEXPO 2000 (Ljubljana, 2000) ▪ Festival 'Ljubljana-Sarajevo 1999' (Sarajevo, Ljubljana, 1999) ▪ Gromki Theatre at the Cultural Centre Puskhinskaya 10 (Saint Petersburg, 1999) ▪ Visit of the Pushinskaya Cultural Centre 10 at Metelkova (Saint Petersburg, 1998) ▪ Trans Europe Halles meetings (Barcelona, Castelfranco Veneto, Berlin, Luxemburg, Zürich, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, 1993-2010) ▪ Forbidden fruits of civil society (Utrecht, Ljubljana, 1993-1995)