Past exhibitions

Herman Pivk: Photographs

By 9. 3. 2010 June 24th, 2019 No Comments

Herman Pivk

9.03.2010 – 10.04.2010

Herman Pivk is an established Slovenian photographer who has developed a unique type of photography. His characteristic style emerges from a complete control of the photographic medium, particularly the element which is foreign to most photographers working in the most usual way today, or is being forgotten because of new […]

Herman Pivk

Exhibition catalogue

Herman Pivk is an established Slovenian photographer who has developed a unique type of photography. His characteristic style emerges from a complete control of the photographic medium, particularly the element which is foreign to most photographers working in the most usual way today, or is being forgotten because of new technology, but which enables a wide range of different effects. I am referring to the developing of photographs in a darkroom, where the photographer can enlarge the image from the support medium, or even endlessly manipulate it and use the effects expressively, or similarly to how a painter uses a brush.
Herman Pivk is a master of the development of photographic images in the gelatine silver process, and an expert on the invention of this process. He is almost the only photographer in Slovenia who creates unique, expressive photographic images by manipulating this process.

At the current exhibition, the artist showcases work from two series. The series of photographs Through the Mirror has been in the making for twenty-three years, with the oldest photograph dating to 1987, and the latest to 2009. In this period, at least one photograph was added almost every year, each referring to the issue of looking through a mirror. The artist puts a human figure in front of a mirror; however, the photographs offer not a simple mirror image, but penetrate through the surface of the mirror and reach into unrealised human phantasms. All these conditions of the human spirit – usually dark feelings of anxiety, terror and senselessness, the realisation of mortality and fate – are ‘painted’ by Pivk with photo-chemical interventions into a photographic negative and a positive.
Such techniques and content, which are not based only on cold, well-grounded facts and rationality, were used by Surrealist photographers in the first half of the 20th century, as they were interested in the other side of photography which brings together dreams and reality. Processes including multiple exposition, solarisation, montage, photogram and others enable the photographer to express the mysterious, verbally inexpressible, etc. Pivk’s phantasmagorical images, full of back-and-white contrasts, sudden bursts of light, unexpected creases, burnt and blending image surfaces, suggest a number of subjective interpretations.

The Vignette series consists of eight photographs, all created in 2009.
According to the dictionary, in the graphic arts, a vignette is a simple decorative design usually used at the beginning and end of a text in books from the 13th to the end of the first half of the 20th century. From simple drawings of vine leaves, it developed into elaborate flower and plant bouquets. A literary vignette is a decadent, impressionistic scene based on subjective experience of the world. The title refers to the concept uniting the photographs in the series.
The artist selected a small format (30 x 40cm) – while large formats have been common at his exhibitions in the last few years – so the size of the photographs is already a reference to vignettes. In addition, the photographs portray flowers, which can be a banal and decorative subject. However, the sunflowers and grasses are not only illustrations of the beauty of nature – with interventions and interesting angles Pivk creates visual vignettes, impressions of nature with manipulated size, colour relations and subjective interpretations included in the image. With effective manipulation, images of plants (life-size 10-100cm) change into a wooded landscape, a field of sunflowers into a dark mass, with sudden light surprised the dying numbness…The series introduces a carefully conceived and convincing illusion, which can be created only by mastering the medium, and poetic feeling, gentleness and other impressions in terms of content.
In a collection of short stories entitled ‘Vignettes’ by the Slovenian writer Ivan Cankar, where he confirms his break from realism, the following quotation describes Pivk ‘s creative approach very well: “My eyes are not a dead apparatus; my eyes are a humble organ of my soul – my soul and its beauty, its compassion, its love and its hatred…”
All the photographs on show are unique originals.

Herman Pivk
Born 1963 in Ljubljana, freelance artist


  • 1986 Ljubljana, Študentsko naselje – Jožetu in Milki
  • 1988 Ljubljana, Cankarjev dom – Zate in za vojake
  • 1989 Maribor, Židovski stolp
  • 1990 Kranj, Galerija Prešernove hiše – Janezu Puharju
  • 1991 Ljubljana, Galerija Insula – Slike iz mišnice
  • 1992 Ljubljana, Galerija ŠKUC – Skozi zrcalo
  • Velenje, Kulturni center Ivan Napotnik
  • Ribnica, Galerija Miklova hiša
  • Škofja Loka, Galerija Ivana Groharja
  • 1993 Ilirska Bistrica, Galerija Hodnikov mlin
  • Dunaj, Fotogalerie Wien
  • Kanal, Galerija Rika Debenjaka
  • Ljubljana, Cankarjev dom – Iz kovčka kralja Leara
  • Piran, Galerija Meduza 2 – Telo
  • 1994 Köln, Galerie IN FOCUS
  • 1995 Grad Snežnik
  • 1996 Izola, Galerija Alga – Gledališče
  • Slovenj Gradec, Galerija likovnih umetnosti
  • 1998 Ljubljana, Galerija Equrna – Spozavanje narave
  • 1999 Ptuj, Miheličeva galerija
  • 2000 Ljubljana, Galerija Ars – Spoznavanje narave, 2. del
  • 2001 Ajdovščina, Pilonova galerija – V belino bi zaplaval
  • 2002 Tolmin, Tolminski muzej
  • Velenje, Kulturni center Ivan Napotnik
  • 2003 Ljubljana, Mestna galerija – pregledna razstava
  • 2004 Sežana, Kulturni center Srečko Kosovel – V belino bi zaplaval
  • Lestans, Spilimbergo – Fotografia 2004
  • Ljubljana, Tobačni muzej (prazno skladišče tobaka) – HOTEL BA-BO 1.
  • 2006 Ljubljana, Bežigrajska galerija – Portreti pesnika Daneta Zajca
  • 2007 Slovenj Gradec, Koroška galerija likovnih umetnosti – Jože Tisnikar & Herman Pivk.
  • Hommage Tisnikarju
  • 2007 Cormons, Palazzo Locatelli – Fotografie – Iterest
  • 2008 Ljubljana, Mestna galerija Ljubljana – HOTEL BA-BO 2.
  • 2010 Koper, Galerija Loža – HOTEL BA-BO 3.
  • Ljubljana, Galerija Fotografija – Herman Pivk: Fotografije


  • 1985 Velenje – Slovenska mladinska fotografija (1. nagrada)
  • Pula – Kamen 85 (3. nagrada)
  • Križevci – Križevci 85 (2. nagrada)
  • 1986 Zrenjanin – Jugoslovanska mladinska fotografija (1. nagrada)
  • Zagreb – Oko našeg vremena 86 (2. nagrada)
  • Sombor – Sombor 86 (1. nagrada)
  • Novo mesto – 19. republiška razstava mladinske fotografije (3. nagrada)
  • Kranj – Kabinet slovenske fotografije – Čas, v katerem živimo
  • 1987 Tokio – 48 th International photographic salon of Japan (diploma)
  • Smederevo – Smederevo 87 (1. nagrada)
  • Križevci – Križevci 87 (2. nagrada)
  • 1988 Bjelovar – Bienale jugoslovanske fotografije (1. nagrada)
  • Dubrovnik – 1. Dubrovački salon (2. nagrada)
  • Novi Sad – BIF 88 (3. nagrada)
  • Borovo – 14. aprlski salon (1. nagrada)
  • Split – 21. međuklupska izložba umjetničke fotografije (2. nagrada)
  • Štip – Štip salon 88 (2. nagrada)
  • Koprivnica – Izložba fotografija “Podravka 88” (1. nagrada)
  • Gorizia – 16 Concorso Triangolare di Fotografia Carinzia, Slovenia, Friuli V. Giulia (2. nagrada)
  • 1989 Tokio – 50 th International photographic salon of Japan (diploma)
  • Osijek – Dnevi jugoslovanske fotografije (2. nagrada)
  • Ljubljana, Galerija ŠKUC – Mladi slovenski fotografi
  • New York – Neikrug gallery – Rated X
  • 1990 Zagreb – Zagreb 90 (nagrada Fotokemike Zagreb)
  • Titovo Velenje – Republiška razstava mladinske fotografije (2. nagrada)
  • 1991 Ljubljana – Cankarjev dom – Postavitve in posegi
  • Aosta – Subtransalpina
  • 1994 Škofja Loka – Groharjeva galerija -“FIAT LUX”
  • 1995 Köln – Galerie IN FOKUS
  • Bratislava – Mesiac fotografie
  • 1996 Ljubljana, Moderna galerija – Pet let fotografske zbirke
  • Firence – Biennale Europea della fotografia d’Autore
  • 1997 Brescia – Museo Ken Damy – L arte della fotografia contemporanea nell Europa dell est
  • Ljubljana – Moderna galerija – Drevo
  • 1999 Köln – Galerie IN FOCUS – Aus dem Leben der Bäume
  • Ptuj – Miheličeva galerija – Likovna kolonija Štatenberg
  • 2000 Ptuj – Miheličeva galerija – Likovna kolonija Talum
  • 2001 Ljubljana – Jakopičeva galerija – Akt na Slovenskem III. FOTOGRAFIJA
  • 2002 Ljubljana – Jakopičeva galerija – Zbirka Talum
  • 2003 Podgorica – Sodobna slovenska umetnost
  • 2004 Ljubljana – Moderna galerija – Slovenska umetnost 85′-95′
  • 2005 Slovenj Gradec – Koroška galerija likovnih umetnosti – Živeti / 2 live
  • 2006 Kranj – 7. slovenski bienale mesta Kranj
  • Maribor – Umetnostna galerija – Sodobna fotografija na Slovenskem
  • 2007 Lendava – Galerija-Muzej Lendava – Sodobna fotografija na Slovenskem
  • Ljubljana – Galerija ZDSLU – Obrazne strukture
  • 2008 Ptuj – Galerija Magistrat – Fotografije iz Talumove umetniške zbirke

Herman Pivk

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