Traces of the First World War - France Koblar and Andrej Perko

Rudolf Maister’s Birthplace
When: from 22.02.2023, 18:00 to 08.11.2023, 18:00

The exhibition Traces of the First World War unfolds before the visitor as a portrait of two creators: a writer and a photographer. On display are black-and-white photos taken by Andrej Perko while traveling with his wife Andreja Koblar along the good part of the “war” route of her grandfather dr. France Koblar. A later prominent Slovenian intellectual passed through it as a young Austro-Hungarian officer during the First World War and shockingly described it in his diaries (1914–1915): “The day of judgment cannot be worse. The old soldiers looked on in silence, glaring at their guns, the young men fired wildly at their holes, the trees groaned and broke their tops, the earth swayed as if it had lost its track. But man has no expression for what he has done to his own destruction: the nerves give up on what the dark human spirit conceives in the factory office at the hour of hell.” (F. Koblar in the diary, August 27, 1915).

The photographs, which Perko published together with excerpts from Koblar’s diaries in 2016 in the beautifully designed album We want to live, are not illustrations, nor are they a travel reportage, but images filled with the aesthetics of stone and dark-dark landscapes only complement the writing. confession; says Perko: “The idea of a cycle of photos related to World War I. has been simmering in me for several years. However, I did not want to put historical events and places in the foreground, but primarily to show their reflection…” (Andrej Perko, We want to live, 2016). Koblar’s experience of the Great War will also be glimpsed at the exhibition in his quotes, selected from his notes “with a sharply sharpened ink pencil in tiny black notebooks”, diaries. These, placed on display, together with some personal items from the family legacy, make an even stronger impression of the dark past and its traces.

Dr. France Koblar was born on November 29, 1889 in Železniki, where today he has a memorial room in the Plavčeva house museum. He studied Slavic studies and Latin in Vienna, graduated from the Faculty of Arts in Ljubljana, and received his doctorate in 1941, also in Ljubljana, with a dissertation on Slovenian poet Kette. He started writing poetry and prose at an early age, he also wrote some dramatic works or games. He worked as a professor, literary historian, linguist, editor, literary and theatre critic. He was a member of SAZU, the Society of Slovenian Writers and the president of Slovenska matica. He died on January 11, 1975 in Ljubljana.

Andrej Perko was born in 1946, graduated from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering in Ljubljana and then studied at the Pedagogical Academy – majoring in art. In the years 1968-1971, he was a member of Fotogrupa ŠOLT, then he received art education at numerous workshops under the mentorship of Dušan Fišer, Andrej Trobentar, Zmago Posega and others. He mainly deals with analogue black-and-white photography and old photo-graphic techniques. The list of his solo and group exhibitions, framed by the years 1998 and 2023, is rich and varied. He published several photography books, and quite a few of his photographs are kept by galleries in their collections. He lives and works in Vipavski Križ.