Alenka Gerlovič in the Partisans
The world of art of Alenka Gerlovič 1919–2010
7 November 2019 – 19 January 2020
»Never before nor afterwards did I live so free of everything and yet so connected to everything, without care, happy. […] I have never since lived month after month so close to nature. I have never again so believed in the meaning of my life and work because I have never ever again felt so closely connected in some aim with such a human community.« Alenka Gerlovič.
Alenka Gerlovič was born into a bourgeois family in Brežice as the first of four children. She finished upper grades of elementary school and secondary school in Ljubljana. She decided to study painting, which she completed at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb in the spring of 1941. Soon after the occupation she became an activist in the Liberation Front. In the summer of 1944, she had to withdraw to the Partisans. There she became an expert member of the Graphics Studio of the Central Technical Service of the Communist Party of Slovenia and helped create visual material for the central partisan press. She helped to create a partisan theatre and partisan puppet theatre, in which she cooperated as director, scenographer, player and singer. She also wrote a puppet play, Jurček in trije razbojniki/Georgie and the three bandits.
In the modest amount of free time and on Sunday afternoons, the partisan artists created portraits, sketches, watercolours, studies and graphic art. The motifs of the violence of war, rebellion and the partisan struggle were summed up in an unfinished graphics folder, Slovenski pasjon/Slovene Passion, in which she depicted the suffering of the Slovene nation under fascism. Alenka Gerlovič got to know her husband, Vito Globočnik (1920–1946), in the Partisans. Their intimate relationship is shown by drawings of »partisan landscapes«: ruins, burnt and devastated villages and dead, charred trees. These »excursions« in nature were a special artistic and intimate experience for the artist. Landscape later became the central artistic motif in her opus. All the art works, photographs and personal items of Alenka Gerlovič are kept by the National Museum of Contemporary History.