EuropeFeaturedStoryAnže Godec; Austro-Hungarian army complex abandoned by Yugoslav forces finds a new artistic life

Army complex from the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It lies by Metelkova Street in the center of Ljubljana, Slovenia. It was abandoned in the early 1990s, when Yugoslavia collapsed.

Army complex from the time of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It lies by Metelkova Street in the center of Ljubljana, Slovenia. It was abandoned in the early 1990s, when Yugoslavia collapsed.

In 1993 it was occupied by artists and activists. Since then many clubs and galleries have been formed. In the south part of the old barracks we can find the Museum of Contemporary Art, National Museum and Ethnography Museum. The whole complex is today protected as a unique cultural heritage and called simply Metelkova.

Building of MSUM (Museum of Contemporary art Metelkova) at night. It opened in 2011 as Slovenia’s first museum in the 21st century. It has a unique shape that interwines old and new architecture.

About Anže Godec

Anže Godec is a professional photographer based in Slovenia. Born in 1987 he started with photography in his early years totally by accident; – he was promised a radio/CD player for his good grades in school by his family, but decided to buy a camera when wandering around the store instead, later he bought himself a professional camera with money earned in student-summer-job in a bottle factory. His interest still lies in many genres of photography as he does not wish to concentrate on only one thing, also because he believes diversity can bring unique perspective to his work in the future. In recent years, however he puts his focus, beside commercial work, to telling stories about people who are connected to a certain place physically or just emotionally. He tries to catch moments of life he recognizes as pivotal, that is why motifs encourage him to experimentation rather than limit him. His first beginnings in photography were mostly concentrating on shooting village life where he grew up which still shows in his interest in telling stories of places that are disappearing or just slowly changing as village life definitely is in its core. In 2016 he started collaborating with the Slovenian edition of NatGeo. Magazine and is now working on a second long term project for them; in the meantime, he started doing other projects that are currently at work as he found out that diversifying focus works better for him. [Official Website]

Painter Vladimir Leben during a study of light for his famous series »disco bears«.

Northern part of Metelkova was occupied by artists who set up studios in buildings which were renovated in strong artistic notes. Today, this part of Metelkova is the most known among locals and tourists.

Artist Jaka Mihelič in his workshop where he welds different objects from bikes, art ashtrays and sometimes props for shows and movies.

Artistic carpenter Dejan Pfeifer upgrades knowledges of the old masters, embedding materials like rocks into the wood.

Part of military barracks was also a prison now turned into one of the most interesting hostels in the world where you can sleep in what used to be prison cells. Each cell is furnished and decorated by different artists who gave the cells new life and turned a dark historical prison building into a space for a unique travelling experience. Yanet is a part of the housekeeping staff working in Hostel Celica. She moved to Slovenia from Cuba after she met her husband who is Slovene. Slovenia is her second home and working in the hostel greatly helped her to learn the complex sloveninan language.

The Southern part is full of large even surfaces and is a shelter to one of many subcultures of Metelkova – Skaters.

Different Artists and squatters of Metelkova.

Different Artists and squatters of Metelkova.

Different Artists and squatters of Metelkova.

Club Tiffany is a gay club and a safe space for the LGBT community; One of the major yearly events is a Pride parade for which they organised a drag show fundraiser.

Basketball and ping pong tournaments were organized by Student Radio, promoting sport and physical activities.

A small part of the Slovenian National Museum is also located on Metelkova where they keep large archives of paintings in an underground depot. Dr. Mateja Kos is the museum’s curator for paintings, ceramics and sculptures.

A young couple hugging on a Friday summer evening right before the weekend when Metelkova turns into what it’s best known for, a party venue. Lots of different clubs attract different subcultures from punks, metalheads, electronic enthusiasts etc.

In the recent years, visiting Metelkova is one of the main tourist attractions in Ljubljana and it has almost become a must to take a selfie – as did this young Portuguese tourists.

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