Petja Grafenauer

Dr Petja Grafenauer (1976, Ljubljana) is an assistant professor at the ALUO Department for Theory, University of Ljubljana.

In 2000 she graduated with the thesis Tavole parolibere: futuristic pictorial poetry by Italian, Russian and Slovenian authors (mentored by Dr Lev Menaše) and in 2010 she obtained her PhD with the dissertation Parallel painting line: Slovenian painting with an extended visual status 1926–2009 (mentored by Dr Jure Mikuž).

She is a specialist in local and regional art after the Second World War, primarily painting and contemporary art. Since 2012 she has also been researching cross-sections of the economy and art. She regularly publishes her findings in scientific, professional and popular media. She has written or edited several books about visual art, among others, a study of pop art in Slovenia, called Non-Aligned Pop (2017), a book of texts by Zdenka Badovinac called An Authentic Interest (2010) and a monography about the painter Aleksij Kobal (2008).

In 2005–2016 she was a lecturer in Contemporary-Art History at the Academy of Arts of the University of Nova Gorica. In 2016–2017 she was Head of the Department for Photography, VIST, Ljubljana. In 2017 she became employed at the ALUO.

In 2001–2008 she was a member of the Editorial Board for Culture and Humanities at Radio Študent, and in 2005–2006 also its Head. In 2006–2009 she was the curator of the Ganes Pratt Gallery. In 2009–2015 she was a co-editor of the Slovenian visual-arts magazine Art Words. In 2013–2014 she was the curator of the City Gallery, which is part of the Museum and Galleries of Ljubljana (MGML). In 2015–2017 she ran the Vodnik Homestead Gallery in Šiška.

She curated several exhibitions, among others, Non-Aligned Pop (2016–2017); The Ljubljana Biennial of Graphic Arts, with you since 1955 (the 30th Biennial of Graphic Arts, 2013); We Want to be Free as our Fathers (2010, with Božidar Zrinski); An Unstable Reality: 6 monkeys, 300 envelopes and 1 love: Imperfect as Always (the 28th Biennial of Graphic Arts, 2009); and many solo exhibitions by Žiga Kariž, Viktor Bernik, Dejan Kaludjerović, Aleksij Kobal, Dušica Dražić, Sašo Sedlaček, Ksenija Čerče, Ivan Fijolić, Jasmina Cibic, Igor Eškinja, Mark Požlep, Ištvan Išt Huzjan, Maja Smrekar, Conny Blom, Ibro Hasanović, Ignacio Uriarte, Sanela Jahić, Sašo Vrabič, Miha Štrukelj and other artists.




  • Petja Grafenauer, Nataša Ivanović, Urška Barut, Kako je Mala galerija prenehala biti društvena in postala moderna / How the Small Gallery stopped being social and became modern, Art Words: an art magazine, ISSN 0352-7263, 2019, no. 113, pp. 33–38, [COBISS.SI-ID 3986798]
  • Petja Grafenauer, Non-Aligned Pop: the case of Slovenia, Open Journal for Studies in Arts, ISSN 2620-0635, 2018, vol. 1, no. 1, pp. 7–28
  • Petja Grafenauer, Reception of expressionism in Slovenian art history: transformations 1979-2018, Zbornik Seminara za studije moderne umetnosti Filozofskog fakulteta Univerziteta u Beogradu / Proceedings of the Seminar for Contemporary Art Studies at the Faculty of Arts of the University of Belgrade, ISSN 2217-3951, 2019, no. 15, pp. 181–193, [COBISS.SI-ID 3937134]
  • Petja Grafenauer, Painting within a broader visual scope: the case of Slovenia, In: Ivana Janković (ed.), Symposium Neverending Painting, Saturday, October the 3rd–Sunday, October the 4th 2015, Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, 2015, p. 6, [COBISS.SI-ID 4082939]
  • Petja Grafenauer, Andrej Srakar, Marilena Vecco, Slovenian visual artists throughout history: a network analysis perspective, In: Paula Guerra (ed.), Pedro Costa (ed.), Redefining art worlds in the late modernity, Porto: Portugal, 2016, pp. 21–37, [COBISS.SI-ID 1836174]


  • Acknowledgement of Ivana Kobilca for companions and supporters, DLUL, 2020
  • The Critics Pen Award for Art Criticism and Curating awarded by the Slovenian Association of Art Critics, 2014
  • Certificate of Appreciation from MSS (NYCS) for mentorship in the area of master’s studies involving young people, 2014
  • PATTERNS Lectures Grant, the Erste Foundation, 2014/2015


  • Since 2019, the Tiamsa CEE Vice-President
  • Since 2018, the Board Chair of the Small Gallery of the Bank of Slovenia
  • Since 2015, a member of AICA – International Association of Art Critics
  • Since 2014, a member of IKT – International Association of Curators of Contemporary Art
  • Since 2006, a member of the Slovenian Association of Art Critics


Foto: Anže Grabeljšek