Igor Zabel

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Igor Zabel (1958, Ljubljana – 2005, Ljubljana) was a Slovene art historian, curator, writer and essayist.

He studied Philosophy, History of Art and Comparative literature at the University of Ljubljana. From 1984 to 1986 he worked as free-lance writer and from 1986 as curator of Moderna galerija in Ljubljana. In his work as curator he organized numerous exhibitions at Moderna galerija presenting artists from Slovenia and abroad. From 1998 to 2000 he was coordinator of Manifesta 3 in Ljubljana. In 2003 he curated the show Individual Systems as part of the 50th International Art Exhibition at the Venice Biennale.

Zabel also published several books of essays on contemporary art and a number of essays and articles in catalogues and magazines. He was editor of the magazine of Moderna galerija Ljubljana M’ars and co-editor of the journal of contemporary curatorship MJ Manifesta Journal.

The biennial Igor Zabel Award (est. 2008) for outstanding cultural activities related to the Central and South Eastern European region is named after him.



  • Freud in interpretacija literature, Ljubljana: University of Ljubljana, 1981, 146 pp. Master's thesis. (Slovenian)
  • Strategije, taktike, afterw. Marko Juvan, Ljubljana: Književna mladina Slovenije, 1985, 61 pp. Short stories. (Slovenian)
  • Vmesni prostor. Eseji o slikarstvu Emerika Bernarda, Ljubljana: Krtina, 1991, 142 pp. Collection of essays. [1] (Slovenian)
  • Lise na steni: kratke zgodbe, Ljubljana: Aleph, 1993, 69 pp. Short stories. (Slovenian)
  • Zabel, et al., OHO: Retrospektiva/Eine Retrospektive/A Retrospective, Ljubljana: Moderna Galerija, 1994, 120 pp; new ed., Ljubljana: Moderna Galerija, and Frankfurt am Main: Revolver, 2007, 167 pp. Catalogue. (Slovenian)/(German)/(English)
  • Speculationes, Ljubljana: ISH Fakulteta za podiplomski humanistični študij, 1997, 207 pp. Collection of essays. (Slovenian)
  • Podrobnosti, Ljubljana: Založba *cf., 2006, 198 pp. [2] (Slovenian)
  • Eseji I: o moderni in sodobni umetnosti, Ljubljana: Založba *cf., 2006, 547 pp. Collection of essays. [3] (Slovenian)
  • Eseji II: o moderni in sodobni umetnosti, ed. Zoja Skušek, Ljubljana: Založba *cf., 2008, 536 pp. Collection of essays. [4] (Slovenian)
  • Eseji III, Ljubljana: Založba *cf., 2010, 358 pp. Collection of essays. [5] (Slovenian)
  • Contemporary Art Theory, ed. Igor Španjol, Zurich: JRP Ringier, 2012, 302 pp; repr., Paris: Les presses du réel, 2013, 302 pp. Collection of essays. [6] [7] (English)
  • Ah, art! Popotni zapiski, ed. Zoja Skušek, Ljubljana: Založba *cf., 2014, 174 pp. [8] (Slovenian)

Essays, articles, reviews[edit]

  • "'We and the 'Others'", Moscow Art Magazine 22, 1998, Moscow, pp 27–35. Revised and partly extended version of the paper presented at the conference We and the Others (Russian Artists in the West), the Others and We (Western Artists in Russia), organised in the context of the Moscow International Art Fair Art Manege 97 on 6-7 December 1997. [9] (English)
    • "'My' a ti 'jiní'", in České umění 1980-2010. Texty a dokumenty, eds. Jiří Ševčík, Pavlína Morganová, Terezie Nekvindová, and Dagmar Svatošová, Prague: VVP AVU, 2011, pp 303-311. (Czech)
  • Bibliography of writings in English


  • "Perhaps it's the destiny of utopia that they are no longer where we expect them: an interview with Kathrin Rhomberg", MJ–Manifesta Journal 3, Ljubljana, Spring/Summer 2004, pp 58-63. (English)
  • "What Is to Be Done with the 'Balkan Art': Interview with Igor Zabel", PlatformaSCCA 4, Ljubljana, 2005, pp 26-30. (English)


  • Igor Bratož, Beti Žerovc, Sergej Kapus, Zoja Skušek, Barbara Borčić, "Igor Zabel (1958-2005)", Zbornik za umetnostno zgodovino (Nova vrsta) 41, 2005, pp 274-289. (Slovenian)
  • Continuing Dialogues: A Tribute to Igor Zabel, eds. Christa Benzer, Christine Böhler and Christiane Erharter, Zürich: JRP Ringier, 2008, 213 pp. [10] (English)
  • Extending the Dialogue: Essays by Igor Zabel Award Laureates, Grant Recipients, and Jury Members, 2008-2014, eds. Urška Jurman, Christiane Erharter, and Rawley Grau, Ljubljana: Igor Zabel Association for Culture and Theory, Berlin: Archive Books, and Vienna: ERSTE Foundation, 2016, 413 pp. Essay by Edit András. (English)