Ženja Leiler: Newspaper & Magazine article and review

Laboratorium of Curatorial Practices
Season 10: 2006/07

Seminar – Workshop No.1

November 10 and 11, 2006
SCCA Project Room, Metelkova 6, Ljubljana

Writing for daily newspapers and other general periodic press has specific limitations and requirements but also exceptional possibilities that should not be underestimated. The main limitation is in that the text has to be written as soon as the event took place, which constrains the possibility for further reflection and a possible additional research. Besides this, such texts are usually also limited by space, which means that they have to be written in a highly condensed and precise manner, and still be sufficiently comprehensible. Yet the major limitation, which is at once the essential advantage, is related to the audience.Here we deal with the so-called mass laic audience that is not familiar with a certain field as well as with specific conditions and situation in contemporary art production; often we even have to take into account the resistance and prejudices. That is why such texts have to be written clearly, attractively and should also be easy to understand. What is also essential is that such texts are founded on solid knowledge on the subject and its context as well as on clear attitudes of the author. Only then is it possible to produce a condensed and clear text, which is at once reliable and relevant in its professional context. This is where a great potential of texts is manifest. They have a large audience and may therefore prove to be highly useful, not only in terms of wider acceptance and validation of a certain artist or exhibition but also in terms of deeper acquainting and understanding of the field of contemporary art and its position in society.

Because this kind of writings requires the academic language and theoretical jargon to be replaced with a more simple language, they are sometimes considered as less valid. Experts either underestimate them or even despise them, or strive to “elevate” it with the usage of expert jargon.

The aim of the workshop was to shape answers (even the emergency ones) to the questions on what is the goal of a particular genre in newspapers and other mass publications (article, report, review, review etc.) and how those texts should be put together. Together with the participants, we have detected the mistakes that we encounter in our everyday reading, and what qualities should those texts possess. The second part of the workshop was dedicated to the reading and analysis of newspaper articles or reviews written by the participants.


November 10 (Friday)

Introductory lecture:
– the main traits of Slovenian media space
– some general remarks on writing on culture in Slovenian media
– determining basic writing genres on arts & culture for daily newspapers


– how to write a review?
– analysing the already written reviews (chosen by the participants)

15.00-17.00 (18.00):
– analysing and discussing on the contributions written by the participants prior to the workshop
– a review without adjectives / trial

– each participant writes an article and/or assessment on the exhibition of Tobias Putrih, The Space of Twosome, presented in the Gregor Podnar Gallery (November 3, 2006 – January 10, 2007)

November 11 (Saturday)

– analysing the reviews on Tobias Putrih’s exhibition The Space of Twosome, written the previous day
– individual discussion

The materials prepared by the participants prior to the workshop:

  • CV
  • 20- to 30-lines (app. 1200 to 1800 characters with spaces) of a maximally neutral report i.e. presentation of an event (exhibition, movie, book…) by own choice (may also contain statements).
  • An assessment of the same event, 30 to 40-lines long (app. 1800 to 2400 characters). For the layout of articles, the participants have used the form (title, subtitle…) used in the main Slovenian daily magazine Delo.
  • The participants have chosen two reviews from any field and from any Slovenian daily newspaper, The chosen reviews should have represented their view on a well written and poorly written review. The participants have had to orally defend their choice.

Workshop participants: Sandra Belšak, Petra Kapš, Tevž Logar and Jaka Železnikar.