ART STAYS FESTIVAL 2021 | Kyoji Nagatani, Annalù, Johannes Nielsen

Posted on
locandina artstays

The Japanese master KYOJI NAGATANI, the Italian internationally renowned artist ANNALÙ and the Swedish sculptor JOHANNES NIELSEN known for his bronze sculptures, have been selected to take part in the prestigious Festival of Contemporary Art ART STAYS in Ptuj, Slovenia, from July 8 to September 18, 2021.

ART STAYS is one the most important multidisciplinary Festival dedicated to visual art in Slovenia and a well-established European event, presenting projects and works by both emerging talents and established artists. Founded in 2003, it has now reached its 19th edition.

The program involves all the main public and private, historical, artistic, cultural, political and social institutions of the ancient city of Ptuj, offering different paths of a unique dialogue in articulated perspectives and metamorphosis.


The elegant bronze sculptures by the renowned Japanese artist KYOJI NAGATANI will be presented in an exclusive solo show that will be held in the historic chambers of PTUJ CASTLE thus emphasizing ART STAYS aim to determine and reflect, between structuring and paths, the relationship between ancient art and contemporary art. 

Nagatani’s art has always held two hearts within it: that of the great oriental tradition (in its simplification, and essential minimalism) and that of the western art tradition, which he studied and loved, in which we can recognize influences ranging from Manzù and Brancusi to Arnaldo Pomodoro, before sinking its roots in the composture and symbolism of Piero della Francesca. Nagatani’s sensual compositions combine dream, poetry and art, offering themselves as an opportunity for aesthetic and critical reflection.


The fascinating and brand new bronze artwork of monumental dimensions by the artist ANNALÙ, entitled Flyingfeet, together with 4 characteristic bronze sculptures by the Swedish JOHANNES NIELSEN will instead be exhibited in a show entirely dedicated to sculpture, together with the works of 4 other international artists, in the halls of the DOMINICAN MONASTERY OF PTUJ. The exhibition will ensure a unique experience in the different construction and composition of the materials.

ANNALÙ‘s monumental bronze work, made in three different dimensions, takes inspiration from the myth of Hermes, herald of the Gods and considered the guardian of dreams and night watcher. A sort of Guardian Angel, he was the one who carried souls from the world of the living to the world of the dead and, in Greek mythology, was represented with winged sandals. In Annalù’s work, instead, the body itself becomes the metamorphosis of a flight: the anatomy of the legs, in fact, is created by the movement of butterflies that aggregate in an ascensional dance. While going up, the butterflies free themselves from the matter that oppresses them and are perfectly detailed thus making clear the sense of passage, evolution and liberation. The butterfly (Greek psyché) is together allegory and symbol of the soul, fragility and brevity of life. The ancient Greeks imagined the souls of the dead as a butterfly and, hence, the analogy “soul-butterfly”, a vital breath that escaped man while he is dying. In Flyngfeet Annalù does not talk about body, but about spirituality and the butterfly represents its immateriality.


The sculptures by the Swedish artist JOHANNES NIELSEN, who lives and works in China, are light and thin works defined by an aesthetic minimalism, which conveys essentiality and motion. Delicate and thorny human and animal bodies shaped by taking inspiration from trees which are exceptional models for reproducing waist, arms and legs. The results are stylized human and animal bodies, perfectly interwoven with nature, which recall atmospheres full of suggestions that make us remember that everything is uniquely and inevitably temporary. Nielsen ability is to leave us disoriented, balanced between the sensation of melancholy and optimism.


This year’s theme, chosen by the Festival Directors and Curators Jernej Forbici and Marika Vicari, is “STRUCTURA” and was born from the intention of wanting to reflect not so much on the nature of the individual, but on the reciprocal behaviour of various elements placed together, be they men or artistic operations, capable of experiencing different conditions and metamorphoses of the world in forms of coexistence, transformations or deep interdependence between things, men, and our planet.

Among the already mentioned locations, Ptuj Castle and Dominican Monastery, the Festival will be held also at: Ptuj City Gallery, Miheličeva Gallery, Ptuj Public Library, Magistrat Gallery, FO.VI Gallery; the streets and historic buildings of Ptuj will hold conferences, workshops, a new project of video mapping, concerts and musical experiments.

Opening weekend: July 8 – 11, 2021
Exhibition Dates: July 8 – September 18, 2021