The grand opening of Cukrarna Gallery, the biggest gallery in Ljubljana

Published: 23.9.2021

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The grand opening of Cukrarna Gallery, the biggest gallery in Ljubljana

With the renovation of Cukrarna, a former sugar refinery, Ljubljana has gained a new space that serves both as a breathtaking venue and a new cultural hub.

The grand opening of Cukrarna Gallery, the biggest gallery in Ljubljana

The Slovenian capital, Ljubljana, has gained a new venue and space for exhibiting contemporary art. Working with artists and other stakeholders from Slovenia and beyond, and fostering longer-term participation and interaction, their main aim is to become a new cultural hub and a contemporary art institution. 

Cukrarna began life in 1828 as a sugar refinery and by the mid-19th century grew into the biggest sugar refinery in the Austro-Hungarian empire. Its fate was sealed on 25 August 1858, when a devastating fire broke out and put an end to sugar production in Ljubljana. Afterwards, the building was home to soldiers and factory workers, sometimes both at the same time. Poorer Ljubljanans also moved there in large numbers, especially after the Easter 1895 earthquake.

Those who found a new home in the building also included famous Slovenian writers, Dragotin Kette and Josip Murn, while their friends, including Ivan Cankar, Oton Župančič and other writers, frequently met or even stayed there on occasion. These writers, who will be forever associated with the genre of Slovenian modernism, were Cukrarna’s most famous residents, and in their works they left remarkable testimonies about the building and its occupants. 

In 2008, the City of Ljubljana purchased the building and in 2018 renovation works began.

Cukrarna today, in numbers:

  • 366 windows
  • 5679 m2 
  • 1828 year of construction
  • 1858 closure of the factory due to fire
  • 2018 start of the renovation works
  • Project value: € 23.2 million
  • 4 galleries and 1 multipurpose space
  • A basement was dug 6.8 meters deep
  • 10,000 circles were cut in a wall wrap
  • it can host up to 1000 guests
  • 15 artists have participated in the first exhibition: The wonderfullness of memory

Source: Official website of Cukrarna.

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