He was a versatile and very sophisticated artist who drew inspiration from his home environment, in particular the lives and hardships of domestic folk. He acknowledged the importance of art and how it influenced the identity of the Kočevska region leaving his indelible mark through his works. It could be said that the town of Kočevje became his forma viva, as his artworks, the most recognizable of which is The Girl with a Whistle, have been accompanying the throbbing town on a day-to-day basis for decades.
Stanislav (Stane) Jarm was born in a carver’s family in 1931 in Osilnica. The grandfather on his father’s side, the father and brother were fine artists, and the grandfather on his mother’s side was a church painter, and that is why Jarm became fascinated with carving already as a child. Having finished the studies in sculpture at the Academy of Fine Arts in Ljubljana and sculpture specialization in 1956 his path brought him back to Kočevje, where he taught art class at the elementary school, and for several years also art history at the Kočevje Grammar School. He was one of the initiators who established Kočevje Art Salon where he exhibited his works on several occasions. In particular he was active in the fields of sculpture, graphics and drawing. He has received numerous awards and honorary titles for his work.
After returning to Kočevje, Stane Jarm first devoted himself to producing clay statues and he soon dedicated himself wholeheartedly to wood. He first worked it with a chisel and he moved on to using an axe and later a chainsaw that was to become his main tool of trade. It was the very use of carpenter’s tools that marked his expressionistic and recognisable style. In a 2002 interview, Stane Jarm said: “The chosen tool influences the character of the produced artwork. I am keen on using the chainsaw because it is fast and efficient. With it, I can quickly follow my own ideas and flashes of imagination, sensations. I wasted a lot of time in work, but then I wanted to do what the “free” could do slowly and peacefully. I am always in a hurry, so I had to adapt the tool of choice. I had the strength from the time I spent at home. I liked to cut grass with a scythe. I like to work with the chainsaw because it leaves raw, rough strokes on the wood, the same way suffering and hardships leave traces on people.” (Jarm in Gregorčič, 2002).
Suffering as a motif and source of inspiration
He found the motifs that pervaded his work in his native Kolpa valley, in the forests, life and hardships of the local inhabitants – particularly mothers, widows, children and people taken hostage during the 2nd World War. He was also very upset by post-war atrocities. “My motifs can be traced back to experiences from my childhood environment. The motifs I use include war, cruelty of violence, suffering of people, death as well as youth and song. This is something I went through myself or sensed it in people in my close surroundings and felt it as part of the human destiny. I respect human suffering, sorrow and delight. I would like to help to make the world a place that isn’t filled with so much woe. However, I cannot do it otherwise than by talking through my wooden figures.“ (Jarm in Gregorčič, 2002).
Mr Jarm’s view on suffering is captured in his sculptures depicting the suffering Christ: “»For me, Christ is not just the character as portrayed in Christianity, but is rather a semblance of a suffering human being … Observing Christ’s suffering I thought that the suffering people go through is similar.” (Jarm in Ognjišče, 2011). Jarm’s works are not only suffused by the aesthetic value, but also carry with them a deep message. He expressed the pain he felt in connection with the post-war events in his work Suffering of Slovenians depicted through the Way of the Cross which stands on the path towards the graves under Kren in Kočevski Rog, and at the same time he wanted to appeal to forgiveness of injustice and atrocities that occurred with the mass post-war massacres in Kočevski Rog. It is right in the appeals for reconciliation where the greatness of Stane Jarm, not only as an artist but also as a human being, can be felt.
As an homage to Jarm’s creativity, the Municipality of Kočevje in 2011, the year in which he was to celebrate his 80th birthday, proclaimed Jarm’s Year. Unfortunately the artist passed away before reaching his jubilee. From 2012, the Municipality of Kočevje awards the Girl with a Whistle award to the people that achieve top-notch results with a national or international renown and essentially contribute to the artistic, scientific and cultural development of Kočevska region. The award got its name after Jarm’s sculpture Girl with a Whistle that stands besides the Parish Church of St. Fabian and St Sebastian and St Bartholomew Church in Kočevje. The first Girl with a Whistle award posthumously went to Stanislav Jarm.
The statue of a girl with a whistle
Jarm sculpted Girl with a Whistle in 1959 at the request of Janez Rigler, the then Kočevje Mayor. However, the Mayor did not obtain the approval from all political notables before he ordered the statue, thereby the girl statue had to wait to be put on display for four years. In 1963, they incorporated it in the fount with a shallow basin to which water has flown from her whistle in arches. It stood in front of the “single’s home” for more than 30 years, but then it had to be removed because of the damage it suffered through vandalism. It was returned to its place when the architect Beno Urh created a special base for it to finally save her from the clutches of hooligans. In addition, The girl with a whistle has a twin sister that has been standing in front of the Prešeren Theater in Boljunec near Trieste. A copy of the statue has been donated to the Municipality of Dolina by the twin Municipality of Kočevje in 1988.
Stane Jarm Trail
At the proclamation of Jarm’s year (2011), the Municipality of Kočevje or the Kočevje Provincial Museum also designed a project for the arrangement of the Stane Jarm Trail. They prepared a leaflet with a trail map and descriptions of twelve public Jarm’s statues. Nine of them are situated in the town of Kočevje and the rest can be found in three locations outside the town. The more curious can venture a little further off to see Jarm’s works in Kočevska Reka and Osilnica. The show covering the Stane Jarm Trail was prepared by TV Kočevje.
– Blatnik, S. Stane Jarm: Akademski kipar. Diplomska naloga. Ljubljana: Univerza Edvarda Kardelja v Ljubljani, Pedagoška akademija v Ljubljani, 1983.
– Gregorčič, I., V lesu lahko zašepeta in zašumi ves gozd: Pogovor z akademskim kiparjem Stanetom Jarmom. Rast, št. 1(79), feb. 2002.
– Jarm, S. in Urh, B. Mestni vodnjak Kočevje. Kočevje: Občina Kočevje, 1996.
– Kovačič, N. Spomeniki Staneta Jarma na Kočevskem. V: Stane Jarm – kipar, 2012, str. 78–109. – Kovačič, N. Pot Staneta Jarma: The Stane Jarm path. Kočevje: Občina Kočevje, 2014.
– Kozina, G., Mignacca, A. in Benčič Serio, F. Projekt Deklica s piščalko: šolsko leto 2013-2014 = Progetto La ragazza con il flauto: anno scolastico [2013-2014]. Boljunec; Boršt; Pesek: Celodnevna osnovna šola s slovenskim učnim jezikom “Fran Venturini”, 2014.
– K.R. Umrl je Stane Jarm: Umrl je akademski kipar Stane Jarm (r. 1931), častni občan Kočevja in ribniške občine. Delo(online). Ljubljana, 3.10.2011 (citirano 10.10.2017) Dostopno na: http://www.delo.si/kultura/dediscina/umrl-je-stane- jarm.html.
– Ognjišče. Kipar Stane Jarm. Ognjišče (online). 11.2011 (citirano 10.10.2017) Dostopno na: http://revija.ognjisce.si/revija-ognjisce/67-pricevanje/2354- kipar-stane-jarm.
– Uredništvo. Slovo Stanislava Jarma. E-Utrip (online). Kočevje, 3. 10. 2011 (citirano 10.10.2017) Dostopno na: https://www.e-utrip.si/slovo-stanislava- jarma/.
– Pinter, Tihomir (2000). Stane Jarm. URN:NBN:SI:IMG-46S0CU93 from http://www.dlib.si.
Do you want to learn more about the wider Kočevska (Gottschee) area? Read also: A bow to Nature: The Krokar Primeval Forest.