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ARCHIVE · 2009


exhibition set-up: Petra Golušić, Rozana Vojvoda, Antun Maračić 

December 18, 2009 – end of February 2010


In the exhibition From the Holdings of the Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik, works from the end of the 19thto the beginning of the 21st century, the Museum of Modern Art in Dubrovnik presents a selection from its lavish collection of modern and contemporary art, which numbers more than two thousand four hundred paintings, sculptures, prints, drawings, photographs, installations and video works. Vlaho Bukovac and Mato Celestin Medović, two artists from the Dubrovnik area at work at the end of the 19th and in the first two decades of the twentieth centuries, founders of Croatian modern painting,  are represented with the most pieces.  The works of Bukovac on show cover a broad range of subjects, from landscapes and still lifes to portraits, while Medović is represented by his celebrated Mediterranean landscapes. Further shown are masterpieces of classics of Croatian modern painting of the first half of the twentieth century: Menci Clement Crnčić, Miroslav Kraljević, Vladimir Becić, Oskar Herman, Emanuel Vidović, Milivoj Uzelac and Ljubo Babić. The sculpture selection is an organic continuation of the permanent display in the exterior sections of the Museum: it shows the works of Ivan Meštrović, Robert Frangeš-Mihanović, Ivan Lozica, Ivan Kožarić, Frano Kršinić , Branko Ružić, Vojin Bakić and Dušan Džamonja.  
The Dubrovnik painting of the first half of the twentieth century is presented with landscapes and views of on the whole the Dubrovnik region: in the post-Impressionist tendencies of Marko Murat, Niko Miljan and Marko Rašica, as well as in the colourist expressiveness of Ignjat Job, Gabro Rajčevic and Ivan Ettore. The fifties and sixties of Dubrovnik painting are presented by Ivo Dulčić, Antun Masle, Đuro Pulitika and Ivo Vojvodić, with works that are characterised by a dense painterly texture imparted to the surface, vivid colouring and the stylisation of motifs, as well as by the interesting personalities of Josip Colonna and Marijan Guvo. The continuity of landscape and veduta painting of the Dubrovnik area, with an emphasis on colour and phenomena of light, are represented by the works of living Dubrovnik authors who made their names in the 1970s and 1980s: Lukša Peko, Viktor Šerbu, Josip Škerlj and Josip Pino Trostmann.   As for Croatian painting of the second half of the 20th century, works at the borders of figuration and abstraction are being shown. The almost total downplaying of figuration is shown by the landscapes of Oton Gliha and Frano Šimunović,   the work of Edo Murtić witnesses to the gesture of Expressionism, and Ljubo Ivančić’s work the tendency to Informel.  Then there is the Gorgona group (end of the 1950s, early 1960s),  which championed unconventional forms of visual expression; the works of its members Julije Knifer, Josip Vaništa and Marijan Jevšovar can be seen. Contemporary artists, who made their names on the Croatian art scene in the 1970s and 1980s are represented by Braco Dimitrijević, Željko Jerman, Igor Rončević and Duje Jurić.  As part of the presentation of the contemporary Croatian scene, for the first time in the Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik we are exhibiting one of the recent acquisitions, a ready-made by Split artist Zlatan Dumanić. The Photograph Collection of the Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik is represented by some of the celebrated Magnum works of Mladen Tudor, by  recent photographs of Ivan Kožarić, by photographs dealing with the topic of the war in the Dubrovnik region by Damir Fabijanićc, by the last shots of the   Dubrovnik photographer Pavo Urban, who met a tragic end in the Homeland War, and works of Dubrovnik women artists of the younger generation Mara Bratoš and Ivan Pegan Baće. As well as these by these photographs, contemporary Dubrovnik art is presented by the paintings of Viktor Daldon and Ivan Skvrce, and pieces by the multi-media artist Slaven Tolj.On this occasion, the Art Gallery Dubrovnik is also presenting, for the first time, one of the most valuable recent donations to the collection, three pieces by the world-renowned contemporary Belgian artist Jan Fabre


Richard Artschwager / John Baldessari / Eric Fischl / Sam Francis / Robert Gober / Donald Judd / Alex Katz / Karen Kilimnik / Sol LeWitt / Roy Lichenstein, Robert Motherwell / Matt Mullican / Claes Oldenburg / Raymond Pettibon / Fred Sandback / Kimber Smith / Wallasse Ting / Mark Tobey / James Turrell / Andy Warhol / Christopher Wool

guest curator: Paul Tanner, director of ETH Collection of Prints
and Drawings Zürich

exhibition set-up: Antun Maračić, Paul Tanner

September 10-November 1, 2009, prolonged till November 15, 2009


The exhibition American Prints since 1960 shows works by the top artists of American art in the last half a century produced in the medium of the print and it has been put on in collaboration with the great Swiss ETH Graphic Collection (Graphische Sammlung der Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule) in Zurich. It is also necessary to mention the role of the mediator or catalyst of the collaboration, Mr Miloš Glavurtić, with whom the museum worked very successfully at last year’s exhibition of Pablo Picasso.
Apart from in the specificities that mark the American scene or the art of its most brilliant exponents, this exhibition also enables an insight into similarities and connections between American and European art. For many important American creators, either via various influences or by staying and being present, were connected with the European scene. Concretely, Mark Tobey, after many journeys in Europe and Asia, in 1960 settled down in Switzerland, in Basle, where he died.
Then, at the end of the 1930s, Robert Motherwell spent time in Paris and Kimber Smith too moved there in the mid-1950s, while Sam Francis also lived in Paris in the same years.
A consequence of these communications was also the print portfolio 1¢ Life (a part of which is presented at this exhibition) initiated by Wallasse Ting, edited by Sam Francis and issued by Swiss publisher E.W. Kornfeld in 1964. It consisted of 62 original lithographs by 28 contemporary American and European artists and the poetry of Wallasse Ting and it united works of Abstract Expressionism and Pop Art.
The oldest artist at the exhibition is Mark Tobey (1890-1976). This quiet, contemplative abstract painter, the ‘calligrapher’, was inspired by oriental writing and philosophy. The lithographs and aquatints shown here were created between 1969 and 1970 in Switzerland, where he lived for the last 16 years of his life, vigorously engaged in printmaking.
Robert Motherwell (1915-1991) is also a representative of the first generation of American Abstract Expressionists.  Four of his great lithographs created at the beginning of the 1970s are on show.  They are examples of his characteristic and refined organic minimalism.  Sam Francis (1923-1994), mentioned above, as well as on the pages of the portfolio 1¢ Life is featured at the show with three more typically Tachist pieces, lithographs in colour from the 1960s and half of the 1970s. Francis is a member of the second generation of American Abstract Expressionists, as is Kimber Smith (1922-1981), who is also represented at the exhibition with a colour lithograph (Star Stone, 1963).
Of course, there are also the most important representatives of Pop Art, an exceptionally important segment of American modern art, a movement that, in truth, began in England, but which found its real habitat in America, and the most creative champions. Andy Warhol (1928-1987) is a great representative, and one of the major personalities of the art of the 20th century, a critic of and apologist for the modern world in one breath.  The exhibition contains his famous motifs in large silkscreen formats: the emblematic Campbell’s Soup of 1968 and two Electric Chair pieces of   1971.  And then there are the works of Claes Oldenburg (1929), author of monumentalised replicas of everyday objects like, for example, a penknife, a motif that, in the mixed media of a print from wood and from metal is to be found at the exhibition (Knife in Brüglingen Park).
Roy Lichtenstein (1923 – 1997) too is one of the icons of Pop, celebrator of quotidian banality, author who took the little images of the comic strip, medium of an art of no consequence, and translated them into large format pictures, and brought them into the gallery as high art. His work Spray Can is one of the pages of the Walasse portfolio 1¢ Life.
Alex Katz (1927), a painter in the strict sense of the word, but also inspired by the image of the mass market,  took the emotion out of portrait art, simplifying and stylising the figures, often giving the impression of an amateur touch. The exhibition features three of his works in aquatint and lithography, including the work Face of a Poet, consisting of 14 prints with 14 portraits.
Richard Artschwager (1923) is an artist who purified Pop, bringing it to the threshold of Minimalism. But in his more recent graphic works (the exhibition shows pieces from 2004-2005, mixed intaglio print media) he expresses himself figuratively, reaffirming surrealist and metaphysical themes and moods.
There are 10 large format prints of probably the most important representative of American minimalism, sculptor Donald Judd (1928) who is also a philosopher and art historian.  His prints, woodcuts of 1991/1992, are permutated fields of exact geometry and pure pigment, completely in the spirit of his sculptures, with their purist and clear forms and industrially immaculate making. Donald Judd had an influence on Fred Sandback (1943-2003), who was into not only sculpture but was also printmaking of very minimalist features. Two typical Untitled woodcuts are to be seen at the exhibition.
Sol LeWitt (1928-2007) is also a minimalist but at the same time a conceptual artist; he is an extremely important personality who inaugurated the very term conceptual art (in the celebrated work Paragraphs on Conceptual Art, 1967). Sol LeWitt  is showing two prints in the coloured woodcut and linocut technique, with a motif  of variations of arcs and straight lines (Arcs from Four Corners, 1986; Lines in Four Directions in Color on Color, 2004).
John Baldessari (1931), well-known American conceptual artist, who was at this year’s Venice Biennale awarded the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement, is an artist  who like many American artists derives from the iconography of Pop Art. His work Black Dice, 1982, consists of a photograph of the film of the same name (of 1948) and 9 prints in intaglio print mixed media in which with drawing and pigment he varies individual details of the photograph, bringing them  to the level practically of abstraction.
Also at the exhibition are the works of young artists who came into the ETH collection thanks to Paul Tanner, the new director; Robert Gober, Raymond Pettibon, Christopher Wool, Karen KilimnikMatt Mullican and  Erich Fischl. Practicing the postmodern approach of recycling of both artistic and mass-media idioms or street graffiti, they are often ironic or critical about both their artistic heritage and their own social context.  Some of them are well-known record sleeve artists (Wool, Pettibon).  In any case, all of them have an approach that is uninhibited, free, brash and fresh.

The realization of this exhibition has been made possible by: The City of Dubrovnik, The Embassy of United States of America, Zagreb, Hotel Rixos Libertas Dubrovnik and Mr. Miloš Glavurtić. Media partners are Europapress Holding - EPH-art and Jutarnji list.

drawings, thinking models, photographs


Exhibition set-up: Katrien Bruyneel

July 3, 2009-August 23, 2009


Le temps emprunté or Borrowed Time is the second part of the unscheduled Dubrovnik ”exhibition diptych” of Jan Fabre. The first part, Umbraculum for Dubrovnik, as it is known, took place three years ago in the same place, the Museum of Modern Art in Dubrovnik.

The first time, we became acquainted with Fabre the three-dimensional artist, and now we are encountering paintings and items related to, put provisionally, the second part of his work, i.e. his theatre oeuvre. As well as this dimension, this exhibition is happening synchronically with his appearance at this year’s Dubrovnik summer festival, with the most recent play, Orgy of Tolerance. This performance (in which Fabre’s partner, the brilliant dancer and actress Ivana Jozić takes part in addition to two other Croatian actors) precisely in these days experienced an enormous accolade: the Union of Theatre Critics and the Association of Dramatic Artists of France voted it this year’s best foreign production.

Fabre’s theatre is the domain of radical procedures in which the physical and psychic boundaries are incessantly tested out, by both the playwright, the actors, and ultimately, the viewers. But it seems that the objective of this business, more than any finely polished final performance, is in fact just a process of creation and living. Of the actually exhaustively ultra-disciplinary permanent work on the development and self-knowledge of the actors involved in the play, the creation of individual and common experience based on the ancient idea of catharsis. The objective is to delve into the depth of the psyche, face the pain, learn the risk of physical collapse.

My theatre goes back to the sources of tragedy, which is anchored in the Dionysian rituals, where ecstasy and desire meet with law and reason. Via catharsis, the spectator is faced with the darker chapters of the history of humanity. He or she suffers the extremes of pain and fear. In facing this suffering, he is redeemed. In my performances, I explore similar mechanisms. I attack the audience head on, travel the same journey with it. I show it the suppressed or forgotten pictures of humanity. I excite the feelings of desire, violence and dreams. My theatre becomes a kind of plague, as Artaud described it. I endeavour to denude to the bones that which is essential in tragedy. Suffering enables actors and audience to see the light, at the very least, to learn something. My theatre is a ritual of mental hygiene and purgation. It brings about a process of change. My pieces oscillate between freedom and determinism. I call my actors and dancers warriors of beauty, capable of taking on the risk within the framework of a single performance. They can win or lose. When they go beyond the borders of their own nature, they achieve another state of being. 
(Fabre in an interview with Hans Ulrich Obrist, 2005; published in Le temps emprunté, book-catalogue of the exhibition).

Work on the actual performance, of which Fabre is the universal father- creator of the idea, the script, the choreographer, the director, was preceded by hundreds of drawings, from the first summary sketches to elaborated scenes, after which came the three-dimensional presentations.
The incomparable meticulousness and scope of the preparation included work day and night, time and ‘overtime’.

My working drawings, then, present an ongoing process. I do them perhaps 200-300 times a project, hardly ten percent of the sketches are materialised on the scene. My working day starts with a long day, when all others have been long sleeping. At night, I am like an owl. I use the time for dreaming, writing, drawing and thinking up new projects that are going to change the world, says Fabre.
I live the rhythm of borrowed time, almost like the owl, hardly thinking of lack of sleep. (Fabre, same interview).

This time then, after which the exhibition and the book-catalogue that is accompanying it is named, is borrowed or perhaps – to allow an exacerbation of the semantics – seized from sleep. And in the ultimate resort, from death itself. With lack of sleep and this superhuman work and production, Fabre as if wishes to defeat death, which will come back in a big way into his living and spiritual space. As central theme, in his art and in his theatrical work.

This exhibition consists of three parts: drawings, models and photos.
Along with Fabre’s drawings and models for the performances, most of it consists of photographs of great contemporary names of authors who at the exhibition make a showing as added value, enhancing its opulence.

Not only with the fact of their presence, but also with their character of their works, the photographers who have taken time to document Fabre’s theatre, enrich, that is, enable an insight into, the complexity of its staging. Each one of them, aligned with his or her own general vision and manner of presentation of reality, has set themselves the task of capturing the fury of Fabre’s theatre. Some of them have done this with cold, clear monumentality, like Mappelthorpe, some with an additional element of personal re-arrangement of the scene (Helmut Newton), with a sense for the plasticity and volume of the scene, like Carl De Keyzer.
Dirk Braeckman shows technical perfection in the gradation of the light, in the precise and cultivated presentation of details, filigree ornamentation and texture of materials. Malou Swinnen, collectedly, statically but expressively, recalling the painting of the old masters, presents nudes of Fabre’s actors.
The photographs of Jorge Molder, technically negligent, fuzzy, are expressive and suggestive in the sense of movement and scenic atmosphere.

And all the other photographers (twelve of them altogether), whose works are on show at the exhibition, give their own original vision of some of Fabre’s topics.
In some manner, in these variations of authorial approaches, this is the continuation of the life of the presentation that offers new aspects in everyone’s organs of perception. But not just that. All these photographic interpretations are matches too and indications of the complexity and openness of Fabre’s dramatic tissue, which is in a constant process, in continuity and modification, even when it is to do with the same performances.

This is then a confirmation of Fabre’s tendencies not to leave his theatrical work, in spite of all its polish and perfection, as an immobile static dogma, a finished matter, but to subsist as a living organism that changes from session to session.

As the author himself says: I literally break down the borders or structures that I have set up in the staging of the pieces in order to produce new things by doing away with them.
/.../ I change it to obtain a new constellation, a living body, and the art that is represented publicly has to be alive. This has to be a thing of energy exchange, exchange of problems and relations, a matter of different modes: physical, mental, erotic. Then, the performance itself, it is here to raise issues, to require people to use their bodies differently, for them to be redefined.

(Antun Maračić, from the preface of the catalogue)

Jan Fabre was born in Antwerp in 1958. He studied at the Decorative Art Institute and the Royal Art Academy in Antwerp. Uncommonly widely multi-media oriented, he has been active as draughtsman, sculptor, author of installations, writer, performance artist, choreographer, set-designer, opera-, ballet-, theatre-director.
He has been part of several important international exhibitions such as the Venice Biennial (1984, 1990, 2003, 2009), Documenta in Kassel (1987 and 1992), the Sao Paolo Biennial (1991), the Lyon Biennial (2000), the Valencia Biennial (2001) and the Istanbul Biennial (1992 and 2001). Fabre is to date the only contemporary artist to be the subject of a solo exhibition at the Parisian Louvre (2008, Angel of Metamorphosis).
Fabre’s productions that include artist’s concept of theatre as an all-encompassing form of art in which dialogue functions alongside other elements such as music, dance, opera and performance deal with rituals, philosophical questions, violence, lust, beauty and erotica.
Productions such as Je suis sangTannhäuserAngel of Death and other have earned international acclaim in this respect. Jan Fabre was the main creator of the 2005 Avignon Festival programme.
Fabre’s latest production, Orgy of Tolerance, which will be shown at the 60th Dubrovnik Festival, explores the boundaries of normality in a society where everything is available and for sale. It is an absurdist satire of our shameless world of excess.
Jan Fabre is an artist of paramount significance in Belgian contemporary art and one of the most inventive and most versatile artists of our time.

I prefer Cats to Dogs

Curated by: Antun Maračić

May 30-June 21, 2009

Careful detective and collector of signs, cultivator of synchronicities, Kipke does not take even the slightest appearance or item from his daily itinerary casually, letting it disappear calmly, anonymously disappear from the horizon. Indeed Kipke will spy on his own dreams, meticulously writing them down and levelling them with waking to be able to read in their codes the meaning of events in the daylight world. And from this fertile material the author will interpret his life, joining times and spaces, seemingly unconnected events, people and things, building the architecture of his post-media work: paintings, installations and film.

Thus for instance in the film Little Cat and Lion, the dream is the central motif, while in other works the background (or so it seems) of the semantic wasteland, of the disappearance of signs/materials for the architecture of the work results in a fabric of the most impossible associations and correlations.

For example, in the film Invisible sculpture, prompted by a car crash he had himself in Istria, Kipke links up the dates and pictures from old Hollywood films and the figure and work of Andy Warhol in the film Nine Stretch, shot in Morocco, in which the author attempts to understand the origin and significance of a ritual knife of the place given to him, linking such disparate elements as the “Marrakesh cakeshop, the feast of Abraham’s sacrifice, the Niner Stretch from the fleet of the  Dubrovnik airline and the Antonioni film The Passenger of 1975 in which Jack Nicholson and Maria Schneider act”.

Don’t touch my signs is what Kipke would yell in some ultimate life situation.  And although he has already overtaken me with the paraphrase of the mythical cry of Archimedes (Noli turbare numeros meos is the name of his exhibition in the Rigo Galler in Novi Grad in 1998), inserting numbers (referring to the author’s numerological fondness of an important iconographic and semantic component) instead of the circles of the ancient physicist, I cannot resist the creation of an additional version. For to take the signs away from Kipke, to make impossible the existential and novelistic fabric that this restless and always ready observer-artist knits without cease,  drawing and tangling threads from the most unexpected places and times, would be to take away the life from his art.  Life and art without meaning is that horror vacui against which, it seems, Kipke without cease, passionately and panic-strickenly fights.  Calm surrender to natural forces and winds, leisure without pretensions, that is not Kipke’s choice.  To rein in all the currents and streams, to lead them to his eternally active mills, to patch up dates and events, this means to give sense to work and to the mission, in short, to his being.

Although basically a painter (with the production of his oils, which are readily sold on the market, he earns a decent living) Kipke is considered a post-media artist, who with his personality and not with his identifying means of expression defines his work and his recognizability.  At this exhibition, on the same topics, there are the media-wise seemingly incompatible resources of easel painting and films.  Both of these media, however, in spite of their visual nature, mediate ethereal contents, bricolages of combinations of fragile mental fragments.  In this sense, the repetition of the same attribute (invisible) in two groups of works at the exhibition (Invisible Sculpture, Invisible Galleries) is significant.  Invisible indicates the prevalently virtual meaning of Kipke’s preoccupations whether it is to do with linking distant and yet coincidental signs, whether with the use of the theme of literally vanished contents like those Zagreb galleries that were of crucial important to the artist in his development (Sira Gallery, Gallery of Contemporary Art, Gallery of Extended Media, Podroom, AM-M14f/1-Z Gallery). In the later case, via the investigative film documentary interest and the poetic surrealism of pictures, Kipke joins the act of a tribute and personal nostalgia.

In Invisible Sculpture, taking one of Warhol’s title phrases, the author at the same time includes an afterthought about Beuys, that is, the idea of his social sculpture.  Thus the system of coincidences continues even outside the author’s perceptions and offers, and the fact that in this case two fundamental pillars of world art of the second half of the 20th century are included additionally indicates the maximalism of Kipke’s artistic option.

(Antun Maračić, from the preface of the catalogue)

(Josip Račić, born Horvati near Zagreb, March 22, 1885 – Paris, June 20, 1908)

Exhibition, devised by Zdenko Rus, transferred from the Modern Gallery, Zagre

April 2 - May 10, 2009


In many people’s opinion the biggest talent in the history of modern Croatian painting, Josip Račić lived a mere twenty three years. Hence his oeuvre is relatively small, but it made an enormous mark and exerted a great influence on Croatian painting. Up to this time, the work of Josip Račić had been presented at only one major monographic exhibition, held in the Modern Gallery in 1961. The recent retrospective in the same institution, devised by Zdenko Rus, held between December 16, 2008 and March 15, 2009, was the most complete presentation of the oeuvre of Račić to date. It showed almost all the Račić works held in museums, galleries and privately in and outside Croatia. Also included are works recently ascribed to the great painter, works the attribution of which to Račić is still in dispute, a large selection of documentation (letters, photographs, postcards and picture postcard) as well as a selection of the works of the great world masters who were Račić’s models. This exhibition, the biggest ever relating to this painter, is visiting the Museum of Modern Art in Dubrovnik in a slightly reduced extent.

Josip Račić was born on March 22 in Horvati near Zagreb (in what is today the area of Knežija and Srednjaci). From 1892 to 1896 he went to the lower town general elementary school for boys in Samostanska ulica in Zagreb (today it is called the Josip Juraj Strossmayer Elementary School, at what is now Varšavska ulica 18), and from 1896 to 1900 he attended the Royal Real High School in Zagreb (now the home of the Mimara Museum). He learned the trade of lithography from 1900 to 1903 from the master craftsman and owner of a lithographic studio Vladimir Rožankowsky at Berislavićeva ulica no. 12 in Zagreb. In 1904 he went to Munich and enrolled in the private school of Anton Ažbe, who very quickly noticed Račić’s talents and encouraged him to go on working and studying. After that Račić moved to Berlin, getting a job as a lithographic draughtsman in the firm of Deutsches Verlag R. Bong und Comp. From 1905 to 1908 he studied at the Academy of Fine Arts in Munich, where for a short time he was taught by Johann and Ludwig Herterich, and then by Hugo von Habermann. In that academy the quartet of Josip Račić, Miroslav Kraljević, Vladimir Becić and Oskar Herman formed a special group known as Die Kroatische Schule, or the Croatian School, while in Croatian art history they are referred to as the Munich Circle or the Munich Four. They drew much on the painting of Wilhelm Liebl and Edouard Manet (whose work they had the opportunity to see in Munich in 1907) and of older masters, the works of Hals, Goya and Velasquez. Josip Račić created an artistic synthesis featuring strong architecture in the subject, marked fullness of form and a profound psychology in the figures. In 1908 he moved to Paris, where he copied works from the Louvre, painted parks, river bank and café scenes, portraits and self-portraits. In the opinion of Zdenko Rus, who created this exhibition, it is possible that he then attended the painting school L’Académie Vitti, run by A. Marten, Kees Van Dongen and Hermen Anglada-Camarasa. For never properly explained motives, he committed suicide with a revolver on June 20, 1908, in the room of a Paris hotel at Rue l’Abbé Grégoire no. 45.

U Galeriji

Kustos: Antun Maračić

18. veljače do 22. ožujka 2009.


The increasingly expressive appearances of gardener-artist Pasko Burđelez (ready-made objects, installations, performances, videos) are utterly simple and are what they seem to be. There will be a modest object, a little material (just enough to indicate the topic), one or two gestures within a single frame the scene of which has no great appeal, unpolished, with an extremely purposeful minimum of data; videos done with an amateur camera, sometimes hand-held, shaky, in a single frame, never edited.

Burđelez’s work in many ways (although never in the sense of making a manifesto and never particularly interested in visual effects) evokes the arte povera poetics and the typical repertoire of primary substances (such as earth, water, flour), the rawness of the artefact, the unprepossessing nature of the appearance… But still, it is as if he had primarily adopted (spontaneously and implicitly) the attribute of the art – poor: without any wish for any endorsement of the charms and power of the effect of the emanation of the rudimentary material… which were the tendencies immanent to the movement referred to from the end of the 1960s. Burđelez in fact does not lay stress upon the material, only upon the idea, the gesture that suggests renunciation of quantity and magnitude; in the heart of the works of this author is rather the Franciscan adoption of the idea of poverty as the primary and initial moral postulate. In his works In the First Person, in actions and performances, the author regularly figures on the scene in a bowed or kneeling stance, one of being racked, of mute nakedness. His face is on the whole covered, pushed into the ground or turned to the wall. When it is visible, it is only briefly, purposefully, and there will be the ability to eliminate the light after the minimalist action (for example, taking a spoonful of flour, a sip of water) is completed. With every one of his movements the artist seems to be apologising for being present at all, making very clear his wish to occupy as little of the attention, the time, the space, as possible. Indeed, in one work, on his naked body, turned with his back to the audience, keeping still in the corner of the space, he will stamp the word “write-off”, which is used when hotel inventory is being written off. In his urge to resort to art as the only possible way of communicating his subjects or his problems, Burđelez feels unease because of the simultaneous urge for non-expression, for sticking at bare forked life. Resisting conventional artistic stylisation, his works are a corrective of the social and the artistic context. In one domain and in the other Burđelez wants to avoid any surplus of institutionalisation, of empty show, imperilled content. His position is that of a lone figure on the border of two forms of being: that of existence, and that of creation. “This results in clumsy, weird works that are hard to fit into tried and tested artistic conceptions for on the whole they are still part of life,” said the author himself. In the case of this exhibition, the slender and fragile border between life (which includes the secular needs of the breadwinner) and art undergoes an exciting symbolic incarnation. Only the line of the street divides the place of Pasko Burđelez’s every day existence and the place of his exhibition. Pasko, that is, works as a gardener in the Hotel Excelsior, which is just over the way from the Museum of Modern Art. Hence the name of the exhibition is inseparable from the name of the author, it has the character of being a notice for all those who look for him on the other side of the road, tells them that Pasko Burđelez is actually in the Museum. Now, in fact, the man and artist has united his two vocations and two locations. Consistently with all these facts and correspondences, nor can this exhibition be classified as any routine event, in which the gallery space is used as a container the capacity of which, by the cramming of as many artefacts as possible, has to be used to the absolute maximum, for the purpose of as luxurious a presentation as may be. By contrast, this vast area is almost impudently only occasionally punctuated, with the indications of these minimal works. We might say in a joke – Pasko has no fear of the vacuum. But in reality it seems that however much Pasko’s aspiration is to spiritualise the space, ridding it of material surpluses, in fact with the gesture of this kind of set-up (and in the individual works) he is carrying out a corrective operation, criticising the institution (the museum, galleries, art in general), endeavouring to de-alienate things, to restore them to the source. Thus the humility already discussed shows the other side of the coin, the strength and stability of resolution. And, speaking of restoration, we can find one more symbolic gesture. For Pasko the gardener could not resist having his exhibition leaving the close space of the Museum and getting out into the garden. This is in fact in a work in which he once again tries to bring things down to earth, in fact, restore them to their beginnings. Burđelez puts the symbols of two religious, of Christianity and Islam, in the form of the muezzin’s singing and the sound of the church bells pealing, into his home ambience of garden, performing an ecumenical gesture that is more than one form of unification. (A. M.)

Pasko Burđelez was born in 1969 in Dubrovnik. He attended elementary school and secondary agriculture school in Dubrovnik. He is by vocation a gardener, but also a self-taught multimedia artist who developed within the setting of the Lazareti Art Workshop in Dubrovnik. He is engaged in video making and installations and puts on performances. He has been showing his work since 1997. He has taken part in international new media festivals. In 2005 he was one of the Croatian representatives at the 51st Venice Biennale. He lives and works in Dubrovnik.