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  • Everything we see could also be otherwise (My sweet little lamb)
    20 September – 11 November 2017

    The Showroom (63 Penfold St, Marylebone, London NW8 8PQ, UK) Curated by: What, How & for Whom/WHW, in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg, co-curated by Emily Pethick Preview: Tuesday 19 September, 6.30–8.30pm Exhibition opening hours: Wednesday – Saturday, 12–6pm The Showroom presents the epilogue of a long-term project which took place over several months in Zagreb (November 2016 to May 2017), which contextualised and rethought the Kontakt Art Collection. It was curated by What, How & for Whom/WHW in collaboration with Kathrin Rhomberg. This final exhibition is co-curated by The Showroom Director Emily Pethick. Taking selected works from the Vienna-based Kontakt Art Collection as its point of departure, including seminal pieces by some of the most prominent artists from Central, Eastern and South-East Europe since the 1960s, the exhibition stages an interplay between these and other historical, contemporary and newly produced works that interpret and critically examine the collection. The project unfolded in six episodes in Zagreb, each iteration influencing, contradicting and reinforcing each other. It took place in a number of smaller art spaces, artists' studios, private apartments and other locations related to artistic production and the broader cultural landscape of the city. This final stage of the project at The Showroom continues to reframe and expand the context of the collection. Interlacing geographically and poetically heterogeneous artist practices, the project attempts to punctuate standardized presentations and interpretations of works that have dominated international art circuits over the last few decades, with more disorderly and experimental arrangements. The project title is taken from a work by Croatian artist Mladen Stilinović (1947–2016), to whom the project is dedicated. Stilinović's life-long anti-systemic approach, his quiet but shrewd rebellion against social conventions and the conventions of art, and an artistic practice that trenchantly and humorously engages with complex themes of ideology, work, money, pain and poverty, inspired a generation of artists worldwide. The project is a cooperation with Kontakt Art Collection and is supported by Erste Group Bank AG and ERSTE Foundation. http://www.theshowroom.org/ http://www.whw.hr/

Artists

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Ivan Kožarić

From the late fifties onwards the work by Ivan Kožarić has been characterized by a specific dehierarchization of the content that continuously recycles, processes, discards and rearranges his existing sculptures and a whole series of works in a loose system that rejects a strict chronological or systematic organization. His works are often left without signature or date; one form spontaneously grows from another; they are arranged into certain cycles, and later into different ones; and sometimes Kožarić repeats a work several times.

Although Ivan Kožarić is quintessentially a sculptor, his practice encompassing public monuments, ready-mades, performative elements, installations, conceptual proclamations, textual works, drawings and paintings, displays a sense of humor that ranges from subtle irony and absurdity to ridicule and the carnivalesque. His use of unexpected and often surreal juxtapositions and dislocations found an outlet while joining the avant-garde art group Gorgona in the 1960s. 1 Although Gorgona was not a formative experience, as he was already as other members of the group a mature artist, the time they spent together from 1959 to 1966 also marked one of the turning points in Kožarić's work. Gorgona’s elusive but synergic collective ethos imbued with ideas of absurd, anti-form, experiments in producing, exhibiting and contextualizing art, especially its transgressive ideas on the dissolution of art, undoubtedly radicalized Kožaric’s projects and his artistic thought.

 

For example, in 1971 he decided to give a coat of color to his famous studio at 12 Medulićeva Street in Zagreb, which was full of sculptures from various periods, diverse objects and everyday things. He re-painted almost everything in gold. Equalizing his artworks — including his sculptural masterpieces from the geometrical cycle Oblici prostora (The Shapes of Space, 1962—ongoing) and Isječak rijeke (Segment of a River, 1959), and earlier sculptural portraits such as Glava djevojke (Head of a Girl, 1954) — with the non-art objects in his studio, like his shoes or furniture, he simultaneously performed a radical negation and an affirmation of his work. Those elements of the studio that he left unpainted were wrapped in fabric to make temporary ‘anti-monumental’ bundles. He called this series of objects Pinkleci (‘bundles’ in dialect), and left them lying on the floor of the studio like random heaps of anonymous things. A living artistic organism, and his life-work, it embodies the idea of artistic totality. His studio has seen many transformations. After re-painting it in gold, Kožarić performed his next gesture in 1993, when the whole studio was moved to the Zvonimir Gallery in Zagreb for his solo show there, where he stayed and worked during the exhibition. After that, the studio was presented in 2002 in Kassel, within Documenta 11 and since 2009 it has become a part of the permanent collection of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Zagreb.

 

Another paradigmatic sculpture is Čovjek koji sjedi (Sitting Man, 1954), for example, became a part of the sculptural installation Skulptura 1954—2000 (Sculpture 1954—2000, 2000), in which it was later joined to another cycle, the Privremene skulpture (Temporary Sculptures, c.1975—ongoing) series. When, in 2000, Sculpture 1954—2000 was shown in the exhibition of the same name at HDLU in Zagreb, the left arm of the sitting figure was lengthened by a 350-metre-long form made of aluminum foil that meandered through the exhibition space; at the end of the show, the artist cut it into pieces, which he gave to the visitors.

 

This dialectics and contradictions that are at the heart of his complex artistic practice have been best summarized by curator and writer Ješa Denegri, who described him as simultaneously "sculptor, anti-sculptor and non-sculptor in the same time, in the same person". 2

 

A.D.



Notes:

1 In addition to Kožarić, Gorgona included painters Josip Vaništa, Marijan Jevšovar, Julije Knifer and Đuro Seder; architect Miljenko Horvat; art historians Radoslav Putar, Matko Meštrović; and art historian, curator and artist Dimitrije Bašicević Mangelos.

2 Ješa Denegri, "Sculptor, Anti-Sculptor and Non-Sculptor in the Same Time, in the Same Person", in Matica Hrvatska (ed.), Ivan Kožarić (exh. cat.), Sisak: The National Library, 2006, unpaginated.

Born in Petrinja, Banska krajina, Croatia, 1921.

 

From the late fifties onwards the work by Ivan Kožarić is characterized by a specific dehierarchization of the content that continuously recycles, processes, discards and rearranges his existing sculptures and a whole series of works in a loose system that rejects a strict chronological or systematic organization. His works are often left without signature or date; one form spontaneously grows from another; they are arranged into certain cycles, and later into different ones; and sometimes Kožarić repeats a work several times.

 

Lives and works in Zagreb, Croatia.

 

Selected Solo Exhibitions (selection):

 

2016      Ivan Kožarić: In Wonderful Diversity, Unity! - Mestna Galerija / City Art Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia

 

2013      Ivan Kožarić. Freiheit ist ein seltener Vogel - Haus der Kunst München, Munich, Germany

 

2006      Ivan Kožarić - Fotografije - MMC - Multimedia Center Luka, Pula, Croatia

 

2005      Ivan Kožarić - Umjetnički paviljon / Art Pavilion Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

 

2002      Ivan Kozaric - Musée d´Art Moderne de la Ville de Paris - MAM/ARC, Paris, France

 

2001      Ivan Kožarić - Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik, Croatia

 

1995      Ivan Kozaric: New graphics - Galerija Miroslav Kraljević, Zagreb, Croatia

 

1973      Ivan Kožarić - The Museum of Modern Art Dubrovnik, Dubrovnik, Croatia

 

Selected Group Exhibitions (selection):

 

2016      Urgent Conversations: Athens-Antwerp“, National Museum of Contemporary Art - EMST, Athens, Greece

 

2015      Gorgona Then and Now & Artist On Vacation 2015“, MSU - Museum of Contemporary Art Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia

 

2014      Personal Cuts – The Art Scene in Zagreb from 1950s to now“,  Carré d´art - Musée d´art contemporain de Nîmes, France

 

2013      Painting And Photography From The Collection Of The Museum Of Modern And Contemporary Art Dubrovnik“, Museum of Modern Art, Dubrovnik, Croatia

 

2012      La Triennale 2012 - Intense Proximity”,  Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France

 

2011      Arteast 2000+ Collection / Selection of Works from the National Collection / Museum of Affects“, Museum of Contemporary Art Metelkova , Ljubljana, Slovenia

 

2010      Displaced Divisions“,  Galerija Škuc, Ljubljana, Slovenia

 

2009      All that is solid melts into air“,  MuHKA Museum voor Hedendaagse Kunst Antwerpen, Antwerp, Belgium

 

2008      As soon as I open my eyes I see a film“, Museum of Modern Art, Warsaw, Poland

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