• Structures of Thought
    26 Oct − 8 Dec 2018

    Structura Gallery, Sofia Curated by: Walter Seidl, in collaboration with Maria Vassileva Loan by Kontakt: VALIE EXPORT, Syntagma, 1983 Artists: Sabine Bitter / Helmut Weber, VALIE EXPORT, Sonja Gangl, Maria Hahnenkamp, Christoph Weber, Franz West, Heimo Zobernig The exhibition project “Structures of Thought” deals with artistic representations, which tackle the concept of structure in both a formalist and conceptual way. The exhibition raises the question of how bodily and architectural confinements intertwine in a manner that deals with the conditions of society and the given structures of space, which modernism and its continuing reflections have tackled for more than a century. The artists analyze the notion of how the relationship between the individual and space reverberates in a variety of media to counterbalance standardizing social and spatial codes.


Julije Knifer

In the 1960s, aiming at the anti-painting, Julije Knifer created minimal means of expression using the method of reduction and, accordingly, chose a meander as a definitive form of his paintings. He used black-and-white contrasts, relations between the verticals and the horizontals in order to create a monotonous rhythm which for the artist represented the simplest and the most expressive form.

Though very similar, Knifer's Meanders were interpreted differently due to the period in which they appeared: first in the context of geometric abstractions and neo-constructivism of the New Tendencies of the 1960s, then their asceticism and interest for the absurd present in the anti-art of the neo-avantgarde group Gorgona (which was active in the 1959-66 period in Zagreb and under the auspices of which “Gorgona no. 2”, an artist’s magazine was realized) was emphasized. Minimalism and conceptualism changed the conditions under which his paintings were supposed to be interpreted in the same manner as subsequent approaches would reveal numerous new connotations. However, his work envisaged and realized consequently could not belong to a single trend because Knifer constantly shifted from those painters who were formally similar to him. Knifer's work is based on an obsessive repetition of a single selected motif, realized via a longer time period, in numerous variations. It reflects the Sisyphean path which he has consciously chosen, an endless patience, and in the wording of the author himself a "non-development". He belongs to the circle of those distinctive artists who have incorporated in their work their attitude towards time and repetition in art: such as Roman Opałka, On Kawara or Hanne Darboven.

In his “Notes” (1977), Knifer writes the following: "In my case, time plays no role and I do not care when I made specific paintings. The chronology of my works is not important. I might have already painted my last painting and have not even made my first."


1924, Osijek / HR, at that time Jugoslavija – 2004, Paris / FR

Knifer studied Painting at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb (Croatia). After his graduation he became a founding member of the artist group “Gorgona”. From 1961 to 1973 he joined the art movement “The New Tendencies”. In 2001 Knifer represented Croatia at the 49th Venice Biennial. 1994 he moved to Paris (France) where he lived until his death. In 2003 he received the “Vladimir Nazor Life Achievement Award”.


Please follow this link for a selected bibliography available at the ERSTE Foundation Library
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