• 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.


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Goran Trbuljak

Goran Trbuljak, a conceptual artist, photographer and cinematographer, embarked upon his career in the late 1960s. He was interested in the idea that anyone can be an artist, in the notions of authorship and an artist’s anonymity, in originality, and in the context of art—especially the mechanism of the gallery, which defines an artwork’s specific status. Four posters, respectively entitled “I do not wish to show anything new and original” (Student Center Gallery, Zagreb, 1971), “The fact that someone has a chance to make an exhibition is more important than that what will be exhibited at that exhibition” (Gallery of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, 1973), “With this exhibition I show the continuity of my work” (Studio of the Gallery of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, 1979), and “Retrospective” (Salon of the Museum of Contemporary Art, Belgrade, 1981), serve to represent Trbuljak’s four solo exhibitions (which featured posters and nothing else) and provide what is probably the clearest indication of his artistic strategy during the 1970s. He studied the artistic context in order to demystify the “institutions of art” and act subversively within the system of culture. His works have taken various forms: visiting cards he left to art gallery owners, questionnaires that had to be filled in, and even a referendum (in Zagreb, 1972) in which the people in the street had to decide whether Trbuljak was an artist or not. In this respect, humor and self-irony played an important role. In 1974, he commenced his work as a painter with the humorous action of painting on the display window of a shop selling art supplies. This event of “Sunday painting” triggered the creation of a series of objects—a box in which he placed canvases that he then protected with glass, making numerous interventions and using various materials. With his witty analysis of the conceptual taboo – the painting – Trbuljak raises the pertinent issues via the medium of painting, which in turn blatantly and ironically reveals its endurance. Trbuljak was the first artist in Croatia to raise the issues of what it means to exhibit and of the artist’s status within the gallery system, and he had an important impact on the generation of post-conceptual artists that appeared in the mid-1970s. In Trbuljak’s art, each new step is always an ethical question.


Born in Varaždin, Croatia, 1948.

Trbuljak graduated from the Graphic Department of the School of Applied Arts in Zagreb (Croatia) in 1972. After spending two years at the École Nationale Supérieure des Beaux-Arts in Paris (France) he returned to Zagreb and began to study Cinematography at the Zagreb Academy of Drama Arts. Trbuljak finished his studies in 1980 and started his filmmaking career with Ante Babaja’s film “Lost Homeland” (“Izgubljeni zavičaj”). He has worked on a number of series, feature and television films. Trbuljak was several times the winner of the “Golden Arena for Best Cinematography Award” (Pula Film Festival). Furthermore he works as a graphic designer for magazines, such as “Film”, “Polet” and “Gordogan”. Since 1988 Trbuljak has been teaching at the Zagreb Academy of Drama Arts.

Lives and works in Zagreb, Croatia.

Solo Exhibitions (selected):

2011     “Personal and Others Obstacles“, Greta, Zagreb, Croatia

2008     “Anonymous Post Post, Modern Modern Artist“, Gregor Podnar Gallery, Berlin, Germany

2005     “Goran Trbuljak“, Rigo Gallery, Novigrad, Croatia

Group Exhibitions (selected):

2011     “About Painting“, abc art berlin contemporary, Berlin, Germany

2010     “The Promises of the Past. A Discontinuous History of Art in Eastern Europe“, Centre Pompidou, Paris, France

2009     “The Death of the Audience“, Vienna Secession, Vienna, Austria

2008     “Bit international. (Nove) Tendencije“, ZKM Center for Art and Media Karlsruhe, Karlsruhe, Germany

2007     “On Unknown Works“, Škuc Gallery, Ljubljana, Slovenia

2006     “Living Art on the Edge of Europe“, Kröller-Müller Museum, Otterlo, the Netherlands

2005     “Insert: Retrospective of Croatian Video Art“, Museum of Contemporary Art, Zagreb, Croatia

2004     “Beyond Geometry“, Los Angeles County Museum, Los Angeles, USA

2003     “By the way, Josip Račić Studio“, Modern Gallery, Zagreb, Croatia

This bibliography provides a list of books available in the
ERSTE Foundation Library

Books/Exhibition Catalogues

Sudac, Marinko, ed. 2011. Podrucǰe zastoja = Standstill: kolekcija Marinko Sudac = Marinko Sudac collection. Zagreb: Avangarde Research Institute.

Neuburger, Susanne, Saxenhuber, Hedwig, eds. 2004. Kurze Karrieren: Stephen Kaltenbach, Christine Kozlov, Lee Lozano, Konrad Lueg, Karel Miler, Jan Mlčoch, Hilka Nordhausen, OHO, Verena Pfisterer, Charlotte Posenenske, Petr Štembera, Goran Trbuljak. Cologne: König [Exhib. Cat., Museum Moderner Kunst Stiftung Ludwig Wien (May 20-Aug. 1, 2004)]

Stipančić, Branka, ed. 1996. G. Trbuljak. Zagreb: Galerije grada Zagreb [Exhib. Cat., Muzej suvremene umjetnosti Zagreb (Apr. 4-28, 1996), Mestna galerija Ljubljana (Jun. 27-Jul. 21, 1996)]

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